Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #20-16

In case you missed the first 4 installments of our Atlanta Braves Top Prospects, you can find them here:

A reminder that this is a cumulative list from 3 Minor League followers, Karl Ehrsam (snowshine), Matt Pocza (@Braves_Rumors), and Ryan Cothran (@baldheaded1der), and the rankings might not be reflective of each person’s opinion, of which I hope they’ll share their thoughts in the comments! Let’s get to it, shall we?

Braves Journal’s Prospect #20, Mahki Backstrom

(Ryan) Matt Powers is one of the Braves prospect gurus whose opinion that I seek out. He was remarkably high on Backstrom coming out of the draft as he felt he was a first round talent with his exit velocity that ranked 99.74th percent at Perfect Game. Pre-draft, his stock dropped significantly, and according to our own Snowshine, it was vision related, something that the Braves have corrected for him. This leads Snowshine, Matt Powers, and myself to believe that the Braves could have snagged a 1st round talent in the 18th round. He’s  a HUGE LH hitting first baseman and he carried an .860 OPS in his professional debut. The Braves haven’t really had any good 1B prospects in a while. Now, there’s 2. Watch this guy closely…2 eyes, as often as you can spare them.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #19, Patrick Weigel

(Snowshine) I will take some heat for this as on my personal list, I have him 15-20 spots lower than most everyone else. Tommy John is a horrible thing and not everyone recovers from it to be what they were before. Usually you know within 18 months or so but sometimes guys can take 3 or 4 seasons (see Weigel’s Rome teammate Max Fried for example) to get their stuff back. Unfortunately, by this stage of the journey, most of them never do come back. I have chatted with Patrick several times and he comes across as well spoken, intelligent and with remarkable modesty for a pro athlete. I really hope I’m wrong on this one.

Braves Journal’s Prospects #18, Freddy Tarnok

(Snowshine) Converted to a full time starters role in 2019, Tarnok’s statistics took a major step back. This was expected as he was challenged with an assignment in Florida and asked to throw more than 3 inning stints for the first time in his career. 2020 will tell us far more on his future. Vodnik will face this same challenge next season.

Braves Journal’s Prospects #17, Daysbel Hernandez

(Snowshine) Vies with Luis Mora and Huascar Ynoa for the title of “best fastball” in the Braves organization. He has never had a healthy season before but is definitely in the closer-of-the-future picture. Will begin 2020 in Mississippi but could see Atl if all goes well.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #16, Bryce Ball

(Matt) Taken in the 24th round of the 2019 draft, Ball is one of the Braves more interesting prospects. The Braves system hasn’t seen a first base prospect like Ball since Freeman. He has the pure power down, as he hit 17 homers in only 61 games since being drafted. To go along with the home runs he also hit .329 with a near-.400 OBP. It’s no secret why the Braves love this guy, at 6’6, 235 lbs he has the build of a first baseman. First base is obviously taken in Atlanta for the foreseeable future, but if the DH is added to the NL? Maybe Ball is the man for the job.

Thanks for reading!

Long live Braves Journal

In case you missed it, here’s Freddie Freeman’s Atlanta Braves Player Review from yesterday.



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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

17 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #20-16”

  1. I like backstrom, but I like ball more! His raw power is tantalizing and it’s rare to see an OBP that high with that much power.

  2. @ 1,

    Rob, let,s HOPE he doesn’t turn out like Gohara!

    I believe he will be back on beam this year. Nothing to go on other than that I believe it.

  3. @1 @3 @ snowshine Based upon his performance last year and call-up (no innings), I have to believe the Braves think Weigel’s just fine and are bringing him along slowly. His stats at AAA seemed to be pretty good. I hope he’s at least in the mix as a middle reliever this year with a shot at the rotation next year.

    If we sign Donaldson for four years and the NL gets the DH then he or Riley will likely share 3B/DH. It’s a good problem to have that many power hitters coming up the ranks or already onboard but it could be a logjam a couple of years from now.

    P.S. Site seems to be working better. Haven’t had to refresh today. But also I was having a Chrome problem so maybe a chicken and egg issue for me. Still not saving my name and e-mail……

  4. To explain part of the write-up, I had Weigel at #30 on my list and wished I could put him higher, but…
    His velocity was in the low 90’s,touching 94.
    His formerly knee-bending curve was not sharp anymore,and
    The change no longer had enough separation from the fastball.

    As stated in the piece, Fried overcame similar concerns this past season: it can be done! Unfortunately, it isn’t the way to bet. The team’s continued confidence is a good sign.

  5. MLB had several trade scenarios for Lindor and included this one for the Braves:

    Albies, Jackson and Wright for
    Lindor and Hand

    They do have a section “Who says no” and says the Braves probably wouldn’t give up Albies and his ridiculous deal and suggested Swanson and Waters could be added to take his place.

    So would you do:
    Swanson, Waters, Wright, Jackson for
    Lindor and Hand

    I think I would.

  6. 6—Yes, easily.

    2—Backstrom is more than three years younger than Ball. Ball is interesting, but Backstrom is tantalizing.

  7. Baseball Trade Values has Hand + Lindor at about $60M in surplus value. Would you really be willing to trade Swanson, Waters, Wright, and Jackson for them? To be fair, I thought Hand had about $10M in trade value; BTV had $2.6M. I think that’s low. Hand is basically Will Smith, so he’s got to be worth a lot more to another team than the $17M he’s owed.

    It’s got Lindor at around $55M. I think that’s about right. Take it for what you will, but BTV has the Braves’ package at $115M with $55M of it being Waters and $32M of it being Swanson.

    I think those 4 would be a little high. Honestly, I would probably only do Waters and Jackson.

    I said this on the podcast, but 2 years is just not enough of an elite player to give up a huge haul. Bryant, Lindor, Kluber, all these guys have 2 years left, and they’re obviously already making big money. I just don’t know if you’re getting that much value back.

  8. First, Hand doesn’t do much for the Braves, so why add him in. Particularly if 2.6 mill were the surplus value.

    Stick to just Lindor on Cleveland’s side.

    Put in Swanson because what else are you going to do with him? Also, Cleveland has a shot at being a playoff team. Swanson might not be a collapse for them.

    Then, add a 30 mill prospect. Tell Cleveland if you get Donaldson you are out. Let Cleveland decide.

  9. I’m with cliff. I’d do Swanson, Wright, and Jackson (Luke or Alex?). The problem comes two years from now and you have no shortstop ready to play. If Lindor leaves then you go backwards. And, under this scenario, I assume one would be happy with Camargo/Riley at 3B.

    I want to win pennants until the Phillies, Nats, and Mets all run out of money.

  10. When I look at the Braves lineup as currently constructed, I see a need to upgrade at three, maybe four positions. If JD re-enlists, that problem’s solved, along with Freddie protection.

    Suppose he does not. (Please Lord, not the Nats.) Who can protect Freddie? Not the catchers, not shortstop, not left field or center. Do we want either Oz or RAJ hitting fourth? Then who hits in the slot they vacated, spots that were strengths last season?

    Dansby and Ender are what they’ve shown, adequate defensively and offensively when in a hot streak. Neither fills JD’s spot. Neck/Adam are mediocre.

    The Braves and AA have work still to do.

  11. @6 I’m not into the idea of trading for Lindor, tbh. I mean you do a deal there, he’s coming to play SS. He’d be an upgrade there. The thing is, if you’re acquiring him to replace Donaldson’s bat, doesn’t he need to be 5fWAR better than Swanson? Also, you’re still either playing an uncertain Riley, or a below average Camargo at 3B.

    Then there’s the prospects you’re trading, and the value there.

  12. @12, Steamer projections at FG have Lindor at 5.9 WAR. next season and Swanson at 1.8, so very close, yeah. Certainly hoping for more, but if we did that then any performance over one WAR next year from 3b would be direct infield improvement, not counting Ozzie getting better.

  13. Interesting tidbit…Had a guy that’s given me inside info on the MLBPA in the past (that turned out to be true) just inform me that Bryse Wilson has been traded to the Cubs. I know nothing else and have no idea of the validity. Stay tuned.

  14. @Timo
    The guy…is just a guy, but like me, people tell him things from time to time and sometimes they’re true. Still…it seems fishy to me that he was told this yesterday and the trade wasn’t announced yesterday.

    Time will tell.

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