In case you missed the first 4 installments of our Atlanta Braves Top Prospects List, you can find them here:
- Braves Journal’s Top 30 Prospects: Just Missed
- Braves Journal’s Top 30 Prospect, 30-26
- Braves Journal’s Top 30 Prospects, 25-21
- Braves Journal’s Top 30 Prospects, 20-16
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 #15, Alex Jackson
(Ryan) For someone that was once a top catching prospect turned outfielder, traded, made a return back to catching, and has adjusted very nicely back to the position, Alex Jackson is nearly a total afterthought in the Braves system. Originally drafted 6th overall back in 2014 by the Mariners, Jackson’s a good receiver that holds his own in framing and has an elite arm that keeps base thieves thinking. His hit tool is likely what it’ll continue to be as he hits the ball a long way… when he makes contact (crushed 28 HRs with an .846 OPS at AAA in 2019 but with a 34.2% K-rate). His path is anywhere between fading out of baseball in a few years to MLB backup catcher, to a Mike Zunino clone as a ceiling. With the defensive side seemingly in control, I’d like to see Jackson decrease his K-rate in the upcoming season all the while maintaining the power. As a fan, it’s frustrated me that he hasn’t received more of a chance at the big league level and maybe that’s going to have to happen with another team.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #14, Huascar Ynoa
(Matt) Since being acquired in the Jaime Garcia trade in July 2017, Ynoa has worked his way through the Braves system. Most people forget that Ynoa made his big league debut in 2019. He pitched 2 scoreless innings on June 16th, then gave up 6 runs in 1 inning exactly a month later. Overall it was not a great season for him, but his slider, fastball and changeup are all above average with decent command that showed improvement and velocity over 95 at times. He’s on the cusp of the top tier of Braves pitching prospects, but he’s not there just yet.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #13, Michael Harris
(Snowshine) A local kid from Stockbridge, Harris was the 3rd round pick in this year’s draft. He is a great athlete with many teams preferring him as a pitcher but the Braves think he can be a plus in centerfield. He killed it in the GCL and then came back to earth after a late promotion to Rome, although, to be fair, he was dealing with an injury. Will start the year back in Rome. With his tools he could be a fast mover for a HS pick should he keep hitting.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #12, Trey Harris
(Ryan) Harris is one of those guys baseball fans love to love. A 32nd round pick in 2018 out of Missouri University, he hit the ground running playing in 53 games, carrying an OPS of .843. Still, he was 22 playing in Rookie ball and Low-A so it was worth tapering expectations. But 2019 sealed the deal that the Braves might have gotten a 32nd round steal as Harris played in A-, A+, and AA and beat the cover off the ball: .887 OPS with 14 HRs, earning himself Braves Minor League Player of the Year. A major component of Harris’s makeup is that he’s a natural leader and dedicated player. When he was drafted, he put a TON of work in revamping his swing to increase over the fence power. I think it worked. 2020 is a HUGE year for the 5’8 215 pound Harris and while his season more than likely starts at AA, I could see him getting pushed to AAA early.
Braves Journal’s Prospect #11, Jasseel De La Cruz
(Snowshine) The no-hitter a week after I wrote him up earlier this year was nice, but this guys calling card is a heavy sinker paired with an unfair slider. The change worked better this season and is the key to a role in future Braves rotations. He will move up to AAA and may see some time in Atlanta next summer.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this piece, take a gander at the 2019 Player Review of one of the former Atlanta Braves Top Prospects!