Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #10-6

In case you missed the first 5 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! With the list getting into the top-10, you’ll hear from all 3 of us for each prospect. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Braves Journal’s Prospect #10, Braden Shewmake

(Snowshine) 21st overall pick in this year’s draft, Shewmake is a good shortstop who never found his power stroke in college while hitting way too many ground balls. One Braves scout believes he has “an easily correctable flaw in his swing as he just needs to lower his top hand elbow a couple of inches before firing.” Well, OK then! He was a doubles machine at Rome before coming to earth a bit in Mississippi. Between the high draft pick and the aggressive promotion (skipping high-A entirely) it is obvious the team thinks they have a keeper here.

(Matt) The 21st overall pick in 2019, Shewmake excelled in his half season of major league ball. He started in A Rome and quickly moved up to AA Mississippi after slashing .318/.389/.473 across 51 games. Shewmake is a solid hitting shortstop, never hitting below .309 as a 3-year starter at Texas A&M. He also earned the title of SEC freshman of the year in 2017. He has drawn comparisons to another Braves shortstop in Dansby Swanson. He could see AAA this season if he does well in Mississippi.Also, did I mention he can grow a super cool mustache? 

(Ryan) Listed as 6’4, 190, the first thing that comes to my mind with him is the ability to grow into that frame and add power. With 4 tools already in-tow, the addition of power would make him a lethal prospect and he could be seeing MLB’s top 20 in 2021. If the power never really materializes, he’s got enough talent to don an MLB uniform, but likely as a super-sub, not as a starter…which would be fine, as well. Think ceiling Trea Turner and floor Charlie Culberson.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #9, William Contreras

(Snowshine) I have dropped him lower in this list as he had a cr*ptastic season. His hitting profile is likely hurt more than any other prospect by the parks our minor league teams in Florida and Mississippi play in and perhaps I am overreacting. At his best, he is a plus defender who profiles as a league average hitter, which makes him an All-Star at catcher. He likely begins the year back in Pearl which might be ugly.

(Matt) Contreras’ best MLB comparison is unsurprisingly his older brother. In 4 seasons the older Contreras has been voted to two All-Star games and collected 11.5 bWAR. That sounds pretty good to me! Obviously, that is what the Braves hope to get out of Contreras in the future. So far, he has played pretty well in the minor leagues and could make it to AAA soon after playing 60 games last year in AA. His biggest issue at the plate is being a little too aggressive at times and hopefully he can bulk up a bit more to gain some power, but he is still just 21 years old so there’s time to grow and learn. 

(Ryan) I have a prospect guru that has a bit of inside knowledge at Pearl, MS, and from his lips, not mine, Contreras’s work ethic was questioned internally, which shows true a little bit as it’s apparent Langeliers has jumped him in the organization’s thoughts. From my perspective, he’s 21 years old and needs a pass on the 2019 season and the chance to prove himself in 2020…but I just don’t know if that will be with the Braves. His ceiling is the largest among all of our catching prospects and he has pedigree, but with the need to add him to the 40-man, he’s going to have to really show out to justify keeping him there.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #8, Tucker Davidson

(Snowshine) All he does is keep getting guys out, only this season he found a couple mph on the fastball and got up to 9.5k/9. He only got 20 innings at Gwinnett so expect a full season at AAA in 2020.

(Matt) Davidson finished the year with 4 starts in AAA after throwing 110.2 innings in AA with just a 2.03 ERA. He has three plus pitches with a fastball that can get up to 97-98 that he pairs with a curveball and changeup. I really like Davidson as a starter, but he would fit well in the role of lefty reliever so he could transition back to the bullpen at some point. If he sees the majors this year, it’ll probably be in a bullpen role. 

(Ryan) I know it’s not reflected on our list, but I feel that Davidson might have jumped Kyle Muller in the depth charts. Had a big breakout in 2019 due, in large part, to added velo. ERA was good at AAA, but peripherals suggest he was quite lucky there in 4 games started. The AAA pitching staff is going to be LOADED with young pitchers chomping at the bits and Davidson, due to being added to the 40-man already, might get the first crack should Braves need a start.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #7, Shea Langeliers

(Snowshine) Our first selection (#9) in this year’s draft. Langeliers is a college catcher with excellent defensive tools and an average to plus hit tool. A wrist injury during early spring robbed him of most of his power so we shall need to see if there is untapped potential there before making further analysis. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him start the year back at Rome or even in extended ST as the development crew works with him. After that, he may move quickly as the D is already MLB quality.

(Matt) The 9th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Langeliers was the best defensive catcher in the draft. He has a 1.7 second pop time and won the Rawlings/ACBA gold glove award in 2018. He was stellar at the plate his freshman and junior years at Baylor, but slumped a bit during his sophomore year. Wanting to prove he left that slump in the past, Langeliers had 11 RBIs in one game just days before the 2019 draft. He played well in A Rome after being drafted and many see him as the Braves catcher of the future. He’s someone to watch this season along with how he progresses compared to Contreras. 

(Ryan) Moreso than anyone else in the system, Langeliers is MLB-ready right now should Braves had chosen to slot him in as a backup catcher. However, I’m glad they didn’t because I think a good ceiling projection is someone like Jason Castro and while that would feel disappointing to many coming from a 1st round pick, it would solidify a position of need for 6 cheap years and that would be just fine with me.

Braves Journal’s Prospect #6, Kyle Muller

(Snowshine) Went to Driveline last winter and gained 5-6 mph on his fastball. Has gone back this year to work on the breaking stuff. Why don’t we send more guys there? At AA he still walked too many guys but guys with his stuff from the left side don’t grow on trees. Is also a good hitting pitcher which we can use in the ATL.

(Matt)- Muller might just be my favorite Braves prospect. He works harder than anybody and he’s a really nice guy. I encourage everybody to scroll through his social media feeds to get a look into his life. I would love to see him start 2020 in AAA after throwing 111.2 innings with a 3.14 ERA in AA last year. A big reason Muller had such a great year was because he spent the offseason working out at driveline; he cleaned up his motion and built on his strengths. His velocity increased and he saw a lot more consistency all around. I see him as a future number 2/3 in the Braves rotation and he has a shot to crack the majors later this season, but we will most likely see him in 2021. 

(Ryan) Muller already has the frame and body to be a beast, but like Matt said, his work ethic is through the roof. The walk rate was way high last year, likely adjusting to added velo. Needs a big step forward in 2020 at what will likely be at AAA (just like Davidson), away from the pitching friendly confines of Pearl, Mississippi. Biggest test of his life…and I bet he passes.

If you enjoyed this piece, take a look at Snowshine’s piece on a prospect that will be on the next list, Cristian Pache!

Thanks for reading!

Long live Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

20 thoughts on “Atlanta Braves Top Prospects by Braves Journal, #10-6”

  1. With Ryu off the board, the top-tier of SP is gone on the FA market. Teams are now going to pivot to buy-lows and the trade market for SPs. Should make for an entertaining January. Some guys to think about:

    1. Homer Bailey
    2. Alex Wood
    3. Matt Moore
    4. Jimmy Nelson
  2. Great series keeps getting better. Multiple points of view add a lot. Good job, friends. Kudos to all. Keep up the good work.

    All I want for Christmas, AA, is the bringer of rain and a solid corner outfielder.

  3. @1 I like a flier on Wood before most of those other guys.
    @2 I would settle for just JD at this point…

  4. Just to correct something that was mentioned over the weekend. As a Georgia CPA, I must tell you that Georgia’s income tax rate has dropped from 6% to 5.75% in 2019 and will drop again to 5.5% in 2020. Also relevant, since the two teams reportedly offering 4 years to JD are the Twins and Nats, DC is 8.95% and MN is one of the worst at 9.85%.

    This means ATL could offer about $1M a year less to get the same after tax dollars.

  5. So, 4 guys with lengthy histories of arm trouble make for entertainment? Depending on medicals I can see somebody taking a flier on Bailey as he still has a great arm,but the other 3 are likely NRI candidates.

  6. Continuing on Dusty’s comment at 5. More often than you think, player decisions about teams and which contracts to accept come down to what sociologists call “soft factors” such as state taxes, cost of real estate, quality of schools, or family considerations. Considering these for JD at each of the 4 rumored destinations:

    Dallas has no state tax and a real estate tax of 1.96%. Unincorporated areas of TX have a 6.25% sales tax. TX is weird in that one’s property can also be taxed by multiple “special districts” so that the total tax burden is actually similar to GA. Land and houses are more expensive than one might think, approximating suburban Atlanta’s. Traffic is about the same as the ATL.

    The Twin Cities have both the highest state income tax and the highest property tax among our 4 contenders. The latter drops sharply the further one gets from Hennepin County. Sales tax is reasonably low. Houses are much cheaper if one is willing to commute about 25 miles, else it too is fairly dear; however, traffic is much better than Atlanta’s, regularly ranked as the best big-city commute in the nation.

    DC is different in many ways. Income and sales tax are high and the overall tax burden is among the highest in the nation. The commute is terrible and most of the options — train and subway — are often overcrowded, difficult to use, or broken. On the other hand, DC (and to be honest northern VA) has low property tax rates and the cost of real estate drops rapidly as one goes west out of the city.

    Sounds like Atlanta is the best choice :)

  7. 8 and 9, I was just hopping on to say I would offer Wood 2/$10m :)

    I think it’s tough though as you have arms that really are ready or close to ready for the majors in Wright, Wilson and Anderson (not to mention Weigel, Davidson and Touki). These guys are going to need an opportunity to show what they can or can’t do so you don’t want to block them with a middling starter. That said, right now Newcomb is slated as the 5th starter, so some experienced depth to help cover for any inevitable injuries would be wise.

    Also thanks Karl for going deeper on other COLA factors. I think (unless the Rangers really make an aggressive offer, ATL has the advantage there.

  8. I don’t know why I keep forgetting Georgia has a state income tax since I paid it for 2 years as an employee of a Georgia company. I not so bright. Thanks for correcting that.

  9. @7 nobody in their right mind would live in DC. More likely northern VA or Montgomery Cty, MD. MD is, of course, horrible for income and property taxes but great for schools and real estate. Northern VA is a good mix of everything except distance and traffic. I despise Dallas and think it has pretty much the worst of everything (especially the north Dallas suburbs) but the Rangers play in Arlington and the mid-cities and Ft. Worth have some really nice areas at much lower cost than anything in ATL or DC. I have lived in the South, Dallas-area, and the DMV (aka delmarva, aka DC/MD/VA). I would likely choose somewhere in the ATL suburbs or the mid-cities/Ft. Worth to live in all other things being equal.

  10. For the first time Andruw seems to be making a little HOF progress. Through 50 voters he is up to 22% with 6 new converts. Meaning of these same 50 voters last year he has gone from 5 (10%) to 11 (22%).

    Long way to go but certainly better than being worried about falling off the ballot.

  11. I’ve long advocated for Andruw in the HOF, for the same reason Ozzie Smith, Brooks Robinson, Bill Mazeroski and some day Yadier Molina are in—the best defensive player at a crucial position. Andruw was a better hitter than any of them. Of course Andruw didn’t have the longevity of any of them, which is why he’s gotten so little support so far. But maybe that’s changing!

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