A lot of ink has been dropped over the last 6 months about the Braves farm system. Many have discussed how “top-heavy” much of the system is, and I’ve been a very vocal contrarian to this idea. In an odd 2020 where most evaluators were stuck with slim reports coming out of alternate sites, farm system rankings were all over the place and the Braves seemed to be at the forefront of polarization, ranking anywhere from 5th to 19th.
While I think 5th might be a stretch, don’t undersell the depth in this farm. Miraculously, the Braves still have a great farm system with future stars and above average role players and have had to build it without the luxury of high draft picks and international signings. The biggest helium prospect in the system is, without question, Michael Harris. When the right people start talking, we should pay attention.
While there hasn’t been much national hype with the Braves drafts, they did an outstanding job in the later rounds of 2018 and 2019:
- 2018, 7th Round: Victor Vodnik
- 2018, 17th Round: Justin Dean
- 2018, 20th Round: CJ Alexander
- 2018, 23rd Round: William Woods
- 2018, 32nd Round: Trey Harris
- 2019, 11th Round: Vaughn Grisson
- 2019, 18th Round: Mahki Backstrom
- 2019, 19th Round: Kadon Morton
- 2019, 24th Round: Bryce Ball
Most of these guys are players that have made themselves into household names in Braves fandom, but have received little recognition nationally. What would have been if 2020 were not in the shadows? Sure, every team has a few of these guys that are under the radar, but 8 or 9? Highly unlikely.
- Would the triple digits fastball of William Woods be getting national attention?
- Would Backstrom’s body transformation and massive power potential have turned Keith Law’s black heart?
- Would Victor Vodnik’s arsenal bypass Jonathan Mayo’s list? * Probably*
- Would the contact/power potential of a mountain like Bryce Ball made it into Baseball America’s Top-100?
Who knows, but the guys listed above combined with Drew Waters, Cristian Pache, Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson, William Contreras, Kyle Muller, Braden Shewmake, Jasseel De La Cruz, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, Shea Langeliers, Jared Shuster, Freddy Tarnok, Bryce Elder, Jesse Franklin, Daysbel Hernandez, and so many more have me expecting great things and not the big dropoff that’s been predicted after 3-4 of the top guys graduate the system.