Atlanta Braves Top 20 Prospects for 2018: mid-season review

Ronald Acuna Jr

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How did this list turn out?

Continuing with our mid-season organization reviews, we turn our attention to the Atlanta Braves.

This list was originally published November 3rd, 2017 and updated on December 18th, 2017.

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*****THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST******

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

NOTE: This is a different and separate project from Wayne Cavadi’s new Top 20 Atlanta Braves prospect list for mid-season.

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1) Ronald Acuna, OF, Grade A: Age 20, hitting .249/.304/.438 with seven homers, 12 walks, 59 strikeouts in 169 at-bats since being promoted to the majors; some rough edges but super-star level physical ability is obvious and he’s been pushed very quickly; future is very bright.

2) Luiz Gohara, LHP, Grade A-/A: Age 21, disappointing season with 5.59 ERA in 37 minor league innings, 35/15 K/BB, 45 hits; 5.95 ERA in 20 major league innings, 18/8 K/BB; progress slowed this spring by ankle injury and family health crises; long run I remain optimistic but this may just be a lost season.

3) Kyle Wright, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Age 22, first round pick from Vanderbilt in 2017; 4.10 ERA in 94 innings in Double-A, 97 hits, 96/40 K/BB; not a terrific season but not bad, either; has had several dominant games but gets hit hard enough often enough to keep his ERA a tad elevated; inconsistent command seems the biggest issue, strikeout/grounder combination is promising; watch for any improvement in K/BB over the second half; stock down a bit but still a fine talent.

4) Mike Soroka, RHP, Grade B+/A-: Age 20, first round pick in 2015; 2.00 ERA with 31/6 K/BB in 27 innings in Triple-A, 3.51 ERA in 26 major league innings, 21/7 K/BB; currently on the disabled list with shoulder trouble; remains one of my favorites if his arm is OK.

5) Kolby Allard, LHP, Grade B+: Age 20, first round pick in 2015; 2.85 ERA in 104 innings in Triple-A, 81/31 K/BB, 96 hits; keep in mind his age; a few more strikeouts would be nice; reports on change-up and curveball are impressive; basically rolling along and stock holding.

6) Ian Anderson, RHP, Grade B+: Age 20, first round pick in 2016; 2.85 ERA with 102/35 K/BB in 82 innings in High-A, 67 hits; gets less attention than some of the other Braves guys since he’s at a lower level but is age-appropriate for High-A; plus sinker, curveball and change-up continue to progress; stock trending upward.

7) Max Fried, LHP, Grade B+/B: Age 24; 3.93 ERA in 55 innings in Triple-A, 57/22 K/BB; 3.92 ERA in 21 major league innings, 25/13 K/BB; small sample and rehabbing a blister currently but overall performance in line with expectations; should exceed rookie limits soon, stock holding.

8) Austin Riley, 3B, Grade B+/B: Age 21, hitting .313/.379/.544 with 11 homers, 24 walks, 80 strikeouts in 252 at-bats between Double-A, Triple-A, and brief rookie ball injury rehab; continuing to hit well and defense has taken a large step forward this year, main caution flag is strikeouts but you can’t knock his overall production; stock trending upward.

9) Joey Wentz, LHP, Grade B+/B: Age 20, comp round pick in 2016 from high school in Kansas; 2.03 ERA in 62 innings over 14 starts in High-A, 47/24 K/BB, 43 hits; limited workload but has been effective; ERA is certainly pretty and scouting reports remain positive though there’s been a notable decline in his strikeout rate this year, a caution flag worth keeping an eye on; stock holding.

10) Bryse Wilson, RHP, Grade B+/B: Age 20, fourth round pick in 2016, unhittable in High-A (0.34, 26/7 K/BB in 27, 16 hits), more human in Double-A (4.13, 81/23 K/BB in 72, 72 hits) but scouting reports increasingly positive as secondary pitches (slider, change) improve to enhance effectiveness of his plus sinker; has given up just three homers all year; stock upward.

11) Touki Toussaint, RHP, Grade B: Age 22, famously electric arm with fastball up to 98 and nasty breaking ball; breakout season due to improved command, 2.82 ERA with 112/39 K/BB in 93 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 71 hits; still quite young, progress reported with change-up; stock upward.

12) Cristian Pache, OF, Grade B: Age 19, signed for $1,400,000 in 2015 from Dominican Republic; .285/.311/.432 with eight homers, seven steals, 14 walks, 65 strikeouts in 347 at-bats in High-A; speed and defense were highlighted pre-season but power is coming along nicely and he’s young for the level, there’s a lot of hype for him in Braves circles but I think it is justified, granted he still needs some strike zone work; stock upward.

13) A.J. Minter, LHP, Grade B-: Age 24, compensation round pick in 2015 from Texas A&M; nice season in major league bullpen, 3.20 ERA in 39 innings, 43/15 K/BB, 35 hits; very much in line with expectations.

14) Alex Jackson, C; Grade B-: Age 22, former first round pick of the Mariners, traded to Braves in November 2016 after fizzling with the bat with Seattle; hitting .199/.287/.329 between Double-A and Triple-A, five homers, 22 walks, 81 strikeouts in 231 at-bats; very disappointing given the progress he looked to have made in ’17; has played well defensively which is a positive but bat is back into the questionable category.

15) William Contreras, C, Grade B-: Age 20, signed out of Venezuela in 2015; successful season with .286/.349/.432, 10 homers, 23 walks, 68 strikeout in 273 at-bats in Low-A; defense remains work in progress but athleticism, arm are sufficient to catch once he adds more experience/polish; brother of Willson Contreras and could be a similar player.

16) Kyle Muller, LHP, Grade B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2016 from high school in Texas; 2.96 ERA with 88/36 K/BB in 97 innings between Low-A and High-A, 94 hits; somewhere the Braves have an advanced cloning/genetic engineering facility pumping these guys out; reports on fastball vary from game to game but potential as a three-pitch starter.

17) Drew Waters, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2017 from high school in Georgia, following up mixed 2017 pro debut with very fine season in Low-A, .294/.344/.518 with 28 doubles, nine homers, 18 steals, 17 walks, 63 whiffs in 299 at-bats; gap power and speed stand out, needs more reps on defense but tools are there, coming along well, could use more selectivity, stock up.

18) Freddy Tarnok, RHP, Grade C+/B-: Age 19, third round pick in 2017 from high school in Florida; 3.13 ERA in 46 innings in Low-A, 57/28 K/BB, 35 hits; love the strikeouts and low hit rate, walks need to come down obviously, already throws hard and projects more, just moved into starting rotation, high ceiling.

19) Patrick Weigel, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, seventh round pick in 2015 from University of Houston, out with Tommy John.

20) Anyelo Gomez, RHP, Grade C+: Rule 5 pick from Yankees system, from the Dominican Republic; didn’t make the team and sent back to Yankees, posted 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings with 8/3 K/BB in Triple-A but has spent most of the year on the disabled list with shoulder injury and is not expected to return in 2018.

OTHER GRADE C+:

Travis Demeritte, INF: hitting .216/.306/.392 with 10 homers in Double-A, tools still tantalize but lacks polish.
Thomas Burrows, LHP: 3.28 ERA, 55/30 K/BB in 47 innings in High-A, interesting bullpen type if he gets the walks down
Derian Cruz, SS: .214/.246/.303; can’t hit yet, but just 19 in Low-A.

Brett Cumberland, C: Hitting .231/.365/.407, 11 homers in High-A; has made progress with glove
Tucker Davidson, LHP: 4.11 ERA, 64/44 K/BB in 88 innings in High-A, 91 hits; a rather meh season and falling behind other arms in system
Wes Parsons, RHP: 2.34 ERA in 81 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 75/26 K/BB; passed by others at age 25 but performing well enough to land somewhere

Jefrey Ramos, OF: .246/.280/.427 with 11 homers, 15 walks, 62 strikeouts in 321 at-bats in Low-A
Ricardo Sanchez, LHP: 4.10 ERA in 37 innings between Double-A and injury rehab, 29/18 K/BB

Isranel Wilson, OF: .230/.316/.373 with eight homers, 15 steals, 36 walks, 96 strikeouts in 287 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A
Huascar Ynoa, RHP: 3.83 ERA in 85 innings in Low-A, 94/41 K/BB, just 63 hits; could break out if command improves

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