Baseball America has, for a number of years, been one of the gold standards in terms of prospect evaluation, scouting, and minor league coverage. As a result, when they post scouting reports and prospect rankings, the baseball world at-large listens even if any number can reasonably disagree on where to rank a player.
This offseason is no different as BA has posted their newest iteration of the top 10 Braves prospects and it is a lot to take in.
The top 10 prospects in the Atlanta Braves' farm system for 2018:https://t.co/HyL8UYYv4d— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 23, 2017
The scouting reports for each of the ten players are behind a paywall (seriously, you guys need to subscribe to Baseball America...it is great), but the list itself is not. The top ten Braves’ prospects, according to Baseball America, are as follows:
- Ronald Acuna
- Luiz Gohara
- Mike Soroka
- Kyle Wright
- Ian Anderson
- Austin Riley
- Kolby Allard
- Max Fried
- Kevin Maitan
- Cristian Pache
There is a lot to take in here and it is a reminder of how much the prospect landscape for the Braves has changed in the past year. With the graduations of the likes of Ozzie Albies, Sean Newcomb, Dansby Swanson, Lucas Sims, and others...there are going to be some new faces in all tiers of Braves’ prospect rankings this offseason (we are already struggling to come to grips with this here at TC...it is still very weird to think of a list without Albies on it for us).
Acuna at #1 is the biggest non-surprise as he is arguably the top prospect in all of baseball right now. Other pleasant surprises include Austin Riley at #6 where his power and improved ability in the field are the highlights from an excellent 2017 campaign that saw him jump all the way to Double-A. Ian Anderson at #5 is an interesting element here as well as he threw under 20 innings in the final two months of the season and dealt with some injury issues, although his pure stuff is undeniable. Luiz Gohara at #2 in the wake of his fairly successful major league debut is well-earned as he has a fastball/slider combo is, at the very worst, the recipe for a shutdown reliever and he has frontline starter upside in the best of worlds.
On the downside, there were some guys that did get downgraded a bit. Kolby Allard at #7 shows that his stock is down a bit due to the fact that he did not show a particularly dominant fastball, but his plus command and plus changeup were noted by BA in their scouting report. Max Fried’s stock went up and down last year where he started as one of the hottest pitching prospects in the system, then he struggled in Double-A and dealt with blister issues, and then performed well in the majors. Kevin Maitan dropping all the way to #9 after all of the hype in the world is also concerning with scouts noting the amount of weight he put on as well as the fact that his swing from the left side being...well...not good in his pro debut.
Definitely give BA’s article a read as it is very well done and gives a lot of great insights into the upper tier of the Braves’ farm system. I can guarantee that our list will not mirror this one once it comes out in December, but that hardly makes it wrong and debating these sorts of rankings is half the fun. One last note, long time head honcho at Baseball America John Manuel recently took a job in the Twins’ scouting department and the prospect evaluation industry is lesser for it. An outstanding evaluator of talent and a great writer, we here at Talking Chop wish him nothing but the best and look forward to seeing what JJ Cooper, Matt Eddy, (TC alum) Carlos Collazo, Ben Badler, and the rest of the BA staff have in store for us for seasons to come.