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2021 Preseason Top 30 Atlanta Braves prospects

Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

For those that are not aware, we put out two Top 30 Atlanta Braves prospect lists each year. One before the season begins and one at the All-Star break to incorporate new draftees, account for graduations, and to make adjustments based on what we are hearing and seeing. 2020 was an obvious weird exception where we both had no All-Star break and we also had no minor league baseball to scout, so updating our thoughts didn’t make much sense. Before we get into the actual names and rankings, here are some things you all need to know about how we do things:

  • Our Top 30 is derived from a composite of all of the personal rankings from the Talking Chop minor league crew (this time, that includes Eric Cole, Garrett Spain, Matt Powers, Wayne Cavadi, and Gaurav Vedak). After we all get our personal rankings together, we make a composite of said list, and then we double check to make sure that nothing appears to be super wonky. An important note for our rankings: we dropped the highest and lowest rankings for each player before calculating their composite ranking to try and remove outlier rankings that have, at times, led to some less than desirable results in the past. With all of the turnover on the list in the past season or so, we just wanted to make sure the resulting composite was as consistent as possible and lessen the influence of outlier rankings.
  • We loosely use the MLB rookie eligibility requirements to see who is and who isn’t eligible for the list, although we are completely fine with removing a guy if he is relatively close to losing eligibility and has an established role in the major leagues (we did this with Dansby Swanson in the past and elsewhere). For example, you will notice that Bryse Wilson does not appear on our list. That is not because we don’t like him...it’s because he is a handful of innings away from losing rookie eligibility and has been up and down in the majors for a couple of years now. When in doubt, we will err on the side of getting new blood on the list for no other reason than our preference.
  • These are just our rankings and each one of us is different. Depending on who you are talking to, you will get differing opinions on what we like and don’t like in prospects and that is absolutely okay. If you are looking for an overriding philosophy present in our list, you are unlikely to find one other than we all talk to each other a lot and that all of our rankings are very fluid. There are those that will be bold and rank lottery ticket prep guys highly while others weigh proximity and sample size more, etc., etc. That is just the nature of the game and having those variances in opinions is good and allows for players of all types to get discussed.
  • Don’t get hung up on specific ranking spots. If one guy is ranked 13th and another is 11th for example, it is likely that there were some that had those guys flipped in their personal rankings and it is even more likely that we don’t see a huge difference between those two players. It is best to think of our list in terms of tiers... not hard and fast rankings. Same goes for guys that were in the honorable mentions and didn’t make the top 30. We have to draw the line somewhere, but it isn’t like those guys have zero chance of ever being big leaguers or even being on the list at midseason. We are always willing to adjust our rankings fairly quickly on a guy if the information or what we are seeing changes.
  • Like all things with prospects, these rankings are subject to change and they do, in fact, change quite a bit. This is more of a snapshot of this moment in time than anything. Guys improve and regress and when they do, we alter our thinking. Prospect development is not a linear path... so prospect rankings shouldn’t be either. If you think a guy is turning a corner or over-ranked based on his recent performance, check back when we do the next list rather than try to set us on fire in the comments section. This is particularly true this year when the amount of information we have is very limited. I will go ahead and let you all know that our confidence level in these rankings is relatively low....mainly because we haven’t seen most of these guys in action for a year or so. I fully anticipate a lot of changes during the midseason list and you should, too.

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