Hello again everyone and welcome to the Talking Chop 2021 Midseason Top 30 Braves Prospects List. It feels very good to be able to give this update again as it means that we have had lots of minor league baseball to watch again which has been an absolute joy for all of us. 2020 was gutting in a lot of ways and for us on the minor league side of things, having no minor league baseball was particularly brutal and we have been thrilled to have it back in our lives again.
For those that want to compare the list that we are rolling out this week (which will roll out in groups of six players per day), here is a link to our preseason rankings. You will notice a lot of changes between the two lists which shouldn’t be surprising since, again, we have actually been able to watch the guys play for the first time (in most cases) since 2019. Before we get to the rankings, lets go over a few things.
- Our top 30 rankings are derived from a composite ranking 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 between promotions, graduations, and trades, we want 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 William Contreras does not appear on our list. That is not because we don’t like him...it’s because he has exhausted his rookie eligibility. The same is true of Ian Anderson...they just aren’t prospects anymore even if they are young.
- 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 and can change fairly significantly as we get more information. There are those that will be bold and rank lottery ticket prep guys highly while others weigh proximity and sample size more, 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 and you will those on our staff that had guys higher and lower than their final rankings...in some cases significantly so. This is PARTICULARLY true this year as the difference between the #8 guy on our list and the #15 guy was a total of nine points. NINE. That tier in particular is one that is so close that it is almost better to consider them a tie, but for the sake of this exercise...this is the order that our vote came up with. The same is true with the bottom five guys on our list...we lost a few guys from that section as well as the honorable mentions section this past week due to trades and opinions varied widely enough that just because a guy didn’t make the final 30 doesn’t mean that he is definitively not a top 30 talent.
- 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. We don’t get hung up on where we have a guy ranked when they break out, start struggling, or whatever...you shouldn’t either.
- Be kind and understand that just because you hold a different opinion doesn’t mean you need to yell/cuss/place a voodoo curse on us. Prospect rankings seem to really get folks in their feelings at times when, in reality, they are just a fun thought exercise that mean very little in the grand scheme of things. We are proud of the work we do on these and we do put a lot of thought into where we place guys, but none of us think we have all of the answers and it is really interesting to see how our rankings change as well as seeing when we are right or wrong. I am also famously pretty intolerant of folks being jerks, particularly in the comments section or on Twitter... so be one at your own risk.