Atlanta Braves Top 30 Prospects

1. Touki Toussaint, RHP

Age: 22 (6/20/96)

Highest Level: MLB

136.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 10.76 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, .201 AVG - AA/AAA

29 IP, 4.03 ERA, 4.24 XFIP, 9.93 K/9, 6.52 BB/9, .180 AVG - MLB

Toussaint has risen to the top of a loaded farm system with an outstanding 2018 campaign that flashed promises of improved command to go along with plus stuff. His curveball grades at a 70 and in his short stint in MLB has already appeared numerous times on Rob Friedman’s @Pitchingninja twitter feed. The split-changeup has flashed above-average to plus at times with sharp, downward biting action. The key for Touki will be control. He has struggled to command the zone at the MLB level seeing his walk rate double, however, his stuff is so good that even when he struggles to find the zone, he can dominate. Expect Touki to compete for a rotation spot to start 2019. ETA: 2018

2. Cristian Pache, CF

Age: 19 (11/19/98)

Highest Level: AA

.279/.307/.410, 9 HR, .131 ISO, 102 wRC+, 4% BB, 19.6% K, 7 SB

Pache profiles as a true five-tool talent, with three tools (Defense, arm, and speed) grading 70-80 on the 2080 scale. At only 19, Pache has an athletic frame that can add good muscle without sacrificing his speed and quickness. The bat made great strides in 2018 with a career high 9 HR, the first 9 of his career. He still has a long ways to go in terms of improving pitch recognition. The walk rate doesn’t concern me because that will improve with experience. As Pache continues to add strength and patience, the power will come. When it does, he could be the top prospect in all of baseball. ETA: 2021

3. Austin Riley, 3B

Age: 21 (4/2/97)

Highest Level: AAA

.294/.360/.522, 19 HR, .228 ISO, 145 wRC+, 8.1% BB, 28.4% K, 1 SB

Riley’s prolific power and improving defense are the carrying tools. He is a streaky hitter that is prone to swing-and-miss which could limit the playability of his hit tool at the next level. He profiles as a 30+ HR bat and should stick at third base although a move to first base may be in his future. With the emergence of Johan Camargo, the Braves have no reason to rush Riley, although if he continues to punish baseballs in Triple-A and can improve his strikeout rate, he could hit his way into the mix. ETA: 2019

4. Mike Soroka, RHP

Age: 21 (8/4/97)

Highest Level: MLB

30.2 IP, 1.76 ERA, 1.72 FIP, 9.98 K/9, 1.76 BB/9, .184 AVG - AAA

25.2 IP, 3.51 ERA, 3.63 xFIP, 7.36 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, .288 AVG - MLB

Soroka, one of the youngest arms in the system, was the first to get the call to Atlanta. A shoulder injury shut him down for the season, however, he should be fully ready to compete for a spot in the rotation next spring. While he doesn’t possess the lights out stuff of some of the other pitchers in the system, his floor is insanely high. He possesses a pitchability not often found in a young players which should help him stick in the middle of the Atlanta rotation. ETA: 2018

5. Ian Anderson, RHP

Age: 20 (5/2/98)

Highest Level: AA

107.1 IP, 2.49 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 10.71 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, .197 AVG

There was much speculation when the Braves took Anderson 3rd overall in 2016 that his willingness to sign below slot was the determining factor. However, Anderson’s 2018 season, in which he reached Double-A, has allowed him to separate himself from a loaded core of young arms and prove his worthiness of such a high draft pick. Anderson throws three pitches, a fastball, curveball, and changeup. The curveball is a plus pitch at present. He has the ability to run the fastball into the mid 90’s but sits 93-94. The key to development is improving command. Pitching from an over-the-top arm slot, Anderson at times struggles to get maximal extension, which leads to struggles with command. When he is in sync, he can pound the bottom half of the zone with all three pitches. ETA: 2021

6. William Contreras, C

Age: 20 (12/24/97)

Highest Level: A+

.285/.347/.436, 11 HR, .151 ISO, 125 wRC+, 8.1% BB, 20.6% K, 1 SB

Contreras already plays above-average defense with a plus throwing arm. The defense should improve with increased reps. Contreras flashed plus power and shows a patient approach at the plate. He struggled after a promotion to High A and looked gassed at the end of the season. Despite fading down the stretch, Contreras has the tools to impact the game on both sides of the ball. ETA: 2021

7. Drew Waters, CF

Age: 19 (12/30/98)

Highest Level: A+

.293/.343/.476, 9 HR, .183 ISO, 132 wRC+, 5.8% BB, 21.1% K, 23 SB

Waters dominated the Sally flashing five plus tools. A switch-hitter, he is more advanced from the left side of the plate and profiles as a doubles machine with the potential to steal 20-30 bases. Their is over-the-fence power in his bat but he will need to add strength, which will come with body maturity. Defensively, he isn’t in the same league as Pache but he has the tools to become a better overall hitter. As with Pache, he will need to improve pitch selection and tone down his aggressiveness. ETA: 2021

8. Kyle Wright, RHP

Age: 22 (10/2/95)

Highest Level: MLB

138 IP, 3.46 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 8.67 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, .225 AVG. - AA/AAA

6 IP, 4.50 ERA, 6.42 xFIP, 7.5 K/9, 9.0 BB/9, .182 AVG. - MLB

Wright flew through AA/AAA in his first full professional season, reaching Atlanta as a September call-up. He also earned a spot in the 2018 Future’s Game. While it’s clear that this season he is behind Soroka and Toussaint in the pecking order, he has the stuff and pitchability to earn a rotation spot in 2019. In order to do so, he’ll need to improve his command/sequencing and limit his walks. He throws four above-average to future plus pitches and profiles as a mid-rotation starting pitcher. ETA: 2019

9. Bryse Wilson, RHP

Age: 20 (12/20/97)

Highest Level: MLB

125.2 IP, 3.44 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 10.24 K/9, 2.58 BB/9, .233 AVG.-A+/AA/AAA

7 IP, 6.43 ERA, 5.20 xFIP, 7.71 K/9, 7.71 BB/9, .308 AVG. - MLB

Wilson has pitched across three levels of the minors before earning a spot start in Atlanta and a September call-up. The young righty has a prototypical starting pitcher body and flashes plus command. His fastball touches 97 with downhill plane. His slider and changeup have improved to above-average offerings. He improved his strikeout rate at every stop in the minor leagues and is a bulldog on the mound. ETA: 2018

10. Luiz Gohara, LHP

Age: 22 (7/31/96)

Highest Level: MLB

58 IP, 4.81 ERA, 4.40 FIP, 9.16 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, .259 AVG - AA/AAA

19.2 IP, 5.95 ERA, 5.16 xFIP, 8.24 K/9, 3.66 BB/9, .222 - AVG. - MLB

Gohara exploded onto the scene in 2017 after starting in High A and advancing to Atlanta. 2018 has been a different story. Tragedy and a shoulder injury have derailed his season, leaving him one inning shy of exceeding prospect status. Concerns about weight and conditioning have also plagued Gohara, however, those same concerns were belayed in 2017 when he dominated across four levels. His fastball-slider combo are both plus pitches with his command lagging behind. With so many pitchers knocking at the door for a rotation spot, Gohara may be a prime candidate for a bullpen role in 2019. ETA: 2018

11. Kyle Muller, LHP

Age: 20 (10/7/97)

Highest Level: AA

139.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 3.45 FIP, 8.31 K/9, 2.96 BB/9, .242 AVG - A/A+/AA

Muller was yet another fast riser pitching across three levels are reaching Double-A. Standing 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Muller has a prototypical frame with projection. He throws downhill with his FB at 92-93. He could add some velocity as he matures. Muller also features as slider and changeup, with the changeup being a plus offering. He repeats his delivery well for a big guy. Muller will be pitching in the AFL and could improve his stock with a strong showing. ETA: 2021

12. Kolby Allard, LHP

Age: 21 (8/13/97)

Highest Level: MLB

112.1 IP, 2.72 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 7.13 K/9, 2.72 BB/9. .242 AVG - AAA

8 IP, 12.38 ERA, 7.39 xFIP, 3.38 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, .463 AVG - MLB

Usually if a prospect dominates Triple-A in his age-20 season, he finds himself in the top five. In the case of Allard, the numbers don’t seem to match the stuff. His best pitch is a curveball that flashes plus at times, but isn’t enough of a weapon to keep hitters off his pedestrian fastball. With that being said, he is young and polished so the upside is there. He will need to stay off the sweet spot of the bat in order to get MLB hitters out, so a repeat at Triple-A in 2019 may be in the cards. ETA: 2018

13. Joey Wentz, LHP

Age: 20 (10/6/97)

Highest Level: A+

67 IP, 2.28 ERA, 3.91 xFIP, 7.12 K/9, 3.22 BB/9, .204 AVG

Wentz struggled with injuries all season that has seen a decrease in stuff and command. While the overall walk rate increased a tick, if you remove two terrible starts (11 BB in 4 2/3 IP), the walk per nine rate is 1.88. Wentz missed a month after walking 6 in 1 2/3 IP. An even better sign in an otherwise lost season, Wentz walked five in his final 38 innings after the six-walk start. With a healthy 2019, Wentz could position himself back into the Top 100. ETA: 2021

14. Alex Jackson, C

Age: 22 (12/25/95)

Highest Level: AAA

.201/.286/.360, 8 HR, .159 ISO, 82 wRC+, 8.5% BB, 31.8% K, 0 SB

Jackson was the epitome of a post-hype sleeper after a stellar 2017 season. A new organization and a new position seemed to revitalize his career after being the 6th-overall pick in 2014. His offensive game took a step back in 2018 in the upper levels of the minors. In reality, Jackson has one carrying tool with the switch to catcher potentially off-setting the holes in his hit tool. However, while the defense has improved, it hasn’t improved enough to off-set his inability to make consistent contact. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and increase his contact rate, he becomes a viable offensive-minded backup catcher with the ability to hit the ball out of the park. The tools are still there to reach that ceiling. ETA: 2020

15. Greyson Jenista, OF/1B

Age: 21 (12/7/96)

Highest Level: A+

.265/.328/.395, 4 HR, .130 ISO, 102 wRC+, 9.2% BB, 16.3 K%, 4 SB

The Braves took Jenista 49th overall in the 2018 draft. He shows an advanced approach with a good feel for the barrel. Jenista struggles against offspeed, especially changeups, often lunging onto his front foot. While his hands are strong enough to find the barrel, this tends to zap his game power. He has good size and present strength that should translate into plus game power with improved pitch recognition. Jenista moves well for a bigger guy and profiles as a left fielder-first baseman. ETA: 2021

16. Tristan Beck, RHP

Age: 22 (6/24/96)

Highest Level: Rookie

4.2 IP, 0.00 ERA, 2.08 xFIP, 13.5 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, .235 AVG

The Braves took Beck with 112th-overall pick in the 2018 Draft. The former Stanford righty flashes a four-pitch mix with pitchability. Injuries hurt his draft stock but there is enough pedigree in the tank to say that Beck could rise fast through the system in 2019. ETA: 2021

17. CJ Alexander, 3B

Age: 22 (7/17/96)

Highest Level: A+

.352/.429/.495, 2 HR, .143 ISO, 157 wRC+, 11.9% BB, 18.6% K, 4 SB

Most of the time, 20th-round picks are afterthought, but Alexander has done nothing but hit since becoming a professional in June. The swing is compact and Alexander consistently finds the barrel, spraying line drives all over the field. I’ve seen him a lot and I like the bat speed. He is a plus athlete and moves well on the base paths. I’d like to see him handle advanced pitching on a regular basis before I label him as a MLB regular. So far, so good though. ETA: 2021

18. Patrick Weigel, RHP

Age: 24 (7/8/94)

Highest Level: AAA in 2017

Weigel was shooting up prospects lists in 2017 after dominating Double-A before blowing out his elbow. Recovering from Tommy John, Weigel threw four rehab innings in the GCL and flashed plus velocity with good command of the curveball and changeup. He should be healthy for 2019 and with the amount of depth in the Atlanta and Gwinnett rotations, may start again in Double-A. As he continues to build arm strength and regain his command, he could impact Atlanta in 2019, possibly as a bullpen guy. When he is on, the stuff is electric and his body positions him as a workhouse. Hard to say what the plans are for him at this point, but the Braves have the luxury of being patient with him. ETA: 2019

19. Huascar Ynoa, RHP

Age: 20 (5/28/98)

Highest Level: A+

116.1 IP, 4.56 ERA, 3.69 FIP, 10.13 K/9, 4.18 BB/9, .228 AVG

Ynoa split time between Low A and High A and while the overall numbers may look bad, there are some good signs concerning development. Despite an 8.03 ERA in High A, Ynoa’s xFIP was actually lower while his K/9 jumped. The young right-handed pitcher has an athletic projectable frame and a fastball that touches 100 mph. The secondaries are below average as is the command at present, but the arm is dynamite. ETA: 2022

20. Tucker Davidson, LHP

Age: 22 (3/25/96)

Highest Level: A+

118.1 IP, 4.18 ERA, 4.27 xFIP, 7.53 K/9, 4.41 BB/9, .267 AVG

The Braves moved Davidson to the starting rotation in 2018 after 13 career starts in his first two seasons. Davidson struggled to command his fastball and often found himself constantly pitching with runners on base. He has a fast arm with a fastball that touches 96. His breaking stuff is fringe and plays down due to the lack of command. I love the arm though and at worst Davidson could prove to be a useful pen arm. ETA: 2021

21. Trey Riley, RHP

Age: 20 (4/21/98)

Highest Level: Rookie

9 IP, 8.00 ERA, 6.26 xFIP, 13 K/9, 10 BB/9, .278 AVG

Riley was selected in the 5th round of the 2018 draft. He has a big fastball that works in the mid-to-high 90’s and a future 60 slider. He is still a bit raw and struggles with command. The Braves will hope that his change-up and command improve enough to keep him in the rotation. Riley is athletic with a projectable frame. ETA: 2022

22. Freddy Tarnok, RHP

Age: 19 (11/24/98)

Highest Level: A

77.1 IP, 3.96 ERA, 4.64 xFIP, 9.66 K/9, 4.77 BB/9, .227 AVG

Tarnok pitched out of the Rome pen for the first three months of the season and was unhittable. He posted a .164 AVG and 49 strikeouts in 35.1 IP. As a starter, Tarnok’s command and sequencing were exposed and he was hit hard. The walks went up and the strikeout rate went down. Out of the pen, the fastball touches 97. In my one look as a starting pitcher, Tarnok sat 90-92. He flashed good arm speed with his changeup but ultimately his stuff played down across the board. Tarnok has an athletic delivery with a whippy arm action. He is raw but there is a lot to like. ETA: 2023

23. Riley Delgado, SS

Age: 23 (2/22/95)

Highest Level: A+

.315/.367/.377, 2HR, .062 ISO, 117 wRC+, 1 SB

Delgado is a polished hitter with 20-grade power. He has a good feel for the barrel and will use the whole field. Defensively, he is does everything right. So what he lacks in tools and projection, Delgado makes up for in steadiness and consistency. His ceiling is currently utility infielder. ETA: 2021

24. Izzy Wilson, OF

Age: 20 (3/6/98)

Highest Level: A+

.223/.305/.349 8 HR, .126 ISO, 90 wRC+, 10.3% BB, 29.4% K, 16 SB

A case could be made that Wilson is the best overall athlete in the system. The tooled-up outfielder has struggled to translate his athleticism into results. Wilson’s swing is long and while the walk rate shows improvement in pitch recognition, his hyper aggressiveness and pull heavy approach leave him prone to slumps. The holes in his swing cause his power to play down to below average and limit his ability to use his speed to impact the game. ETA: 2023

25. Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP

Age: 21 (6/26/97)

Highest Level: A

69 IP, 4.83 ERA, 3.92 xFIP, 8.48 K/9, 4.43 BB/9, .248 AVG

De La Cruz has a fast arm and athletic delivery. He has a lively fastball and his slider is a potential plus pitch IF he can harness his command. At present, he projects a bullpen piece. If he can improve his command to even a 50 grade, his fastball-slider combo alone could keep him in the rotation until Double-A. ETA: 2022

26. Chad Sobotka, RHP

Age: 25 (7/10/93)

Highest Level: MLB

57.2 IP, 2.03 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 12.02 K/9, 4.53 BB/9, .152 AVG - A+/AA/AAA

14.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 3.38 xFIP, 13.19 K/9, 5.65 BB/9, .102 AVG - MLB

Sobotka flew threw the minors in 2018 staring in High A and advancing to Atlanta. Braves fans have seen first hand how nasty his stuff is. The fastball sits high 90’s and routinely touches 100. Command will always limit his effectiveness though. When he throws strikes, he is unhittable, but the high walk rate will always limit the trust Brian Snitker has in him. If he cuts the walk rate in half, he can be a 7th- or 8th-inning guy. ETA: 2018

27. Corbin Clouse, LHP

Age: 23 (6/26/95)

Highest Level: AAA

65 IP, 1.94 ERA, 2.10 FIP, 11.49 K/9, 3.46 BB/9, .211 AVG

Clouse has a big time arm with plus stuff. He generates swing and miss and can get right-handed hitters out, which allows him to become more than a lefty specialist. ETA: 2019

28. AJ Graffanino, SS

Age: 21 (7/16/97)

Highest Level: A

.318/.344/.382, 1 HR, 0.65 ISO, 106 wRC+, 4.9% BB, 14.7% K, 5 SB

The son of former Brave Tony, A.J. has had no trouble adjusting to pro pitching since being taken in the 8th round of the 2018 MLB Draft. He is a loose, athletic switch-hitting shortstop. Graffanino is a smooth defender and has a quick bat and good feel. He makes solid line-drive contact and while he may never become a power threat, he has strong wrists and is quick inside. 

29. Thomas Burrows, LHP

Age: 24 (9/14/94)

Highest Level: AA

67.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 11.44 K/9, 4.79 BB/9, .196 AVG

Burrows is a big, sturdy lefty with a deceptive delivery and a plus slider. The walk and strikeout rate improved after a promotion to Double-A and Burrows has positioned himself as a candidate to impact the Atlanta bullpen by mid-2019. ETA: 2019

30. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP

Age: 21 (4/11/97)

Highest Level: AA

73.2 IP, 3.79 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 6.96 K/9, 3.42 BB/9, .267 AVG

Sanchez has a short but sturdy build. He throws three pitches, none of which grade above average. His fastball sits 92 but is straight while his curveball-changeup combo are inconsistent. Sanchez flashes some pitchability but overall doesn’t appear to have enough in the tank to be a viable back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. ETA: 2020