MLB.com revealed their annual MLB prospect rankings on Friday and the Atlanta Braves farm system ranked as the third best in all of baseball.
Before the 2017 season, the Atlanta Braves were ranked number one on this list. But with guys like Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, and Sean Newcomb now staples on the active roster, the system has taken a small step back.
Only the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays ranked ahead of the Braves on MLB.com’s list of the top farm systems. But what makes this ranking so special for Atlanta is that they’re already competing for division titles with more young players on the way.
A lot was made about Bryce Harper and Manny Machado being free agents this offseason and signing mega deals, but the best way to win in Major League Baseball is still through drafting and developing players.
That’s exactly how the Atlanta Braves did it in the 90s, and hopefully, that’s what will carry them through the upcoming decade.
They ranked Mike Soroka as the team’s best overall prospect coming in at 24. Kyle Wright (30), Ian Anderson (32), Cristian Pache (37), Austin Riley (38), Touki Toussaint (50), Bryse Wilson (82), and Drew Waters (86) were also in the top 100.
Soroka, Wright, Toussaint, and Wilson have already pitched at the major league level, and all are expected to have some sort of role with Atlanta in 2019.
In my opinion, Anderson has the highest upside of any Braves prospect right now. He finished last season at Double-A and it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to make his major league debut in 2019 at the age of 21.
Riley will get a good look in Spring Training this year and will likely make his big league debut sometime this season.
Pache and Waters are still at least one season away.
The only concern for Atlanta Braves fans, and especially with the restrictions on signing international players, is how they keep the farm system near the top in the future.
I just mentioned that at least five of the eight players in the top 100 for the Braves won’t be considered prospects next offseason.
However, there is a solid group behind the ones on the MLB list that could take their place. Guys like William Contreras, Joey Wentz, Kyle Muller, and Freddy Tarnok would rank in the top 10 for just about any other organization.
As much as Atlanta Braves fans — including myself — have complained about the front office not trading any of these prospects for proven players at the big league level, it is nice to know the farm system is in good shape for years to come.