Atlanta Braves 2019 Top 30 MLB Prospects Midseason Update
UPDATE: The Braves list has been updated to include deals made prior to the July 31st trade deadline.
Even with expected bullpen problems and the unexpected struggles of several members of the starting rotation, the Atlanta Braves entered the second half of the season in great shape. Atlanta held on to a solid lead in the NL East, thanks largely to an extremely deep lineup which leaves pitchers with no easy outs. Barring injury, Atlanta has no spots in need of an upgrade with the lineup, and boasts a much deeper bench than last year as well.
The signing of Dallas Keuchel and Mike Soroka’s emergence has helped the club weather the struggles of Kevin Gausman, Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb, who were three-fifths of last year’s rotation. But expect Atlanta to work to add another arm or two to a somewhat shaky bullpen.
The Braves continue to have a bounty of top prospects, with depth in pitching prospects, catchers and a pair of top-notch outfielders. But MLB’s international signing sanctions have gutted much of the system’s prospect depth at the lower levels.
1. Cristian Pache, OF
Pache has gotten bigger, stronger and more adept at driving the ball over the past two seasons. Even solid offensive production combined with his exceptional defense makes him a potential star.
2. Ian Anderson, RHP
The Braves have multiple pitching prospects with better pure stuff, but they don’t have another prospect with Anderson’s combination of plus stuff and potentially plus command.
3. Drew Waters, OF
The Waters-Pache debate remains a spirited one. The two roommates do it differently as Pache is better defensively, but the switch-hitting Waters may have more offensive upside.
4. Kyle Wright, RHP
Wright’s stuff is still quite impressive—he’s touched 99 mph and has sat 93-96 mph this year and his slider and curveball both have plus potential. But he’s been squared up too much.
5. Bryse Wilson, RHP
Among the many Braves starting pitchers in Triple-A, Wilson is the one the Braves keep turning to when they have an opening. His fastball plays well, but his homer-prone nature doesn’t fit wonderfully with the current offensive environment.
6. Kyle Muller, LHP
In Muller’s first pro season, he sat 88-90 mph and seemed lost. Now, he’s touching 98 mph and dominating Double-A hitters.
7. Shea Langeliers, C
The best defensive catcher in the college class has some potential at the plate as well. He’ll battle William Contreras to be the Braves' catcher of the future.
8. William Contreras, C
His concentration lapses at times, and his receiving needs to improve, but there are few minor league catchers with Contreras’ combination of athleticism and hitting ability.
9. Braden Shewmake, SS
Now that Austin Riley has graduated, the Braves infield prospect depth is almost non-existent. Shewmake filled a dire need for the club, giving the Braves a middle infielder with everyday potential.
10. Tucker Davidson, LHP
Davidson gets swings and misses with his 93-94 mph fastball, giving him a solid shot to at least be a useful lefty reliever, but continued development of his offspeed offerings gives him a chance to start.
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His stats reflect that he’s struggled at times with his control upon his return, but RHP Patrick Weigel has shown that his stuff is fully back after Tommy John surgery. He’s touching 97 and flashing four pitches.
RHP Kyle Wright is not producing nearly the results that his stuff would seem to indicate. He can touch 99 mph and both his breaking balls, while inconsistent, are promising. But hitters seem to pick the ball up easily out of his hand, and he needs to improve the consistency of his curveball and slider.
The Braves have pushed OF Greyson Jenista quickly, but so far, he’s shown signs that he’s not all that ready to be pushed. Jenista faced power concerns when he failed to slug .500 in his junior year at Wichita State. Those same issues have followed him to pro ball. He’s striking out like a slugger (30 percent of plate appearances this year), but while posting a .358 slugging percentage between high Class A and Double-A. He’s been working on getting more comfortable at the plate, but he needs a big second half.
OF Isranel Wilson’s power production didn’t match his potential. The Braves released him after he hit .173 in 48 games at high Class A Florida. The Rays signed him and sent him to low Class A Bowling Green.
RHP Freddy Tarnok is pitching in the Gulf Coast League to rehab as he recovers from a lat injury that cost him a month of time on the mound.
3B C.J. Alexander has missed the entire season with a broken bone in his elbow. There is a chance he could get back on the field before the season wraps up.
LHP Luiz Gohara is sidelined after shoulder surgery, and was later DFA'd on July 31.
SS A.J. Graffanino has missed almost the entire season with a gastro-intestinal issue. There’s no current timetable for when he’ll be back in the infield.
3B/OF Austin Riley has put on a power show wherever he’s played this year. After hitting 15 home runs in just 37 Triple-A games, he reached 15 home runs in the major leagues in just 43 games.
RHP Mike Soroka has been the Braves ace, earning an All-Star spot as one of the best pitchers in the National League.
RHP Touki Toussaint continues to battle control issues, but he has developed into a useful member of the Braves bullpen.
RHP Jacob Webb has given the Braves' shaky bullpen a big boost. Heading into the All-Star break, he was second on the team in appearances.
RHP Chad Sobotka has been an up-and-down, low-leverage arm in the Braves bullpen.