Atlanta Braves Prospects: 2024 Midseason Top 30 Update


The Braves have managed to once again send a never-ending wave of pitchers to the majors, with Spencer Schwellenbach stepping up when A.J. Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep went down with injuries. The system continues to have arms at all levels, but the organization’s emphasis on acquiring and developing pitching has ravaged the position player depth in the minors.

Baseball America subscribers can see the full updated Braves Top 30 here. Notable risers, fallers, new additions and injury updates are below.

Notable Risers 

Drake Baldwin, C

In a system that’s lacking positional prospects, Baldwin’s steady production has him nearly ready to help as a backup catcher. He’s a solid defender who can catch and throw, and he’s earned a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett. At the minimum, he should be able to fill the Chadwick Tromp role next year, but he could end up as Sean Murphy’s backup.

Hayden Harris, LHP

A fastball/slider lefty who works from a low slot, Harris dominated at Double-A Mississippi and just earned a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett. His approach is incredibly simple. He works away from lefties with a fastball and slider, and he tries to get in on righties with the fastball, barely even using the slider. Harris projects as a low-leverage lefty reliever, but he’s sped up his ETA to reach Atlanta.

Notable Fallers

David McCabe, 3B/1B

A senior sign out of the 2022 draft, McCabe was already starting out a little behind his contemporaries. Now, Tommy John surgery has sidelined him for the first half of the 2024 season. When he gets back on the field as a DH later this summer, he’ll be a 24-year-old who’s yet to play in Double-A. He can make up for lost time, but any more setbacks would be problematic.

Isaiah Drake, OF

Low-A was always going to be a challenging assignment for Drake, but the first half has been even more of a slog than feared. He’s striking out in 38% of his plate appearances. Drake, 18, has bat speed and real power potential, but he’s an aggressive hitter who will need a lot of at-bats against lefthanders to prove he’s not a platoon bat.

Notable New additions

21. Jeremy Reyes, RHP

BA Grade/Risk: 45/Extreme

Track Record: A 2023 signee out of Venezuela, Reyes struggled to throw strikes in the Dominican Summer League last year. His control is still shaky, but it’s taken a step forward, as he pitched his way out of the Florida Complex League to Low-A August after  just five appearances. 

Scouting Report: The 18-year-old Reyes is all about projection at this point. He’ll touch 98 mph with his fastball, but he sits 93-95. He’ll flash an average slider and he’s working on developing a changeup, but both are inconsistent. Reyes’ biggest key will be to improve his command and control. He works in and out, but hasn’t yet learned how to consistently change hitters’ eye levels with his fastball. And he’s working on repeating his delivery. He’ll dominate in one outing and then struggle to find the zone at all in his next start.

The Future: Reyes is a big arm with a lot of work ahead of him. But if he keeps up this rate of improvement, he’ll be an interesting contributor in a few years.

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 30

25. Luke Waddell, 2B

BA Grade/Risk: 40/Medium

Track Record: A four-year starter at Georgia Tech, Waddell hit over .300 in each of his final three years on the Flats. The Braves made him a priority senior sign as a fifth-round pick. He had some leverage, as he had remaining college eligibility thanks to the shortened 2020 season. Waddell hit for average in High-A and Double-A, but across two stints in Triple-A, he’s hit .232.

Scouting Report: There’s not really an above-average tool on Waddell’s scouting report, but his consistency and reliability may help him figure out a way to carve out a big league role. He’s a patient hitter who looks to draw walks. He makes plenty of contact, but lacks bat speed or power, so pitchers know they can challenge him. Waddell is a fringe-average runner, but he’s opportunistic on the basepaths. Defensively, he’s playable anywhere in the infield, although his range and arm are average at best at shortstop.

The Future: Waddell most likely will be a long-time Triple-A infielder who gets call-ups as a big league fill-in. If a spate of injuries struck in Atlanta, Waddell’s steady reliability would make him a useful up-and-down fill-in, but his lack of power limits his chances to earn a bigger role.

Scouting Grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 30 | Speed: 45 | Fielding: 50 | Arm: 50

Significant injuries

Hurston Waldrep, RHP

Waldrep is on the injured list after complaining of elbow soreness following his last start in the majors.

A.J. Smith-Shawver, RHP

Smith-Shawver is on the injured list with an oblique strain.

David McCabe, 3B/1B

McCabe has missed the first half of the season with Tommy John surgery. He is slated to DH in the second half, but won’t get back to playing in the field until 2025.

Owen Murphy, RHP

After an excellent start to the year, Murphy was lost for the season with an elbow injury that required surgery.

Jesse Franklin, OF

Franklin has missed the first half of the season with a shoulder injury.

Jose Perdomo, SS

Perdomo has been on the 60-day injured list all season with a hamstring injury. He’s participating in baseball activities.

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