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A recurring shoulder injury is going to wipe away much of his 2018 season and is a concern going forward, but before his injury, Soroka gave Braves fans a taste of what could be. He combines solid stuff (92-94 mph fastball that has monster sink at times) with a potentially above-average slider and changeup. Soroka has not only the makings of a solid mid-rotation starter, he was showing he could fill that role before he headed to the disabled list.
Riley hit his first speed bump this year when he didn’t take Triple-A by storm in his first month in Gwinnett. But more importantly, he missed a month with a bruised knee he suffered diving to try to make a catch. Riley’s disabled list stint (and Johan Camargo’s solid play) may slow down his Atlanta arrival, but he’s still a surprisingly good defender with plus power.
After an excellent 2017 season, Anderson has been even better in 2018. His steadily-improving changeup gives him the potential for three plus pitches, and he has made minor strides with his control. However, control and command are Anderson’s biggest items on the to-do list. He sits 92-94 mph and can touch higher, and pairs it with a plus curveball. Anderson is one of several Braves prospects with No. 2 or 3 starter potential.
Pitching every fifth day as a pro, Wright’s stuff hasn’t always been as firm as it was at Vanderbilt, but he still has the attributes of a potential No. 2 or 3 starter. His control wasn’t as sharp early in the season, but he adjusted to the smaller Double-A strike zone and has shown signs of dominance including 13 strikeouts in one recent start. Wright flashes three plus pitches, including a 94-95 mph fastball.
The first half of the season was somewhat of a lost one for the big lefthander. An offseason that was marred by the passing of his father got him off to a slow start. He then sprained his ankle which cost him further time. The setbacks have meant that Gohara’s stuff is not as firm as it was last year. His feel and control aren’t as good as his stuff, so the loss of 3-4 mph is a significant concern, even if he is still throwing with a plus 93-95 mph fastball. If he can find his lost velocity, he could make an impact in the second half.
Pache came out of last season as an outstanding defensive center fielder who needed to figure out how to hit the ball in the air. This year the ball has started to leave the park because he has made the anticipated step from defensive asset to well-rounded prospect. Pache is brilliant in center field and is doing a better job of laying off breaking balls out of the zone, which has helped him to get more hittable pitches.
Rome has seen its fair share of center field prospects. Two years ago, Ronald Acuna roamed the middle of the field as he turned himself into a top prospect. Last year, Cristian Pache played Gold Glove-caliber defense while also showing hitting potential. This year, Waters is making highlight catches in center field while showing above-average power potential.
Allard is always one of the youngest and most successful pitchers in his league. But scouts are concerned that he doesn’t have the stuff to do more than survive in the majors. Allard pitches with a fringe-average fastball (88-91 mph), while neither of his secondary pitches generates consistent plus grades. The optimistic forecast sees Allard becoming a front-of-the-rotation mainstay, but most soft-tossers don’t reach those lofty heights.
After cruising through Class A, Wilson had to adjust to Double-A hitters. He found that what worked for him in the Florida State League (fastballs in the zone, offspeed out of it) was not as effective against more advanced hitters. But Wilson has commanded his fastball better of late and was showing he can throw his breaking ball for strikes when needed.
The graduations of Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies have thinned the Braves’ system. Yet they still have a plethora of pitchers who feel right at home at the back of the Top 10 Prospects. Toussaint has come the farthest the fastest, and he could help the big league bullpen in the second half. He has long had a potent mid-90s fastball and a hammer curveball, but he has refined his changeup to get better late tumble. Toussaint reached double digits in strikeouts four times in 16 Double-A starts, but more importantly he made modest improvements to his fringe-average control.
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