Atlanta Braves: Taking a Peek Into the Farm System
The Atlanta Braves made it to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2013 because Atlanta had some very good young players coming up through the minor leagues. Once again this season, they are on pace to get back to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The Braves record so far this season is 50-36 and they are 4.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the National League East. Atlanta has one of the best farm systems in all of baseball. Who are some of their top prospects in the farm system?
The top prospect in Atlanta’s farm system is outfielder Cristian Pache. He is only 20 years old and Pache is projected to reach the majors sometime next season. He is currently playing in Double-A with the Mississippi Braves. In 77 games played so far this season, Cristian Pache’s batting average is .295 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI’s, along with seven stolen bases. His on-base percentage is .356. He is already a tremendous center fielder in the minors and Pache could immediately make an impact in the outfielder when he reaches the majors. The Atlanta Braves already have Ronald Acuna Jr. making an impact in the outfield. It would not be a surprise to see Cristian Pache in Triple-A before the end of the season.
The third best prospect in the Braves farm system is right-handed pitcher Ian Anderson. He was the third overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Anderson has a fastball that reaches the high 90s and he has two other outstanding pitches. He is currently playing in Double-A and Ian Anderson is projected to reach the majors in 2020. He is 21 years old. His record so far this season is 6-5 with a 2.94 ERA. In 85.2 innings pitched, Anderson has given up 60 hits and 32 runs. He has walked 42 batters and has struck out 113 batters.
The fourth best prospect in the Atlanta Braves farm system is outfielder Drew Waters. He is 20 years old and is projected to reach the majors in 2021. Waters is currently playing in Double-A. He was a second-round pick (41st overall) in the 2017 MLB Draft. Drew Waters, Cristian Pache, and Ronald Acuna Jr. could very well be the starting outfield in Atlanta in 2021. In 80 games so far this season, Waters’s batting average is .323 with five home runs and 29 RBI’s, along with 10 stolen bases. His on-base percentage is .367. He hits from both sides from the plate and Drew Waters is a solid defensive outfielder.
The sixth best prospect in their farm system is catcher William Contreras. He is the younger brother of Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. William could be just as good as his brother. He was signed as an international free agent on February 10, 2015. William Contreras is currently in Double-A after he started the season in High-A with the Florida Fire Frogs. In 70 games played in the minors so far this season, his batting average is .246 with three home runs and 25 RBI’s. Contreras’s on-base percentage is .313. He is 21 years old and is projected to reach the majors in 2021. They have two veteran catchers on the roster right now in Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann. One of those two catchers will probably not be with Atlanta by then.
The eighth best prospect in Atlanta’s farm system is left-handed pitcher Kolby Allard. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Allard is currently pitching in Triple-A with the Gwinnett Stripers. His record so far this season is 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA. In 89 innings pitched, he has given up 90 hits and 44 runs. Kolby Allard has walked 32 batters and has struck out 74. He is projected to reach the majors at some point this season at 21 years old, but his speed on his pitches could be a problem. Allard only reaches as high as 93 MPH on his fastball and he needs more velocity on it, but Kolby Allard does a solid job of locating his pitches on his fastball and his secondary pitches.
The ninth best prospect in the Braves farm system is left-handed pitcher Joey Wentz. He was drafted 40th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft. Wentz is currently playing in Double-A. His record so far this season is 4-7 with a 4.81 ERA. In 78.2 innings pitched, he has given up 69 hits and 45 runs. Joey Wentz has walked 38 batters and struck out 73. He needs to work on his command a little bit. Wentz could be a little wild at times because he walks a lot of batters.
It is rare for a pitcher to walk a lot of batters, but also give up a normal amount of hits in a certain amount of innings pitched. Joey Wentz reaches the low 90s with his fastball but he still has to improve with his velocity on his fastball and also his breaking pitches. Wentz could be a low-end starter as long as he stays healthy, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him be in the bullpen. Joey Wentz is 21 years old and he is projected to reach the majors sometime next season.
The 10th best prospect in the Atlanta Braves farm system is left-handed pitcher Kyle Muller. He was a second-round pick (44th overall) in the 2016 MLB Draft. Atlanta has a plethora of pitchers in the farm system and they could be willing to shop a couple of them at the trade deadline in order to get another quality starting pitcher. Muller could be one of those guys traded because they may not have room for him. He is projected to reach the majors sometime next season and Kyle Muller is 21 years old.
His record so far this season is 5-5 with a 3.49 ERA. In 85 innings pitched, he has given up 60 hits and 34 runs. Muller has walked 52 batters and has struck out 94. His walk rate is way too high. He has a habit of getting wild his fastball at times and Kyle Muller needs to rely on his mechanics more than anything. If he gets to the big leagues, Muller could be a number three or four starter. Mid-relief isn’t out of the question for him as well.
The 15th best prospect in their farm system is left-handed pitcher Thomas Burrows. He could potentially be the closer in the future for the Atlanta Braves. Burrows is currently pitching in Triple-A. He started the beginning of the year in Double-A. Thomas Burrows is projected to reach the majors at some point this season. He was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners in the offseason of 2018. Burrows was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. His record so far this season is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA. In 30.1 innings pitched, he has given up 26 hits and 14 runs. Thomas Burrows has walked 12 batters and has struck out 33. He is 24 years old. Burrows’s fastball reaches the low 90s, but his curveball is what helps him get batters out.
For more information on these prospects or other prospects in the Atlanta Braves farm system, visit MLB.com and search top prospects.
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