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Atlanta Braves Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-Season Review

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Let’s review the progress of the pre-season Atlanta Braves prospect list

MLB: Atlanta Braves at San Diego Padres
Dansby Swanson
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Atlanta Braves Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017.

Please remember, THIS IS NOT A NEW LIST

THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE PRE-SEASON LIST

THESE ARE NOT NEW GRADES

This list was originally published November 18th, 2016 and revised on February 13, 2017.

) Dansby Swanson, SS, Grade A: Hitting .221/.296/.324 with 33 walks, 77 strikeouts in 299 at-bats in the major leagues; obviously a disappointment with the bat but has played well defensively; I still believe in him; the hitting will come around eventually though it may not be until 2018.

2) Ozzie Albies, INF, Grade A-: Hitting .292/.336/.451 in Triple-A at age 20; 21 steals in 23 attempts; power has been increasing without any loss of speed or athleticism; should be ready for a trial late in the year if they don’t mind adding him to the 40-man roster; remains an elite prospect.

3) Kolby Allard, LHP, Grade B+/A-: He’s only 19 and dominating Double-A with a 2.88 ERA in 91 innings, 79/33 K/BB; a few more strikeouts would be nice but that’s nitpicking especially given the huge jump he’s making this year and the reports on his stuff. ETA is moved way up; he could be in the majors next year.

4) Mike Soroka, RHP, Grade B+: Basically a right-handed Allard, with a 2.55 ERA in 92 innings in Double-A with a 73/21 K/BB at age 19; could also be in the majors next year, two seasons sooner than anticipated pre-season. The Mississippi rotation is crazy good.

5) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Grade B+: 4.26 ERA in 32 innings since moving up to the major league roster, 30/14 K/BB, 32 hits; high potential is obvious with fastball up to 97, just needs innings and experience to improve his consistency.

6) Max Fried, LHP, Grade B+: Ugly 6.69 ERA in 77 innings in Double-A with 76/39 K/BB, 80 hits; FIP and xFIP much better than the ERA (4.32, 3.96) which would indicate some bad luck there; hasn’t pitched since June 29th but not placed on DL.

7) Ronald Acuna, OF, Grade B+: Expectations were already lofty and he’s exceeded them with big power surge; hitting .313/.361/.506 overall with 12 homers and 33 steals and just promoted to Triple-A at age 19; certainly a pure Grade A prospect at this point.

8) Luiz Gohara, LHP, Grade B+/B: 2.47 ERA in 77 innings between High-A and Double-A, 84/27 K/BB; only 20 years old, ranks right there with Allard and Soroka in ridiculous Mississippi rotation.

9) Ian Anderson, RHP, Grade B/B+: 2016 first round pick, 3.72 ERA in 65 innings in Low-A, 83/34 K/BB, 19 years old, and note the very high strikeout rate. Could leap into Double-A next year if Braves maintain aggressive philosophy.

10) Kevin Maitan, SS, Grade B: Age 16, signed for $4,250,000 out of Venezuela in 2016, just getting up to speed in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .308/.357/.385 in his first 26 professional at-bats. Sample too small to really mean anything but at least it is a nice start.

11) Touki Toussaint, RHP, Grade B: 5.80 ERA in 85 innings in High-A though as with Fried the component ratios are more promising, 94/39 K/BB, 85 hits; strikeouts look nice but still working on the difference between throwing and pitching; the Braves have enough ahead of him that there’s no need to rush him.

12) Austin Riley, 3B, Grade B/B-: Age 20, supplemental first round pick in 2015, hitting .252/.310/.408 in 306 at-bats in High-A; stock holding steady, showing some pop with 12 homers and has shown significant improvement on defense.

13) Joey Wentz, LHP, Grade B-/B: Age 19, supplemental first round pick in 2016 from high school in Kansas, another young pitcher having a strong season, 2.87 ERA in 78 innings in Low-A with 86/23 K/BB, only one homer allowed; probably a better candidate for 2018 Double-A leap than Anderson.

14) Christian Pache, OF, Grade B-: Age 18, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2015 for $1,400,000; hitting .282/.343/.385 with 19 steals in Low-A; having a fine season but overlooked due to Acuna’s breakthrough.

15) Patrick Weigel, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, 6-6 right-hander drafted from University of Houston in seventh round in 2015; 4.14 ERA in 78 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with 68/28 K/BB, went on disabled list June 21st with elbow injury.

16) Travis Demeritte, 2B-3B, Grade B-: Age 22, acquired from Rangers in summer 2016 trade; hitting .215/.295/.388 in Double-A with 11 homers, 96 strikeouts in 312 at-bats, glove solid but still struggles with contact/batting average.

17) Kyle Muller, LHP, Grade B-: Age 19, second round pick in 2016, just getting started with 19 innings in Appalachian League, 3.38 ERA, 19/8 K/BB so far.

18) Lucas Sims, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, 3.98 ERA in 97 innings in Triple-A with 104/30 K/BB, good rebound season after erratic 2016, ready for a trial in the majors.

19) Rio Ruiz, 3B, Grade C+: Age 23, hit .276/.323/.486 in Triple-A then .175/.264/.288 in 80 MLB at-bats, not much left to prove in minors, basically needs MLB at-bats to figure it out, strong glove should by him more time.

20) A.J. Minter, LHP, Grade C+: Age 23, limited to 12 innings at four levels by injury but has performed well, 16/4 K/BB, 1.50 ERA when healthy. Now in Triple-A.

OTHER GRADE C+ PROSPECTS:
Thomas Burrows, LHP: 2.47 ERA in 44 innings in Low-A, 55/17 K/BB.
Derian Cruz, SS: Hit poorly in Low-A (.167) and is back in the Appy League now.
Ray Patrick Didder, OF: Hitting .211/.326/.311 with 19 steals in High-A.
Caleb Dirks, RHP: 3.06 ERA in Triple-A, 42/12 K/BB in 35 innings. Now on DL.
Alex Jackson, OF: Hitting .284/.353/.530 in High-A, excellent rebound season.
Luke Jackson, RHP: 3.62 ERA in 27 MLB innings, 18/10 K/BB, competent reliever.
Jared James, OF: Hitting .259/.327/.388 in Double-A, making jump from Low-A.
Akeel Morris, RHP: 2.73 ERA in 30 innings in Triple-A; just promoted to majors. Profile upcoming.
Dustin Peterson, OF: .275/.337/.335 in Triple-A
Yunior Severino, SS: Hitting .342 in 11 games in rookie ball.
Jacob Webb, RHP: 1.74 ERA in 41 innings in High-A bullpen, just promoted to AA.
Bryse Wilson, RHP: 2.84 ERA in 85 innings in Low-A, 84/21 K/BB. Stock up.
Matt Withrow, RHP: 4.47 ERA in 44 innings in Double-A, 44/22 K/BB, on DL.

Obviously the Braves system has a LOT worth discussing. Ask about anyone above or anyone not included on the pre-season list, including 2017 draftees, and I’ll answer in the comments.