Now, it’s certainly no secret that the Atlanta Braves have been going through a full rebuild over the past few years. You see, the Braves used to have this GM who thought Tyler Pastornicky was the next Omar Vizquel and he just messed everything up.
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Your educated Braves fans have been well aware of this rebuild, but there’s always “that guy” at the office who sort of knows that the Braves have minor league teams, but knows nothing about how they are assembled nor shows any effort into learning.
He’s the guy that only cares about what’s on the major league field and constantly complains and doesn’t understand why the Braves don’t just go out and sign Mike Trout. When you tell him about how the minor leagues work and how the major league baseball players he sees on his mom’s TV all came from the minor leagues, he still shows no interest. Guys like this should play in traffic or become Phillies fans. Lets move on.
This is the second year in a row the Atlanta Braves have topped Keith Law’s top 10 farm system ranking. When his ranking came out last year, it was certainly an indication that this Atlanta Braves rebuild was going in the right direction, but what put icing on the cake was the performances of the Braves minor league affiliates in 2016.
For the first time since 1989, 4 out of the 6 Atlanta Braves minor league affiliates made the playoffs in 2016. One of those four teams went all the way and won their respective championship – the Rome Braves, which is important for two reasons. First of all – the Rome Braves are an Atlanta Braves affiliate, but not only that – out of the entire system, the 2016 Rome squad consisted of most of the promising starting pitching prospects. So to see them succeed at their highest level was validating to fans, coaches, and the front office. In short, the 2016 Rome Braves showed the Braves front office that they’re most definitely doing this rebuild correctly.
In Keith Law’s new 2017 top 10 report, he touts Braves scouting director Brian Bridges and points out that the Braves have been “hoarding prospects, especially pitching prospects, for two years now…”
Law also points out that the Braves system is so strong that “there are players in this system with viable cases to be in the global top 100 but struggle to crack Atlanta’s top 10.” Now, that’s a mouthful. Braves fans have sort of noticed this every time John Coppolella makes a trade for a minor league guy. Said minor league guy might be ranked high in the farm system he came from, and barely be ranked once he arrives to the Braves’ system. Because the Atlanta Braves system is stacked.
Law also points out that the Braves don’t just have promising pitching prospects in their system. He couldn’t be more right. There seems to be this cloud of judgement on the Braves system about how the organization is “just going after pitching prospects.” Well, they are certainly building their system around pitching, which is the correct way to do things, but when you’ve got guys like Kevin Maitan, Ronald Acuna, Dustin Peterson, Austin Riley, Ray-Patrick Didder, Jared James and the obvious Ozzie Albies coming up, you’re doing more than just getting really good pitching.
The Braves farm system is a direct reflection of where the big league team is heading. Big leaguers don’t come from Walmart, they come from the minor leagues. And if the Atlanta Braves have the best minor league system in baseball, built around pitching, SunTrust Park is going to be lit very soon. Yes, we used “lit” in a post.