Alex Anthopoulos noted the Atlanta Braves’ farm system from his first day serving as the organization’s new general manager, sitting onstage in a room underneath his new ballpark.
“The young talent here is as good as you’re going to get in the game, and even here at the big league level, you have some exciting players as well,” Anthopoulos said back in November. “The opportunity here, the upside, is through the roof.”
Hiring an accomplished executive from a World Series contender to spearhead the final stages of a rebuild required a long list of factors — full autonomy in baseball operations, financial commitment, up-to-date facilities — but the stockpile of minor-league talent sat near the top of the list.
For the third year running, scouting services and front offices throughout baseball recognize the Braves as one of the game’s premier farm systems, a big-league club starting to showcase former top prospects with Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Luiz Gohara and A.J. Minter with more on the horizon. In fact, the Braves typically place eight to 10 names on league-wide top-100 lists. Atlanta still claims the deepest system around, starting with the five first-round selections spent on arms since calling Kolby Allard’s name at No. 14 overall in 2015.
This was the first offseason in four years in which the Braves did not add to its stockpile.
Anthopoulos’ offseason patience yielded zero new top prospects by design, focusing primarily on reshaping the major-league roster and creating financial flexibility beyond the 2018 campaign, and the punishments following MLB’s investigation into Atlanta’s amateur acquisition practices stripped the organization of 13 top international names, including the 2017 midseason No. 8 prospect in switching-hitting Kevin Maitan.
Atlanta holds the No. 8 overall selection in the 2018 draft, and given the future international restrictions the new-look front office will essentially need to restock domestically in the years ahead.
In the 2018 edition of our third–annual Braves prospect composite rankings, familiar names top the list and rising talents, particularly in the catching department, dot the second half. First, a quick refresher.
FOX Sports South pieced together a composite top-20 ranking for the Braves’ 2018 top prospects to help balance out various projections. Using available prospect lists and projections from nine different sources, players were awarded points for top-20 rankings. (For example, a No. 1 ranking earned a player 20 points, a No. 2 ranking earned him 19 points, No. 3 earned 18 points, etc. The highest-possible score was 180.) The nine lists are as follows: