Atlanta Braves 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Braves Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

There have been some pretty big changes in the Braves farm system this year. Between trades, graduations, underperformers, and overperformers, this list looks very different than it did in January. While you will still find some familiar names at the top, the Braves pitching on the farm has exceeded expectations in many areas and this list reflects that. On the other side of the coin, there has been a ton of disappointment from the bats in the minors. As a result, we see a top 16 that features 10 pitchers, none of which find themselves in the top four. There have been significant risers on both sides as Michael Harris and Joey Estes have established themselves as strong prospects, but we’ve seen some fallers as well.


Prospects1500 Tiers:
Tier 1:
 Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Cristian Pache, OF (January rank #1)
Age: 22
Current Level: Triple-A
Atrocious. While I don’t want to start this list out like that, there is no other way to describe the 2021 MLB showing from Pache. The good news is this sample size is small and Pache is playing well in Triple-A this year. Maybe it was injuries, maybe he was up to soon, but Pache is still the Braves’ top prospect.

Tier 2

2. Shea Langeliers, C (January rank #7)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A
From Draft day I have been telling people Langeliers is not a defense-only catcher. He is proving that in 2021.


3. Drew Waters, OF (January rank #2)
Age: 22
Current Level: Triple-A
It has been a down season for Waters and I am very, very close to bumping Michael Harris up one spot above him. If both of their seasons continue this way, we will see that in the January list.

4. Michael Harris, OF (January rank #14)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A
Harris was the top Braves storyline from 2021 Spring Training and he has carried that over into a nice season. He has shown off that skill set and is living up to his potential. He has made a major jump on our list for those reasons.


5. Tucker Davidson, LHP (January rank #9)
Age: 25
Current Level: MLB (60 Day IL)
Davidson has been outstanding in his 20 MLB innings this year and you can argue he would likely still be a piece of the rotation if it weren’t for injury

6. Kyle Muller, LHP (January rank #11)
Age: 23
Current Level: Triple-A
Muller has shown well at the big league level this year with the exception of one start. I still have some command concerns.

7. Jared Shuster, LHP (January rank #8)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
You know I love my changeup guys and Shuster is certainly that.

Tier 3

8. Jesse Franklin, OF (January rank #12)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
22 homers and 17 steals so far this year for the 2020 third round pick.

9. Spencer Strider, RHP (January rank #30)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A
Another riser in this system who dominated in the lower levels and has come back down to earth a little bit in Double-A.


10. Ryan Cusick, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
The Braves 2021 first rounder has only pitched 7.2 innings so far this year, but the 6’6 frame, triple-digit FB, and nice breaking ball land him in the top 10.

11. Braden Shewmake, SS (January rank #4)
Age: 23
Current Level: Double-A
It was a disappointing start to 2021 for Shewmake who I have been very high on, but he is hitting .314 since June 23.

12. Jasseel De La Cruz, RHP (January rank #5)
Age: 22
Current Level: Triple-A
De La Cruz continues to battle injury and has not pitched in over a month.

13. Freddy Tarnok, RHP (January rank #16)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A
Athletic and raw, Tarnok continues to develop and trend in the right direction.

14. Bryce Elder, RHP (January rank #17)
Age: 22
Current Level: Triple-A
Elder is moving quickly through the system as he has already made his Triple-A debut one year after being drafted.

15. Joey Estes, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 19
Current Level: Low-A
Estes found himself just outside the top 50 in January and boy, was that a mistake. What the former 16th round pick has done this year has been undeniable and every Braves follower is taking notice.


16. Spencer Schwellenbach, RHP (January Rank NR)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned
Three above-average offerings have Schwellenbach in the top 15.

17. Vaughn Grissom, SS (January rank #24)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
Grissom has been one of the best hitters across the entire Braves minor league system this year.

18. Trey Harris, OF (January rank #13)
Age: 25
Current Level: Double-A
2021 has been a down year by Harris’ standards and there is a lot of OF competition in the system, but Harris is worth stashing in deep leagues for now.

19. Victor Vodnik, RHP (January rank #22)
Age: 21
Current Level: Double-A
Vodnik is still working to adjust to Double-A hitters and at 21, he has time to do so.

Tier 4

20. Ambioris Tavarez, SS (January rank #28)
Age: 17
Current Level: Not assigned
Exciting young prospect with plus raw skills.

21. Mahki Backstrom, 1B (January rank #29)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
It hasn’t been the season we were hoping for so far from Backstrom, but the raw power is too undeniable.

22. Brooks Wilson, RHP (January rank #42)
Age: 25
Current Level: Double-A
Prospects1500 was one of very few sites to mention Wilson in the offseason and he has certainly earned the attention of the industry this year.

23. Jared Johnson, RHP (January rank #44)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
The 19-year-old was recently demoted to Rookie ball, but has a strong FB/SL combo.

24. Kadon Morton, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Plus speed and decent raw power, Morton is the Braves OF prospect not enough people are talking about.

25. Justin Dean, OF (January rank #23)
Age: 24
Current Level: Double-A
Major speed threat who has hit for average up until this year. He has 26 steals so far this season after 47 in 2019.

26. Daysbel Hernandez, RHP (January rank #18)
Age: 24
Current Level: Double-A
Under the radar reliever with one of the best FB/SL combos in the system.

27. Darius Vines, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Many thought he would be drafted as position player, but Vines has been pitching well this season after a rough 2019. I think his CB is vastly underrated.


28. Indigo Diaz, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A
6’5 250 reliever who earned a promotion to Double-A this season.

29. William Woods, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A
It came as a surprise to me when Woods was at the alternate site in 2020, but he held his own. He has only pitched twice this season due to injury.

30. Cal Conley, SS (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: Low-A
Solid all-around player who will likely stick at short.

31. Tyler Collins, OF (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Very fast 8th round pick who is going to have to hit a lot to make it to the bigs and has the potential to do so. The speed will carry him through the lower levels.


32. Thomas Burrows, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 26
Current Level: Triple-A
Pure reliever who turns 27 in a couple of weeks, but I can’t in good faith say he doesn’t have a chance at the 40-man roster someday, so the tier structure slides him in at 31.

Tier 5

33. Stephen Paolini, OF (January rank #36)
Age: 20
Current Level: Low-A
Paolini has struggled at the professional level, but he is a well-rounded athlete who likely just needs some time to develop his game.

34. Yoansy Moreno, OF (January rank #38)
Age: 18
Current Level: Not assigned
The power is the notable tool for Moreno who we hope to see suit up soon.

35. Dylan Dodd, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: Low-A
6’3 lefty with solid repertoire highlighted by the CH.

36. Brandol Mezquita, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Hit tool guy who has stolen double-digit bases this season.

37. Hayden Deal, LHP (January rank #41)
Age: 26
Current Level: Double-A
Turns 27 this year, but has been a consistent performer in the Braves system.

38. Justyn-Henry Malloy, 3B (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A
2021 sixth round pick out of Georgia Tech who hit well in his one season there.

39. Luke Waddell, 3B/SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Georgia Tech product who has shown well in his first month of pro ball.


40. Greyson Jenista, OF (January rank #37)
Age: 24
Current Level: Double-A
The former second rounder has been steadily falling in each new edition of this list.

41. Trey Riley, RHP (January rank #46)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Riley is having by far his best pro season yet and he is doing it at his highest level.

42. AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Smith-Shawver is a guy I know very little about, but it sounds like he has a projectable arm and the Braves went over slot to sign him. He is one of the bigger wild cards on this list for me.

43. Bryson Horne, 1B (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: Low-A
D2 product who has some great raw power.

44. Willie Carter, OF (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: Low-A
Carter trails only one prospect, Michael Harris, in hits in the entire Braves farm system this year. You have to include that guy on the list.

45. Landon Stephens, UT (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: Triple-A
I profiled Stephens earlier this year in an article about guys who just missed the January Top 50, and he has done enough this year to find himself on the midseason update.

46. Alan Rangel, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 24
Current Level: Double-A
It feels like Rangel has been in the Braves system forever and he is currently in the middle of a career year.

47. Tanner Gordon, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A
Potential future reliever.

48. Antonio Barranca, C (January – unranked)
Age: 20
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)
Physically a big kid with plus raw power.

49. Jefrey Ramos, OF (January rank #34)
Age: 22
Current Level: Double-A
Power or bust for this corner OF profile.

50. Nolan Kingham, RHP (January rank #47)
Age: 25
Current Level: Double-A
Kingham has been really good in Double-A this season but has struggled mightily in Triple-A, and he was recently sent back to Mississippi to see if he could figure things out.




About Jake Berry 73 Articles
I reside in Carrollton, Georgia and love everything baseball. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. I have a passion for the minor leagues and have high hopes of visiting as many minor league parks as I can. I enjoy the statistical side of the game, especially sabermetrics. I am also an avid baseball card collector and fantasy baseball player.

1 Comment

  1. LOVE me some Bryson Horne. Better watch this kid. I know what he he has to give. Thank me (pay me) when this kid comes through. ❤️

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