We are roughly one month removed from our Atlanta Braves 2020 Top 50 being published on the site and while I am still having my internal debate over number one and number two, I have also had plenty of time to reflect on the rest of the system. With real baseball arriving before we know it, this is one of our last chances to debate as “List Season” is winding down.
I won’t harp on the actual rankings themselves. I wanted to focus more on who could potentially rise a tier on the midseason update. After all, when looking to roster prospects on your fantasy team, the tier structure here at Prospects1500 is much more important than the ranking itself.
Here is a quick Tier Refresher:
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 who are worth keeping an eye on, but likely to never make a team’s 40-man roster
Braden Shewmake SS Tier 3
Perhaps one of the highest floors in the system, that alone may have been enough to rank him in tier 2, but I was a little more comfortable with placing Shewmake in tier 3 for now. Honestly in my eyes there isn’t much in his game that he needs to work on. My only hesitation was the competition level. If Shewmake performs well in an extended showing at Double-A in 2020, he is the number one candidate to hop up a tier.
Kyle Muller LHP Tier 4
Admittedly I am on the short list of Braves prospectors who are not crazy about Muller. While the stuff and the frame are enticing, the control and command leave something to be desired. (And that is putting it nicely). With that being said, he is a tireless worker and if he is able to find the strikezone on a more consistent basis he will easily find himself in tier 3 come midseason.
I watched Kyle Muller start in Chattanooga on April 19th. He walked 6 in 1.2 IP.
He’s thrown 24.1 IP since then and walked 12. I’d say that’s progress.
— Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball) May 16, 2019
Bryce Ball 1B Tier 4
Fans are infatuated with Bryce Ball and rightfully so. We all love big and strong. I am here to tell you that Ball is a legitimate prospect with a potential future as a big league masher. His tear through the minors in 2019 is well-documented and much like Shewmake, I think he was simply too good for the level. I’m not sure how aggressive the Braves will be with the Dallas Baptist product, but I do know he will move up to tier 3 if he continues to hit like this in the upper levels of the minors.
Braxton Davidson OF Tier 5
Davidson broke his foot on a walk off homer to win the 2018 Arizona Fall League championship and he has since been forgotten by many Braves fans. In fact, he wasn’t appreciated much before the injury because he wasn’t living up to the lofty expectations set on him. I think Davidson has the potential to be a nice redemption story and with his power potential, you should get him in your deepest league.
#Braves Braxton Davidson hit a homer in AFL play today that came off his bat at 116 mph.🔥
— Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball) October 24, 2018
Phil Pfeifer LHP Tier 5
Pfeifer was added to the 40 man so by default he will be moving up to tier 4, but he may even find himself in tier 3 soon. I have a piece on Pfeifer in my drafts, so don’t want to give away too much too soon.
Cristian Pache OF Tier 1
The criteria for a tier 1 player is someone “with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years”. Yes, Pache will be a big leaguer and I am confident he will get a couple of All-Star game nods along the way. There is however a different reality that I can see being a possibility and that is one of a gold glove caliber center fielder who struggles with big league pitching. You have to understand that my mind works in terms of fantasy and while it is not my prediction that this is how Pache’s career will play out, there is always a chance that he doesn’t limit the pull in his batted ball data, gets shifted to death, and the instincts on the bases never match the pure speed resulting in lower steals than we expect.
— Jake Berry (@berrys_baseball) April 20, 2019
William Contreras C Tier 3
No this does not mean I think Contreras is going to drop down to tier 4. That is why the word “potential” is used in the headline. But Contreras does find himself occupying the final spot in tier 3 for his inability to consistently barrel the ball. I love that so far in his pro ball career he is a catcher who can draw a walk and a raw power threat, but a full season at Do
uble-A in 2020 will be very telling for the 22 year old.
Greyson Jenista OF Tier 4
This one hurts, but it needs to be said. Jenista’s stock is spiraling downward and if there is another 30% strikeout season, it may spiral into a tier 5 player. Now I am on record as being a big Jenista fan and I always will be, but sometimes we have to separate fandom from fantasy.