The next few weeks should be a lot of fun for Braves fans as media outlets release their top prospect lists for 2016. Two years ago, the Braves arguably had the worst system in the game. Now, after a few major deals and what looks to be a promising 2015 draft haul, Atlanta may have the No. 1 system overall.
Baseball Prospectus released its top-10 prospect list on Thursday. The rankings:
1. SS Dansby Swanson
2. LHP Sean Newcomb
3. SS Ozhaino Albies
4. RHP Aaron Blair
5. LHP Kolby Allard
6. RHP Touki Toussaint
7. RHP Mike Soroka
8. 3B Austin Riley
9. LHP Max Fried
10. RHP Lucas Sims
Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair came over in the Shelby Miller deal. Sean Newcomb came over in the Andrelton Simmons deal. Kolby Allard was the Braves' top selection last summer. Touki Toussaint was given to the Braves for free.
This blurb from BP on Mike Soroka is terrific:
When the Braves selected Soroka in the bottom of the first round, I thought it was a fairly significant reach. Here's my mea culpa: I'm an idiot. The Canadian right-hander was very impressive as a pro, with one scout saying he looked like the best pitcher in the Atlanta system in 2015. There's still some projection left, but his 90-92 mph fastball with good plane is already a plus pitch, and he'll reach 94. The arm speed and fade also make his change a borderline plus pitch, and he can locate it for strikes or bury it out of the zone. The curveball has taken major strides: A pitch some had as a 40 in high school now routinely flashes average, and there's just enough depth to keep hitters off the other two offerings. He repeats his arm slot and delivery as well as you can for an 18-year-old, and though the command will never be elite, it's good enough to start.
Rounding out the list is fellow 2015 draftee Austin Riley, followed by Max Fried and former top 'spect Lucas Sims. The 2016 season feels like a big one for both Fried and Sims.
Stay tuned to Talking Chop as we unveil our top-25 prospect list in the coming weeks.