With the end of the minor league season comes a dark time for followers of the farm system where we await updates from instructs and the Arizona Fall League while keeping our eyes and ears open for news of trades in the lead up to the winter meetings. We don’t get to really see much of prospects as they head into the offseason, with most either doing their own offseason program or participating in leagues/programs that don’t exactly get the Tim Tebow-esque coverage you are seeing down at the Mets’ instructional league workouts...
....but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about the Braves releasing their instructional league roster which is absolutely loaded.
Yes, that’s nine former 1st round picks that will be attending instructs this year for the Braves...which is actually insane if you think about it. Kolby Allard, Ian Anderson, Sean Newcomb, Lucas Sims, Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Joey Wentz, Austin Riley, and Braxton Davidson all occupy the AA ranks or lower in the minors and will be spending time in the Braves’ instructional league in 2016.
In addition to other exciting recent draft picks joining the ranks including Kyle Muller, Bryse Wilson, Brett Cumberland, and Jonathan Morales, the Braves’ international signing classes of the last couple years are very well represented at instructs this year. Kevin Maitan is the name that is the most exciting name (which is hardly surprising given the lofty comps given to him by scouts including Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones), but there are tons of other international prospects joining him including Abrahan Gutierrez, Derian Cruz, Yenci Pena, Yunior Severino, Randy Ventura, Cristian Pache, Anthony Concepcion, and the often oogled-at Ronald Acuna.
In short, despite not including several of the organization’s top prospects due to other commitments such as the AFL, injury, or just rest, the Braves’ instructional roster would make a strong case as a reason the Braves have the deepest and arguably best minor league system in all of baseball. While we may not hear a lot out of the instructional leagues, seeing a lot of the system’s biggest and brightest stars in one place is heartening to say the least.