When a new top 100 list comes out, there are inevitably a lot of opinions. Usually at the top of list, there are those who just want to know when the top prospect in the system is going to debut, towards the middle there are questions about what a player’s ceiling is and that is also when people start shouting about ranking a player too high/too low, and at the bottom folks continue the shouting in addition to asking questions like can they play a different position, who are they, etc. It is just the nature of the thing.
Getting back to the top of the lists, though, there is usually some amount of consistency with who the top guys in a system are even if there are disagreements regarding overall impact a guy will have (which can push him down an overall top 100 list, for example). It has been pretty universal that the top three prospects in the Braves’ system are Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, and Ian Anderson with Pache seemingly getting the nod as the top guy by most. Well, Keith Law (now of the The Athletic) just dropped his Top 100 prospect list and...there is a notable omission.
We are going to respect The Athletic’s paywall in terms of the write-ups of these players as well as his rationale for some choices, but the Braves did place six players in his top 100 with Cristian Pache (5), Ian Anderson (27), Kyle Wright (61), Bryse Wilson (65), William Contreras (75), and Braden Shewmake (94).
There is a lot to take in here as this is the most aggressive rankings we have seen of Pache, Contreras, and Shewmake thus far and the exclusion of Shea Langeliers isn’t abnormal and you could probably convince a chunk of us either way on a lot of those decisions even if we have our leanings.
The complete exclusion of Drew Waters, however, is a decision that is going to get lots of folks on the internets upset. Waters had seemingly settled into being considered a top 50 prospect by, well, just about everyone else with a toolset that is both well rounded as well as could turn into an impact player. We suspect that, barring some bombshell, Law’s reasoning will be centered around a lack of confidence in Drew’s hit tool, but we will leave it to him to explain if he chooses to (he also left Nick Madrigal off his list so there is definitely more weirdness than just Drew with the list that he is currently dealing with). For now, we will just say we disagree with that decision and the rest of the decisions here are interesting and worth taking a look at.