The Atlanta Braves have been the beneficiary of a stacked farm system throughout their run of five straight division titles, with players like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Michael Harris II coming in to have immediate impacts on the team. However the system is notably weakened from those early days and the question now is whether they can once again find rookie magic.
Which top prospect will have the biggest impact on the major league team this season?
Matt: This one is tough because I don’t see any prospect having a big impact this year considering all of the graduations from the system last year. I’d have to go with Dylan Dodd though as he’s close to Atlanta and the way teams go through arms each year, he should get some opportunities to help the big club in 2023.
Devin: Like Matt, I do not see any impact prospects who are going to play for the big league club this season. I think 2020 first round pick Jared Shuster will play at the MLB level at some point this year and will be the most impactful. He is 24 and started 9 games at the Triple-A level last season so he very well might be the first or second pitcher up for Atlanta if multiple pitchers were to go down due to injury.
Brady: The timing of this question in particular is interesting given the recent options of Bryce Elder and Ian Anderson to Gwinnett. Before the two were optioned, I would have most-likely gone with either Jared Shuster or Dylan Dodd given their experience at Triple-A and the need for a 5th starter. However, you could have opted to go with Braden Shewmake — who has looked spectacular this spring I might add — or another guy in the upper ranks of the minors. But given the options of Anderson and Elder, it’s almost certain one of Shuster or Dodd will be the guy making the largest impact in Atlanta this year. But since I have to pick on — and I know this will be SUPER redundant — I believe the Braves will opt to give their former first-round pick the bulk of the opportunities over Dodd to start, so I’ll take Shuster.
Garrett: If you had asked me this question last season I would have not even considered Michael Harris or Vaughn Grissom, yet one year later and it is clear that sometimes crazy things can happen. Still, I really don’t see a player of either theirs or Spencer Strider’s caliber that’s able to come up and immediately impact the team. Of the group my pick would be Dylan Dodd, and his fantastic spring along with the struggles of Ian Anderson make it a real possibility for him to earn a fifth starter spot. Dodd has a funky delivery and a deep arsenal of pitches based around his plus fastball that could give hitters trouble especially with data currently fairly limited in that regard. As to the shortstop situation I really don’t see Braden Shewmake being that guy barring an injury, but he and Jared Shuster are certainly worth keeping an eye on. However I feel between those obvious three Dodd has the highest ceiling.