When the Atlanta Braves began stripping down their roster in hopes of rebuilding a depleted minor league system, the end goal was to produce a team capable of winning a World Series. They accomplished that goal last season as they broke through with their first championship since 1995.
The transition from last place club to contender has taxed the minor league system. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel released his 2022 farm system rankings Friday with the Braves slipping all the way to No. 27.
The Braves had a lack of lower-minors depth because of international sanctions that have since been lifted and they’ve now signed two classes headlined by seven-figure bonuses, along with having a deal in place for one of the top talents in the 2023 signing class — if they manage to avoid having that dissolved due to a draft.
The big league team, through trades (Alex Jackson, Bryse Wilson, Bryce Ball, Ricky DeVito) and graduations (Ian Anderson), is also borrowing heartily from the system, and the Braves are regularly picking in the back half of the draft. Center fielder Michael Harris is the big find from the new regime’s draft efforts, but it takes masterful execution to have a top-half-of-the-league farm system while also running a perennial contender that’s not spending to the luxury tax threshold.
As other system rankings have rolled out this offseason, we have seen the Braves anywhere from middle of the pack to the lower third. Replenishing the farm has to be a top priority and 2022 is a big year for a number of their prospects. Even with the system sinking into the lower third, I think we can all agree that the end result was worth it.