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Talking Prospects: Will the Braves’ farm system be better at the end of 2022?

Much has been made of the lack of depth and strength in the Braves’ farm system. Have they turned a corner?

Michael Harris is about to make a running catch in a night game for the Rome Braves. His eyes are locked on the ball in the air just a foot in front of him, and he is bent over at the waist attempting to make the play.
Atlanta Braves prospect Michael Harris makes a running catch for the Rome Braves
Image Credit: Mills Fitzner

It doesn’t seem like these CBA negotiations between MLB and MLBPA are going to end any time soon. Don’t worry, we feel your pain. To help you get your Atlanta Braves fix while we wait for SOMETHING to happen, the Talking Chop minor league team put together a roundtable series about the upcoming minor league season cleverly titled Talking Prospects.

Because of graduations, picking near the bottom of the first round for a few drafts, and the IFA sanctions upon them, the Braves’ farm system hasn’t been as strong or as deep as it has been in years past. We try to predict if, with the removal of those sanctions and expected prospect development, the Braves’ farm system will be better after the 2022 season than it is right now. Enjoy!

Eric: I actually think it will be better. I expect at least two graduations from the system including the Braves’ top prospect (on our list, anyways) Cristian Pache which is a real loss. However, they have already added two IFA signings that are top 30 guys including Diego Benitez who may be a top 15 guy right now. I expect by the end of the season that Michael Harris will be a top 30 prospect in all of baseball and will be joined as top 100 prospects by Shea Langeliers and Spencer Strider along with some mix of Bryce Elder, Vaughn Grissom, Joey Estes and Ryan Cusick. Combine that with another draft class coming up and that is a system that is on par at the top end (if not better depending on Harris, etc.) with this year’s group and definitely deeper.

Garrett: I expect it to be slightly worse overall, but a bit deeper. Cristian Pache and Spencer Strider are two of your four top prospects and are very likely to graduate in my mind. Kyle Muller and Tucker Davidson also likely graduate. I don’t see a situation where Drew Waters and Shea Langeliers play well enough to significantly raise their stock without also pushing themselves to the MLB level. I think we’ll see international players and recent draftees bolster the back end of the system, but much of the top talent is very close to the major league level and thus you’ll lose a ton of system value that I don’t think improvements from Michael Harris, Vaughn Grissom, Freddy Tarnok, etc, will be able to compensate for.

Matt: I agree with Garrett that it will be slightly worse, but also deeper. It’s hard to see Kyle Muller and Cristian Pache keeping eligibility, but as Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom continue to rise, Ambioris Tavarez makes his pro debut, as well a the additions of Diego Benitez and the 2022 draft class, it’s safe to assume we see the depth stay the same if not improve despite losing some of the elite pieces off the top.

Gaurav: Really depends on the development of the international free agents (Tavarez, Benitez), and the 2020/21 draft classes. We are likely going to see a good amount of graduates this year but if those draft picks and signings continue to develop the higher end talent won’t be there, but the overall size of the intriguing prospect pool could grow.

Wayne: I think what Gaurav said is the key. First, it’s exciting to think that there are legitimate international free agents in Tavarez, Benitez and Douglas Glod. But I do think it will be better. There may not be that top heaviness of exciting prospects, but I think the overall depth will grow stronger, and that’s a start in the right directio