The lead up to the start of spring training is always filled with preseason prospect lists and various system rankings. That continued Friday with the release of Kiley McDaniel’s farm system rankings over at ESPN. The Braves were shutout of his Top 100 list earlier this week and unsurprisingly their farm system ranks dead last in his updated rankings.
There are some signs of life though. McDaniel points out that the Braves system should be looked at differently than other teams at the bottom of the rankings. His system doesn’t account for variance and the Braves have a number of pitchers that could potentially breakout.
The top five prospects in Atlanta’s system all fit as that type of potential breakout pitcher: Owen Murphy, J.R. Ritchie, A.J. Smith-Shawver, Spencer Schwellenbach and Cole Phillips. This means the Braves could easily jump in value when a couple of these types emerge, similar to what happened when the Yankees and Cubs had teenage-heavy farm systems in recent years.
Additionally, McDaniel says that the Braves have the best young core in baseball and points to their World Series win in 2021. Atlanta has seen a number of graduations recently that have played a big part in the major league club’s success. They have also traded away a number of prospects to further supplement the major league team.
This is a line that everyone should remember at this time of the year whether their favorite team’s farm system is at the top or at the bottom of the rankings.
There’s no trophy handed out for best farm system process, but there is one for winning the World Series.
When some of those recent draft picks start to pop, the Braves’ system is going to start to move back up these type of rankings. Another good draft in 2023 and some hits in the international market could have the system back in the upper half in the next few seasons.