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2018 Braves Minor Leagues and Prospects Thread

489 posts in this topic

Braves minor league free agent signings to date:

C Rob Brantly
C Tyler Marlette
IF Christian Colon
IF Sean Kazmar (re-sign)
IF Daniel Lockhart
IF Cleuluis Rondon
OF Jaff Decker
OF Michael Reed
OF Danny Santana (re-sign)
RHP Miguel Socolovich
LHP Joe Rogers (re-sign)

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@K26dp

I was bored last night so I popped over to OFR and took a gander at a couple of your prospect write ups and it just got me that much more pumped. I'll be so disappointed if Ronald Acuna isn't in the opening day lineup. I realize the whole, extra year of team control deal, but that doesn't matter. I've always stood by the belief that teams that do that are robbing both their fans and the players. If the kid is good enough to be in the majors then he should be in the majors right away. The extra year of team control is irrelevant. Why? Because if he ends up being as great as he's expected then you're gonna look to lock him up long-term anyway and buy out his arb years and a couple of his free agent years. So what's the point to holding him back?

Now onto Allard and Soroka. I've seen people compare them to Glavine and Maddux, just like I myself, based on all the scouting reports on Acuna, have compared him to a better Andruw Jones. Are Allard and Soroka both similar type pitchers to their comparables? Obviously it would be silly to say they'll turn in HOF careers, that includes Acuna as well since AJ25 is a HOF player in my book. Also, I've made the comparison of Luiz Gohara to CC Sabathia. Sabathia is another HOF player.

But it's crazy. I just love all these guys and can't wait to see them in Atlanta. 2018 is gonna be so much fun. Just can't wait.

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I'm happy I could entertain you on a boring offseason Saturday night!

I try not to comp players. I know why scouts do it, to give a broad indication of what kind of player a prospect is, but fans tend to take comps to heart a little too much. Take Swanson for example, getting comp'd to Derek Jeter. Yes, ideally he's that "type" of player, no dominant tool but above average in everything with high make-up and leadership potential. Some fans hear that and go SWANSON IS THE NEXT DEREK JETER. That's not going to happen or ever will happen.

Can you comp Acuna to Andruw? Sure, above average defense, power. But I don't like the comp because no one will stand up to being compared to the greatest defensive centerfielder of all time. 

If I comp, I try to what kind of player they could be if they hit maybe their midpoint career trajectory.

Let's take Allard for example. When I make my lists, I try to think about what a player's ceiling and floor are. (Note on floors: every player has the exact same true floor suffering some sort of injury or disability that prevent them from playing in the majors. That's a given, and also not useful. So when I say "floor", I'm assuming they will be healthy enough to continue to play, they just aren't able to come close to maximizing the tools that evaluators think they have,.)

So roughly, I think Allard has a floor of a dependable but otherwise unremarkable middle reliever that barring injury should still allow him to have a long major league career due to pitching with his left arm. Let's set his floor at "Brian Duensing".

At his ceiling, the flashes of plus curveball, plus change-up, and plus control all manifest themselves nearly every start. His fastball plays up because of it, and he gets more movement on it as well. Let's call Allard's ceiling "Ron Guidry". 

So Allard is number 5 on my list, because I think his career will likely fall somewhere between Duensing's and Guidry's. That's a very valuable major league pitcher. Let's call the midpoint comp "Scott McGregor". McGregor was a key member of several Orioles rotations that made the playoffs, and a 13 year major league career mostly as a starter. If a time traveler came to me and told me that Kolby Allard would have more or less Scott McGregor's career, I would go "Hmm, not as good as I hoped, but still pretty good."

Note that neither of these comps are Braves, and neither are Hall of Famers. Braves fans have a horrible time comparing every prospect that comes up through the organization with a Brave of yesteryear. Not every lefty with a good change-up is Glavine, not every righty with control is Maddux, and not every outfielder with right-handed power is Andruw Jones. And when I comp, the floor is just as important as the ceiling.

So here are my boring comps for Acuna, Soroka, and Allard:

Acuna: Eric Davis
Soroka: Alex Cobb
Allard: Scott McGregor

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14 minutes ago, K26dp said:

I'm happy I could entertain you on a boring offseason Saturday night!

I try not to comp players. I know why scouts do it, to give a broad indication of what kind of player a prospect is, but fans tend to take comps to heart a little too much. Take Swanson for example, getting comp'd to Derek Jeter. Yes, ideally he's that "type" of player, no dominant tool but above average in everything with high make-up and leadership potential. Some fans here that and go SWANSON IS THE NEXT DEREK JETER. That's not going to happen or ever will happen.

Can you comp Acuna to Andruw? Sure, above average defense, power. But I don't like the comp because no one will stand up to being compared to the greatest defensive centerfielder of all time. 

If I comp, I try to what kind of player they could be if they hit maybe their midpoint career trajectory.

Let's take Allard for example. When I make my lists, I try to think about what a player's ceiling and floor are. (Note on floors: every player has the exact same true floor suffering some sort of injury or disability that prevent them from playing in the majors. That's a given, and also not useful. So when I say "floor", I'm assuming they will be healthy enough to continue to play, they just aren't able to come close to maximizing the tools that evaluators think they have,.)

So roughly, I think Allard has a floor of a dependable but otherwise unremarkable middle reliever that barring injury should still allow him to have a long major league career due to pitching with his left arm. Let's set his floor at "Brian Duensing".

At his ceiling, the flashes of plus curveball, plus change-up, and plus control all manifest themselves nearly every start. His fastball plays up because of it, and he gets more movement on it as well. Let's call Allard's ceiling "Ron Guidry". 

So Allard is number 5 on my list, because I think his career will likely fall somewhere between Duensing's and Guidry's. That's a very valuable major league pitcher. Let's call the midpoint comp "Scott McGregor". McGregor was a key member of several Orioles rotations that made the playoffs, and a 13 year major league career mostly as a starter. If a time traveler came to me and told me that Kolby Allard would have more or less Scott McGregor's career, I would go "Hmm, not as good as I hoped, but still pretty good."

Note that neither of these comps are Braves, and neither are Hall of Famers. Braves fans have a horrible time comparing every prospect that comes up through the organization with a Brave of yesteryear. Not every lefty with a good change-up is Glavine, not every righty with control is Maddux, and not every outfielder with right-handed power is Andruw Jones. And when I comp, the floor is just as important as the ceiling.

So here are my boring comps for Acuna, Soroka, and Allard:

Acuna: Eric Davis
Soroka: Alex Cobb
Allard: Scott McGregor

Good stuff. Don't know anything about Scott McGregor because he was before my time but the other two were/are solid MLB players.

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5 hours ago, Falconsfan567 said:

Good stuff. Don't know anything about Scott McGregor because he was before my time but the other two were/are solid MLB players.

Here's my range.

 

TOP END: Ron Guidry, Jose Quintana, Jimmy Key
MID: Scott McGregor, Dave McNally, Mike Flanagan (oddly all Orioles pitchers of the late '70s)
LOW END: Brian Duensing. Craig Lefferts, Steve Howe

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18 minutes ago, K26dp said:

Here's my range.

 

TOP END: Ron Guidry, Jose Quintana, Jimmy Key
MID: Scott McGregor, Dave McNally, Mike Flanagan (oddly all Orioles pitchers of the late '70s)
LOW END: Brian Duensing. Craig Lefferts, Steve Howe

I would take him being Jimmy Key. Key was a very underrated member of the WS winning teams with the Jays and Yankees.

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1 hour ago, Falconsfan567 said:

Why do you call it garbage?

Somehow it doesn't include a 19 year old right-hander that dominated the AA Southern League the entire season. 

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34 minutes ago, K26dp said:

Somehow it doesn't include a 19 year old right-hander that dominated the AA Southern League the entire season. 

Woah!! How in the world do they not have Mr. Soroka on there?

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Some interesting comments in the Fangraphs prospects chat today.

leprekhan
12:08    Hey Kiley and Eric....thanks for doing this again. Who is a prospect in the Braves system that is currently under the radar that could make a big jump in 2018? Is Jean Carlos Encarnacion a potential option there?
Kiley McDaniel
12:09    I'm currently working on the Braves list and JCE is actually the guy I may be most high on that doesn't seem to get much hype (well, one of the two). Dude has thunder in those hands and can play in the dirt. I believe he signed for $10k, as well.
Eric A Longenhagen
12:10    And William Contreras and Cristian Pache are guys who could take a leap into top 100 lists

I'm a fan of Encarnacion, Contreras, and Pache as well, but most interesting was that former Braves scouting and analytics coordinator Kiley McDaniel would be putting together the Braves prospects list.

Frank
12:11    % chance that Gohara is the braves best starter by the end of next season?
Kiley McDaniel
12:12    A real chance. I think an underrated ability he has is to spot his slider to both sides of the plate and it's more vertical than horizontal. Those two elements means he could be the rare guy that could succeed vs. RHH and LHH with just two pitches, though his changeup is fringy to average so he doesn't have to

Nice to get some validation on Gohara's slider too. 

C-Dawg
12:54    Which second round outfielder of Fairchild, Waters, or Diechmann has the highest floor? Ceiling?
Kiley McDaniel
12:54    Like Waters wide base of skills/tools, but for what I think you're asking it has to be Deichmann. Bonkers LH power, raked pro/amateur in 2017 and is already 22, should move fast. Also is just fine on D in RF so no DH/1B concern either.

TKDC
12:55    Would an Inciarte, Acuna, Pache outfield be a contender for best ever (defense only)?
Kiley McDaniel
12:55    Don't have great context for this all time, but Inciarte is a 7 (maybe 8?) in CF, Pache is a 7 in CF and Acuna is probably a 6 in a corner. Anyone have other candidates?

Colin
12:58    Will we see Patrick Weigel come back as a starter or reliever?
Kiley McDaniel
12:59    Don't know the plans but I would put him in the pen and let him go mid to upper 90s and plus slider. He has and avg CB and CH and throws strikes, so wouldn't rule out SP but I think his best role after the TJ will be potential multi inning RP. Okay, no more Braves questions

Alberta clipper
1:04  Is mike Soroka the next great Canadian pitcher
Kiley McDaniel
1:04  Him vs. Quantrill will be fun to watch the next few years

Nick
1:15    I've always been a fan of Jim Callis, but his latest pitcher rankings are just silly right? Mike Soroka not a top 10 RHP, Kolby Allard the 7th ranked LHP when he just finished AA as a 19 yo and has guys like Sheffield, McKay and Morejon ranked ahead of him. Does he have an anti-Braves bias or something?
Kiley McDaniel
1:15    Okay a quick talk for the group here before I exit the chat. Do you want your team's players to be rated "fairly" or do you want them to as good as you think they'll be in the big leagues, if you could only get one?
So instead of getting all worked up over rankings (thanks for reading btw!) why not focus on having the upper hand and getting an apology from us or Callis or whomever when your favorite player wins rookie of the year with a 4 WAR season after they rated him too low...then you're indisputably correct and that's what you want, right?
1:16    So take it easy on the bias stuff and realize the potentially dominant position these rankings could put you in...even if you have to wait another year or two. This has been Kiley on how to find your inner happiness on the internetEric A Longenhagen
1:16    And I don't think Jim does Braves prospects for MLB so probably double check that kind of stuff before you trash a writer of any sort if you must do so.

Wise words, no doubt. It was still a garbage list.

Erey Mcenhagen
1:33    If you HAD to pick a player in the minors to go 40-40 in the majors (the highest likelihood to actually do it). Who would it be?
Eric A Longenhagen
1:34    I guess Acuna? Maybe a huge Anthony Alford season if everything comes together?

Drew
1:18    Can you compare Singer to Kyle Wright, Alex Faedo, AJ Puk when they were draft prospects?
Eric A Longenhagen
1:19    I'd go Wright, Puk, Singer, Faedo. Kiley, you have an opinion on that group?
Kiley McDaniel
1:21    Same order, actually

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Falconsfan567 said:

Wait a minute, when did Kiley McDaniel leave the Braves and go back to Fangraphs?

About a month ago.

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1 minute ago, K26dp said:

About a month ago.

Well that's disappointing that he's no longer in the Braves FO but great for the fans that he's back at Fangraphs. Love his stuff.

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LHP Gabriel Noguera has been tagged with a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test (non-PED). Noguera is a 21YO signed out of Venezuela just before the end of the 2016 signing period. He split time in 2017 between the DSL and GCL Braves, pitching to a 1.58 ERA in 51.1 innings.

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On 1/17/2018 at 2:12 PM, K26dp said:

About a month ago.

That's about what I expected. It's a shame that the new administration and him couldn't work out an agreement.

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Baseball America's top 100 prospects list dropped this morning. As expected the Braves are well represented, including Ronald Acuna beating out the Angels Shohei Ohtani and the Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. for the #1 spot on the list.

1. Ronald Acuna
23. Luiz Gohara
27. Mike Soroka
34. Kyle Wright
42. Ian Anderson
54. Austin Riley
65. Kolby Allard
72. Max Fried

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Here's BA's scouting grades for each. In general the grades to 80=elite; 70=plus-plus; 60=plus; 50=major league average; 40=major league fringe.

Acuna:
Hit: 60 | Power: 70 | Speed: 70 | Fielding: 70 | Arm: 60

Gohara:
Fastball: 80 | Slider: 70 | Change-up: 45 | Control: 45

Soroka:
Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 60

Wright:
Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 50

Anderson:
Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 50

Riley:
Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Speed: 40 | Fielding: 55 | Arm: 70

Allard:
Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 60 | Control: 60

Fried:
Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 45 | Control: 45

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2 hours ago, K26dp said:

Here's BA's scouting grades for each. In general the grades to 80=elite; 70=plus-plus; 60=plus; 50=major league average; 40=major league fringe.

Acuna:
Hit: 60 | Power: 70 | Speed: 70 | Fielding: 70 | Arm: 60

Gohara:
Fastball: 80 | Slider: 70 | Change-up: 45 | Control: 45

Soroka:
Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 60

Wright:
Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 50

Anderson:
Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 55 | Control: 50

Riley:
Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Speed: 40 | Fielding: 55 | Arm: 70

Allard:
Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 60 | Control: 60

Fried:
Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Change-up: 45 | Control: 45

I know the 80s are very, very rare, but I'm surprise Acuna didn't get an 80 on anything. Also surprised he only got a 60 on his hit tool.

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Acuna joins Chipper, Andruw, Heyward and Avery as the only Braves to ever earn the #1 spot. Andruw did it two years in a row.

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1 hour ago, Falconsfan567 said:

Also surprised he only got a 60 on his hit tool.

Me too. I would grade Hit: 70 | Power: 70 | Speed: 70 | Fielding: 60 | Arm: 70. I've seen him make some nice mid-AB and mid-game adjustments. Maybe the K% increase scared some evaluators off, but that actually improved at each level last year.

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30 minutes ago, jidady said:

Baseball America finally figured out that Acuna is the best prospect in the game.

To be fair, I only figured that out around June last year. 

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1 hour ago, K26dp said:

To be fair, I only figured that out around June last year. 

And it's not like it's their job or anything.

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