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Legends On Deck

Atlanta Braves Prospects – Pitchers

There is no question that when the Braves blew things up before the 2015 season they had established a theme for their rebuild, pitching. Most of the moves the club made, beginning with the Jason Heyward trade all the way back in November of 2014, revolved around a young arm. As a result, the Braves completely turned around what was widely viewed as a weak farm system and made it into arguably the best in baseball.

Having a system that is full of young and talented arms is never a bad thing, but the majority of the top rated guys are still a couple of years away from the show. The team’s front office has made it clear that pitchers will no longer be given opportunities to showcase their stuff, they have to earn it. That became abundantly clear when the Braves added three veteran arms to their rotation for the 2017 season.

The club used a Major League leading 16 starting pitchers last season and perhaps the most shocking thing about that figure is how few of them will be coming back. Of the 16 pitchers that started a game for the Braves in 2016 two will be back in the rotation, one presumably in the bullpen, three in AAA, and the other 10 guys don’t even play for the Braves anymore. They trotted a lot of those mid-20’s guys out there and with the majority of them being gone, the organization is trying to bridge the gap with some veterans until their extremely young and talented arms are ready to make their mark at SunTrust Park.

Photo Courtesy of John Raoux / AP

  1. Sean Newcomb LHP – (Mississippi)

2016 Statistics (Double-A) 8-7, 3.86 ERA, 140 IP, 152 SO, 71 BB, 9.8 SO/9, 4.6 BB/9

2016 was Newcomb’s first year in the Braves organization after coming over from the Angels in the Andrelton Simmons trade. He spent the entire year at Mississippi where he led all of Double-A in strikeouts. He had some trouble with command last season with his 4.6 BB/9 and 1.3 WHIP serving as evidence. He has a mid-90’s fastball and great curveball. When his command is on, he is unhittable. Newcomb threw a gem to finish out last season against Biloxi where he gave up one hit, only walked one and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings. There is no reason to believe Newcomb won’t harness his command and repeat those performances on a consistent basis. Newcomb has a very bright future in the organization and potential number one stuff.

  1. Max Fried LHP – (Rome)

2016 Statistics (Single-A) 8-7, 3.93 ERA, 103 IP, 112 SO, 47 BB, 9.8 SO/9, 4.1 BB/9

Fried is another left hander that came over in a trade with a California team when the Padres shipped him out as the centerpiece to the Justin Upton trade. Although the trade was made prior to the 2015 season, Fried’s first year pitching in the Braves organization was 2016 as he spent 2015 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. He spent the 2016 season at Single-A Rome where he was part of the formidable rotation that brought the South Atlantic League title to Northwest Georgia. Although the Santa Monica product didn’t show any ill-effects in his first season back from surgery, the Braves were extremely careful with him as he did not go over six innings in one game all season.

  1. Kolby Allard LHP – (Rome)

2016 Statistics (Rookie, Single-A) 8-3, 2.98 ERA, 87.2 IP, 95 SO, 25 BB, 9.8 SO/9, 2.5 BB/9

The Anaheim native was taken by the Braves 14th overall in the 2015 June draft. He made five starts in the Appalachian League with Danville before joining Rome to finish out the 2016. The 19 year old already has all of the mechanics in place with a low to mid-90’s fastball, a good curveball and what many scouts consider an established changeup. Although he is still a teenager, Allard could be a guy that moves through the system quickly due to his command and composure on the mound. He is regarded by many as the top pitching prospect in the Braves loaded system.  

  1. Mike Soroka RHP – (Rome)

2016 Statistics (Single-A) 9-9, 3.02 ERA, 143 IP, 125 SO, 32 BB, 7.9 SO/9, 2.0 BB/9

Like Allard, Soroka was also a first round pick of the Braves in 2015. The Calgary, Alberta product spent the entire 2016 season in Rome and was dominant. Batters hit .244 off him while he had a WHIP of 1.1, not bad for an 18 year old almost four years younger than the average player in his league. Soroka and Allard are two guys that will always be thought of together by Braves fans because of the draft and how quickly they have adapted to the professional game. You can count on Soroka moving through the system right beside Allard.

  1. Ian Anderson RHP – (Danville)

2016 Statistics (Rookie) 1-2, 2.04 ERA, 39.2 IP, 36 SO, 12 BB, 8.2 SO/9, 2.7 BB/9

Although we have a small sample size at the professional level, Anderson is a guy that many scouts and writers have big expectations for. According to MLBPipeline he is the Braves #5 overall prospect and the highest ranked RHP in the system. They also have him #77 in the top 100. He split time between the GCL and the APP League last season, making five starts in both. He fared a little bit better in the GCL where he didn’t give up a single run in 18 innings. Rome fans that were spoiled with that dominant rotation in 2016 should have another good one coming their way this year with Anderson heading it up.

Feature Photo Credit: Kyle Hess / Rome Braves

Jake Berry
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Jake Berry

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Jake resides in Carrollton, GA and loves everything baseball. He is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and enjoys traveling to watch their Minor League teams. He graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management. Jake is also a certified personal trainer and has a passion for fitness and weight lifting. You can find his personal site at berrysbaseball.com

You can also reach out to Jake at jberry@legendsondeck.com
Jake Berry
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