Legends On Deck

LOD’s 2019 Offseason Top Prospects: Atlanta Braves #5-#1

Here at Legends on Deck our passion is prospects and the offseason presents an outstanding opportunity for us to showcase some of baseball’s top up and comers. Throughout the offseason, we will be bringing you the top ten prospects from all 30 organizations. We will start with the Arizona Diamondbacks and work our way alphabetically all the way through the Washington Nationals. This series is the opinion of Jake Berry, Senior Editor at Legends on Deck and does not reflect any official MLB rankings. 

#5 – RHP Kyle Wright

2019 Opening Day Age: 23           Height: 6’4            Weight: 200           B/T: R/R

Acquired: 1.5 2017         College: Vanderbilt          ETA: 2019           Top Future Pitch: FB

2018 Stats (Double-A/Triple-A): 8-9, 3.46 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 133 SO, 51 BB

You have to take these Braves rankings with a grain of salt. This system is so stacked you can make a case for any of these four pitchers in the top five as the number one prospect. With that being said, I’d be confident in saying that Wright has the most impressive repertoire as it stands today. His consistently mid 90’s fastball and breaking pitches are complimented by good command. The changeup is almost there and once he becomes more consistent with it he will be a major contributor.

#4 – 3B Austin Riley

2019 Opening Day Age: 21         Height: 6’3            Weight: 220          B/T: R/R

Acquired: CBA.41 2015       College: N/A       ETA: 2020         Top Future Tool: Power

2018 Stats (Rookie/Double-A/Triple-A): .294/.360/.522, 19 HR, 70 RBI, 129 SO, 37 BB

The lone position player in the Braves top five, it looks like Riley will be in the minors for another year after the addition of Josh Donaldson, that is if he isn’t used as trade bait. The power has been well-documented and while there were early questions about the defense, he has proven the ability to stay at the hot corner is there.

#3 – RHP Ian Anderson

2019 Opening Day Age: 20         Height:  6’3           Weight: 170          B/T: R/R

Acquired: 1.3 2016     College: N/A       ETA: 2020         Top Future Pitch: CH

2018 Stats (High-A/Double-A): 4-7, 2.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 142 SO, 49 BB

Another one of those Braves prep arms, Anderson is closer to the majors than most realize. He already has three plus pitches in his arsenal including a highly developed changeup, especially for a 20 year old. When you have that repertoire, early development, and projectable frame, you find yourself as the number three prospect in a deep system.

#2 – RHP Touki Toussaint

2019 Opening Day Age: 22         Height: 6’3           Weight: 190          B/T: R/R

Acquired: Trade w/ Dbacks      College: N/A      ETA: 2019       Top Future Pitch: CB

2018 Stats (MLB): 29 IP, 2-1, 4.03 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 32 SO, 21 BB

It was hard for me to determine whether Toussaint’s top future pitch should be his blistering fastball or his video game like curveball. Ultimately, the breaker is unreal and I’d venture to say it was the best breaking pitch in minor league baseball last year. The fact that he can also bring the heat and has a competitive nature makes Toussaint a prime candidate for the 2019 MLB opening day roster.

#1 – RHP Mike Soroka

2019 Opening Day Age: 21           Height: 6’5          Weight: 225           B/T: R/R

Acquired: 1.28 2015               College: N/A          ETA: 2019             Top Future Tool: Command

2018 Stats (MLB): 25.2 IP, 2-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 21 SO, 7 BB 

Soroka more or less had his spot solidified in the Braves rotation last year until injury and a 60 day DL stint sidelined him. The Canadian product is on track to have a normal offseason return from the shoulder issue and should be a full go for Spring Training. If I had to pick one guy that was a lock to still be in the Braves rotation, barring some kind of blockbuster trade, five years from now it would be Soroka. He puts his pitches right where he wants to and limits hard contact better than anyone in the system. His high floor is a middle of the rotation arm. 

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