Braves are No. 1 again in minor league talent

Jan 29, 2018

For the second consecutive year, the rebuilding Braves’ minor league talent has been rated the best in baseball by Baseball America.

The New York Yankees were second in the ratings announced Monday, up from third a year ago. The San Diego Padres were third, up six spots from 2017, and the Chicago White Sox were fourth. 

The Philadelphia Phillies, another rebuilding National League East team, came in at No. 6.

The Braves began their rebuilding project just over three years ago and jumped from No. 29 in Baseball America’s minor-league talent rankings in 2015 to No. 3 in 2016 after a dizzying series of trades that saw them deal veterans in exchange for loads of prospects, primarily pitchers. 

The Braves climbed to No. 1 in the rankings a year ago and repeated this year despite seeing several of those former prospects move up to the majors in 2017, and despite losing 12 young prospects who were declared free agents as part of the severe penalties levied by Major League Baseball in November for infractions in the signing of international free agents. 

Former general manager John Coppolella, the primary architect of the Braves’ rebuild, was forced to resign and later banned for life by MLB for those infractions.

The Braves had eight prospects in Baseball America’s recently announced Top 100 Prospects for 2018, led by outfield phenom Ronald Acuna in the No. 1 overall spot (Acuna was also rated as baseball’s No. 1 prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law). No other organization had more than six prospects in Baseball America’s Top 100.

All of the Braves in the Top 100 were within the first 72 spots with Acuna joined by left-hander Luiz Gohara (No. 23); right-handers Mike Soroka (27), Kyle Wright (34) and Ian Anderson (42); third baseman Austin Riley (54), and lefties Kolby Allard (65) and Max Fried (72).