ESPN leaves Atlanta Braves hanging — only two prospects in top 50

BARNSLEY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Editor Andrew Harrod previews an early version of the front page of the latest edition of the Barnsley Chronicle newsroom on September 19, 2018 in Barnsley, England. Surrounded by a number of smaller villages, the residents of Barnsley have been served by weekly newspaper "The Barnsley Chronicle" for over 160 years. The latest newspaper circulation figures, covering 2017, listed a readership of 19,855 copies per week. Launched in 1858, the Barnsley Chronicle is one of the last privately-owned weekly newspapers in the country, producing each copy in house with their own journalists, design team and full printing press. Owned and operated by the Hewitt family since 1923, it is the largest circulating weekly newspaper in Yorkshire, with profits boosted by off-shoot companies such as military history publishers Pen and Sword and go-kart company Tyke Racing, operating under the Acredula Group. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
BARNSLEY, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Editor Andrew Harrod previews an early version of the front page of the latest edition of the Barnsley Chronicle newsroom on September 19, 2018 in Barnsley, England. Surrounded by a number of smaller villages, the residents of Barnsley have been served by weekly newspaper "The Barnsley Chronicle" for over 160 years. The latest newspaper circulation figures, covering 2017, listed a readership of 19,855 copies per week. Launched in 1858, the Barnsley Chronicle is one of the last privately-owned weekly newspapers in the country, producing each copy in house with their own journalists, design team and full printing press. Owned and operated by the Hewitt family since 1923, it is the largest circulating weekly newspaper in Yorkshire, with profits boosted by off-shoot companies such as military history publishers Pen and Sword and go-kart company Tyke Racing, operating under the Acredula Group. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Petersen/Getty Images) /

MLB Pipeline has it right

As I mentioned earlier, MLB Pipeline (which is a part of MLB.com) has the most accurate ranking. I would probably rank Waters a little higher than No. 44, but for the most part, the players they have listed are who I would list in a top 50 ranking.

The hype regarding Waters may seem a bit excessive to some, but when considering just how great he is this season despite being nowhere near his ceiling (plate-discipline wise) — he deserves every bit of the hype.

Waters’ Current 2019 Season

(ranking amongst Southern League hitters)

  • .338 batting average (1st)
  • .380 OBP (t-5th)
  • .896 OPS (3rd)
  • 55 runs (1st)
  • 118 hits (1st)
  • 29 doubles (1st)
  • 9 triples (1st)
  • 180 total bases (1st)

We already know how great Pache, Wright, and Anderson have been in their young pro careers. MLB Pipeline does a nice job, ranking them all in the top 30, also keeping them rather close together at Nos. 14, 25, and 26 respectively.

The only Atlanta Braves prospect that I would add to the top 50 — though there are probably several right on the brink of being ready — is Mississippi starting pitcher Kyle Muller (click here for scouting report).

Like Anderson, Muller has excelled at every level of the minors since his pro career began in 2016. At 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, the Atlanta Braves No. 8 prospect features a mid-90s MPH fastball and a fantastic slider, as well as two other above-average pitches (curveball and changeup).

Muller and Anderson’s career paths are very akin, just like their draft positions — in the 2016 MLB Draft, the Atlanta Braves selected Anderson in the 1st round while also selecting Muller in the 2nd round.

As good as Anderson has been, Muller has been right there with him:

TWO SIMILAR CAREERS 

Kyle Muller Ian Anderson
18 wins 15 wins
3.19 ERA 2.71 ERA
9.3 K/9 11.7 K/9
3.9 BB/9 4.0 BB/9

One has to think Muller will soon join a top 50 list. He’s had some recent struggles with walks, currently walking over 5 batters per nine this season (after walking over 6 per nine in the Arizona Fall League last year).

More from Tomahawk Take

Final thoughts

The fact that the Atlanta Braves were underrepresented in Law’s most recent prospect rankings really shouldn’t carry much weight, as the only thing that matters is how each team’s prospects perform once on the big league roster.

Championships aren’t won playing on a Triple or Double-A team.

While I disagree with this specific assessment by Law, I admit that I thoroughly enjoy his writing and analysis on ESPN.com.

Law was part of a very small group that helped start the data revolution MLB currently is in, sharing works by Bill James and the original architects of numerous advanced statistics. And Law himself has worked in baseball — once in the front office for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Law and Talks at Google put together an awesome discussion in August of 2017, where they talked about various subjects, including his then-new book, Smart Baseball.

It seemed that Law overrated the most recent draft picks from last month, including numerous 2019 draftees who have hardly played professional baseball; and as a result, several players got pushed back.

But what do I know?

It’s just hard to fathom that a top 3 farm system only has two current prospects ranked in the top 50 of a list, especially a system that has been this elite for the last several years.

Next. Pick a starter, any starter. dark

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!