Question 4: the new top of the farm
4) Which prospect are you most excited for and when should they make their major league debut?
Until a few days ago, the answer was “Shea Langeliers“. The Braves will certainly miss him, but the A’s weren’t stupid when they cherry-picked him along with 3 others for the rights to Matt Olson’s services.
Langeliers has the potential to be Brian McCann-like, though perhaps with a lower batting average. Defensively, he could well be better. He will have a long MLB career.
That trade has significantly gutted the Braves’ farm system, but there are a few guys still worthy of a watch.
So my new number 1 is outfielder Michael Harris II. He’s the closest thing to Acuna 2.0 right now, though I don’t wish to suggest that we’re talking about that level of production… at least not yet. He should hit AA this year at his age 21 season and his numbers should be revealing of what to expect in the future — whether good or not.
It’s about time to see Harris’ power potential emerge, and that will be tested in what has been traditionally a pitcher’s league at Mississippi (the old Southern League). All of his tools score 50+ grades, a notch below where Acuna was at this stage while Harris is also a year older.
Still: that’s the makings of a solid MLB outfielder who could be ready for the show in 2023 or 2024. But no rush needed.
Of note: the prospect rankings would point to Drew Waters, but I still have grave concerns about his plate discipline.
He has great potential, but is streaky and very strikeout-prone. At this point, he might need another teaching voice before he becomes a victim of ‘prospect fatigue’.
Additional comments not supplied to Shoptaw: given injury possibilities this season, there is a fair chance that we could see Waters in the majors this season.
If he can offensively breakout at AAA before that happens, he could end up as the Braves centerfielder. I’m not holding my breath for that possibility, but we will watch on that point.