Hello again everyone and welcome to our Atlanta Braves 2023 Preseason Top 30 Prospects List. Ever since I began covering the Braves, the minor leagues have been a labor of love. While the Braves’ system isn’t in the best state after several trades and successful promotions in addition to the usual attrition, there are still a ton of interesting prospects throughout the minors. In case you missed it, here is the list so far
Prospect rankings are, at their core, a very qualitative and subjective thought exercise and nothing more. I do take a lot of data and information from scouts into account, but at the end of the day, a lot of who gets ranked above or below who is based on feel. I take into account proximity to the majors, upside, floors, reliever risk, future defensive homes, available information, and a whole lot of other things.
Saying all of that, it is extraordinarily likely that we will get a whole lot of things wrong and/or change our minds as all positions on the list are fluid. Prospects surprise us in good and bad ways all the time and that is okay. As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t get too hung up on small differences in rankings as it is likely that the #12 and #13 (for example) players are very similar in value.
Below you will find our Braves prospects 21-25. Of the course of the next several days, we will be rolling out the entire list. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure to include links to the previous installments in each post so you can catch up if need be. Enjoy!
Atlanta Braves 2023 Top Prospects: 21-25
25. Geraldo Quintero – INF
2018 IFA Signing
Coming in at 25 is Geraldo Quintero who is an interesting bat that you may see rated more highly elsewhere. He is certainly an interesting bat as a switch-hitter that puts the ball in play and has a very reasonable walk rate. He works the whole field and can run a bit as well.
There are two main issues, however. First, he has below average raw power at present. This could change feasibly, but he is a small guy (5’8) and while we have seen smaller guys grow into real power (Ozzie Albies and Jose Altuve come to mind), it isn’t a likely outcome and his exit velos in the minors have been rough overall. Moreover, he did not have a great defensive year…particularly at third base where he made 24 errors this season which is a lot. We’d feel better if he was moved to second base more often and performed well there as well as showing some more consistent pop at the plate.
24. Cal Conley – 2B/SS
4th Round Pick – 2021 MLB Draft
Conley actually gained a few spots on this list thanks to an impressive performance in the Arizona Fall League this year. Conley is in a weird place because the variance of outcomes for him on both sides of the ball is so high. On some days, he is a switch-hitter that has power and feel for the barrel from both sides of the plate that can make some spectacular plays at shortstop. On other days, his starts selling out for power and is an easy out and will be a mess in the field.
I can respect folks ranking Conley higher than this, but he is so incredibly streaky both at the plate and in the field that I can’t bring myself to ranking him higher than this…at least right now. We remain curious how his gains from the AFL stick and if his inconsistent approach at the plate plays against more advanced pitching. He really could figure out some adjustments and make this ranking look soft, but our concerns that he ends up as a second baseman with a suspect hit tool keep him in the 20’s.
23. Tyler Tolve – C
17th Round Pick – 2021 MLB Draft
This will probably be the highest you see Tyler Tolve ranked across the publications of note and I am okay with that. Tolve is still a work in progress behind the plate although he did catch 25 would-be basestealers last season and his large-ish frame for a catcher could be a hinderance. However, overall he looks like he has a chance to stick behind the plate.
The thing that gets him ranked this high is his raw power which is tremendous. This dude makes baseball parks look small in batting practice and he hit 12 home runs last year despite splitting playing time with Javier Valdes. This may be a bit of a reach, but we think its a worthy one given the upside Tolve has given that catchers with this kind of raw power don’t come around a lot.
22. Cody Milligan – 2B/OF
9th Round Pick – 2019 Draft
Cody Milligan is really easy to root for as a guy that gets the absolute most out of his tool. There isn’t a position on the baseball field he can’t play (he was a catcher in college and he has rounded out into a very good defensive outfielder and capable defender in the infield although second base is the best fit there) and he both draws walks and can/will use his legs to take extra bases when he can.
After a couple middling seasons to start his pro career, Milligan was flat out awesome was excellent in 2022 with the notable exception of his in-game power which limits his ceiling significantly. However, a guy this versatile and with the ability to get on base will always be interesting and we won’t be surprised in the slightest if he moves up these rankings during the 2023 season nor would it be surprising if he ends up in the big leagues.
21. Ignacio “Nacho” Alvarez – 3B/SS
5th Round Pick – 2022 MLB Draft
There are better pure prospects right now from the 2022 Braves draft class (and you will see several as we ascend the rankings), but Alvarez might have been my favorite pick from the entire class. His swing results in too many grounders right now despite some hard contact, but with a swing adjustment to get some loft, he could end up being the best position player prospect in the Braves system in a hurry.
While he has some real potential at the plate, one of the biggest draws for Nacho (other than a sweet nickname) is his defense as he is an excellent defender at third base with a strong arm and great actions to each side. The Braves even tried him out a shortstop a little bit during his pro debut this year which adds to the intrigue here. There is some risk that the community college product won’t be an impact bat as he goes against more advanced pitching, but there is a lot to work with here and a lot to like that we don’t mind taking a bit of a flier on him.