A week after the Atlanta Braves saw eight players on ESPN’s top-100 player list, The Athletic names six Braves to its top 125 list.
Relax Atlanta Braves fans, no one’s been snubbed. The Athletic’s list doesn’t include pitchers and differentiates itself from other rankings by dividing players into five tiers.
Tier 1 comprises the best of the best in baseball. Tier 2 is MVP-caliber players capable of being Tier 1s. Tier 3 players carry All-Star expectations. Tier 4 includes surefire starters. Tier 5 is a pool of above-average regulars.
Although three writers drafted a list of players, they didn’t finalize in a vacuum.
". . . we sent a color-coded spreadsheet to 25 executives, evaluators, coaches, players and analysts to check our work . . .considered all of their feedback, debated among ourselves once again, shuffled some names around and settled on a final version."- The Athletic MLB Staff Mar 29, 2023
The Athletic uses projections from Derek Carty’s THE BAT X.
- Each tier is divided into two parts – A and B.
- The gap between tier 1A and 1B is narrower than the gap between 1B and 2A.
- Players aren’t ranked within each tier, there’s no 1A1, 1A2, etc.
- Players expected to miss a large part of the season aren’t included
- Prospects not yet in the majors aren't included.
Atlanta Braves Players on the List
The Athletic calls Tier 1 the best of the best. Tier 1A contains six players, and most of us would agree on five of them, but seeing Juan Soto’s name instead of Ronald Acuña Jr. is just wrong; he is on the list in Tier 1B.
Once again, no Atlanta Braves made Tier 2A, but Austin Riley makes it into Tier 2B, while Tier 3A includes Michael Harris II and Matt Olson.
Sean Murphy is the lone Atlanta Braves player on Tier 3B, and Ozzie Albies slots into Tier 4A as the final member of the Atlanta Braves on the list.
That’s a Wrap
If you read my March 26 post covering ESPN’s list, you note that the same six Atlanta Braves position players turned up on both lists. Player rankings are, by their nature, subject to the whims of those creating the list, but seeing unanimity from differently created rankings suggests the Braves are doing something right.
My only quibbles with The Athletic’s list putting Soto, who doesn’t run well and plays about league-average defense, in Tier 1A and Acuña Jr. in 1B. Due to some glaring oversight, The Athletic didn’t ask me; maybe next year?