|Jeff Morris. Follow on Twitter|
When asked to do a Braves top-50 prospect list, I thought I’d find it overwhelming as 50 is a chunk of dudes to rank. I felt like it’d be a stretch to find that many guys that I’d believe in that could become useful Major Leaguers. I was very wrong on the latter point as I found it hard to narrow my selection down to 50 as empathy struck me hard when some didn’t make the list.
But the one thing I really enjoyed about the process was how different 3 lists could be as our top-10s were pretty close, the rest almost seemed drawn from a hat. There was one guy that I ranked higher than both Tommy and Stephen, so high in fact that he came in higher than other pitching prospects such as Lucas Sims, Kyle Muller, and Touki Toussaint. My number 13 Braves prospect, and number 17 on Walk-Off Walk’s list and the subject of today’s piece is Bryse Wilson.
It’s no secret that I have a favorite prospect site as I discuss it with regularity. John Sickels and his crew over at MinorLeagueBall have been doing their thing for years and while it’s not as well-known as many of the other sites, I’ve come to trust their reports as a place to get a non-biased look at players. So when Wayne Cavadi produced a scouting report on Bryse and ended it with “Stay tuned Braves fans, Wilson is definitely one to keep tabs on”, that was all I needed.
Bryse was drafted in the 2016 draft in the 4th round and reports had him clocking up to 96 on his fastball with fairly poor secondary pitches from there (but in high school, if you can throw mid-90s with a fastball, there’s not much else needed). With Braves depth in young pitching combined with the lack of secondaries, most experts agreed Bryse was destined to the bullpen.
Apparently Bryse didn’t like that projection.
Background…I don’t know Bryse personally, but the dude is a heck of an athlete and a 2-sport star in high school playing football and baseball. In football, he played a plethora of positions and naturally he was a gifted thrower (although QB wasn’t his primary position), but if you watch this you’ll see him bulldozing defenses, headhunting quarterbacks, and using his extreme athleticism to block an insane amount of punts. But the athletics was only a part of Bryse’s intrigue as he also received awards for classroom achievement (4.5 GPA, 1610 SAT, 26 ACT).
95 MPH fastball…check.
Barely a year removed from graduating high school, Bryse is putting up great numbers, developing a slider and changeup to go with his 2 & 4-seam fastball, and is getting better as the season progresses. His fastball is reported to have staying power as in his shoutout he was still ramping it up to 95 in the last 2 innings. What he’s doing on the field is awesome, but combine that with a thick frame that one could easily see throwing 200+ innings a year, above average intelligence, and the ability to think in terms of an athlete and not just a 1-dimensional baseball player, and Bryse could be a backbone to the Braves rotation by 2019.