It’s the All-Star Break, the recognized ending to the first half of the season. But rather than focus completely on the major league squad, let’s take a look at our 2018 Midseason Top 50 Braves Prospects. We got some graduations, some releases, and a lot of movement in our Top 50 compared to the preseason. Unlike the preseason Top 50, we won’t stretch this out into a series of articles and review each player. There’s just too many things going on right now to do something like that. We’ll drop this Top 50 today and we might circle back and go over our Top 50 again should the mood strike us.
With me, Tommy Poe, is Ryan Cothran and Stephen Tolbert. Brittni Swanson had to sit this one out, but we hope she’ll be able to help out with our preseason list toward the end of 2018. In the meantime, the three of us guys submitted our Top 50 prospects. A simple and crude, but effective, way was reached to rank them. The players with the lowest average would be the highest ranked. Last offseason, Ronald Acuna Jr. was #1 on all of our lists. As a result, he had just 3 points, the lowest possible score. If a player was ranked on at least one ranking, but not all three, the missing ranks were given a score of 60. So, if a player was ranked #50 on one ranking, but missed the other two, he would receive 170 points.
Ties – and there were surprisingly many this time – were broken by two ways. First, preference was given to players who ranked on more than one ballot or all three. If the tie was not broken this way, the individual highest rank was used to break the tie.
Thanks for supporting Walk-Off Walk and feel free to submit your own Top 10 or Top 50. I’m considering opening up a public ballot for readers to fill out for the preseason list. But we’ll see if that is both feasible and something of interest.
Unlike the preseason list where the first and second choices were unanimous, there are some big time differences. Two Top 10 guys – Acuna and Max Fried – graduated from the preseason list, opening up a pair of spots. A third fell just outside the Top 10 on our next table. Out first tie came with Riley and Gohara, who each had an average of 4.33 and a highest individual rank of 2. Riley sneaks ahead with a second highest individual rank of #4 on Tolbert’s list. Toussaint’s jump of ten spots isn’t the biggest individual jump on this list, but certainly notable. Even though there wasn’t a lot of agreement on all three ballots, the only non-Top 10 placement on a ballot was Cothran’s rank of Wilson.
|14.||Jean Carlos Encarnacion||21||14||14||15|
Half of the second portion of the Top 20 is new. Most of that is due to players being voted up or down with only A.J. Minter graduating. A couple of names fell out of the Top 20 completely. Zimmermann’s ranking obviously jumps out. I can say I thought my ranking would be aggressive and then I saw Ryan’s and Stephen’s. Jenista becomes the first draft choice to make the Top 50. Zimmermann and Jenista tied with an average ranking of 19.33, but it was Cothran’s #16 rank that proved to be the difference. Peterson gets back into the Top 20 after falling out this preseason while Tarnok climbs into the Top 20 for the first time. As does Encarnacion, who rides a pair of #11 rankings to the #14 rank.
As the rankings increase, we start to see much more diversity in thought. The third set includes one top 20 guy from each Poe and Cothran and three of Tolbert’s Top 20. Phillips stands out in that he made both Cothran and Tolbert’s Top 20, but was just outside Poe’s Top 30. Beck and Ynoa also had a similar disagreement with one outlier dragging the score down. A few ties this round include Cumberland/Phillips and Clouse/Beck.
|33.||Jasseel De La Cruz||UR||23||43||29|
For the first time, we see a guy who didn’t make everyone’s ranking as Parsons missed Cothran’s Top 50. What is notable about this set – beyond Chad Sobotka being the only unanimous pick in the midseason Top 50 – is there was a lot of agreement here. Not counting Sobotka, six of this set had their range of numbers fall within six spots of one another. In addition, five of these players weren’t in the Preseason Top 50 despite the fact that all five were in the organization last year.
Ryan Cothran pushes two people into the Top 50 by ranking them so high that they withstood a pair of ballots that didn’t list them at all with Pike and Pfeifer. The flipside was that five players made the final ten who weren’t on Cothran’s ranking at all, but did make the other two. Players also receiving votes included Justin Smith (missed by one point), Troy Bacon, Ray-Patrick Didder (made two ballots), Andrew Moritz, Trey Riley, Eliezel Stevens, AJ Graffanino, and Josh Graham.
By the Numbers
The Top 50 included 26 players originally drafted by the Braves, two undrafted free agents, nine international signings, one free agent signing, and ten players the Braves acquired via a trade. Of those drafted, three came from this year’s draft while seven came from each of the previous three drafts. The remaining two came from the 2014 draft.
Our Top 50 had fifteen new players in it compared to the Preseason List. This includes the graduations of Ronald Acuna Jr., Max Fried, and A.J. Minter. Five players – Ray Patrick-Didder. Adam McCreery, Tyler Neslony, Jared James, and Braxton Davidson were all eligible but went unranked. In fact, only Didder received votes. Of the other seven players, one (Akeel Morris) was traded while another was returned after being a Rule 5 pick (Anyelo Gomez). The other five were released. This includes Devan Watts, Anfernee Seymour, Drew Harrington, Dylan Moore, and Leudys Baez.
Since expanding from just one author, this is the third Top 50 we’ve done. Exactly half of the list has been a part of all three.