Where the Atlanta Braves future grows!

Braves Farm 2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List (UPDATE): Replacing the four prospects from the Matt Olson trade

Sunday, March 20, 2022

-Clint Manry

Last week, the Braves and A’s got together in what’s been perhaps the biggest blockbuster trade in some time. It seems like a win-win deal – Atlanta nets a power-hitting big league first baseman (who also happens to be one of the better defenders in the game) to replace its former franchise player, Freddie Freeman; while Oakland receives four highly-ranked prospects that should provide some help to the major league team in the near future, but also reinforce a farm system that’s been lacking over the last several years.

In case you missed the details of that massive trade, the Braves moved a quartet of Cristian Pache, Shea Langeliers, Joey Estes and Ryan Cusick — all ranked within the top-15 on my 2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List — a ranking I published back in December. For a bit of perspective, here’s that list of 15, with those four players now scratched out…

2022 Offseason Prospect List (Top 15)

— TIER 1 —— TIER 1 —— TIER 1 —
1Kyle Muller (LHP)MLB
2Cristian Pache (OF)MLB
3Shea Langeliers (C)AAA
4Drew Waters (OF)AAA
5Michael Harris II (OF)A+
6Tucker Davidson (LHP)MLB
7Bryce Elder (RHP)AAA
8Spencer Strider (RHP)MLB
9Freddy Tarnok (RHP)AA
— TIER 2 —— TIER 2 —— TIER 2 —
10Joey Estes (RHP)A
11Braden Shewmake (SS)AA
12Ryan Cusick (RHP)A
13Jesse Franklin V (OF)A+
14Indigo Diaz (RHP)AA
15Vaughn Grissom (SS/3B)A+

Naturally, now that four prospects have been omitted from my top 35, I must replace them, right? With my next list not set to come out until mid-season, we can’t go several months with four players missing from the rankings. So today I’ve replaced those four top-tier prospects by incorporating four of my top Honorable Mentions from when I constructed my Top 35 back in December. I’ll discuss each of them below, followed by another post that’ll feature the actual updated list.

Jasseel De La Cruz (RHP)

JDLC wasn’t included in my Top 35 back in December simply because, at the time, he no longer was part of the Braves organization. Heading towards the MLB Rule 5 Draft, Atlanta non tendered the righty in late November, potentially ending his stint in the Braves system. However, as of mid-January, the team re-signed Cruz, and according to several sources the non tendering was simply to make space on the 40-man roster, and the Braves had every intention of bringing the kid back anyways.

And it’s a good thing he’s back too. Despite struggling during his first opportunity at the Triple-A level in 2021 (7.03 ERA in 56 1/3 IP), Cruz is still considered a talented player. His prospect stock may no longer be that of a top-tier starting pitcher, but with his elite two-pitch mix (fastball / slider) still plenty effective, Cruz could make for a damn good multi-inning reliever in the majors. He’s entering his age-25 season, so time has most likely ran out for him as a starter, but as a bullpen option, I believe Cruz should still be considered a ranked prospect in the Braves system. He’ll most likely land somewhere in the 20s on my updated list.

Jefrey Ramos (OF)

Back in late August of last season (featured in my 2021 Midseason Top 30 List), I had Ramos just barely ranked as a prospect, ranked 30th. Then the outfielder proceeded to only play in four games during the final month of the season, finishing the year with Double-A Mississippi going just 3 for 15 (.200 AVG), appearing to have lost his starting job. Overall, Ramos hit only .183 last year, to go with six home runs — good for a 55 wRC+. And to make matters worse, he struck out a career-high 30% of the time, perhaps suggesting he was a bit in over his head.

However, at just 23-years-old right now, I can’t get over the two seasons prior to 2021, when Ramos hit .243 with 25 homers and 125 RBI in 250 games combined between Single-A and High-A in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Leading up to last season, all signs pointed to him becoming an above-average bat for the Braves, even though the system’s outfield was rather crowded.

We’ll see if Ramos can turn things around in 2022 and get back to the player he was a short time ago. Given the recent prospect turnover, though, I think he just barely fits inside the top-35 on my updated list.

Ambioris Tavarez (SS/3B)

The Braves signed Tavarez back in January of 2021 for $1.5 million, going down as the team’s biggest international signing in several years. However, the 18-year-old hasn’t played stateside since, so there’s still obviously a ton of questions regarding his prospect stock within the system.

Either way, considering the excitement surrounding his signing (per Baseball America, he was the 25th-best player in the 2020-21 class), combined with the lack of depth in the organization up the middle (even though it has improved a bit recently), I imagine Tavarez would fit in somewhere in the top 35 on my updated list (BA has him 26th)

Roddery Munoz (RHP)

Munoz sort of went viral for a bit last season when he came out of the gate throwing a high-90s fastball versus Single-A batters. In his first four appearances with Augusta, the young righty tallied 24 strikeouts in 17 innings, and he looked like a potential quick riser in the Braves system. However, when the calendar flipped to June, everything went downhill for Munoz, and with an injury mixed in there, the 21-year-old struggled to the tune of 13 earned runs over his final 12 2/3 innings last season, a whopping 9.24 ERA in that span.

Munoz has an electric fastball, and despite his first two pro seasons (both in instructs), he actually appears to have a pretty good handle on it, shown by his 3.3 walks per nine in 2021 — a huge improvement compared to his 2018 and 2019 seasons. Sure, the 6.67 ERA last year is concerning, and Munoz is no doubt a raw prospect, but I believe there’s now enough room for him inside the top-35.

With these four players now in the mix, stay tuned for the updated list to see where they end up ranked within my Top 35.

One response to “Braves Farm 2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List (UPDATE): Replacing the four prospects from the Matt Olson trade”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: