The Atlanta Braves have the worst record in baseball. They fired manager Fredi Gonzalez in May and they rank near the bottom of every major statistical category. Yet even though it seems impossible, this season is an exciting one for Braves fans.
In an age where farm systems are so crucial to a franchise, Atlanta boasts one of the best in the MLB. The Braves have a treasure chest full of potential stars. Atlanta has done a masterful job of restocking their system, as six of the team’s top-10 prospects were acquired via trade.
Perhaps the most impressive player from that haul is shortstop Dansby Swanson, who came to the Braves in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks last winter that sent Shelby Miller out west. Swanson capped off an outstanding college career at Vanderbilt by winning the 2014 College World Series. Then, he went No. 1 in the 2015 MLB Draft. Swanson embodies the five-tool player that every team covets. Swanson has a great swing, good speed, and excellent fielding ability. Swanson has the ability to one day be an All-Star, and it won’t be long before Swanson anchors the Braves’ infield.
Swanson, however, is not the only shortstop in Atlanta’s farm system. Ozzie Albies has hit .291 this season, splitting time between Double A and Triple A. He could end up playing shortstop with Swanson moving to second base, forming a fantastic middle infield duo.
The Braves' farm system is particularly deep with pitchers. Atlanta has done a great job of stockpiling prized hurlers with major league potential. Sean Newcomb, acquired from the Angels, posted a combined 2.38 ERA last season in Low-A, High-A, and Double A. Aaron Blair, acquired along with Swanson from the Diamondbacks, pitched just 33 innings in the minors this season before earning a promotion to the big leagues.
Deeper in the minors, Atlanta has two exciting teenage hurlers. Kolby Allard, only 18 years old, has 23 strikeouts in 22 innings this season. And 19-year-old Touki Toussaint has hit 98 MPH on the gun. Toussaint’s fastball has drawn comparisons to that of Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez.
The Braves have a farm system stocked with talent that can eventually make an impact at the MLB level. While the Braves aren’t doing so well now, in a few years we could see a team full of All-Stars.
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