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Prospects in the Braves' 2020 player pool

Pache, Waters headline talented Atlanta prospects at camp
Cristian Pache and Drew Waters were named Organization All-Stars in 2019. (Chris Robertson/
July 6, 2020

As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an

As part of the new rules for the 2020 Major League season, each of the 30 organizations will maintain a 60-man player pool for the duration of the campaign. Some members of the player pool will feature on the active Major League roster while others will work out at an alternate training site in the hopes of staying fresh for a potential callup or getting in much-needed development time.

The staff is rounding up the notable prospects in each organization’s 60-man player pool and analyzing what the new system will mean for their 2020 seasons.

Buoyed by young talent all over the diamond, the Braves have become a force at the top of the National League East the last two years. In a shortened 60-game season, they could see even more of their up-and-coming players reach the Majors and help them play for a third division title in as many years.

Atlanta included its 12 best prospects -- as ranked by MLB Pipeline -- and top Draft pick Jared Shuster in their roster pool as Summer Camp opens up in anticipation of Opening Day on July 23-24. With a mix of position players and pitchers, the Braves have plenty of Minor League depth into which they can tap.

Cristian Pache, OF: Although the Braves' starting outfield seems pretty set, MLB Pipeline's No. 13 overall prospect is on the 40-man roster and still has the chance to make his Major League debut this year. The 21-year-old spent all of last year at the Minors' two highest levels and did not disappoint with a .277/.340/.462 line that included a career-high 57 extra-base hits and 43 walks. But Pache shines most brightly in the field with a plus-plus arm that's help him accumulate 42 assists in his Minor League career. He can do a little bit of everything well and he likely would have been in the Majors at some point during a normal 2020 season.

Drew Waters, OF: Another 21-year-old, Waters falls into the same category as Pache in not only are they both outfielders, but they can both impact the game in multiple ways. The switch-hitter rakes from both sides, although he tends to put up better numbers left-handed with an average over. 300 in 2019. Waters has a tremendous ability to make contact and is tapping a little more into his power with a career-best 40 doubles last year and has a .461 career slugging percentage. The Atlanta native has experience at all three outfield positions and has the speed to excel in any spot. While there might not be an open spot in the Braves outfield, Waters and Pache should be the first line of defense if the team needs help.

Ian Anderson, RHP: A 2016 first-round pick, Anderson solidified himself as one of the most promising arms in the system with a dominant 2019 season. He began the year with Double-A Mississippi and struck out 147 over 111 Southern League innings. A midseason All-Star and Futures Game selection, the hurler was elevated to Triple-A in August, making five starts down the stretch with a 6.57 ERA in a 24 2/3-inning sample. He got 5 2/3 innings in Spring Training and fanned six before play was stopped. The Braves don't lack pitching depth but Anderson could get a stint or two if the they try to limit innings from their other starters.

Kyle Wright, RHP: Wright already has big league service time the last two years and should expect to see Atlanta again when play resumes, whether that's in a relief or rotation role. Across 21 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett a year ago, he averaged 9.29 strikeouts per nine innings, a personal best at a full-season level. His five-pitch mix should make him a valuable piece going forward, especially if he can get control of his repertoire more consistently.

Shea Langeliers, C: A stalwart at Baylor, Langeliers went to Class A Rome, where he played 54 games down the stretch in the South Atlantic League. Widely regarded for his defense, he threw out 41 percent of potential basestealers following his first-round selection. At the plate, he batted .255 with a .652 OPS that included 15 extra-base hits. There's more seasoning to be done, so it's more than likely he'll spend the bulk of his summer at the team's alternate site in Gwinnett.

Bryse Wilson, RHP: He hasn't solidified himself in the big league rotation yet, but Wilson has the upper-level experience to make an impact for Atlanta this summer. In just his second full season as a pro, the 22-year-old went from Class A Advanced Florida all the way to Atlanta for three appearances near the end of the 2018 season. He notched six more outings, including four starts, last year but pitched mainly for Gwinnett, where he compiled a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts. In the International League, he showcased his impressive control, finishing second in Triple-A with an 18.3 strikeout-to-walk rate and fourth in walks per nine innings (1.93). Along with Wright, expect Wilson to get some innings in one way or another.

Braden Shewmake, SS: The Braves' other first-round pick last year, Shewmake made it to Double-A and played 14 games in the Southern League. That came after excelling at the plate in the Sally League with an .862 OPS and a 151 wRC+ in 51 contests. An advanced hitter who has all the makings of a quick climber, Shewmake looks to be slotted for the workouts in Gwinnett.

Kyle Muller, LHP: Muller's first year at Double-A did not disappoint as the southpaw put up a 3.14 ERA and 120 strikeouts across 111 2/3 frames with Mississippi, ranking 10th at the level with a 25.6 percent strikeout rate. A plus fastball and an above-average curveball give him a few weapons to attack opposing hitters. There are a few pitchers ahead of him in the pecking order, but Muller is just about ready to take that next step, something that could happen this summer.

Jared Shuster, LHP: Atlanta's top pick in this year's abbreviated Draft with join the squad for workouts as part of his first professional experience. Shuster utilized Wake Forest's biomechanics lab and saw an uptick in his velocity that had him hit the mid-90s more consistently with his fastball, which he couples with a plus changeup.

William Contreras, C: Contreras split time between the Florida State and Southern leagues last year, finishing with a .669 OPS. Although he didn't hit the way he had in previous seasons, he's a .279 hitter in the Minors with a .345 on-base percentage. A contributor behind the plate, the 22-year-old is on the cusp of making it to the Majors. The Braves don't have a ton of catching depth ahead of him, so there's always the possibility he joins his brother, the Cubs' Willson Contreras, as the family's second big leaguer.

Tucker Davidson, LHP: The 2019 campaign was a breakthrough one for Davidson, who reached Triple-A and was an Organization All-Star. Over a career-high 129 2/3 innings, he had a 2.15 ERA to go with 134 strikeouts. The 24-year-old does have experience out of the bullpen, so there's always the chance Atlanta could use him in relief either this year or going forward if spots in the rotation remain limited.

Other notables

Right-hander Huascar Ynoa was added to the roster pool with his high-velocity fastball. He hasn't found consistency yet and could become a reliever in the near future. ... Jasseel De La Cruz has a similar profile with an impressive fastball and a solid slider that could get him to Atlanta this year. ... Alex Jackson likely is the Braves' third option behind the plate and could add to his four-game audition a year ago. ... Patrick Weigel split his time at Triple-A in 2019 between the rotation and bullpen and succeeded with a 2.98 ERA. He could be a swingman for Atlanta, if needed. ... Philip Pfeifer's long road could lead him to the Majors this year. He thrived as a both a starter and reliever last year, finishing with a 2.97 ERA over 133 1/3 innings for Florida, Missisippi and Gwinnett. ... Logan Brown was a midseason All-Star with Class A Rome last year and should get time to develop at the Gwinnett camp.