As the Atlanta Braves try to stay in the NL East race, these five prospects could help this season.
After three 90-plus loss seasons in a row, the Atlanta Braves went 90-72 and won the National League East last year. Hopes are high this year, in what promises to be a four-team race in the division over the coming months.
Despite the penalties they’ve taken due to some international signing violations, the Braves had the No. 3 farm system in baseball heading into 2019 (via MLB.com). There is a lot of pitching depth to draw from, either for big-league reinforcements or to use as trade assets for outside help. Eventually, it seems likely there won’t be room for all those arms on the major league pitching staff.
Despite losing 12 prospects to free agency, the Braves still have a strong farm system that has notably yielded Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies will bear fruit for a while in Atlanta.
But with a specific eye on this season, these five prospects can help the Braves take home a second straight division title.
5. RHP Kyle Wright
Kyle Wright, ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com as a top-40 prospect in all of baseball this year, and the No. 2 prospect in the Braves’ system as ranked by MLB.com, did well in his first taste of Triple-A last year (2.51 ERA, 8.8 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 over seven appearances-four starts). The fifth-overall pick in 2017 also made his major league debut in 2018, posting a 4.50 ERA over four appearances (six innings).
Wright earned a starting rotation spot this spring, with a solid outing in his second start (two runs on five hits over six innings against the Miami Marlins). But a rough start on April 12, in which he allowed six runs on eight hits over 3.2 innings, got him sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett with a 7.07 ERA and 10 walks over 14 innings (three starts).
Wright’s first start for Gwinnett was a rough one too, as he allowed five runs on seven hits, including two home runs, over four innings. With four-plus pitches, Wright’s future is in the starting rotation. But as the Braves look toward options to help the bullpen, and assuming he gets back on track, Wright could become an option soon.