While the Atlanta Braves’ season came to an end yesterday, today the Arizona Fall League gets started. The Arizona Fall League is a league where teams across the league send prospects to get extra at-bats and coaching before going into the offseason. There are limits and specific requirements for players to be eligible to go to the AFL, but the short version is that each team can only send a certain number of players and they have to have a certain amount of experience to go. Just because a player is sent to the AFL does not necessarily mean that they are a top prospect and if a prospect does not go does not mean they are not a top prospect.
Below are the players the Braves are sending to the Arizona Fall League in 2018 along with some short notes on each.
Burrows has been a standout relief prospect for the Braves in 2018. It was frankly silly to have him start out the season in Rome, but that was rectified quickly and he made it all the way to Double-A. The lefty posted a 2.66 ERA across three levels in 2018 including a 1.42 mark in Double-A while striking out well over a batter an inning.
McCreery was a bit of a surprise addition to the 40 man roster last offseason, but the 6’9 lefty reliever had an impressive 2018 that backed up that decision that saw him battle from Double-A all the way to his major league debut. Walks have been an issue for McCreery in 2018, but he also struck out 71 batters in 54.2 innings while posting a 3.62 ERA across three levels.
We kind of forget about Kyle Muller sometimes when we think about the top starting pitching prospects in the Braves’ farm system, but Muller has solidified his status in the group thanks to a big bounceback season in 2018. Some mechanical issues and a dip in velocity in 2017 hurt him a year ago, but he got himself sorted out in 2018 and while he started in low-A this season, he pitched his way all the way to Double-A. Muller posted a 3.03 ERA in 25 starts in 2018.
Jeremy Walker is an interesting prospect in that he doesn’t have amazing stuff, but has enough really good starts to make one wonder if he could have an impact on a major league roster down the line. One thing he has going for him is that he does hold his mid-90-ish velocity late into starts and he does have some deception going for him when he is right. Walker pitched most of the year in high-A before making a single start in Triple-A and posted a 3.84 ERA in 2018.
If you are looking for the best combination of tantalizing talent and frustration with a prospect, first base prospect Braxton Davidson is your guy. On the plus side, Braxton has some of the best raw power in the Braves’ farm system and he did hit 20 bombs in 2018. However, he also just repeated high-A for the third straight year and he struck out 213 times while slashing a .171/.281/.365 line.
One of the more interesting prospects in the Braves’ system is Ray-Patrick Didder. Didder started off in the outfield as a prospect, but has since moved back mostly to the infield and could profile as a super utility type with a very strong defensive profile. Also, he can absolutely fly on the basepaths. After playing a season and a half in high-A where he struggled at the plate, the Braves challenged him and moved him to Double-A where he performed much better. In 2018, Didder slashed .232/.331/.325 across two levels with a .275/.373/.374 line in Double-A.
The best prospect the Braves are sending to the AFL this year, Pache has turned into a consensus top 100 prospect in baseball thanks to tantalizing athleticism and speed combined with Gold Glove caliber defense in center field. The power started to come into his game when he was in high-A this season as he connected for the first eight home runs of his professional career before he was promoted to Double-A. Across two levels of the minors in 2018, Pache slashed .279/.307/.410.
Finally, we have Isranel Wilson who has some of the more interesting tools in the Braves minor league system. While he has the power, speed, and athleticism to be a guy that could move up prospect rankings in a hurry, his hit tool has lagged behind during his professional career so far. After starting the year in low-A, the young outfielder was promoted to high-A where he ended the season and he posted a .223/.305/.349 across two levels in 2018.
If you are wanting to follow along with the goings-on in the AFL and specifically the Braves players therein, all of them are on the Peoria Javelinas roster. For a full schedule of games in the AFL, which runs all the way through the middle of November, you can click right here. We will also be doing weekly Braves AFL recaps which tentatively will be posted each Monday so you can get your prospect fixes for at least another month and a half or so.