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Hitting: 45. Power: 55. Run: 70. Fielding: 80. Arm: 70. Track Record: Signed by the Braves for $1.4 million when he was 16, Pache progressively tapped into more power as he climbed the minor league ladder and, after spending the 2019 season at Double-A and Triple-A, made his big league debut in 2020. Pache had a reserve role during parts of the regular season and saw just four at-bats. He was included on the Braves’ postseason roster and stepped into a starting role in the Championship Series after Adam Duvall suffered an oblique injury. Shortly thereafter he became the seventh major leaguer to hit his first home run in the playoffs—going deep against the Dodgers’ Julio Urias—while showcasing the outstanding defense in center field that has been hyped for years.Scouting Report: Pache’s postseason offered the Braves a glimpse of what’s to come. After adding around 30 pounds of muscle over the last three years, Pache is solidly built with enough raw power to keep pitchers honest. His strengths still lie on the defensive side of the ball. Pache has the plus-plus speed to cover enough ground in even the most expansive outfields, and his instincts and arm strength elevate him to the level of potentially one of the best center fielders in baseball. He reads the ball off the bat well, takes efficient routes and has the athleticism and natural timing to make highlight-reel diving catches and jumps at the wall. His plus-plus arm makes runners think twice about taking an extra base. It would be a surprise if he never won a Gold Glove. Pache has upside as a hitter, too. The Braves were happy enough with his growth in 2020 to put him on the big league roster. He has enough bat speed to handle the velocity of the modern game, and he pairs it with solid pitch selection and strike-zone recognition. What could limit him as a hitter is an extreme pull tendency at the plate. He hit between 50% and 59% of his batted balls to his pull side from 2017 to 2019 in the minors. For context, the major league average pull rate in 2020 was 41%. And while Pache does have plus raw power, all of his in-game home runs have gone to the far pull side in left field. Figuring out how to use the opposite field will be necessary for Pache to become an average hitter, and a missed 2020 minor league season might have hampered that development.The Future: After more than holding his own for the Braves in short stints in 2020, Pache should become an outfield regular in 2021. He will immediately be one of the game’s most exciting young defensive players.
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 50. Changeup: 60. Control: 60. Track Record: Anderson quickly ascended the minors after being drafted third overall in 2016 and made a tremendous impact in his big league debut. Called up after the Braves’ rotation was eviscerated by injuries, Anderson was one of the game’s best pitchers in September and October. He allowed two earned runs in 18.2 innings. opening with three consecutive scoreless outings and starting Game 7 of the NLCS.Scouting Report: Anderson does a tremendous job limiting hard contact and generating whiffs with his three-pitch mix. His fastball sits around 94 mph and gives hitters a unique look with low spin rates and more drop than a typical fastball. That pairs wonderfully with an 86-88 mph changeup that generated a 40% whiff rate in his debut. It has less movement than typical changeups, but plays well because he sells it out of his overhand arm slot. Anderson’s confidence and ability to throw it for strikes makes his changeup a plus offering. His curveball is his third pitch, but it is enough of a different look to keep hitters off-balance. While no single pitch is a true wipeout, his ability to tunnel them and command the ball makes his arsenal deadly, especially with his ability to consistently change hitters’ eye levels.The Future: Anderson has solidified his place as the Braves’ No. 3 starter. The development of his breaking ball will determine if he becomes more.
Hitting: 55. Power: 55. Run: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. Track Record: A local Georgia product drafted in the second round in 2016, Waters steadily climbed the minor league ladder and won the Double-A Southern League’s batting title and MVP award in 2019. The switch-hitter finished the year in Triple-A, played for Team USA’s Olympic qualifying team in the fall and spent 2020 at the alternate training site, where he mainly focused on his righthanded swing and improving his plate discipline and approach.Scouting Report: Waters is a long, lean athlete with a loose, handsy swing that gives him above-average hitting potential. He shows that potential against righthanders (.866 OPS in 2019) but still has improvements to make against lefties (.644 OPS). Waters is extremely aggressive in his pitch selection and has worked to become a more patient, selective hitter, particularly after his strikeout rate ballooned against upper-level arms. Waters has above-average power potential from both sides, but how much he accesses in games will depend on his pitch selection. His defense is underrated given his proximity to Cristian Pache in the system. He is capable of playing center field as a plus runner with above-average arm strength.The Future: The canceled minor league season hurt Waters’ ability to develop his offense against high-level arms. If his 2020 work translates in games, he should become a regular in Atlanta’s outfield.
Hitting: 50. Power: 50. Run: 40. Fielding: 60. Arm: 70. Track Record: The No. 2 catcher in the 2019 draft behind Adley Rutschman, Langeliers was drafted ninth overall by the Braves and signed for an under-slot $3.9 million. Considered the best defensive backstop in the class, he immediately went to low Class A Rome for his pro debut and was a standout performer at the Braves’ alternate training site in 2020.Scouting Report: Langeliers lives up to his reputation as a high-level defender by pairing a standout, 70-grade arm with impressive hands in receiving and a desire to consistently improve. He threw out 41% of basestealers in his pro debut and shows all the traits of at least a plus defender behind the plate. Langeliers has solid offensive tools as well. He impressed Braves officials with his ability to drive the ball with authority to right field at the alternate site, especially after he mostly pulled the ball in his debut. His bat projects more average than above and he still needs more reps against upper-level pitchers. Langeliers puts together quality at-bats and has enough strength to project average power. The Future: Langeliers’ defense behind the plate will carry him up the ladder. He has a chance to become a first-division regular as long as his bat continues to develop.
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 40. Slider: 50. Changeup: 55. Control: 55. Track Record: Wilson has pitched in the majors in minor roles during each of the last three seasons but still has just 42.2 big league innings. He was called on to start Game 4 of the NL Championship Series against Clayton Kershaw, and he responded by outpitching the future Hall of Famer over six innings, allowing only one run and one hit.Scouting Report: A durable righthander, Wilson has impressive fastball command and knows how to establish the strike zone early. He throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs that each average 93-95 mph. He gets ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes using both. Wilson’s best secondary pitch has always been his changeup, which sits around 85-86 mph with solid drop. Some evaluators believe it could be a plus offering. Wilson’s best breaking ball is a hard slider that could be classified as a cutter due to its lack of horizontal movement and firm velocity in the 87-89 mph range. He occasionally throws a curveball in the upper 70s, but the pitch has below-average spin and is a distant fifth offering. The Future: Wilson profiles as a back-of-the-rotation workhorse type who will throw strikes and compete. He’ll be just 23 in 2021 and still has plenty of time to continue adjusting and improving.
Hitting: 50. Power: 50. Run: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60. Track Record: The younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, William impressed in the South Atlantic League as a 20-year-old in 2018 before advancing to Double-A Mississippi in 2019. His improved defensive focus allowed the Braves to feel comfortable calling him up for his major league debut in July after both Travis d’Arnaud and Tyler Flowers showed coronavirus symptoms.Scouting Report: Contreras is a solid athlete for a catcher, has a strong throwing arm and shows plus raw power at the plate. He previously struggled with consistency and focus as a defender, but he made massive strides in 2020 spring training and throughout the year. He worked hard to improve his defense with catching coordinator J.D. Closser to the point where some now believe he could become a plus defender. He moves well behind the plate and has improved as both a receiver and blocker. At the plate, Contreras has the raw power to homer to all fields, but most of his in-game power has gone to his pull side. He has a tendency to chase at times, but generally puts together quality at-bats with a good two-strike approach.The Future: Contreras may be ready for an expanded major league role in 2021. He has a chance to become an everyday catcher as long as his defensive improvements hold.
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Slider: 50. Changeup: 50. Control: 45. Track Record: Muller has come a long way since the Braves drafted him out of high school in 2016. After sitting in the upper 80s in his first full season, Muller filled out his large, 6-foot-7 frame and now has the best fastball in Atlanta’s system. After topping out at 98 mph in 2019, Muller sat 95-97 mph and touched 100 at the Braves’ alternate training site in 2020.Scouting Report: Muller’s calling card is his fastball. Its plus-plus velocity plays up even further with high spin rates that generate plenty of whiffs at the top of the zone. The pitch plays especially well with Muller’s extension toward home plate out of his huge frame. Muller has worked hard to refine his secondaries, focusing on improving his curveball and changeup, while also adding a slider to the mix. He has flashed above-average potential with all three but needs to improve his consistency with all of them. Muller will also need to sharpen his fastball control after averaging 5.5 walks per nine innings at Double-A in 2019.The Future: The Braves see Muller as a starter and believe he has the athleticism and work ethic to make the necessary gains in control and secondary pitch quality to succeed in that role. If he stalls, his stuff will play in the bullpen.
Hitting: 55. Power: 50. Run: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50. Track Record: Shewmake was one of college baseball’s best hitters during his three years at Texas A&M and was drafted by the Braves in the first round, at No. 21 overall in 2019. He continued proving his hitting prowess by batting .318 at low Class A Rome and earning a promotion to Double-A in his pro debut. He spent the 2020 season at the Braves’ alternate training site.Scouting Report: Shewmake is an athletic, 6-foot-4 shortstop who possesses defensive versatility, a high baseball IQ and a natural feel for hitting. He has a solid, contact-oriented swing with above-average bat speed. He gets the most out of his natural abilities with a solid approach at the plate. His power isn’t exceptional, but he has already added about 10 pounds since college and evaluators believe he could grow into 15-20 home runs if he continues to add more strength. The Braves will continue to run Shewmake out at shortstop, where he has solid instincts that make his reliable but unspectacular glove and arm play up. He’s a better runner than expected from a player his height, getting to plus times underway.The Future: Shewmake needs more time to acclimate to upper-level pitching, but he’s already moving quickly. He projects as a super utility type for most scouts who can play all over the infield and potentially the outfield, if necessary.
Fastball: 50. Slider: 50. Changeup: 60. Control: 55. Track Record: Shuster took a giant leap last spring at Wake Forest, going from a middling lefty who sat 88-92 mph to touching 97 while also showing radically improved control. The Braves bought into his improvement and drafted him in the first round, No. 25th overall and signed him for just under $2.2 million, continuing their recent trend of selecting college players with their first picks.Scouting Report: A 6-foot-3 lefthander, Shuster stands out for his impressive pitchability. He walked just nine batters in 58.1 innings between Wake Forest and the Cape Cod League, and Braves officials were impressed with his ability to locate both of his secondary offerings. Shuster’s improved fastball now sits 92-95 mph and can reach higher as needed. His best pitch is his changeup. It’s a true plus offering with impressive tumble that he throws with confidence. Shuster’s slider is fringier and can get slurvy at times but has a chance to be average with continued development. He has improved his control enough to be an above-average strike-thrower, though he will need to prove it in pro ball.The Future: Shuster’s fastball and changeup give him a solid foundation. He has to show he can hold his improved velocity over a full season and sharpen his slider, which will be his main goals in 2021.
Fastball: 55. Curveball: 50. Slider: 55. Changeup: 45. Control: 50. Track Record: An unheralded 19th-round pick, Davidson steadily climbed the minors one level at a time until a breakthrough 2019, when he logged a 2.15 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A and Triple-A. He began 2020 at the alternate training site and earned his first big league callup on Sept. 26, when he pitched 1.2 innings of relief against the Red Sox. Scouting Report: Davidson became more efficient in his delivery in 2020, implementing his lower half more effectively to help him hold his top-end velocity. His fastball sits around 92 mph and has been up to 97, and his development should help him maintain an above-average fastball. Formerly a fastball/curveball pitcher, Davidson added a slider to his repertoire and it now looks like his best breaking ball, with above-average potential in the mid-to-upper 80s. Davidson’s curveball has above-average vertical depth and could be an average pitch if he can land it consistently. Davidson throws a changeup, but it’s his fourth-best offering. He walked four batters in 1.2 innings in his big league debut, and his walk rate has been a tick below-average in his minor league career. The Future: Questions about Davidson’s durability and control lead opposing scouts to believe he profiles as a reliever in the majors. The Braves haven’t given up on him as a starter.
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