MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Breaking down the Braves' 2016 Top 30 Prospects

Bold approach gives Atlanta MLB's 2nd-ranked farm system

Breaking down the Braves' 2016 Top 30 Prospects

People throughout the country have become familiar with the Trader Joe's chain stores, where good values can be found on groceries. People in Atlanta have quickly grown accustomed to Trader Johns, where both the former and current guys in charge found good values on prospects in an attempt to restock the farm system.

Starting with president of baseball operations John Hart and then continuing when John Coppolella took over as the general manager, the Braves' front office made a concerted effort to rebuild what had become a bit of a barren stable of prospects.

Over the past couple of years, there has been a complete re-tooling, with trades bringing in 16 of the new Top 30 list. It also helped Atlanta go from more of a bottom-feeder in organizational rankings to a No. 9 placement a year ago and all the way up to No. 2 in MLBPipeline.com's system rankings.

MLB's Top 10 farm systems

The most recent deals from this offseason netted the Braves three of their top four prospects, all of them in the Top 100, led by No. 1 prospect -- and 2015 No. 1 overall pick -- Dansby Swanson. Swanson joins Ozzie Albies to form the best shortstop prospect duo, by far, in any organization. The Braves are very excited, for good reason, to have a potential up-the-middle nucleus of Swanson, Albies, center fielder Mallex Smith (trade) and catcher Lucas Herbert (2015 Draft).

Braves' Top 30 Prospects list

Herbert is part of a strong Draft Class of '15 for the Braves, adding even more upside and depth to a system now bursting at the seams with talent. His high school batterymate (and first-round pick) Kolby Allard is a Top 100 prospect, and third baseman Austin Riley's huge pro debut raised his prospect stock quite a bit. Picking No. 3 overall, as well as having an extra pick at 40, will only help add to the prospect coffers.

Be patient, Braves fans. Good times will return, courtesy of the farm system. That's how things used to work in Atlanta, and it is exactly what the Johns were setting out to re-establish.

Top 30 Prospects lists
Division Teams/Release date
NL East ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI, WAS
AL East BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR
NL Central CHC, CINMIL, PIT, STL
AL Central CLE, CWS, DET, KC, MIN
NL West ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF
AL West HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TEX

Biggest jump/fall
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2015 preseason list to the 2016 preseason list.

Jump: Ronald Acuna (2015: NR | 2016: 23)
Fall: Alec Grosser (2015: 15 | 2016: NR)

Best tools
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.

Hit: Dansby Swanson (60)
Power: Austin Riley (55)
Run: Mallex Smith (80)
Arm: Johan Camargo (70)
Defense: Lucas Herbert (60)
Fastball: Mauricio Cabrera (70)
Curveball: Lucas Sims (60)
Slider: Chris Ellis (55)
Changeup: Manny Banuelos (55)
Control: Wes Parsons (55)

How they were built
Draft: 9
International: 4
Trade: 16
Rule 5: 1

Breakdown by ETA
2016: 7
2017: 11
2018: 7
2019: 5

Breakdown by position
C: 1
3B: 3
SS: 3
OF: 3
RHP: 15
LHP: 5

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.