ESPN farm system and prospect guru Keith Law named the Braves’ farm system baseball’s best in a preview of his annual organization rankings today.
Much of the influence in this decision came from the package sent from Arizona to Atlanta for Shelby Miller. The Diamondbacks traded last year’s No.1 overall pick Dansby Swanson and pitching prospect Aaron Blair, who were ranked 8th and 56th respectively in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects last week, in exchange for Miller. Both of these rankings were higher than any other current Diamondbacks prospect.
The acquisition of Justin Upton also helped the Braves improve their farm system. Atlana acquired Upton and Chris Johnson from the Diamondbacks in 2013 in exchange for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed and Brandon Drury. Two years later, the Braves traded Upton for Max Fried, Jace Peterson, Justin Peterson and Mallex Smith. Fried was the seventh overall pick in 2012 and Peterson played in 152 games for Atlanta last year.
This is why the Miller trade could eventually get dicey. Miller is a spectacular pitcher, but he is by no means elite and came with a steep price tag. The winner of this trade will be decided over the next three years, after which Miller will become a free agent. If the Diamondbacks contend and he plays a significant role, trading away a future star will just be collateral damage. But if this doesn’t happen, this trade could get into R.A. Dickey for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud territory.
Law has been quite critical of the Diamondbacks all offseason. He called the team “nuts” after the Shelby Miller trade, and said that the team is “destined to be dissapointed” with the Jean Segura trade.
The complete preview from Keith Law will be released tomorrow.