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Major League Baseball's offseason is underway, and that means everyone is thinking about the future. In most cities, that means next season; in some, though, it means the bigger picture, the next three to five years. You're either selling wins or you're selling hope, the old saying goes. We here at CBS Sports like to provide as much hope as we can around this time of the winter by evaluating each team's farm system.

Of course, that doesn't mean every team has an equally good farm system -- some, as you'll find out throughout this process, are lacking in that respect. It does mean, nevertheless, that CBS Sports will be spending the next couple of months examining the top three prospects in each organization. We define "prospects" as retaining their rookie eligibility for the 2024 season, so if a young player is missing that's likely why. 

These lists and evaluations are formed following conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development types. There's also firsthand evaluation and bias thrown into the mix. Keep in mind that player evaluation is a hard task, and it's fine if you disagree with the rankings. These are opinions, and they have no real bearing on the future. You can check out our winter top 25 list by clicking here.

With that in mind, let's get to it by dissecting the Atlanta Braves.

1. Hurston Waldrep, RHP (22 years old)

  • The short version: Big-time stuff plagued by command concerns.
  • MLB ETA: Summer 2024

Scouts regarded Waldrep as a possible top-10 pick throughout last spring's draft cycle based on a well-above-average arsenal. He can touch into the upper-90s with his fastball, and his trapdoor splitter was one of the best individual pitches in the class. Waldrep nonetheless slipped to the Braves at No. 24 because of his command: he walked more than 14% of the batters he faced during SEC play -- for reference, Blake Snell had the highest walk rate last season among big-league starters, at 13.3%. Waldrep flew through the minors showing the same bat- and zone-missing tendencies. If he can throw slightly more strikes, he's a potential front-end starter; if he throws slightly fewer strikes, he's a potential end-game reliever. We'll see which way it goes.

2. Ignacio Alvarez, 3B (20 years old)

  • The short version: Well-rounded young infielder with starter upside.
  • MLB ETA: Spring 2025

The Braves have made a habit out of finding contributors later in the draft. Alvarez, himself a fifth-round pick in 2022 out of a California JuCo, looks like he could soon join the group. He hit .284/.395/.391 at High-A last season despite being two years younger than his average opponent. Alvarez has more raw power than his slugging percentage indicates, though he'll need to lift the ball more frequently to fully tap into it. While he played almost exclusively at shortstop, we suspect that he'll end up elsewhere on the infield before he reaches the majors. The upside here is an above-average hitter with a good glove at either second or third base.

3. Owen Murphy, RHP (20 years old)

  • The short version: Athletic right-hander with mid-rotation potential.
  • MLB ETA: Summer 2025

Murphy, who also played shortstop as a prepster, has drawn past comparisons to Jack Flaherty and Jack Leiter because of his easy delivery and athleticism. His first full professional season saw him punch out more than 11 batters per nine innings, all while he was several years younger on average than his competition. Murphy's arsenal includes a rising fastball and a promising curveball. First-round prep right-handers will almost always break your heart -- hold Murphy at arm's length, even if so far he's on track to become a mid-rotation starter.