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The Top Prospect for Each National League East Team

NL East

We continue our breakdown of the top prospects across baseball. Next up, is the NL East. It’s a division where one team reigns supreme but there’s a plethora of prospects waiting to make an impact with their clubs. The Atlanta Braves are the top dogs who have traded a lot of prospects, mostly to Oakland. In South Beach, the Miami Marlins system is in shambles after a slew of trades last year and bad drafts. Over in New York, the Mets have surprising depth for a team that made a big playoff push in 2022. As for the Philadelphia Phillies, their system is on the upswing thanks to some strong drafts. Finally, the Washington Nationals, who’s system is extremly-top heavy with prospects with something to prove in 2024 and beyond.

NL East Top Prospects

AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Scouting grades: Fastball: 65| Curveball: 50| Slider: 55| Changeup: 50| Control: 45| Overall: 55

AJ Smith-Shawver made his major league debut last year with less than 140 innings of pro experience. Smith-Shawver was 20 years old when he began last season with High-A Rome before finding himself in the majors by the end of May. The right-hander went 1-0 with a 4.22 ERA in six appearances, including five starts. However, he was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett this year given his inexperience. Smith-Shawver has work to do in terms of his command and control. His athleticism should help continue to repeat his delivery and given how little he’s pitched, he might be just scratching the surface of his potential.

Noble Meyer, RHP, Miami Marlins

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60| Slider: 60| Changeup: 50| Control: 55| Overall: 55

It didn’t take long for Noble Meyer to jump to the top of the Miami Marlins farm system. His best pitch is a high-spin slider with mid-80s velocity and a two-plan break. Although he can rely on it too much he will need to learn to not lean on it heavily as he develops. His fastball parks at 94-97 mph and can top out at 100. He uses his fading mid-80’s changeup with deceptive arm speed and it could become solid. He may not need much time in the minors if he can make adjustments to his fastball.

Jett Williams, SS/OF, New York Mets

Scouting grades: Hit: 55| Power: 45| Run:60| Arm: 50| Field: 50| Overall: 55

The 2022 MLB Draft saw the New York Mets draft catcher Kevin Parada at No. 11 and Jett Williams at No. 14. Williams had an up-and-down first two months in professional baseball including a .579 OPS in May. After that, things changed for Williams, hitting .287/.445/.512 in the months of June-August. Offensively, he has at least plus plate discipline and that he can recognize spin quicker than his peers. He has above-average bat-to-ball skills but is likely not going to be a big-time slugger at the next level. Williams is a dynamic athlete who has the work ethic to match that altogether.

Andrew Painter, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70| Slider: 60| Changeup: 55| Control: 65| Overall: 55

The only thing that stopped Andrew Painter‘s march to the majors was his injury risk. Unfortunately, it came true when he missed the year with a torn UCL. He probably won’t be back until 2025 at the earliest as he had Tommy John surgery in July. Besides that, Painter shows true No .1 starter stuff when he’s healthy. He has a legitimate four-pitch mix at his disposal. His fastball can reach triple digits and was averaging around 96 mph in 20222. He throws both a sinking two-seamer as well as a high-spin four-seamer up in the zone. His slider offers a low-80s pitch with a ton of break and huge spring rates.

Dylan Crews, OF, Washington Nationals

Scouting grades: Hit: 70| Power: 60| Run:60| Arm: 55| Field: 55| Overall: 65

Dylan Crews has been on the scouts’ radar as a high school junior. Crews ended up as the second pick in the 2023 MLB Draft. He can really hit, going .426/.567/.713 last spring for LSU. Then, he hit .355/.423/.645 in 14 games in Low-A that saw a quick two-level promotion to Double-A. Crews has a simple swing and when he’s on time, it’s short and direct that the contact is loud. He’s an above-average runner, yet he has looked great in center field, although he may end up getting pushed to the corner outfield spot. His ceiling as a hitter while playing up the middle or playing plus defense in a corner is at his advantage.

Main Photo: © Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports


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