Sunday, July 17, 2011

Atlanta Braves Mid-Season Top 15 Prospects

This is my Top 15 prospects for the Atlanta Braves here at the halfway point. This list WILL include 2011 draft picks that I think will sign. Stats are as of July 16, 2011.

1. Julio Teheran, RHP - 9-1, 1.79 ERA, 95.2 IP, 72 H, 25 BB, 81 K (AAA)

There is no doubting Teheran is one of the Top 5 prospects in baseball as he is dominating AAA hitters at the age of 20. He has lightning in his arm and reminds many people of Pedro Martinez. He had a brief stint with Atlanta and will be up there to stay as soon as a spot opens up.

2. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP - 4-5, 3.21 ERA, 87 IP, 71 H, 25 BB, 90 K (A+/AA)

Staying on the field has been the only problem for Vizcaino over his career and he is showing what he can do now that he is healthy this year. Displaying his mid 90's fastball and hammer curve, Vizcaino put up great numbers at Lynchburg and is continuing his success in AA.

3. Randall Delgado, RHP - 5-4, 3.54 ERA, 101.2 IP, 99 H, 38 BB, 98 K (AA)

Delgado has always been overshadowed a little by Teheran, and while he hasn't been quite as successful this year, he did earn a spot start for Atlanta when Tommy Hanson went down. If there is a spot open in the talented Atlanta rotation Delgado could fill it sometime in 2012.

4. Sean Gilmartin, LHP - 12-2, 2.09 ERA, 120.1 IP, 92 H, 21 BB, 130 K (College)

Recently signed for a $1.13 million bonus, Gilmartin should move quickly through the system and there is speculation that his drafting has made Mike Minor a trade chip. While I don't necessarily agree with that Gilmartin is as good a bet to reach his potential of a #3 starter as there was in the 2011 Draft.

5. Edward Salcedo, 3B - 336 AB, .277/.347/.461, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 30 BB, 70 K, 14 SB 8 CS (A)

Given the highest international bonus in Atlanta history, Salcedo is living up to expectations by showing off his plus power and hitting ability. He has had problems on defense with a position change from SS to 3B but has all the tools to succeed there. Definitely a guy to watch in the next few years.

6. Christian Bethancourt, C - 280 AB, .289/.307/.400, 4 HR, 37 RBI, 9 BB, 37 K, 6 SB 5 CS (A/A+)

Although Bethancourt's shine has been dimmed by attitude problems, there is no denying his potential behind the plate. He still has a lot of work to do but he already shuts down opposing running games and could be the eventual replacement to Brian McCann.

7. Tyler Pastornicky, SS - 351 AB, .296/.341/.413, 6 HR, 36 RBI, 23 BB, 34 K, 20 SB 8 CS (AA)

I tend to favor shortstops more than other positions and it is possible that is why Pastornicky is this high. Regardless he has had a solid year at Mississippi showing decent pop and speed while maintaining his status as Atlanta's SS of the future.

8. Carlos Perez, LHP - 4-7, 5.04 ERA, 94.2 IP, 108 H, 40 BB, 87 K (A)

A polished lefty who is praised for his work ethic as a 19-year old, Perez is much better than his numbers indicate this year. He continues to progress with his low to mid 90's heater and promising secondary pitches.

9. Brett Oberholtzer, LHP - 6-9, 3.98 ERA, 108.2 IP, 104 H, 35 BB, 83 K (AA)

Oberholtzer continues to display his workhorse ability at Mississippi while showing plus command of all three of his pitches. It will be tough for him to crack an ever talented Atlanta pitching staff but he has the makings of a ML starter somewhere.

10. J.J. Hoover, RHP - 2-6, 3.25 ERA, 83 IP, 70 H, 30 BB, 81 K (AA/AAA)

Recently moved to the bullpen at Mississippi, Hoover has succeeded in the role so far in 10 appearances. He is primed to help Atlanta at a playoff run in September and could pitch himself into a permanent role in the Majors.

11. Zeke Spruill, RHP - 7-8, 3.06 ERA, 123.2 IP, 101 H, 21 BB, 91 K (A+)

Spruill has bounced back from a tumultuous 2010 to establish himself as an pitch-to-contact, innings-eating starter. He has an impressive 4 complete games and could see a promotion during the second-half.

12. Matt Lipka, SS/OF - 355 AB, .234/.288/.279, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 25 BB, 51 K, 16 SB 9 CS (A)

Lipka has struggled to live up to expectations this year as frighteningly none of his triple-slash numbers reach .300. However the tools are still there and he only turned 19 in April so he has plenty of time to turn things around.

13. Paul Clemens, RHP - 6-5, 3.90 ERA, 94.2 IP, 92 H, 38 BB, 80 K (AA)

Speaking of turning things around, Clemens has shown the consistency that he previously lacked this year, although he is showing signs of wearing down recently. Having already thrown more innings than ever before his innings should be monitored as the year continues.

14. Nick Ahmed, SS - 87 AB, .253/.350/.356, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 13 BB, 22 K, 6 SB 3 CS (RK)

Atlanta's 2nd-round choice this year, Ahmed has had a solid start to his professional career and could move quickly through the system either at SS or 2B.

15. Mycal Jones, OF - 193 AB, .223/.349/.347, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 35 BB, 42 K, 3 SB 4 CS (AA)

Jones just beat out Andrelton Simmons for the last spot simply because he is at a higher level and it has been tough to gauge what kind of year he has had. His stats haven't been good but the potential is still there and I believe Jones deserves the benefit of the doubt for now.


Andy Otero, LHP - 0-1, 8.18 ERA, 11 IP, 14 H, 1 BB, 14 K (RK)

I was very intrigued two years ago by Otero when he put up insane DSL numbers and was perplexed when he didn't throw a pitch last year. After apparently having surgery on his elbow he has come back this year and gotten hit hard in the GCL. However the walk/strikeout numbers are reminiscent of what they were in 2009 and he still has a killer curveball to work with.

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