Atlanta Braves Top 15 Prospects (2012-13)

The Braves system is not as deep as it once was and the majority of the talent is found in the lower levels of the system. With that said, there are some intriguing pitching and up-the-middle infield prospects. The outfield depth is very thin.

 

#1 Julio Teheran (P)


Age G GS IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP WAR
21 2 1 6.1 7.11 1.42 22.2 % 5.68 1.99 0.2

It was an off year for Teheran but it’s important to remember that the Colombia native was just 21 years old and pitching in both triple-A and the majors. He posted a 5.08 ERA with 146 hits allowed in 131 innings for Gwinnet. His strikeout rate of 6.66 K/9 was a career low, and the result of poor fastball command. Teheran fell behind in counts too often and wasn’t able to set up his curveball.

Teheran headed to the Dominican Winter League and righted the ship, according to a contact I spoke with recently. “He threw very well at the end of the season and in winter ball… there were some adjustments that he needed to make… and he did.” The talent evaluator added that Teheran’s struggles were partly mechanical and partly mental. “We just needed him to get back to where he was… When you’re struggling you try and do a little more than you’re capable of.”

The young hurler’s stuff was off for much of 2012 but he his heater was back up in the 95-96 mph range, according to my contact. He also features a potentially-above-average changeup and a potentially-average-or-better curveball. With Brandon Beachy not due back from Tommy John surgery until June or July, there is an opening for Teheran to seize with a strong spring. When asked if the Braves’ view of the top pitching prospect has altered at all since his struggles in 2012 I was told, “He has dominating stuff and nothing has changed.”

 

#2 J.R. Graham (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 26 26 148.0 123 8 6.69 2.07 2.80 3.19

Graham, 23, has quickly become one of the best pitchers in the system since being taken in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Santa Clara University. He’s not tall but he has a sturdy frame. His 92-96 mph fastball explodes out of his compact delivery.

When I saw Graham pitch, his shoulder was flying open at times, causing his pitches to elevate and opposing batters were taking some very good swings on his four-seam fastball. He utilized a very fastball-heavy approach. He threw some solid sliders, including a back-door breaking ball to a left-handed hitter. Graham’s changeup looked better than advertised. The right-hander reached double-A in his first full pro season and, after making just nine starts there, should briefly return to the level before moving up to triple-A in 2013. He has the ceiling of a No. 2 or 3 starter.

 

#3 Christian Bethancourt (C)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 288 65 5 2 11 45 8 .243 .275 .291 .265

Bethancourt may be the best all-around defensive catcher in the minor leagues. The young prospect has a cannon for an arm and is extremely athletic behind the dish, which helps his receiving and blocking. His game calling lags behind his other attributes but he’s made strides in that area.

Bethancourt’s offense is a very different story. He’s an overly-aggressive hitter (11 walks in 71 games) who constantly gets himself into pitchers’ counts or makes contact with poor pitches. To his credit, he puts the bat on the ball with consistency and doesn’t strike out a ton. The Panama native doesn’t hit for much power but a better approach could help him tap into it.

Bethancourt, 21, would probably be best served by a return trip to double-A but the injury to big league veteran Brian McCann could put some pressure on the youngster. Even if his offense doesn’t improve, Bethancourt will be a big leaguer solely on his defense — even if it’s just in a back-up role.

 

#4 Lucas Sims (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
18 11 11 34.0 28 3 10.32 3.44 3.71 3.55

The Braves’ first round pick from the 2012 amateur draft, Sims is a Georgia native. The right-hander shows above-average athleticism, a solid pitcher’s frame and three promising pitches: a low-90s fastball that touches 96-97 mph, a curveball and a changeup.

In his debut, Sims held his own but struggled with both his command and control — which is not unusual for a young pitcher, and especially one that was a two-way player in high school. Sims, 18, has the potential to develop into a No. 2 or 3 starter although he has a long way to go to reach his potential. He should open 2013 in full-season ball but will likely spend the entire season in Rome.

 

#5 Sean Gilmartin (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 27 27 157.0 152 15 6.36 2.24 3.84 3.85

Gilmartin was the Braves’ first pick (28th overall) during the 2011 amateur draft, which also saw the club add fellow Top 15 arms J.R. Graham (4th round) and Navery Moore (14th). The lefty out of Florida State University doesn’t have a huge ceiling but he could develop into a solid No. 3 or 4 starter and reached triple-A in his first full pro season. A talent evaluator I spoke with about the California native had this to say, “He has a great feel for pitching… He prepares well and studies hitters. He knows what he needs to do.”

When I saw Gilmartin, 22, pitch, he showed a smooth, easy delivery with some deception. The ball looked quicker coming out of his hand, even though he throws his heater in the 87-91 mph range. I was not overly impressed with his breaking ball but I’m told his slider has the potential to be an above-average offering in time. His changeup definitely has a chance to become a plus pitch and he was getting hitter to swing over top of the offering. He did an outstanding job of disrupting hitters’ timings by changing speeds and locations.

The contact I spoke with said the southpaw struggled late in 2012 and he likely wore down under the workload of a long season. “He’s a very hard worker and made every start and pitched deep into games,” he stated. Gilmartin will likely return to triple-A to open the 2013 season — although I’m told he’ll get a long look in spring training. He could be the first pitcher called upon, though, if injuries or inconsistencies strike the starting staff.

 

#6 Jose Peraza (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
18 228 60 7 1 12 25 25 .290 .341 .367 .334

The Braves opened 2012 with some impressive minor league middle infield depth with the likes of Andrelton Simmons, Tyler Pastornicky, and Nick Ahmed. The organization added another name to the list with the emergence of Peraza. The 18-year-old Venezuelan hit .318 in 21 Gulf Coast League games before moving up to the more advanced Appalachian League where he continued to show potential.

Peraza doesn’t have much power but he has a chance to hit for a high average because he makes good contact and has plus speed. He stole 25 bases in 30 attempts in 2012. A talent evaluator I spoke with called the infielder “an exciting player. He’s a lead-off type of hitter who can really bunt… He’s just starting to put things together.”

Defensively, the young prospect has plus range, a strong arm and good actions. With that said, he still makes youthful mistakes in the field but there is no doubt that he’ll be able to stick at the position. I’m told Peraza suffered form tendinitis in his arm after his promotion to Danville in 2012 and wasn’t 100%. He underwent a strength program during the fall instructional league and the injury was not considered serious. With a strong spring, Peraza could open 2013 in full-season ball and is probably about four years away from challenging Simmons for playing time.

 

#7 Alex Wood (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 13 13 52.2 40 1 8.89 2.39 2.56 2.38

Wood, 22, was a 2012 second round draft pick out of the University of Georgia. He was given an above-average bonus to sign and had an outstanding debut despite being challenged with an assignment to A-ball. The southpaw has the ability to miss bats while also inducing an above-average number of ground-ball outs. A contact I spoke with said Wood has the potential for two plus pitches — his low-to-mid-90s fastball and changeup — and his breaking ball should be at least average.

On the mound, Wood hides the ball behind his back, which adds deception to his delivery, but it could also give a view of his grip to a runner on second base. His delivery is not smooth and I’m not a big fan of his arm action. Wood slowed his arm a bit when he threw his breaking ball.
 When I saw him play, he fielded his position well and showed some athleticism but didn’t hold base runners well. With that said, he has a hop at the end of his delivery and is turned looking over his left should, which could hurt his ability to field the ball to his left .

Wood ended the season with an abdominal injury and he missed the fall instructional league, costing him a little development time. Despite that fact, he should open 2013 in high-A ball and the organization is excited for his future. My contact stated, “With a young kid like this… there is a lot to like.” However, you don’t see many starting pitchers with deliveries like Wood. For me, his mechanics scream “Reliever.”

 

#8 Mauricio Cabrera (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
18 12 12 57.2 45 2 7.49 3.59 2.97 3.55

Cabrera, 19, opened some eyes during his first taste of North American baseball in 2012. The right-hander has a mid-90s fastball, as well as two other pitches that could develop into above-average offerings: a slider and changeup. Cabrera struggles with both his command and control.

A talent evaluator I spoke with was impressed with the young pitcher. “He’s got good size, strength… with a good arm… He improved as the season wore on. We think there is a lot of ability and potential there.” The native of the Dominican Republic should open 2013 in full-season ball and should spend most of, if not all, his year in Rome of the South Atlantic League. He has a solid shot at sticking in the starting rotation but has a lot of development ahead of him before reaching the majors.

 

#9 Zeke Spruill (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 34 34 186.0 179 9 5.76 2.61 3.63 3.52

A 2008 second round draft pick, Spruill’s development has taken some patience as he enters his sixth pro season. That patience is about to pay off. The right-hander spent all of 2012 in double-A, making 27 starts and pitching more than 160 innings. In a bit of a surprising decision, he then made another seven starts and pushed his innings total for the year to more than 180.

Spruill’s approach on the mound has evolved over time and he’s become more of a pitch-to-contact pitcher. His strikeout rates are a little low, as a result, but he produces above-average ground-ball rates. He has a tall, lanky frame with good balance and an easy delivery. When I watched him pitch Spruill was struggling to establish his fastball and command was an issue. He used his off-speed pitch for strikeouts but he telegraphed it by lowering his high-three-quarter arm slot when delivering the pitch. The Georgia native also features a low-90s fastball and a slider.

Spruill should move up to triple-A to begin 2013 and could be one of the first starting pitchers recalled in the event of an injury. He could be a solid innings-eater at the back-end of the starting rotation. With some improvements to his secondary stuff I could see him pitching at the level of a No. 3 starter for at least a few seasons.

 

#10 Evan Gattis (C/DH)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
25 314 83 20 18 31 43 2 .305 .389 .607 .437

Gattis is an unusual story as a player that gave up baseball for a number of years and didn’t turn pro until he was 23 years old. Now 26, he’s been making up for lost time and split 2012 between high-A and double-A. Combined, he hit 18 home runs in an injury-shortened 74-game season before adding another 16 home runs in 56 Venezuelan Winter League contests. His impressive power comes from strong forearms and above-average bat speed.

Originally signed as a catcher, Gattis has also played some first base and left field. He’s a below-average fielder behind the plate and keeping him back there on a full-time basis would only slow his development. He’s competent enough back there, though, to serve as a big league club’s third-string catcher and has a strong arm. When speaking with a contact about Gattis, I mentioned Mike Napoli as a possible comp but Josh Willingham was suggested to me as slightly more appropriate.

The contact I spoke with feels that Gattis could develop enough offense at the big league level to be an everyday player, even in left field. “He’s been productive at every level he’s played… His versatility is a huge asset,” he said. “When guys hit like that you find a place to play him.” Gattis should open 2013 in triple-A but a strong spring could force the Braves to find a spot for him on the 25-man roster.

 

#11 Nick Ahmed (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 654 157 39 7 58 113 45 .271 .340 .399 .337

Ahmed, 22, is a tall shortstop who was the Braves’ second round draft pick in 2011. He spent all of 2012 at the high-A ball level with mixed results. He finished the year in the Arizona Fall League and looked good in a small-sample size. He swung and missed too much, leading to a high strikeout rate and low batting average. He has gap power but does not hit as many home runs as one might expect given his frame. However, his swing is geared to hitting the ball into the gaps. Ahmed stole 40 bases in 50 tries last season and has above-average speed.

Ahmed has improved his range at shortstop and he also possesses a strong arm. He definitely has a chance to stick at the position but could also see time at either third base or second base, depending on the big league club’s needs. Ahmed should move up to double-A in 2013 and will hopefully look to adjust his approach at the plate, either to adopt an all-fields, line-drive approach or to create more leverage in his swing and hit for more power. He currently appears to be caught somewhere in the middle.

 

#12 Navery Moore (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 26 13 102.2 83 3 7.36 3.94 3.86 3.38

Moore, 22, had an inconsistent career at Vanderbilt University but had decent results in his first full pro season. He spent the year in low A-ball and split his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Moore’s repertoire includes a low-90s fastball that can hit 95-96 mph. He also has a breaking ball that appear to be more of a curveball than a slider and I didn’t see much of a changeup when I watched him pitch.

Moore has a smooth, compact delivery but he telegraphed his breaking ball by slowing down his arm. He looks more comfortable from the stretch rather than the full wind-up, possibly due to having fewer moving parts. The Tennessee native appears to be better suited to a relief role going forward but he could be a swing man in a big league rotation. He’ll move up to high-A ball to begin 2013 but could see double-A by the end of the season.

 

#13 Cody Martin (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 22 19 107.1 93 7 10.31 2.85 2.93 2.90

Martin had an impressive 2012 campaign when he struck out 123 batters in 107 high-A ball innings. It was his first full pro season after being selected in the eighth round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Gonzaga University. A scout I spoke with about Martin said he has a big league feel to pitching. “He has great command of all of his pitches,” he said. “Not just good but very advanced for someone his age. Give his dad credit for that who was an ex-Braves minor leaguer.”

Martin has a four-pitch mix including a fastball that has hit 93-94 mph coming out of the bullpen, a role he fulfilled in college during his senior year. He also has a promising slider, good curveball and a developing changeup. “His changeup grades out as major-league average,” the scout said. “He’ll throw it in any count. Best case he ends up being a [Kris] Medlen-type guy but most likely will be an end-of-the-rotation starter. Worst case he is a long relief bullpen arm.”

Martin, 23, will move up to double-A in 2013 and continue to stretch himself out to see if he can stick in the starting rotation; a strong second half of ’12 provides hope. He could be ready for a shot at the big leagues in 2014.

 

#14 Josh Elander (C/DH)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 145 32 6 4 16 19 3 .260 .366 .439 .369

A sixth round draft pick from 2012 out of Texas Christian University, Elander could turn out to be a real steal as an offensive-minded catcher. His drop in the draft, though, was related to the concerns that other teams had about his ability to stick behind the dish. Elander, who did not catch regularly until his junior year of college, is athletic with a strong arm but he’s a raw receiver and is just learning how to call a game.

At the plate, the Texas native has raw power that he’s slowly beginning to tap into during game situations and he makes above-average contact (19 Ks in 36 games). He could eventually provide a well-rounded offensive game. Elander could open 2013 in high-A ball and reach the majors at some point in 2014, depending on his defensive development. He could eventually move to another position such as first base or a corner outfielder. Elander could also become the eventual replacement for Brian McCann if Christian Bethancourt’s bat fails to develop.

 

#15 Luis Merejo (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
17 10 8 41.0 38 1 11.63 1.98 4.61 1.81

Merejo, 18, was another young Latin player that made an impressive North American debut in 2012. The southpaw showed above-average control with just nine walks in 41 rookie ball innings. He has an 88-92 mph fastball as a well as a solid curveball and developing changeup.

He was an extreme-fly-ball pitcher but a contact I spoke with said the organization wasn’t concerned about his approach at this stage in his development and just wants him to go out and pitch and get experience. “He’s a young guy with a good arm. He’s just a baby.” Merejo’s 2013 minor league assignment is still up in the air but I’m told the organization will be cautious with him and feels no need to rush him.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


50 Responses to “Atlanta Braves Top 15 Prospects (2012-13)”

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  1. TKDC says:

    I know it works out sometimes, and as we saw in that piece earlier this week, the Braves have the lowest average age for major league debuts since 1990, but I have to wonder why they pushed Betancourt to AA last year after he was wretched in 45 games at A+ (e.g. 1.7% BB). I don’t think AA is the place to learn a basic understanding of the strike zone.

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  2. Colin says:

    Gattis as an everyday player? That’s the first I’ve heard of that.

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  3. nik says:

    Weakest I’ve seen the Braves system in a long time.

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    • TKDC says:

      It does seem pretty weak; fortunately they have a lot of good young talent at the Major League level. That takes the sting out of a below average farm.

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    • JT Grace says:

      The system is pretty weak right now but the team did just graduate guys like Heyward, Freeman, Simmons, Beachy, Minor and Delgado within the last 3 years or so. It’s not surprising that the Braves are going through a little lull right now. With promising kids like Peraza, Cabrera, Elander and Merejo I think the system will be up to full strength within a couple of years.

      I just wish Bourn would sign somewhere so that we know that the Braves will at least have a supplemental 1st round pick this summer. A strong draft and solid international signing period will go a long ways towards helping this system.

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  4. mikk402 says:

    The arms seem promising. The lack of any offense means the Braves can’t be shy about trying arms for a bat.

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    • nik says:

      Are they really promising? 3 of the top 4 arms couldn’t get above 6.7 SO/9 rates.

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      • TKDC says:

        Yes, they are, cherry picked stats aside. The Braves farm is weak, but to say they don’t have promising arms is jumping the shark.

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      • Oasis says:

        One, generally strikeout rates decline as you move closer to the majors so yeah, a sub 7 rate could be concerning. Two, jumping the shark doesn’t mean what you think it means …

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      • TKDC says:

        1. Several of the pitchers not in the top 4 have much higher K rates, also, Teheren and Graham have better rates either in 2011 or the second half of 2012 respectively.

        2. I know exactly what jumping the shark means. Obviously you either don’t or you are too stupid to see the connection. nik is a classic Phillies homer and he basically just blasts everything about every other team in the NL East. In this case, he was going along fine with his criticism, but he made a ridiculous statement that made him seem silly and irrelevant, at least to me. So he is exactly like the Fonz jumping over the shark in happy days – he looks like a doofus. I don’t see how you can’t see that?

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      • cthabeerman says:

        Jumping the shark doesn’t mean looking like a doofus, or anything remotely close.

        Jumping the shark is considered a signal that something that has been very successful/prominent/popular is now fully in its downturn…most likely never to return to nearly the same level of success/prominence/popularity it previously held.

        Fonz jumping the shark signaled the end of Happy Days as a popular show. It was a gimmick used to bring viewers back as the show’s creativity lagged, but it failed miserably and the show never grabbed audiences of nearly the same size as it had prior to the incident.

        -C

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      • TKDC says:

        Jumping the shark is doing something stupid that makes you look silly and irrelevant. It doesn’t require a checklist of five elements.

        -T

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      • TD says:

        You can use words however you please, but “jump the shark” in fact has a specific definition and you clearly do not know what it is.

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      • wily mo says:

        this argument has leapt the porpoise

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      • Brian says:

        TKDC is wrong.

        Jumping the shark definition here:

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JumpingTheShark

        Google is your friend.

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      • chuckb says:

        @tkdc, a season’s K rate is not a cherry-picked Stat.

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      • chuckb says:

        And you’re wrong about what “jumping the shark” means, tkdc.

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      • TKDC says:

        @chuckb

        Ignoring the K rate of the other 6 pitching prospects is cherry picking. It’s one stat, and one year, and applies to fewer than half of the pitching prospects on the list.

        And I guess I was wrong about jumping the shark, but I’m not wrong about it being silly to say the braves pitchers aren’t promising because a couple of them had low K rates for one season.

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  5. Clint Robinson says:

    Do you have a reason that your scouting report on Teheran is inconsistent with every other scouting report out there on him?

    The book on him since forever has been that he has an above-average to plus change up, and an iffy breaking ball.

    Did you just mix the two offerings up? Or do you believe the quality of his secondary pitches has changed rather significantly?

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    • deadpool says:

      One of the reasons often cited for Teheran’s struggles this past year was that the Braves asked him to throw the off-speed pitches a ton, which put him behind in counts a lot. His inability to get a feel for the release on the change was a big problem, so it’s not surprising it downgraded. Once they took the reigns off and let him work off the fastball his numbers immediately started to trend in the right direction.

      The old reports had his change up as potentially his best pitch, but since 2012 proved he can’t work off it I’d think it’s fair to say it lost some shine.

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      • JT Grace says:

        There was also a report at Talking Chop that said that the Braves had tinkered with the mechanics of Teheran. They ended up allowing him to pitch like he had done earlier in his career…with great success.

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  6. Shaun says:

    I just watched a video of Gattis, first time I’ve ever actually seen him. The body type reminded me of David Ross, though I know Gattis is bigger and I would think has to be more athletic, if a pro organization is willing to stick him in leftfield at any level.

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  7. JT Grace says:

    Love the aggressive ranking of Josh Elander. He was probably my favorite pick of the 2012 draft. I have a feeling that he is much more likely to be the successor to McCann than Bethancourt.

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  8. Spencer says:

    As Marc pointed out, the ones who could turn out to be exciting are still young. Sims, Wood, and Spruill all look like high upside guys. Most of the pitchers are projected as 2-3 starters, and a rotation full of those (plus Medlen, Beachy, and Minor) ain’t bad.
    I know it’s lazy, but Gilmartin is just extremely reminiscent of Mike Minor, mechanically, in particular. The way his fastball deceptively explodes out of his hand after such a smooth motion. Wouldn’t expect that either of those guys could run it up to 94-95 (maybe more 92-93 for Gilmartin).
    The fact that the Braves big league club is so young means the farm isn’t going to be stocked, and it doesn’t have to be. I look forward to seeing Heyward, Freeman, and Simmons hit their prime as guys like Sims and Wood start making their big league impact.

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    • JT Grace says:

      I would think the highest upside young arms would be Sims, Cabrera and Merejo. All three are 19 or younger and have a pretty high ceiling. Spruill seems more like a back of the rotation starter or long reliever. Of course he could pull a Medlen and surprise everyone.

      I also don’t see the comparison of Minor and Gilmartin, aside from the fact they are left handed. Minor is a power pitcher with #1 starter potential while Gilmartin is more of a finesse pitcher who will be an innings eater more than anything.

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      • Spencer says:

        When Minor came into the league, he was not at all a power pitcher. He sits 88-91 usually, but CAN get it up to 95. He is a nitpicking fly ball pitcher. He only became somewhat of a ‘power’ pitcher when he switched from a curve to a slider and started throwing it for strikes and using it as an out pitch.

        And I agree that some of these guys seem destined for the bullpen, Wood especially with that delivery. But the bullpen is a big part of why Atlanta is a good team now, and Frank Wren knows a good pen is worth quite a bit. Even if some of these guys spend their career in the pen, the team will only be better for it.

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      • JT Grace says:

        I think you meant to say when Minor was drafted he wasn’t a power pitcher. After he was drafted the Braves made an adjustment to his mechanics which caused an immediate uptick in his velocity. His fastball is around 91 – 94 now and he averaged almost 10K/9 while in AAA. Gilmartin is more in the 88 – 91 fastball range and he averaged 6.3 K/9 last season. There really just isn’t much comparison between the two. Minor has a lot more upside to him than Gilmartin.

        You have to like how Wren builds a bullpen. He drafts a load of pitchers so that he will always have a stable full of young, inexpensive arms to fill out the BP.

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  9. dpurps says:

    Where would Edward Salcedo rank? Does he still have a shot at becoming a good big leaguer?

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  10. Reuben says:

    While the system doesn’t look strong based on rankings and scouting reports from outside sources we have seen this story before. Braves continually have prospects that overperform the rankings given to them (Medlen/Beachy/Simmons). I expect the same out of this group. Braves are as good as it gets when it comes to scouting/development.

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  11. Antonio bananas says:

    The braves system looks weaker than usual, but they have three starting 23 year olds. The farm is a look at the future of a club, if I had the option of three 23 year old top 20 prospects, or three 23 year old everyday major leaguers, I’d chose the latter. Still have pitching depth as well as young pitchers in the bigs. So while their farm isn’t as strong, their general youth is.

    Think about it like this. The cards have Oscar taveras, kolten Wong, and Matt Adams offensively, Shelby miller, Trevor rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, and Michael wacha pitching. The braves have Heyward, Simmons, and freeman that are pretty unarguably better than the cards trio. Teheran should be rated higher than miller given that he’s younger and at the same level and both have struggled, Delgado is already in the big leagues, Kimbrel is better than rosenthal, and Atlanta still has beachy, minor, and medlen in their pre arbitration years. So my point is that while Atlanta doesn’t have the best farm, it’s because they have young players in the bigs while other teams have players the same age still in the minors.

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    • Clifford says:

      Except then you kinda have to include Jon Jay, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, Pete Kozma, Allen Craig, etc etc…and this is the farm system we are talking about here….not the team with the best youth throughout the organization…and no offense, but when you make comments like “Teheran should be rated higher than Miller given that hes younger and at the same level and both have struggled,” it pretty much screams homer. And your assesment of Teheran vs. Miller is just wrong. First off, yes, they both had their struggles last year at AAA…but they were completely different…Teheran’s K/9 rate plummeted badly, while his HR/9 rate skyrocketed…his ERA was over 5.00, and his FIP wasnt really any better…Meanwhile, if you look at Miller’s metrics, his K/9 rate went up by a decent bit, while his BB/9 rate went down…he had an outlier-type spike in HR/9 which seems to just have been a source of bad luck more than anything…and most importantly, not only did Miller come back in the 2nd half and absolutely dominate at AAA, but he dominated in his short stint in the bigs as well…Teheran has now been called up twice to the bigs in the last 2 years, and shown absolutely nothing…not to mention he pitched extremely bad for the entirety of the year. I’ve actually seen Top 100 lists where Miller is in the top 8-10 and Teheran isnt in the top 50, sometimes top 75…and no, im not a Cards fan…i actually hate the Cards and the Braves.

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      • Josh says:

        I actually laughed out loud at the mention on Pete Kozma. Stop it, just stop it.

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      • chuckb says:

        Kozma is nothing near a young talent but it’s equally false to imply that Miller’s “struggles” last year compared to Teheran’s. Miller did give up a few too many long balls last year in the PCL but, otherwise, he was very good. His “struggles” such as they were, have been greatly exaggerated.

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      • Antonio bananas says:

        The cards big league “young talent” isn’t young. I don’t know what it is, but I think cards fans think that guys who are new are young. None of their “young” big league players are really “young”. Even last year I heard people calling freese “young”. Jon jay and Allen Craig are in their mid-late 20s, joe Kelly is probably a AAAA player, kozma isn’t a big leaguer, Teheran was working on other pitches last year apparently and already has 2 years at AAA.

        I know this is about farm teams. My point was that because of just how extraordinary their farm was, the have guys in the bigs who are still n their typical minor league ages. If Oscar taveras, kolten Wong, and Matt Adams were better, they’d already be major leaguers. So the point is that the braves aren’t as void as it may seem and the cards are a good comp because they have a top outfield, middle infield, and first base prospect.

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  12. Marver says:

    How far out is Lipka?

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  13. Chad says:

    Yes, i’m sure the Braves are crestfallen about not having an elite talent like Pete Kozma in the system. He of the AAA wRC+ of 52 and the good fortune of being bailed out on “infield flies.”

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  14. Ian T Roberts says:

    10 pitchers, two catchers who don’t catch, one catcher who doesn’t hit and a shortstop. Maybe next year we should try drafting only position players.

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  15. MLB Rainmaker says:

    Teheran’s dropping K/9 is a major concern for a guy with an average FB velocity above 93 mph.

    There were 11 SPs with avg FB velocity at 93.0 or above last season and all but Ross Detwiler were K machines. Given Teheran has the gift of gas yet can’t get Ks, tells me he’s got no secondary stuff. In A-ball, most guys can’t keep up with that heat, but by AAA if you don’t have an offspeed or breaking pitch you’re going to get beat up.

    I think the Braves have the right idea in pushing Teheran on his offspeed stuff. As is, he might be a decent reliever or weak #4-5, but if he develops a solid change, he’s could really be dangerous.

    That’s the problem with this whole prospect game…only a handful of guys have the ceiling that a guy like Teheran has if he gets his sh!t together, but so far, he’s not shown any signs of turning the corner.

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      His change up is supposed to be pretty filthy too. I think he’ll bounce back. He’s young and has a lot of upper level innings and the braves are too good at developing quality arms to let him fall off.

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    • Debby Downer says:

      Its more complicated than doesn’t have secondary stuff. Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza early in their Rays careers is a good example. They weren’t high K guys but had Garza still had an excellent slider and even his curveball looked like a strikeout pitch at times. Jackson also had a nasty slider and a strikeout splitter. However, Jackson and Garza had poor command, especially of their secondary pitches. They fell behind hitters too often and weren’t confident enough to throw their secondary pitches if they needed a strike.

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    • Undocorkscrew says:

      ” In A-ball, most guys can’t keep up with that heat, but by AAA if you don’t have an offspeed or breaking pitch you’re going to get beat up.”

      Teheran at AAA at the age of 20:

      145 IP, 2.55 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9

      I know it’s a “what have you done for me lately” game, but the fact that Teheran got it together toward the end of the season is encouraging. I only got to see one start in that span, but his changeup and curve looked great and he was mixing them well.

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      • MLB Rainmaker says:

        When did he get it together? He gave up 16 earned over 27 innings in his last 5 starts min the minors.

        On Garza, the difference is Garza was dominant at the AAA level and only struggled at the MLB level which is an expected adjustment — Teheran’s step back is at against weaker competition. Jackson isn’t a good comp for anyone. He jumped the minors, then randomly ‘figured it out’ 7 seasons in.

        This will probably be more inflammatory that my initial post, but I don’t put much weight on minors ERA/FIP. Wade Davis is a great example of a top prospect with a solid minors ERA/FIP that saw his K/9 slip as he moved through the minors. When he got up, his K/9 sat at that lower level, and his ERA rose to the point where he was bumped from the rotation.

        I’m not saying Teheran won’t ever pan out, but he needs to develop secondary stuff at AAA and show the ability to miss bats there before he should get a look with the big club.

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      • Undocorkscrew says:

        @MLB Rainmaker

        He also allowed two earned runs or fewer in three of his final four starts and completed at least eight innings in two of those.

        You don’t put a lot of weight in MiLB FIP, but you’re apparently putting a ton of it on K/9….

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    • Buttermilk Tuesdays says:

      Hasn’t shown any signs of turning the corner? The dude threw something like a combined 16 innings of no-hit ball in the DR during winter ball. Teheran would have never had such a mediocre 2012 season if management had not messed with his delivery. .”

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  16. Brian says:

    System would be fine if we wouldve done the smart thing you do when you have a system full of pitchers and trade the Major league ones that are pitching above their heads. Imagine the amount we couldve got for Jair or Hanson if we wouldve got rid of them before their inevitable downfall…

    And before any of you guys say, but there’s no way we could’ve known they would end up being failures, go look at capitalavenueclub around the time of Jair’s allstar game and the hordes of people saying that now was the time to trade him.

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    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      Seriously? Even after Jurrjens melted down last season, he still has a career MLB ERA of 3.62 and until he got hurt Tommy Hanson was on a prospect progression like Tim Lincecum. So yes, that’s just silly.

      The reason to move Jurrjens was because ATL had the depth to replace him and other holes to fill.

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      • majnun says:

        The reason to move Jurrjens was because he was always horrible, and a collapse was easy to see coming. Pointing to his career average is you saying you didn’t see it coming.

        I kinda think MLB teams did though, hence no trade.

        As for Hanson I think he meant post injury. It seemed that he was done, but many were holding out hope. That would have been a nice time to trade him but that feels more like hindsight.

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  17. The Ghost of Cap Anson says:

    Hi there fangraphs delegates. Might be a dumb question, but does any one know where I could find the link to all the teams top 15, 2013 prospects listed to date? Thanks in advance blood brothers.

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