Top 15 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

While playing competitive baseball the summer before I started high school I had a teammate named “Rusty” who always wore an Atlanta Braves baseball cap. Although he was the best hitter on the team he was constantly bombarded with ridicule because of his choice of chapeau. Atlanta was the bottom feeder in the National League and was coming off a 65-97 season, which saw them finish at least fifth in the six-team division for the sixth straight season. A funny thing happened in 1991, though. Atlanta got good. And stayed good for… well until today. The success of the organization has revolved around its ability to maintain strong pitching and currently has three of the best pitching prospects in the game – and that trio could be MLB-ready by the end of 2012. The minor league system also boasts some intriguing up-the-middle offensive talents.

1. Julio Teheran, RHP
BORN: Jan. 27, 1991
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2007 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 1st

Teheran leads the charge for Atlanta’s young arms. He attacks hitters with an explosive repertoire that screams future No. 1 starter… if he can polish one of his two breaking balls. His fastball, which can touch 96-97 mph, and changeup are both plus pitches at times and just need more consistency. Teheran has both above-average control and understanding of his craft for his age. He is a fly-ball pitcher but he does a nice job of keeping the ball in the park after allowing just five home runs in 144.2 innings at triple-A. Despite a strong changeup, Teheran struggled against left-handed batters (at least in comparison to right-handed hitters who hit .199) by allowing a .276 batting-average-against. He just recently turned 21 years old and already has 20 innings of big league experience under his belt. Atlanta has excellent pitching depth at the big league level so Teheran should receive some more seasoning at the triple-A level to begin 2012.

2. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
BORN: Nov. 13, 1990
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2007 international free agent (by Yankees)
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 6th

An astute pick-up from the Yankees organization, Vizcaino is a pitcher who’s currently in between roles. He made 17 starts between high-A and double-A but then pitched exclusively out of the bullpen at both triple-A (six appearances) and in the Majors (17 games). The right-hander could very well open 2012 in a very impressive big league bullpen that already featues young talent such as Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. As hard as it may be to believe, Vizcaino features the raw stuff to fit right in with those two arms. His fastball can touch the upper 90s and he flashes a plus curveball. The changeup also has the potential to be above-average, which could help him achieve the ceiling of a No. 2 starter if he eventually returns to starting. One concern with Vizcaino is the torn elbow ligament that he suffered in 2010 that was healed through rest and rehab, rather than surgery.

3. Randall Delgado, RHP
BORN: Feb. 9, 1990
EXPERIENCE: 5 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2006 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 4th

Like the other two pitchers at the top of this list, Delgado has risen quickly through the ranks and currently sits one step away from the Majors at the age of just 22. He worked 174 innings in 2011 split between three levels (AA, AAA, MLB) and 35 of those came at the big league level. Delgado wasn’t quite ready for the Majors, as witnessed by his 5.14 FIP and 4.63 strikeout rate. The majority of his innings came at the double-A level. Delgado has a big, strong pitcher’s frame and has provided at least 120 innings in each of his three full seasons. He has a little work to do with his control and overall consistency before he becomes a workhorse No. 2 or 3 starter for the Braves, perhaps beginning in 2013 after a full year of seasoning in triple-A. His repertoire includes a low-90s fastball that can hit the mid 90s. Both his curveball and changeup have the potential to be above-average weapons.

4. Tyler Pastornicky, SS
BORN: Dec. 13, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2008 5th round, Florida HS (by Blue Jays)
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

A personal favorite of mine while he was with Toronto, Atlanta made a smart move in acquiring him during the Yunel Escobar/Alex Gonzalez swap. One baseball official referred to the former Florida prep star as a “very good baseball player… He’s got a really good approach at the plate, works counts and can hit the ball to all fields.” Pastornicky is the type of player that you have to watch a few times to really appreciate. He doesn’t hit for average and doesn’t have any one standout tool but he does the little things and also has the potential to steal 20+ bases in a full season. He should fit in nicely at the top of a lineup in the two-hole where he can focus on advancing runners and wreaking havoc on the base paths in front of the big guns. The big question with Pastornicky is his ability to play shortstop at the big league level. He is OK at the position and has good range but his arm is average and he can be slow to unload his throws. With lots of depth in the system a move to second base would not be the worst thing for Pastornicky or the Braves. A baseball official said of the infielder, “Pastornicky has faced every challenge and improved almost every year as a professional”

5. Sean Gilmartin, LHP
BORN: May 8, 1990
EXPERIENCE: 1 season
ACQUIRED: 2011 1st round (28th overall), Florida State U
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: NA

Gilmartin was a bit of a curious pick when the Braves selected him with the 28th overall selection of the 2011 draft but if there is one thing the organization knows it’s pitching. Similar eyebrows were raised when the club selected Mike Minor and that worked out pretty well. The southpaw pitched 23.1 innings, including five starts in low-A, during the regular season after signing and performed rather well. Assigned to the Arizona Fall League at the conclusion of the season Gilmartin looked a little tired. He struggled with his command and elevated his pitches more, which led to five home runs in 29.0 innings. Because he doesn’t have an electric repertoire he needs to work down in the zone to succeed and his control is important. His repertoire includes an 87-91 mph fastball, slider and potentially-plus changeup. A two-way player in college, a full-time focus on pitching could help him take another big step forward. Gilmartin should open 2012 in either high-A or double-A.

6. Andrelton Simmons, SS
BORN: Sept. 4, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2010 2nd round, Oklahoma JC
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

Simmons is behind Tyler Pastornicky on the depth chart but his presence could eventually push the infielder over to second base. Although more raw in overall baseball skills, Simmons has an explosive package of defensive skills led by a cannon arm. He’s racked up more errors than you might expect but he tries to do too much at times. At the plate, Simmons has shown the ability to hold his own and hit for average. He flashes good gap power but probably won’t top 10-12 homers in the Majors. He makes a lot of contact, which leads to low walk totals but also very low strikeout rates (just 7.5 K% in 2011 at high-A). Like with his defensive work, Simmons tries to push the envelop too hard at the plate and needs to learn to wait for better pitches to drive. He stole 26 bases in 2011 but was also caught 18 times and needs more work on base running fundamentals; his speed is just average.

7. Christian Bethancourt, C
BORN: Sept. 2, 1991
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2008 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 10th

Bethancourt has always been an intriguing catching prospect because of his above-average athleticism. He has all the tools necessary to be a gold glove defender behind the dish and one baseball official questioned about Bethancourt referred to him as “arguably the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues right now…” Questions have been raised more than once about his maturity and effort on the field. Although he has four years of experience in pro ball, he’s still just 20 years old. As the baseball official put it, though, there has never been “major makeup issues with Bethancourt… Most 17- and 18-year old kids would seem immature if they were playing with teammates 4-5 years older.” The organization was encouraged by his performance during the 2011 regular season, as well as with his play in the Arizona Fall League, which saw him hit above .300 in 19 games. Although Bethancourt has always hit for a good average, he might struggle to do so against big league pitching unless he learns to be more selective (1.7% walk rate in 45 high-A games).

8. Edward Salcedo, SS
BORN: July 30, 1991
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2010 international free agent
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: 9th

Signed as a high-profile amateur shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, Salcedo appeared in just 19 games at the position in 2011 and was shifted to the hot corner. The prospect has begun to show the in-game power necessary to succeed there; his body and swing suggest at more untapped strength. Salcedo hit just .248 last season but experience should help him pull that average up – he showed flashes of hitting for average but then went into prolonged slumps. He did a nice job of trimming his strikeout rate from about 25% in ’10 to below 19% in ’11. With Brandon Drury coming up quickly behind him there is some talk that Salcedo could move to a corner outfield position. He should spend 2012 in high-A ball.

9. Zeke Spruill, RHP
BORN: Sept. 11, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 4 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2008 2nd round, Georgia HS
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

A top prep arm in the 2008 draft, Spruill fell off the prospect radar for a variety of issues and injuries. A strong 2011 season, though, made him relevant again. The right-hander has a solid fastball that ranges from 89-94 mph and induces a lot of ground-ball outs. Both his curveball and changeup continue to need development but he’s made strides with commanding both on a more consistent basis. Because he’s more of a pitch-to-contact guy now, Spruill’s ceiling is in the range of a No. 3 or 4 starter. Spruill has a solid pitcher’s frame and, after providing 174.2 innings last season between high-A and double-A, he has the makings of an innings eater. The Georgia native should return to double-A to begin 2012.

10. Brandon Drury, 3B:
BORN: Aug. 21, 1992
EXPERIENCE: 2 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2010 13th round – Oregon HS
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off

Drury, a former 13th round pick, got off to a slow start to his pro career by hitting below .200 in his debut in 2010. Rejuvenated for the ’11 season, he produced the second highest batting average in the Appalachian League (Rookie ball). It was no fluke. Drury’s approach improved and he isn’t afraid to use the whole field. He makes excellent contact but that leads to low walk rates so he may have to become more selective as he climbs the ladder. One scout contacted regarding Drury wasn’t concerned with his approach:

“He will learn how to be more patient with time. With maturing… he will improve on those numbers. Being [consistent] is what every player needs to make it to the majors. We’ll see if he can continue to hit as he moves up through the minors.”

Defense was a question mark for Drury as he entered the 2010 draft. A prep shortstop he immediately moved to third base as a pro and has taken to the position well. He lacked speed and range for shortstop but should develop into at least an average defender with a solid arm at the hot corner. The scout had no doubt that Drury would squeeze every ounce of ability out of his body.

“Brandon was a baseball rat [in high school]. Every time I saw him he had a bat, ball or glove in his hand. I saw him at a tournament in Arizona walking around the hotel with his glove and ball. This kid loves baseball…”

The Next Five

11. J.R. Graham, RHP: Graham is raw but he has an intriguing power fastball and bowling-ball effect. Despite his rough edges, the right-hander had no issues in Rookie ball as he posted a 2.12 FIP (1.72 ERA) and did not allow a home run in 57.2 innings. Because he’s not a big pitcher (6’0”) Graham is going to have to keep on top of the ball as he moves up the ladder. He could make an interesting high-leverage reliever if his success continues.

12. Matt Lipka, OF: After struggling in the field for the past two seasons the former infielder has been converted to the outfield. With any luck the conversion will help jump start his bat as he posted an OPS of just .608 at low-A in 2011. Lipka is still young and has plenty of time to turn things around but he has the athleticism necessary to succeed as a super-utility player.

13. J.J. Hoover, RHP: Hoover doesn’t have the same power arsenal that other pitchers at the top of this list possess but he knows how to pitch and has had success at the both double-A and triple-A (albeit in a small sample size). Hoover split the year between the starting rotation and the bullpen but has the potential to be a solid No. 4 starter at the big league level. With some higher profile arms in the system, though, he could end up as a big league league swing man if he sticks with Atlanta.

14. Carlos Perez, LHP: For a more detailed report on Perez you’ll want to catch up with Mike Newman’s scouting report on the southpaw that ran recently on FanGraphs. Perez has the potential for above-average stuff from the left side but he’s painfully inconsistent. This is not unusual for such a young pitcher with limited experience. With so much high-ceiling pitching depth ahead of him, though, Atlanta can afford to be patient.

15. Joe Terdoslavich, 1B: A 2010 6th round pick out of Long Beach State, Terdoslavich has an up-and-down college career. Atlanta scouts did an excellent job identifying him as a potential steal and he’s rewarded the organization so far. A switch-hitter, he has impressive raw power and has hit for average. His verstility could make him a valuable bench player if he falls short on his regular playing time aspirations. A strong showing in the Arizona Fall League could vault him onto the fast track for 2012.

SLEEPER ALERT: Navery Moore, RHP: Moore slid in the 2011 draft landing in the 14th round but he has a plus fastball that reaches 95-96 mph. A closer in college with Vanderbilt, the right-hander also has the mentality that teams covet in a closer. If he can tighten up his breaking ball, or develop his changeup or perhaps develop a cutter, he could become a key high-leverage relief prospect. Otherwise he may top out as a set-up man.



Print This Post



Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects, depth charts and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ben Duronio
Member
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Like the list a lot Marc.

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 3 months ago

Does the hype that surrounded Heyward and to a lesser extent Freeman make what Pastornicky is about to do seem less special? The Braves have a 22 year old (and will be for the whole season) who tore up AAA last year and could be ready to become a MLB regular at SS, but no one seems to care.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

.365/.407/.413 at 21 in 117 PA in AAA to go along with .299/.345/.414 in 512 PA in AA

.323/.408/.555 across high A, AA, and AAA, mostly high A and AA as a 19 year old

.319/.378/.521 all in AAA as a 20 year old.

Who are you going to hype up? High average can inflate on base. High average can be caused by inferior minor league defense and pitching. High average, high on base, and high slugging at a younger age is more indicative. Pastornicky’s ISO is under .100 I believe just eyeballing it, at least in AAA. In AA it’s not much more.

Plus they get compared to others. Jurickson Profar SS, Rangers farm, .286/.390/.493 in A as an 18 year old. Pastornicky at 19 in A ball .269/.336/.346. It’s projection. Pastornicky, judging from his slugging, doesn’t hit the ball hard enough. He seems to make a lot of contact, but better pitching and defense might negate that advantage.

Justin
Guest
Justin
4 years 3 months ago

Love these lists Marc keep up the great work. Looking over this list I was struck by just how many of these players came from the International Market. Granted a few came from other organizations it’s pretty clear that Atlanta has some impressive international scouting going on. Has there been much study/evaluation on a team specific basis regarding success in the international market?

Dekker
Guest
Dekker
4 years 3 months ago

I have a feeling there will be a revolving door of shortstops in Atlanta. And it will hilarious!

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

Not really. Pastornicky is just a place holder. Lipka is in the outfield, pretty sure Salcedo was moved to third, in fact he played 100 games there as opposed to 19 at shortstop.

It’s really just Pastornicky who should be a solid major leaguer holding the spot and trying not to suck until hopefully Simmons realizes his potential and takes over.

If not, as a Braves fan that day dreams everytime I watch Elvis Andrus on the Rangers thinking of what could be….how about Lipka/Salcedo/Simmons/Pastornicky for Profar? Give us a mulligan.

Ben Duronio
Member
Member
4 years 3 months ago

If the Braves did not think Pastornicky could be a long term option, they would have traded for a shortstop this winter. Whether he will be or not is yet to be determined, but they saw something in him when they traded for him and see something in him to hand him the job before spring training.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

Why would they have traded for a SS? Who would they have traded for and who would they have given up?

Pastornicky only needs to play solid SS for 1 or 2 years with the hope that Simmons can be called up and play really well.

You are suggesting they trade prospects for a SS for 1 or 2 years instead of just promoting Pastornicky and betting on him not sucking?

I think they HOPE Pastornicky develops into a long term shortstop, but to me it just looks like he’s there to hold down the fort.

blurba
Guest
blurba
4 years 3 months ago

Yea the offseason started off with middle infielders getting ridiculous contracts. Once the front office saw what guys like Carroll were getting I’m pretty sure they just said “screw it, Pastornicky’s close enough to being ready.” I don’t think they’re expecting him to be tops in the league or anything, but he should at least do an average job for the time being. I honestly think they just realized they could probably get by just fine this season, not shell out a ton of cash, and re-assess next year.

Bleh
Guest
Bleh
4 years 3 months ago

I have no idea how you can say that the escobar trade was a good idea for the braves. Gonzalez is done, and pastornicky wont ever be half the player that yunel is.

Dekker
Guest
Dekker
4 years 3 months ago

It was the right move for the braves. They had a lot riding on that 2010 season to make it back to the playoffs after a drought. They called up Heyward on Opening day (forgoing the standard practice of delaying service time), and It was Bobby Cox’s last year. Escobar was an unbelievable asshole with a .618 OPS and 0 home runs.

Since they made the playoffs by one game, I am very, very skeptical they would have made it with Escobar that season. They broke the playoff drought and the attendance rose in relation to the league the following season.

j6takish
Guest
j6takish
4 years 3 months ago

Who know else are notoriously huge assholes? Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. “Club house chemistry” is one of the more overstated things in baseball. You only ever hear when good players are good in the club house, if a player is good enough, teams are going to put up with their shit. Go resign Franceour if you want a good clubhouse. Trading Escobar was a mistake

Brain of G
Member
Brain of G
4 years 3 months ago

Because Bobby Cox is known for giving up on guys and not being able to control a clubhouse right? They knew Yunel was capable of being a good SS. He was one the year before for the Braves. I don’t know what exactly went down, but it had to be extreme for Cox to basically give up on a player.

I hated watching Yunel struggle that year. I hated it when he was traded too because I wanted him to turn it around and perform to his talent level. It wasn’t going to happen in Atlanta that year though. I know he’s a good SS, but getting rid of him doesn’t bother me much. You can’t compare Yunel to Bonds or Arod. He was sulking and had basically quit on a team battling for the playoffs. Now getting rid of Andrus, that’s a different story.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

Saying that “well barry bonds and ty cobb were assholes too” as an argument that clubhouse chemistry is overrated is one of the most overrated arguments saber guys use. Yunel was a clubhouse problem apparently and when he was putting up 4-5 WAR (much like Cobb and Bonds), you can tolerate him being an asshole more. When he’s putting up less than 1 WAR and hitting .238/.334/.284, while you’re in a playoff race, and he’s 27, you feel a lot more comfortable trading him. Don’t let hindsight bias tell you otherwise.

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
4 years 3 months ago

Before the 2010 season, Bobby Cox said that Escobar was a top 3 SS and he could easily see him end up being the best SS in baseball. There were one or two reports about his ‘attitude’ prior to 2010, but Escobar was CLEARLY loafing in the first-half. Not running out grounders(which was all he hit), showing off his arm by waiting until the last possible moment to throw the ball, ignoring stop-signs and just being miserable on the bases in general.

I think that game against the Mets is what made their decision. Guy nearly broke Troy Glaus’s arm(which in hindsight would’ve been doing the team a favor, but still).

He might not be having any disciplinary issues in Toronto, who knows? If he’s playing hard and producing, good on the guy for straightening up. He clearly had an issue with management and/or numerous players in Atlanta though, why else would they move a 4-win SS? I doubt Wren thought that Alex Gonzalez would continue his power surge and that the package he was getting was all that fair. Gonzalez was given a standing ovation when he arrived in the clubhouse and another one during his first plate appearance in a Braves uniform. That should be a telling sign that he just wasn’t working in Atlanta……

blurba
Guest
blurba
4 years 3 months ago

Just ask the players. They’re the ones that gave Gonzalez a standing ovation when he first arrived to the clubhouse to replace Yunel. That speaks volumes about Yunel and the kind of player/teammate he was.

The Braves netted plus defense from Gonzo, a solid prospect in Pastornicky, and a relief pitcher that they traded for two guys that each played huge roles in winning a couple of playoff games. I can definitely live with what went down.

buddy
Guest
buddy
4 years 3 months ago

I never realized that it was once possible to be made fun of for being a Braves fan. Thank you for the history lesson.

Luke M.
Guest
Luke M.
4 years 3 months ago

“He should fit in nicely at the top of a lineup in the two-hole where he can focus on advancing runners and wreaking havoc on the base paths in front of the big guns.”

Let’s not give Fredi any ideas …

Dan Holland
Guest
Dan Holland
4 years 3 months ago

“Let’s not give Fredi any ideas …”

What? You don’t like his ideas of pitching Venters/Kimbrell at any and every opportunity? Or starting a 30 year old rookie in RF over a supremely talented, albeit slumping Heyward? Or Sticking with Derek Lowe right until the. very. end.?

Brain of G
Member
Brain of G
4 years 3 months ago

………….Scott Proctor is all that needs to be said.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

Yea, 6th inning, bases loaded, up by like 2, 1 out, yea, let’s bring in Proctor. It’s not like we don’t have a guy with a 70+% groundball rate….lost that one, grand salami off Proctor.

Nick in ATL
Guest
Nick in ATL
4 years 3 months ago

Hey guys, stop piling on Fredo – he had nothing to do with our collapse in September.

It was 100% the players’ faults.

(At least that’s what some self-proclaimed know-it-all wrote here.)

Travis
Guest
Travis
4 years 3 months ago

I honestly think this is our year. This pitching staff is going to be lights out. A lot of talent at the plate.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

I hope so too. 4th best record last year even with Uggo and Hey struggling, then they shit the bed. If all goes well, should be a great year. It’s ridiculous that most mainstream places and boards think Atlanta is a 4th place team. Mitch Williams thinks the Phillies will run away with the division and has ATL at 4th. It’s why I come on here, to get an educated opinion.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

4th best in the majors last year, 4th in the NL East this year is what they’re predicting. My paragraph could be confusing.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
4 years 3 months ago

I’m not a braves fan especially but as a baseball fan I hope that Heyward soon becomes a special player. He needs a little more help in that lineup but I hope he can stay healthy and be really good.

bstar
Guest
bstar
4 years 3 months ago

I hope so too, but I don’t feel as good about things as I did last February. I’m not convinced Heyward is going to magically bounce back; I’m not convinced F Freeman won’t have a sophomore slump season like Heyward did; I’m almost sure O’Ventbrel will regress at least a little, they were historically great last year(for 5 months); I’m not convinced one of our glut of young starters is going to develop into a #1 this year(it’s too early for Teheran, of course); I’m not convinced Pastornicky is going to hit enough to make up for his average defense. I shudder at the thought of missing Alex Gonzalez.

I agree that a 4th place finish is very unlikely. Everything I described above would have to happen, plus a bunch of injuries.

I still don’t see us overtaking Philadelphia. Like us, they had a lot of things go wrong last year but still won 102. I don’t see Halladay or Lee showing their age yet. My only hope is they get even worse offensively, but they’ve already improved by removing the human scarecrow(Ibanez) from left field. As we saw last September, they are a supremely confident team, and deservedly so.

What I feel the Braves really need to get over the top is a #1 hitter. Who is going to provide that type of offense for them? McCann? He’s running out of time to have a breakout season, and he’s already doing far enough as a catcher offensively; Heyward? I would love it if he really blossomed, but I worry he may never develop a true power stroke. The Old Man? It just seems impossible that he will play 140-150 games and he has to show his age at some point. Uggla? If he magically hit .290 and showed the same power as last year, he might be the best choice.

I really hope Frank Wren is trying to ship a few of our young starters for a really big bat. That’s what we need the most.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t think they need a true number 1 hitter. They just need consistency. Uggla, Heyward, Freeman, Prado, McCann, Bourn can all be 6 very good hitters. When Chipper is healthy that is 7. The only hole might be Pastornicky.

On paper I feel like Atlanta has a better lineup and pen than the Phillies. A better rotation pen then the Nats, and Marlins.

Maybe I’m too optimistic about Chipper, Heyward, and Uggla.

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
4 years 3 months ago

It may be a stretch, but my main reason for optimism next year is a bounce back in OBP. They led the league in OBP in 2010 and with the same team(subtract Infante and add Uggla) finished close to last in 2011. They brought in Parrish and clearly wanted more power out of the lineup, and it showed. Not blaming Parrish entirely for the ob-base regression, I have no idea how much a hitting coach influences an offense. But I do know that almost every position player seen their OBP drop below their career levels. I expect Uggla to not miss the entire first-half, I think that’s a reasonable expectation. Same goes for Prado in getting closer to his career norms. A full season of Bourn should also help. Pastornicky won’t be much of an upgrade over Gonzalez but if he can play passable defense and manage an OBP over .280, his speed will bring more value to the club. Don’t think that’s all that unreasonable to expect either…..

I don’t expect Heyward to come out and produce a .300, .400, .500 line with 35 HR, but he doesn’t have to. His projections for next year are pretty much in line with what I expect and I think it’s reasonable, assuming he can keep that shoulder healthy. A lot of teams have a lot of ‘ifs’, but I fully expect a better offensive showing from the Braves next season. Like you said, the pitching will probably regress a bit. The back-end of the pen was phenomenal, can’t expect that same production in consecutive years. Hudson, Hanson, and Jurrjens are coming off of injuries, and while the Braves have plenty of young, impact arms…….the health of those rotation veterans is likely to make or break their season, particularly Hanson and Hudson. Hanson is supposedly feeling great and they smoothed out his delivery by getting rid of that hitch he’s got, which should put less stress on his shoulder and stop guys like Aramis Ramirez from stealing bases…..

If I’m wrong about the offense, Wren does have plenty of young pitching he could reasonably flip for an impact bat. I’ve still got plenty of confidence in this team going forward…

bstar
Guest
bstar
4 years 3 months ago

Yes, the news on Tommy Hanson reworking his mechanics a bit has been really encouraging. I’m not worried about Hudson, despite his age. He’s been phenomenally consistent his whole career, so even with a slight dip in production I still think he’s going to be the glue that holds the rotation together.

ChuckO
Guest
ChuckO
4 years 3 months ago

You talk about Pastornicky moving over to second base. When would that happen? Right now they’ve got Dan “The Human Statue” Uggla playing second, and I don’t see him sitting in favor of Pastornicky. The Braves prefer his bat, and he’s Fredi Gonzalez’s favorite, seeing as how he had Fredi’s back in his dispute with Hanley Ramirez down in Miami.

Ben Duronio
Member
Member
4 years 3 months ago

It could happen if Chipper retires after this season, or it could happen after that season if the Braves feel that they can’t take Uggla’s horrible defense. Uggla’s skill set could work at third better than at second, and I think him being in left and Prado at second would have been the correct decision from the start.

blurba
Guest
blurba
4 years 3 months ago

I don’t really think there’s a question. They’re going to have to move Uggla eventually. You don’t aim to win off of your pitching and then sit idly by as your crappy infield defense holds back the impressive pitching staff that you’ve spent years building.

blurba
Guest
blurba
4 years 3 months ago

I also kind of think that Uggla’s going to be in ATL longer than Fredi, though. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I’d be willing to bet that if Fredi doesn’t move Uggla off of 2nd, the next guy in line will.

Gabe Abreu
Guest
Gabe Abreu
4 years 3 months ago

why are you so down on terdoslavich?? he did put up good numbers in low A and had another strong showing in AFL.. hes making a move to 3b this season, some in the braves org are hoping he could replace chipper in time..

SF 55 for life
Member
SF 55 for life
4 years 3 months ago

little bit old for the league

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

Yea, my question is, why didn’t they call Terd up to AA? At least for like a month. Just looking at his numbers, he was tearing up the league. Terd tearing up high A at 23 is about as impressive as Cespedes tearing up the Cuban pitchers at 26. I really hope he (Terd) continues though.

wily mo
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

he was 22 in baseball years. and it was his first full season. i feel like when guys really need to get hacked for age-relative-league is when they’ve been slaving away for years with mediocre results and then suddenly break out in their second year at the same level, that kind of thing. JT’s not young, but so far his trajectory is (1) he showed up (2) he hit. sure he doesn’t get extra credit for being young but what’s a college guy supposed to do.

Undocorkscrew
Guest
Undocorkscrew
4 years 3 months ago

I’m far from a scout, but I got to watch him play around 20 games last year and wasn’t overly impressed(it was during his worst stretch of the year I found out though). He’s 23 in high-A and doesn’t walk a whole lot. I guess that’s why scouts aren’t too high on the guy. Oh, and he looked like he had no clue what he was doing at 1B defensively, he attempted some hilarious scoops.

He’ll turn some heads if he can do the same at AA this season.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
4 years 3 months ago

He’s either a non roster invitee or he’s on the 40 man, I don’t remember which. If Terd produces again in the minors, I bet he gets called up ala Constanza last year.

Jay212033
Guest
Jay212033
4 years 3 months ago

Nice list Marc! Quick question, what do you think about Tommy La Stella? I know he was a little old for Rome but his bat is legit.

Marc Hulet
Guest
Marc Hulet
4 years 3 months ago

La Stella was in consideration for the back end of the list but my lists tend to be prejudice against relievers and all but the top pure second base prospects… just from a lack of future value standpoint and the fact most successful big league second baseman played SS (and some 3B) in the minors.

La Stella has very little chance to remain at second base and is likely headed to a corner outfield spot so his bat will have to be very good for him to be an everday guy.

Ben Duronio
Member
Member
4 years 3 months ago

My feelings as well. Unfortunate too, because his bat profiles very well as a second baseman.

deadpool
Guest
deadpool
4 years 3 months ago

You know it’s funny. I seem to recall that Yunel was projected to be an average glove with around .290-.300 points of empty average. Not saying theyre comparable, just struck me.

Luke M.
Guest
4 years 3 months ago

Empty average with great defense and the best infield arm in baseball. No big deal, though.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
4 years 3 months ago

I’m continually impressed at how the Braves always seem to have young talent to mesh with their veterans, and they keep right on being successful.

Obviously the Braves are known for pitching, and I don;t think it’s due to their former pitching coach (or at least his magic didn’t transfer to Baltimore).

Do they have a higher success rate for pitching “prospects” than other organizations (in general, or on average).

I know ATL is not necessarily saber-friendly, but they have to be doing something right, as luck generally doesn’t last this long.

Interesting that their top 3 prospects are all IFAs, and seemingly MLB ready at age 22. How much did these guys cost to sign? As say compared to 3 high pitching prospects in recent drafts?

2bagger
Guest
2bagger
4 years 1 month ago

It’s funny with LaStella’s glove. His defense was knocked at coastal and is again questioned in pro-ball. He broke the fielding % record @ coastal. The guy can hit and will likely get a chance to prove himself at 2nd base in Lynchberg (I don’t think the coaches intend to move him just yet). Only Gosselin ahead of him so he could stick there. His #’s in Rome were certainly impressive. If Ahmed doesn’t stick at SS he could move to 2nd, but LaStella is a better hitter.

Mingy
Guest
Mingy
4 years 1 month ago

JJ Hoover at #13, that’s wild. We used to sit at the same table at high school lunch haha. JJ’s gonna make it

Steve C
Guest
Steve C
4 years 1 month ago

Any thoughts on Mauro Gomez?

Any upside to him other than the power? I know the plate discipline is not there, but the MiL OBP is not terrible.

wpDiscuz