Who are Atlanta Braves Top Ten Prospects?
Atlanta Braves Top Ten Prospects
Every Atlanta Braves fan over the age of ten knows about and remembers well the streak. I am of course talking about the streak of fourteen consecutive division titles. It was amazing enough that it will probably never happen again in any sport. What was the driving force behind that streak? The answer is simple: A strong minor league system.
So what are the Braves current scouts doing to help regain some of that streak magic? This is a list of the top ten prospects they have going right now. It is a pretty promising group overall. Pitching doesn’t seem to be quite as prominent as it once was but then again the Braves seem to be able to drag pitchers out of nowhere and have them be awesome as in the case of Kris Medlin recently. Braves fans might not see what they think they would see in this group however.
There are some for sure that you will have already heard of if you are a big enough Braves fan. If you were around for that streak and want to see that level of dominance again, this list might not bring that to you. I think the scouts have some work to do to rebuild the awesome base that was there in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. That said this is a good base to build that base from. With the team doing well at the major league level, most of these prospects have time to develop fully. Others as you will see are heading to the bigs very soon.
10 – Nick Ahmed – SS
He wasn’t thought to be a top ten type player when he started his career at UConn but shortstop Nick Ahmed is good at winning scouts over in time. He knows what he’s doing with a bat but hasn’t hit with any consistency as of yet. The ability to swipe a few bags is readily apparent as well. The most attractive thing about Ahmed is simply the way he plays. Whether its hustling or giving it his all every time at the plate, his desire to win overrides whatever shortcomings he might have. If he can get some consistency in his bat the Braves might have a decent utility infielder to find a place for.
9 – Edward Salcedo – 3B/SS
Edward Salcedo could be an option at third base within the next two years. The Braves like his natural offensive ability. He has good bat speed and is able to naturally hit for power. In 2012 he batted only .240 but had 17 homers and over sixty RBI. He will need to calm down defensively if he is to be a constant at the major league level but there are no signs that he won’t be able to do so. Beginning in 2014 or the year after, Salcedo could see some time at the hot corner in Atlanta.
8 – Alex Wood – LHP
Having had Tommy John surgery already and having an odd delivery hurt Alex Wood’s overall value to a lot of teams. Certainly it is something to think about for the Braves as well. Still with a mid-90’s fastball and an ever improving curve, this big lefty is one to watch. If he can get his changeup to a good level to offset his fastball, his stuff could carry him to the major leagues in a couple of years. He has work to do but could be “the one that got away” for a lot of teams very soon.
7 - Joe Terdoslavich – 3B
Some inconsistency in the past couple of years has slowed Joe Terdoslavich’s climb to the majors but he has a look and a talent set that has some calling him the heir apparent to Chipper Jones. That is a pretty hefty label to carry around and maybe that’s why he bombed at triple-A in 2012. He redeemed himself somewhat in Double-A Mississippi however, finishing with a slugging percentage of just under .500. It might take a year longer than they hoped and he might not be the heir apparent. If he works things out and regains his full potential he could definitely light up the major league level soon.
6 - Zeke Spruill – RHP
Anytime you can find a guy standing six feet-five inches tall with good stuff, you need to give him a look. That was the case with big Zeke Spruill. The Braves scouts see a sinking fastball, good curve and decent changeup that all make a pretty nasty combination when things line up for him. His stuff is good and improving rapidly. The dangers of a sinker that doesn’t sink are pretty clear but a sinker that works offset by a good change and curve could have big Zeke in the bigs by 2013.
5 - J.R. Graham – RHP
For the Braves scouts, J.R. Graham’s small stature at six feet and under the 190 lbs mark might be the best thing that ever happened to them. When the fourth round of the 2011 draft came along he was still there and they were more than happy to scoop him up. His fastball is climbing into the mid-90’s and his other stuff is great too. Already having advanced to the Double-A rank and still performing bodes well for this small righty. With a steadily low ERA and a WHIP of a tad over 1, Graham looks like the real deal.
4 - Sean Gilmartin – LHP
Taken in the first round of the 2011 draft and already seeing success at the Triple-A level, Sean Gilmartin isn’t looking to spend any more extended time below the major league level. This lefty throws with accuracy and gets outs. Gilmartin coming in as a southpaw, and achieving success this early could land him at the big club within the 2013 campaign. All signs point to a budding great career in Gilmartin’s future.
3 - Lucas Sims – RHP
With a lively fastball and a tight little curve, this righty only needs better command and to improve his change of pace pitch to reach his awesome potential. He walks too many and his changeup as mentioned, is lacking. If he were twenty-six he might be looked at as a risk. To be where he is now after having been a first round draft pick only last year puts a totally new spin on it. He is only eighteen years old and staying close to home in the Braves organization. As long as things continue on this pace he won’t be far from home at the big league level either.
2 - Christian Bethancourt – C
Things really began to pick up steam for Christian Bethancourt in 2011. Since then he has shown ability to handle the bat and great potential behind the plate. The fourth ranked catching prospect in all of MLB, he has the tools it takes to be a great catcher on the big stage very soon. Unfortunately while doing well in Double-A Mississippi in 2012, Bethancourt suffered a fractured left hand. As long as he bounces back well from that in the 2013 year, he will probably finish in Triple-A and start 2014 in Atlanta.
1 - Julio Teheran – RHP
Julio Teheran is only twenty one years old but he has already seen success at the big league level. Most of that time was spent in September call ups but to be that well respected already is a great sign. His ERA was higher this past season for whatever reason but all signs still point to go for Teheran, the number twenty-four prospect in all of baseball. He should fight and win a spot in the starting rotation this year. What he does with his immense talent will be fun to watch.