Ranking the Atlanta Braves’ Top 10 Prospects Heading into 2014

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Ranking the Atlanta Braves’ Top 10 Prospects Heading into 2014

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

For as long as there have been rankings of prospects the Atlanta Braves have been the proud owners of some of the very best in all of Major League Baseball. Now is no different. Usually the Braves best prospects tend to lean heavily towards starting pitching because that was the backbone of their long-standing success during the 14-year winning streak. That same ideal is true today.

Looking at the top ten prospects of the Braves will mean looking at some of the very best pitching prospects in the game. Some of the best young ones aren’t even on this list because they have already cracked into the major league level. The starting rotation as it stands now would be between Brandon Beachy, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Alex Wood and David Hale.

That’s a big load of prospects that came from the same place we are looking right now. Wood and Hale are the newest and look to be able to achieve their level of success at no problem so far. Having said that means that there might be a log-jam at the big league level for the starting pitchers. That simply would mean the Braves would have a lot of good tradable prospects to fill the other needs of the team.

One note on a position player that isn’t on this list would concern Tommy LaStella. He is ranked lower on the top 20 prospects but could still start the season as the Braves second baseman if the spring training winds blow the right direction. In other words the position players on this list are worthwhile as well. Without any further delay, here are the top ten prospects of the Braves heading into the 2014 season.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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10 – Aaron Northcraft

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Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Northcraft is still fighting his way up in the Braves system. He’s solid all-around and will be a tough MLB pitcher within the next year as he will possibly debut sometimes late in the 2014 season.

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9 – Matt Lipka

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Lipka is a solid defender and will one day make at least a good leadoff hitter at the biggest level of baseball. His hitting still needs to develop further so he will take another year or more to reach the bigs in all likelihood.

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8 – Todd Cunningham

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When the Braves' MLB outfield was basically shut down Cunningham got a taste of MLB pitching. That experience might take him out of the minor league prospect game and into the MLB roster on opening day 2014.

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7 – Cody Martin

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Martin has a strong slew of pitches led by a very good Cutter. His ERA has stayed good throughout his time and he will certainly get a long look from the Braves officials and coaches during his time in the minors or even spring training this season.

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6 – Mauricio Cabrera

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves aren’t always known for having pitchers with upper-90’s fastballs but Cabrera fits that bill. He still has some development left on his accompanying pitches but he won’t need more than one or two more good ones to succeed.

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5 – Jason Hursh

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Hursh is plus all-around but still has some work to do. Don’t look for him before the 2016 or even 2017 season. He has a long way to go yet but looks to be one of the best young stars of tomorrow for the Braves.

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4 – Sean Gilmartin

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That log-jam at the top of the Braves organization where the five pitchers hang out could have another added arm in Gilmartin. He will certainly get more than a token glance at Spring Training at the very least. Look for him somewhere this regular season even if it is in September.

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3 – Christian Bethancourt

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

With Brian McCann signing with the New York Yankees, Bethancourt will at least have a chance to make a door for himself in the bigs in 2014. Most likely the Braves will let him spend an entire season working on offense in triple-A and see what they get from Evan Gattis as an everyday starter at catcher.

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2 – J.R. Graham

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Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

This might seem high for someone coming off of Tommy John surgery but I think Graham has the perfect team to be on to have to work through this and he will bounce back well and soon. His road to the majors might delay a little but suffice it to say that he shouldn’t be delayed too long before he starts putting pressure on someone at the MLB level.

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1 – Lucas Sims

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Sims is still a few years away from the majors as the Braves like their guys to come along naturally. Still, he has spent a lot of time as the Braves top prospect. As he continues to develop his great natural skills, Braves fans will get a long look at him.

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