5 Atlanta Braves Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training

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5 Atlanta Braves Prospects You Must Watch During Spring Training

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For a franchise that has been at or near the top of their division for as long as the Atlanta Braves, you know there is a long list of great minor league prospects responsible. It is true for any Major League Baseball team that is successful over long period of time and certainly that describes the Braves.

Going into Spring Training before the 2014 season, what exactly do the Braves have to offer in terms of prospects? You can bet that they are back there waiting for their chance to come to the big leagues and shine. Look at Evan Gattis, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman as examples of how important this system is to the Braves success.

They have been in a bit of a lull as far as position players emerging with Gattis the only real big story since Andrelton Simmons came onboard. While they have offered some promise from the mound in the past year, it makes one wonder just where the system is in terms of future stars. That is where these five guys come in.

You won’t find most of these fellows on the MLB top 100 prospects list but that doesn’t mean they aren’t future stars for the Braves or potentially future trade chips to bring another young star in. Though there are many non-roster invitees from the minors this spring, these five are certainly a few that we should keep our eyes on every time out.

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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5 – Matt Lipka

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Once upon a time Lipka was a very highly touted prospect for the Braves. His value has dipped lately though and this invite to Spring Training is a little more important than those in years’ past. He has this chance to rekindle the high hopes that baseball people had in him. The Braves will give him a shot to prove himself. We know that for sure.

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4 – J.R. Graham

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Graham is a well known pitching prospect and in fact could be a well known MLB pitcher for the before the year is out. Though his name is not being thought of in terms of a roster spot on Opening Day, Graham is going to be out there trying to earn the first possible call-up that comes along.

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3 – Jason Hursh

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Hursh was the pitcher that the Braves took in the 2013 MLB Draft. Though he has had little time thus far, he has been impressive just the same. This will be his first chance to rub shoulders with and throw pitches to major league players. It should go a long way towards the Braves knowing how far along he has already progressed.

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2 – Tommy La Stella

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La Stella made some news early this offseason as some thought he would make a great potential replacement for Dan Uggla if the incumbent second baseman were to be sent elsewhere. That doesn’t look like it will be the case right now. La Stella probably has some more time left in the minors anyway but how much or maybe how little time he has left could be determined by his work in Spring Training.

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1 – Christian Bethancourt

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Bethancourt is one of the best catching prospects in baseball and has been thought of as the Braves future catcher for years. Evan Gattis threw a giant wrench into that scenario but also gave Bethancourt more time to develop. This spring the Braves can get a look and see if his offense has progressed like they want it to. His defensive skills are good enough that average offense will make him the starter very soon in all likelihood. It certainly bears watching.

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