Ranking the Atlanta Braves’ Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2015

By Brandon Williams

Ranking the Atlanta Braves’ Top 10 Prospects Heading Into 2015

Jose Peraza
Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves have long been recognized for how they utilize their farm system and winning games from players they've groomed internally. Former GM Frank Wren was fired in part due to his poor upkeep of quality prospects, and there has been an emphasis for the Braves to get back to their roots. Take a look at the top 10 Braves prospects going into 2015.

10. LHP - Chasen Shreve

Chasen Shreve
Bill Streicher - USA Today

10. LHP - Chasen Shreve

Chasen Shreve
Bill Streicher - USA Today

The Braves called up Shreve in July last year and it baffled me as to why he didn't stay longer. I'll be honest, Shreve is not flashy. He's your typical get-the-job-done pitcher, and that's exactly what he does (think Eric O'Flaherty). He throws strikes and gets hitters out. During his stint in the majors, he posted a 0.73 ERA with 15 SO in 12.1 innings. He hits about 91-93 mph on his fastball, with good secondaries.

9. RHP - Alec Grosser

Alec Grosser
Alec Grosser Official Facebook Page

9. RHP - Alec Grosser

Alec Grosser
Alec Grosser Official Facebook Page

The only reason why Grosser is sitting at No. 9 is because I need to see him more in the upper levels. However, on just pure talent and upside, he may be the best pitching prospect on this list. Grosser shows good understanding of pitching and when to use his secondaries and where to locate them. He throws three-quarter angle which helps give his fastball late movement. He's only 19 years old, and his future looks bright.

8. RHP - Jason Hursh

Jason Hursh
Kim Klements - USA Today

8. RHP - Jason Hursh

Jason Hursh
Kim Klements - USA Today

Hursh is a prospect to keep an eye on. He had Tommy John surgery in 2012, but bounced back nicely. He has a live arm and gets great action on his sinker pitch. He has a nice slider, but has not developed the command needed to make it a dominant secondary pitch. If his off-speed pitches improve, expect to see him called up soon.

7. 3B - Kyle Kubitza

Kyle Kubitza
Kyle Kubitza Offical Facebook Page

7. 3B - Kyle Kubitza

Kyle Kubitza
Kyle Kubitza Official Facebook Page

Kubitza seemed to come into his own last season at Double-A Mississippi, hitting .295 with an OBP of .405. He has a nice swing and shows great ability to hit to the opposite field. He's not known as an elite defender, but very capable of handling his business at the hot corner.

6. IB/OF - Braxton Davidson

Braxton Davidson
Braxton Davidson Official Facebook Page

6. 1B/OF - Braxton Davidson

Braxton Davidson
Braxton Davidson Official Facebook Page

The Braves selected Davidson with the 32nd pick in the first round of the 2014 draft. His ability to play both first base as well as the outfield add to his value. While he struggled a bit at the plate in rookie ball last year, I'm not concerned with that part of his game. Davidson has great hitting mechanics, and his thick build suggests he has the potential to hit for power as well. He's definitely a gem to keep your eyes on.

5. IF - Ozhaino Albies

Ozhaino Albies
Ozhaino Albies Official Facebook Page

5. IF - Ozhaino Albies

Ozhaino Albies
Ozhaino Albies Official Facebook Page

To say I like this kid is an understatement. He has the potential to be the next Jose Altuve and Braves fans should be happy about that. He is a natural fielder who has great speed and very good hitting mechanics. He's only 17, so there is plenty of time for him to grow and mature. He batted .364 with 22 SBs in Rookie ball last year, and this trend is expected to continue as he moves up. He's small in stature, but will be a future star.

4. RHP - Shae Simmons

Shae Simmons
Mark Rebilas - USA Today

4. RHP - Shae Simmons

Shae Simmons
Mark Rebilas - USA Today

Typically, relief pitchers do not rank this high on a list, but Simmons proved he belonged in the big leagues last year. Simmons was a pleasant surprise for the Braves and showed flashes of being a quality closer in the future. He was used primarily as a setup man last year, and he impressed. His ERA was as low as 0.96 before he struggled and eventually injured his shoulder. Still, he finished with a 2.91 ERA with 23 SO in 21.2 innings.

3. RHP - Lucas Sims

Lucas Sims
Lucas Sims Official Facebook Page

3. RHP - Lucas Sims

Lucas Sims
Lucas Sims Official Facebook Page

When I first saw Sims pitch, one name immediately flashed in my mind and that was Jason Marquis. Sims is cut from the same cloth and the similarities are intriguing. Like Marquis, Sims is not the tallest (6-foot-2) but he makes up for it by being a ruthless worker on the mound who is unafraid to attack hitters. He must work on his secondary pitches before he makes a push for a call-up, but when that happens, he will be a good one.

2. C - Christian Bethancourt

Christian Bethancourt
Dale Zanine - USA Today

2. C - Christian Bethancourt

Christian Bethancourt
Dale Zanine - USA Today

Bethancourt is the catcher of the future for the Braves. He was easily the best defensive catcher on the roster last season during his time called up, and his upside is what makes him No. 2 on this list. He stands 6-foot-4 and will be at least 235 pounds by the time his body fully matures. He has good plate discipline and showed flashes of his ability, hitting .248 in the majors. He will be a mainstay in the league for awhile.

1. IF - Jose Peraza

Jose Peraza Batting
Getty Images

1. IF - Jose Peraza

Jose Peraza Batting
Getty Images

If you're a Braves fan, you've heard this name mentioned quite often for the past two years. If all goes as planned, you'll be hearing it a lot more starting this season. Peraza is a talented player both offensively and defensively. He addresses both the leadoff spot as well as a constant second baseman for the Braves. In Double-A last year, he hit .335 with 25 SBs. Numbers like that should give Braves fans a reason to smile.

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