2014 Atlanta Braves Top 20 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
Twitter: @Jaypers413

Every year around this time I like to rank each team’s top overall prospects. My criteria are based on A: Past Performance and B: Future Potential (50% of each per prospect)

Disclaimer: I am not a professional scout, nor did I attend any minor league games this year. These lists are the product of my own research of online scouting reports and statistics, and are compiled purely for entertainment purposes.

Send your questions or feedback to me on twitter @Jaypers413

To qualify for these lists, a prospect must have no more than 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues.

ATLANTA BRAVES

1. Lucas Sims RHP


2. J.R. Graham RHP


3. Jason Hursh RHP


4. Jose Peraza SS


5. Christian Bethancourt C


6. Mauricio Cabrera RHP


7. Wes Parsons RHP


8. Victor Caratini 3B


9. Victor Reyes OF


10. Tommy LaStella 2B


11. Todd Cunningham OF


12. Kyle Wren OF


13. Cody Martin RHP


14. Andry Ubiera RHP


15. Aaron Northcraft RHP


16. Josh Elander OF


17. Robby Hefflinger OF


18. Carlos Salazar RHP


19. Johan Camargo 3B


20. David Hale RHP

Atlanta Braves 2012 Mid-Season Top 5 Prospect Rankings

By: J.P. Schwartz
@Jaypers413

As we are now halfway into the season and the signing deadline for 2012 draft picks has passed, here is my revised list of top 5 prospects in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Remember, a prospect must have fewer than 130 ABs or 50 IP in the Major Leagues to qualify.

1) Andrelton Simmons
Highest Level: MLB Atlanta Braves
2012 Stats:
MLB: .296, 7(2B), 1(3B), 3HR, 15RBI
MILB: .292, 9(2B), 2(3B), 3HR, 21RBI, 10SB

2) Julio Teheran
Highest Level: MLB Atlanta Braves
2012 Stats:
MLB: 0-0, 8.31ERA, 4.1IP, 1BB, 5K, .235BAA
MILB: 6-5, 4.96ERA, 81.2IP, 30BB, 58K, .283BAA

3) Luis Merejo
Highest Level: Rookie League GCL Braves
2012 Stats:
MILB: 0-2, 3.45ERA, 28.2IP, 3BB, 35K, .234BAA

4) Sean Gilmartin
Highest Level: AA Mississippi Braves
2012 Stats:
MILB: 5-7, 3.47ERA, 109IP, 25BB, 81K, .244BAA

5) Christian Bethancourt
Highest Level: AA Mississippi Braves
2012 Stats:
MILB: .241, 3(2B), 1(3B), 0HR, 17RBI

Send your questions or feedback to J.P. on twitter @Jaypers413

VIDEO: Mycal Jones & Keenan Wiley Have Scary Head To Head Outfield Collision During Mississippi Braves Game

This clip is about as scary as it gets. Mississippi Braves centerfielder Mycal Jones and right fielder Keenan Wiley each dive for a Marc Krauss line drive and crack heads at full extension. Krauss got a 3 run inside the park home run on the play. Jones, who is one of the most active minor league baseball players on twitter @MykeJones2 tweeted that he should be back in the lineup on April 11th after passing all his tests. Wiley is also ok. Pretty amazing that both guys came out of this just a little cut up but otherwise ok.

If your not squeemish, take a look at the picture of the cut above his eye and the stitched up cut that Mycal Jones posted to his twitter account following the collision.

Braves Prospect Todd Cunningham Puts Out “Rock Yo Jock” Music Video

Atlanta Braves prospect Todd Cunningham (KEY ROOKIE: 2010 Elite Extra Edition) is spending his offseason dabbling into the world of music. Cunningham has recently released his “Rock Yo Jock” music video. In the story link below, Cunningham talks about his music, reaching out to youth groups with his music, and how his dad’s ties in the music industry helped get the project off the ground. You can also watch the completed “Rock Yo Jock” music video below.

Cunningham reaching youth through music JaxNews.com

Complete Listing Of Atlanta Braves Minor Leaguers On Twitter

Here is a list of Atlanta Braves Minor League Prospects who you can follow on twitter. Please tweet us @MinorLeagueBlog if you know of someone we are missing.

Luis Avilan — @lavilan70
Christian Bethancourt — @ChristianBeth27
Cory Brownsten — @CBrownie30
Chris Bullard — @Blacktopper10
Billy Bullock — @BillyBullock
Erik Cordier — @Cords11
John Cornely — @J_Corn_toss_19
Todd Cunningham — @Todd_Cunningham
Evan Danieli — @yaboyBIGDEE
Dave Filak — @DaveFilak27
Cory Gearrin — @CoryGearrin
Cory Harrilchak — @harrilchakitout
Ryne Harper — @ryneharp
Tyler Hess — @Hessismore55
J.J. Hoover — @JJ_Hoover
Mycal Jones — @MykeJones21
Barrett Kleinknecht — @bkleinknecht
Jordan Kreke — @jkreke10
Kyle Kubitza — @Kubbyk3009
Mark Lamm — @MarkLamm44
Matt Lipka — @MattLipka
Cody Martin — @zagsbaseball32
Chris Masters — @TheMastersWay
Shawn McGill — @shawnypmac15
Kyle Mertins — @KMert714
Adam Milligan — @akmill15
Navery Moore- @moorenc
Cory Rasmus — @TheBigRaz7
Chad Rodgers — @DragonRodgers
Kyle Rose — @kdrose26
Edison Sanchez — @EdisonSanchez21
Aaron Shafer — @HIGH_A_N_TIGHT
Will Skinner — @WillSkinner12
Troy Snitker — @snitwitit23
Zeke Spruill — @zekespruill
Brian Stamps — @b_stamps4
Joey Terdoslavich — @jterdo7
Kirk Walker — @kirkwalker1
L.V. Ware — @LV_Ware
Matt Weaver — @Matt_Weaver3

Pittsburgh Pirates Pitcher Jeff Locke Went From His Town’s Worst Little League Team To The Big Leagues

Pittsburgh Pirates rookie pitcher Jeff Locke will enter 2012 looking for his first big league win. He went 0-3 in four starts with the Pirates last season. Despite not yet getting a win, Locke reached the dream sought after by many when he made his major league debut. In the story link below, Locke provides an in depth look at his baseball journey from suiting up for the worst team in the Mount Washington Valley Little League, being highly scouted in high school, 2006 draft day when he was selected by the Atlanta Braves, his journey through the minor leagues and finally his debut last season with the Pirates. It’s an interesting timeline look at Locke’s path to the majors.

Jeff Locke’s journey to the Majors — ConwayDailySun.com

In Depth Behind The Scenes Look At The Michael Bourn Trade Between The Braves And Astros

Back in July, at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, the Houston Astros traded Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves for a package of prospects that consisted of Brett Olberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Jordan Schafer and Juan Abreu. The story link below provides a behind the scenes look at the makings of the trade from the text and email exchange between Houston Astros general manager Ed Wade and Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren, to the meetings among the respective scouting departments, to the notifications to the players involved. It’s a really cool look at the simple yet complicated inner workings of a trade deadline deal.

Anatomy of a Baseball Trade — BusinessWeek.com

Former Braves Pitcher Steve Avery Wins Then Loses A New Car

After winning a raffle during the Cabrini High School homecoming game, former Atlanta Braves pitcher Steve Avery got the chance to compete for a car in a contest sponsored by the Michigan dealership Taylor Ford. He threw a football through a small hole in a banner from 20 yards out and celebrated his win. However the dealership later countered saying that Avery instead was to throw 10 balls through the hole in 30 seconds rather than the single ball he converted. You can read more about the confusion and see a picture of the originally happy Avery posing with the folks who conducted the contest via the story link below.

Former MLB star Avery did not win car at Cabrini contest, Taylor Ford says — TheNewsHerald.com

Veteran Minor Leaguer Shawn Bowman Facing Critical Stage In His Career

Opportunity is everything in baseball and it seems once a player reaches a certain age, that window of opportunity begins to close. For veteran minor leaguers, every season that passes without a call up often leads to an off season crossroads and forces a decision as to how long they will continue to pursue their big league dreams. 26 year old Shawn Bowman is nearing that crossroads. The former 12th round pick of the New York Mets in 2002, just completed his 9th season of professional baseball and has played in three organizations, most recently the Atlanta Braves, where he batted a combined .259 across 3 levels including his first taste of Triple-A baseball. In the story link below, Bowman talks about his desire to continue to chase his major league dream, having the support of his family while he tries to support his family, and seeing friends and teammates get the promotion to the majors that he also desires. It’s a very good read.

Canadian prospect Bowman at baseball crossroads — Montreal Gazette

2011 Atlanta Braves Top 15 Prospects Post Season Report Card

With the 2011 minor league season complete we check in on the progress of each of the Atlanta Braves preseason Top 15 prospects as ranked by our prospect ranker J.P. Schwartz The post season grading report was done by the publisher of Top Prospect Alert, not Mr. Schwartz, and reflects only the 2011 season and not future upside or downside of the individual prospect. Our 2012 preseason rankings will be published in the coming months.

#1 Julio Teheran GRADE A-
Teheran went 15-3 with a 2.33ERA for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. He walked 48 and struck out 122 in 144.2 innings of work. Opposing hitters batted .232 against him. He also had two spot starts for Atlanta going 0-1 with a 5.19ERA, walking 4 and striking out 2 in 8.2 innings of big league work.

#2 Freddie Freeman GRADE A
Through September 5th, Freeman was batting .291 with 29 Doubles, 18 Home Runs, and 64 RBI’s as the Atlanta Braves every day first baseman. He is a National League Rookie Of The Year Candidate.

#3 Arodys Vizcaino GRADE A
Vizcaino went a combined 5-5 with a 3.06ERA in 97 innings between Triple-A Gwinnett, Double-A Mississipi, and the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats. He walked 28 while striking out 100 batters on the season. Opposing hitters batted .225 off of Vizcaino. In 11 big league appearances through September 5th, Vizcaino was 1-1 with a 6.00ERA walking 8 and strking out 14 in 12 innings of work.

#4 Mike Minor GRADE B
Minor went 4-5 with a 3.13ERA for Triple-A Gwinnett. He walked 27 and struck out 99 in 100.2 innings. Opposing hitters batted .246 against him. In 11 big league starts with Atlanta through September 5th, Minor was 4-2 with a 4.09ERA over 61.2 innings. He has walked 21 and struck out 59. Opposing hitters in the major leagues are batting .287 against him.

#5 Carlos Perez GRADE C-
Perez went 4-10 with a 4.82ERA for the Low-A Rome Braves. In 125 innings he walked 66 and struck out 109. Opposing hitters batted .278 off Perez this season. His ERA was nearly a run and a half lower in the second half of the season.

#6 Randall Delgado GRADE B
Delgado went a combined 7-7 with a 3.88ERA between Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi. In 135 innings of work he walked 57 and struck out 135 batters. Opposing hitters batted .255 against Delgado. In three big league starts through September 5th, Delgado was 0-1 with a 4.20ERA, walking 6 and striking out 10 in 15 innings with Atlanta.

#7 Craig Kimbrel GRADE A+
Kimbrel has been arguably the best closer in the National League in 2011. He recently set the all time single season saves record for a rookie. Through September 5th, Kimbrel is 4-2 with 42 saves and a 1.57ERA. He’s got 113 strikeouts while walking 26 batters in 68.2 innings of work. He is limiting opposing hitters to a .167 batting average. He is a top contender for NL Rookie of the Year.

#8 Matt Lipka GRADE C
Lipka batted .247 with 21 Doubles, 3 Triples, 1 Home Run, and 37 RBI’s for Low-A Rome. He also tallied 28 stolen bases on the season. He struck out just 83 times in 530 at bats.

#9 Brandon Beachy GRADE A
Through September 5th, Beachy is 7-2 with a 3.37ERA in 21 starts for Atlanta. In 120 innings, he has walked 35 while striking out 135. Big league hitters are batting just .233 off of Beachy.

#10 Christian Bethancourt GRADE B-
Bethancourt batted a combined .289 with 16 Doubles, 3 Triples, 5 Home Runs and 53 RBI’s between Low-A Rome and High-A Lynchburg. He also stole nine bases on the year. The .289 batting average is a career high for Bethancourt.

#11 Brett Oberholtzer TRADED TO HOUSTON
Oberholtzer was 9-9 with a 3.74ERA in 127 innings for Double-A Mississippi before the trade. Since joining the Astros he has gone 2-3 with a 5.27 ERA for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. Opponents batted a combined .253 against Oberholtzer on the season.

#12 Andrelton Simmons GRADE B
Simmons batted .311 with 35 Doubles, 6 Triples, 1 Home Run, 52 RBI’s and stole 26 bases for High-A Lynchburg. He struckout just 43 times in 517 at bats. He hit .345 with runners in scoring position on the year.

#13 Paul Clemens TRADED TO HOUSTON
Clemens was 6-5 with a 3.73ERA in 108.2 innings for Double-A Mississippi before being traded in July. After joining the Astros organization Clemens went 2-1 with a 2.35ERA for Corpus Christi before a season ending start for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Redhawks in which he allowed eight earned runs in 4.2 innings. Combined Clemens struck out 125 batters in 144 innings and held opposing hitters to a .239 batting average.

#14 David Filak GRADE D
Filak went a combined 3-11 with a 6.14ERA between Rookie League Danville and Low-A Rome. He walked 52 and struck out 79 in 104 combined innings. Batters hit .304 against Filak.

#15 Edward Salcedo GRADE C+
Salcedo batted .248 with 27 Doubles, 6 Triples, 12 Home Runs, 68 RBI’s and stole 23 bases for Low-A Rome. He struck out 105 times in 508 at bats. Salcedo faltered as the season went on hitting just .229 in the second half of the year.