March 07, 2014

Braves Top Prospects For 2014

Below is the ranking of Braves’ prospects based on the average rankings from the following sites/publications:  Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN/Keith Law, SB Nation Minor League Ball, FanGraphs and MLB.com.  Although some of these sites ranked more than 10 prospects, I did not consider any rankings beyond the top 10 when averaging out the rankings.

Also I’ve included my comments about each player.  These are based on online videos, comments from the websites mentioned in the first paragraph, and from statistics.  So the player comments are admittedly a bit of Google scouting and third-hand knowledge, and not knowledge obtained directly from industry sources.  The comments are basically my attempt to summarize and put together, in one place, all the information that you might find about these players.

 

Rk. Player, Position (Average Rank)

1. Lucas Sims, RHP (1)

Sims was the #1 prospect on every list.  His windup and his actions look a lot like Matt Harvey’s.  Sims is a fastball-curveball guy with an above-average changeup.  It’s dangerous to say any pitching prospect is can’t-miss but Sims is about as can’t-miss as it gets with a pitching prospect.  Sims was a more touted prospect as an amateur than Tommy Hanson, which might be a sign that he’s less likely to flounder the way Hanson eventually did.

 

2. Christian Bethancourt, C (2.17)

Bethancourt was always considered a rifle-armed catcher with a lot of potential with the glove and some raw power in his bat.  The question had been other aspects of hitting, until the second half of last season.  He’s started to show signs that he can provide solid offense and outstanding defense at the big league level, and could push Gattis as soon as 2014.

 

3. Jose Peraza, SS (4.17)

Peraza is your typical diminutive middle infielder.  He has excellent speed and is a good fielder.  He’s an average hitter without power.  It seems if he can stick at shortstop, he has a shot to be an everyday player.  If his arm proves to be too weak for short, he might not hit enough to be anything more than a backup infielder or a second-division regular, at best.

 

4. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP (4.33)

Cabrera is a fastball-slider guy, with more fastball than slider.  He also throws a below-average changeup.  If his secondary stuff develops, he’ll be a starter.  If not, he’s a fine option for the bullpen.  His brother, Alberto, is a reliever for the Cubs.

 

5. J.R. Graham, RHP (5.33)

Graham, like Cabrera, is a righty fastball-slider guy.  He missed most of last season with an injury.  Given his repertoire and the injury, he might end up in the bullpen.

 

6. Jason Hursh, RHP (6)

Hursh is yet another right-handed pitching prospect.  He has a sinking fastball and two quality secondary offerings in his changeup and slider.  He’s already had Tommy John, during his sophomore year at Oklahoma State.    He seems more likely to remain a starter than Cabrera or Graham.

 

7. Wes Parsons, RHP (6)

Parsons is similar to Hursh.  He is a sinkerballer with a good chance to stick as a starter.

 

8. Tommy La Stella, 2B (6.83)

La Stella made a lot of noise last season and could get a shot if Dan Uggla continues his struggles of a season ago.  La Stella can hit.  The downside is that’s the only thing he does that could be above major league average.  The good news is a player can make a career if he’s simply a good hitter and adequate in other areas.  La Stella doesn’t have much power, isn’t great defender but he hits and knows the strikezone.

 

9. David Hale, RHP (7.67)

Hale started two games with the big club in 2013.  He has a fastball, slider and changeup.  He doesn’t overwhelm with any of them but they are all solid offerings.  He was a two-way player at Princeton so he’s very athletic.  He’ll probably be a dependable back-end starter or a quality reliever.

 

10. Victor Caratini, 3B/C (8)

Caratini is a switch-hitter with gap power.  He played thirdbase at Miami-Dade College because of their depth at catcher.  The Braves will give him a chance to catch, where is offense will play up.  He obviously has a better chance to make it as a catcher, considering his possible power limitations.

 

11t. Joey Terdoslavich, 1B/OF (9)

Terdoslavich is a good hitter but probably not so good a hitter to make up for his defensive deficiencies.  He’s good enough to handle some playing time in the corner-outfield but his all-around game suggest he’s a pinch-hitter and a much better one from the left side than the right.  The Braves have also worked him out at catcher this spring, probably in case of emergency.  He’ll probably settle into an Eric Hinske type role for his career.

 

11t. Johan Camargo, 3B/SS (9)

Camargo is a switch-hitter with some potential in the hit department.  However he doesn’t have much power nor is he all that fast, so his upside is limited.  If he can stick at short for a while, with his ability to switch hit, if his hitting continues to develop on an appropriate track, he could at least find a role as a backup in the majors.

 

13t. Victor Reyes, OF (10)

Reyes is the type of player scouts call projectable.  He’ll enter his age 19 season in 2014.  He’s listed at 6′ 3″ and 170 lbs.  It’s still early but he’s shown an ability to hit, posting a .321 batting average and .402 OBP at the rookie levels of pro ball over the last couple of seasons.  If he fills out and develops power as projected, look out.  He could make a big jump.  But potential isn’t performance, so he needs to prove himself beyond rookie ball to make the jump in prospect status.

 

13t. Ian Thomas, LHP (10)

Thomas is a big, 6′ 4″ lefty that the Braves signed out of an independent league, where he spent three seasons.  Thomas will be 27 on April 20th, so his time in the majors could come soon.  He’s struck out over 10 batter per 9 innings in the minors.  With O’Flaherty signing with the A’s and Venters still recovering, Thomas could open the season in the bullpen with the big club.

 

13t. Aaron Northcraft, RHP (10)

Similarly to Hursh and Parsons, Northcraft features a sinking fastball.  He also throws both a slider and a curve, and mixes in a changeup.  His stuff isn’t great but he gets by on an expansive repertoire.  He seems like the type that will fight his way to the majors and find a role somewhere.

 

13t. Cody Martin, RHP (10)

Martin has a plus cutter and throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup, all with the potential to be average or better.  He spent his college career as a reliever for Gonzaga but the Braves have given him the chance to start and he’s held his own at every level.  At 24 it may be time to utilize his services wherever a need arises, whether it be starting or in the bullpen.

 

 

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