Atlanta Braves Top 20 Prospects for 2009

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Atlanta Braves Top 20 Prospects for 2009

All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don’t get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get out of the top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you are looking for.

 

1) Jason Heyward, OF, Grade A-: A personal favorite, though he actually hit fewer homers than expected. Broad base of skills.
2) Frederick Freeman, 1B, Grade B+: Debating whether or not to move him up to A-. Not as broad a skill base as Heyward, but power and youth stand out.
3) Thomas Hanson, RHP, Grade B+: Looks good to me, though will need some Triple-A to put on the finishing touches. Number Two starter ceiling.
4) Jordan Schafer, OF, Grade B+: I should have put him on the Rotowire Top 100 list. Will be in the 50/50 for the book. Power, speed, defense, OBP, and played well without the juice.
5) Tyler Flowers, C, Grade B: Love the power and walks, main question is glove.
6) Cole Rohrbough, LHP, Grade B: Excellent ceiling. I cannot prove why objectively, but I worry a bit about his arm. Needs sharper command too.
7) Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Grade B: I hesitate to grade relief prospects this highly, but I can’t ignore his early dominance.
8) Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Grade B-: Would like to see more power, other skills coming along.
9) Kris Medlen, RHP, Grade B-: Am I overrating him? Looks like he could be a really good swingman.
10) Jeff Locke, LHP, Grade B-: I’ve liked him since he was in high school. Like Rohrbough, worry some about injuries.
11) Randall Delgado, RHP, Grade B-: Needs better command, but a high ceiling guy.
12) Brett DeVall, LHP, Grade B-: A long way away, but a high ceiling.
13) Zeke Spruill, RHP, Grade B-: Like DeVall, a long way off, but fits into organization philosophy perfectly.
14) Brandon Hicks, SS, Grade C+: Love the power, walks, speed, defense. Hate the strikeouts.
15) Eric Campbell, 3B, Grade C+: If his head is on straight, could surprise people in ’09.
16) James Parr, RHP, Grade C+: Fourth/fifth starter type.
17) J.J. Hoover, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper call on a junior college guy that I love. Hard-thrower with improving command.
18) Kala Ka’aihue, 1B, Grade C+: Similar to his brother Kila though I don’t think he will perform quite as well in ’09 as his brother did in ’08.
19) David Francis, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper pick.
20) Edgar Osuna, LHP, Grade C+: Sleeper pick, great K/BB ratio.

Others included are Willie Cabrera, Paul Clemens, Kyle Cofield, Scott Diamond, Steve Evarts, Cory Gearrin, Jon Gilmore (C+), Cody Johnson, Travis Jones (C+) Brent Lillibridge, Jose Ortegano, Benino Pruneda, Todd Redmond, Chad Rodgers, Tyler Stovall (C+), Richard Sullivan, Luis Sumoza (C+), Julio Teheran (C+), Jacob Thompson, and Luis Valdez.

The C+ guys could easily be in the Top 20 depending on particular emphasis.

There are 40 guys in the book, pared down from my original list of 55 worth writing about. If there is someone else that you really think should be included, make your case. I always miss someone. Space is limited and some of the players above will probably get cut if I have to add someone else. In fact, I really need to get that 40 down to 38, but don’t know who to cut. 

 

SYSTEM IN BRIEF:
The Braves could use some additional offensive depth beyond the top guys, but are typically rich in pitching. Injury attrition is going to wipe some of those young arms out, of course, though which ones it is hard to tell until it happens. The Braves are pushing in a lot of junior college guys recently. Hoover has received less attention than others, but I really like him and he could be a big surprise in 2009.

Full reports for all these players and over 1,000 others can be found in the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book. We are taking pre-orders now! Don't hestitate.  

The next team up will be the Philadelphia Phillies, then the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

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