Rookies on the Playoff Teams: Atlanta Braves
Here is a look at rookies and prospects who played for the Atlanta Braves in 2012.
Luis Avilan, LHP: Age 23, posted 3.23 ERA with 55/31 K/BB in 61 innings for Double-A Mississippi, then 2.06 ERA with 32/10 K/BB in 35 major league innings with just 26 hits allowed. Under-the-radar pre-season but has been very effective in the majors, especially against left-handed hitters (.180/.278/.371). Strong curveball, looks like he can be a fine relief asset. Signed out of Venezuela in 2005.
Jose Constanza, OF: Age 29, minor league vet, hit .314/.380/.375 with 14 steals in 344 at-bats in Triple-A, .257/.329/.284 with five steals in 74 major league at-bats. Speed and defense are his specialties, he won't hit enough to play regularly for a good team but he has use on the bench. Signed from the Dominican Republic in 2003 by the Cleveland Indians.
Randall Delgado, RHP: Age 22, posted 4.06 ERA with 51/21 K/BB in 44 Triple-A innings, went 4-9, 4.42 in 17 major league starts with a 73/42 K/BB ratio and 89 hits allowed. He's got the stuff, just needs more consistency. I think he still projects as a mid-rotation starter. Signed out of Panama in 2006.
Cory Gearrin, RHP: Age 26, sidewinder ground ball specialist, posted 2.30 ERA with 66/22 K/BB and 2.48 GO/AO in 55 innings in Triple-A, then 1.89 ERA with 20/5 K/BB and 2.00 GO/AO in 19 major league innings. Nothing left to prove in the minors, seems like a solid middle reliever to me. Drafted in the fourth round in 2007 from Mercer University.
Tyler Pastornicky, SS: Age 22, earned job in spring training but didn't hold it, went back to Triple-A and hit .268/.317/.399 in 153 at-bats. Came back for bench work in late July, hit .243/.287/.325 overall with 10 walks, 32 strikeouts in 169 at-bats and was disappointing with the glove. He's likely a utility player going forward. Drafted in the fifth round by the Blue Jays in 2008 from high school in Bradenton, Florida.
Andrelton Simmons, SS: Age 23, hit .293/.372/.420 with 10 steals, 20 walks, 20 strikeouts in 174 at-bats in Double-A. Promoted to majors to replace Pastornicky in June, hit .290/.337/.420 with 12 walks and 21 strikeouts in 162 at-bats between injuries. Very talented defensive shortstop who will contribute with the bat, will have a very long career as long as he avoids health problems. Drafted in the second round in 2010 from Western Oklahoma Junior College, is originally from Curacao.
Julio Teheran, RHP: Age 21, top prospect struggled through much of the season at Triple-A Gwinnett, posting 5.08 ERA with 97/43 K/BB in 131 innings, 146 hits, 18 homers. Made one major league start and gave up four runs in 4.1 innings, but did fan five. Scouting reports have sagged with his numbers, but he did pitch very well in three of his last four starts in August. Not a lost cause yet by any means. Signed out of Colombia in 2007.
Anthony Varvaro, RHP: Age 27, minor league vet, posted 2.23 ERA with 47/24 K/BB in 44 innings in Triple-A, 5.40 ERA with 21/9 K/BB in 17 major league innings. Expect him on bullpen fringes for the next few years, filling roster holes as needed. Drafted by the Mariners in the 12th round in 2005 from St. John's University.
The Braves got good value out of rookie shortstop Simmons (2.2 WAR in just 48 games) and he's the jewel of the class going forward. Delgado wasn't a special pitcher with a 1.0 WAR but he should improve with experience, while Avilan and Gearrin will help the pen.