FanPost

Atlanta Braves MOD #2

The pitching side has been addressed in MOD 1 so now its time to take a look at the hitters and see where we are lacking.

C

The only guy on any prospect radar right now is Christian Bethancourt who can still be a game changing talent with his defense. So far in the SSS of the season with a DL stint he's hit well to a tune of 295/306/426 with a 108 wRC+ off AA pitchers. You also have to remember he is doing this at the age of 21. The only other player of note is Tyler Tewell from Rome who has a 270/325/351 line with a 96 wRC+. I haven't heard much about him on the other side of the ball though.

1B

All the usual caveats apply about failed corner outfielders or 3rd baseman switching positions. That said, the Braves do have a true 1st baseman in the ranks in William Beckwith with Lynchburg. He's 22 and has played to a 261/378/487 line with a 144 wRC+ and .392 wOBA.

2B

Tyler Pastornicky right now is the heir apparent to Uggla's throne at the keystone. He has played almost exclusively at 2B this year and it seems thats his future in the organization. He's still only 23 and has made 2 errors in 20 games there this year with 9 error-free innings in Atlanta. With the stick he's batting 313/349/404 with a 113 wRC+. Beyond Rev there's Tommy La Stella who is a personal favorite. In his 12 games this year (7 in A+, 5 in AA), he's off to a ridiculously hot start batting 455/556/727. He's also sporting a nifty 9:2 BB to K ratio. Obviously he isn't going to keep up at this pace but there is no doubting he's locked in right now. At 24, he needs to keep the pace up as best he can as his prospect clock is ticking. With Andrelton Simmons at SS for at least 6 more years, Rome SS Jose Peraza may end up making the switch at some point further in his development. At 19, he's struggled a bit in full season ball with a .579 OPS but the team can afford to be patient with him.

3B

Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson have performed well in a platoon, but the hot corner needs some stability after Chipper. As far as proximity, if Joe Leonard's bat can show up, his glove can more than hold its own. Leonard was the recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove for minor league 3B in 2012. In AAA, the 24 yr old is off to a 186/243/258 start with 24 K to 7 BB. If defense is your thing, imagine a Leonard/Simmons left side of the infield. There is a good bit of youth at 3B in the organization though. 21 yr old Edward Salcedo has gotten off to a good start in AA batting 269/346/387 with a 114 wRC+. Problem is he has made 9 errors in 29 games there. For reference, Leonard made 10 errors in 115 games with AA Mississippi last year. I'm not saying he needs to move off 3B this year, but something's gotta give here. Kyle Kubitza, 22, is off to a slow start with a .650 OPS in Lynchburg while Carlos Franco, 21, has done worse with a .624 OPS. There is youth, but no production just yet.

SS

We have Simmons, sucks for the rest of the MLB. Jose Peraza can learn the other side of the keystone. Or we can trade him.

LF

The stand out offensive performer of the year so far has to be either Lynchburg's 23 yr old left fielder Robby Hefflinger or Joe Terdoslavich. Hefflinger has performed to a 308/354/571 line with 8 HR and 18 XBH. A 154 wRC+ and .408 wOBA look nice too. He's made 2 errors on defense. Another option performing well is converted catcher Josh Elander for Rome. The 22 yr old caught all last year and has played exclusively in LF this year. He's played flawless D and hit 320/386/560 with 5 HR and 18 XBH with a 162 wRC+ and .425 wOBA.

CF

Todd Cunningham has struggled to a .591 OPS so far this year in his age 24 season in AAA. Matt Lipka has recently turned his young season around in Lynchburg. The 21 yr old is up to a .720 OPS with a ,823 OPS in his last 10 games. He adds the speed element with 9 SB this year after stealing 28 in 2011 and 12 in 51 games last year.

RF

Joe Terdoslavich has returned to being a doubles machine. After setting the Carolina League record with 52 in 2011, he struggled making the jump to the high minors last year. He's dominating AAA this year at age 24. He's running a 338/353/593 line to the plate. He's appearing to be allergic to walks though, with 3 in 150 plate appearances so far. He's only made 2 errors in right this year so far. A sleeper to keep an eye on is 24 year old Jose Martinez. He was signed as a minor league free agent and has posted a decent 319/358/354 line showing good contact skills. The absence of power is confusing as he is listed at 6'5, 170 pounds by FanGraphs but 6'7, 210 lbs by baseball reference. He could be a late bloomer and he's showing the ability to hit the ball. He can also play CF in a pinch, with 5 games there this year and 7 last year. Another solid performer this year is David Rohm with Lynchburg, The 23 year old is repeating the Carolina League but he's figured it out. He has a 328/400/491 line with 12 2B and 15 XBH total. A 151 wRC+ and .404 wOBA is hard to ignore.

I see the problem spots on the major league roster at 3B long term, 2B if Uggla continues to struggle, and more pitching because you can never, EVER, have enough pitching. I believe knowing your weakness in your system is crucial to the drafting process. There will be situations where the best available player is so much better than where you need to fill a hole and I would not want to pass that up. But if one of the top couple guys available can fix a need in the org I'm not opposed to a reach.

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