Atlanta Braves Pre-Season Top 20 Prospects in Review
This list was generated back in February. Let's see how these guys are doing.
1) Andy Marte, 3B.
.276/.378/.510 in 72 games for Triple-A Richmond, just .159/.250/.250 in 16 games for Atlanta. I still think he is an outstanding prospect, but they either need to trade him or find him a place to play. He should be ready in '06.
2) Kyle Davies, RHP
3-1, 4.39 for Richmond, 4-3, 4.32 in 11 starts for the Braves, somewhat erratic but very impressive at times. K/BB and H/IP ratios are not impressive in the Majors and he will have some rough patches, but overall a valuable property.
3) Jacob Stevens, LHP
6-7, 4.19 in 19 starts for Class A Myrtle Beach, with a 79/35 K/BB in 103 innings. Doing OK but I expected better. Strikeout rate is down compared to last year.
4) Jeff Francoeur, OF
Hit .275/.322/.487 in 84 games for Double-A Mississippi, .385/.385/.808 in 9 games for the Braves. Obviously has excellent tools, speed and power, but I remain worried about his plate discipline, which is poor, will effect his development once the pitchers adjust.
5) Brian McCann, C
.265/.359/.476 at Mississippi, now .310/.383/.452 for the Braves. His success should be more sustainable in the short run than Francoeur's, due to McCann's superior polish at the plate. Possibly the best catching prospect in baseball right now.
6) Chuck James, LHP
6-1, 2.66 with an 84/15 K/BB ratio in 68 innings for Mississippi. Doing very well, a fine prospect. Impressive K/IP and K/BB ratios.
7) Anthony Lerew, RHP
6-2, 3.93 in 14 starts at Mississippi, 1-1, 2.76 in 5 starts for Richmond. Doing well, possible September call-up.
8) Ryan Langerhans, OF
Hitting .240/.322/.402 for the Braves. Seems destined for fourth outfielder duty eventually.
9) Kelly Johnson, OF
Hitting .235/.332/.412 in 46 games for the Braves. Impressive at times, but with some growing pains. Should be a solid player though not a star.
10) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Hitting .304/.383/.476 for Myrtle Beach. 24 doubles shows more home run power is likely down the road. Between McCann and this guy, the Braves should have their catching needs filled for the foreseeable future.
11) Chris Vines, RHP
5-6, 4.90 for Class A Rome, 89/21 K/BB in 108 innings, 128 hits allowed. Disappointing, I thought he was a big breakthrough candidate. He is throwing strikes, but hasn't been able to dominate.
12) Luis Atilano, RHP
7-6, 4.01 for Rome, 53/21 K/BB in 103 innings. Good control, but low strikeout rate warns that quick progress is unlikely.
13) Macay McBride, LHP
Converted to relief and just promoted to the Majors. This will probably be his niche for the future. Triple-A numbers show good K/IP rate but need for better command.
14) Brayan Pena, C
Hit .330/.383/.403 for Richmond, is 3-for-23 in Major League action. Hits for average, makes contact, power has been limited this year. Destined for reserve duty.
15) Kevin Barry, RHP
4.69 ERA in 25 games for Richmond, 34/27 K/BB in 40 innings. Status slipping, needs a change of scenery and better control.
16) Wilson Betemit, INF
Hitting .287/.344/.468 for the Braves, showing good development in most phases of the game. Finally putting his tools to use, in other words. Should have a long career.
17) J.C. Holt, 2B
Just .240/.298/.326 for Rome. Disappointing in all phases of the game.
18) Martin Prado, 2B
Hitting .306/.353/.411 at Myrtle Beach. Just promoted to Mississsippi, where he is 11-for-30 in 9 games. Doing quite well, moving up the prospect lists.
19) Blaine Boyer, RHP
5.08 ERA at Mississippi, but 2.40 ERA in 17 games for the Braves, skipping Triple-A. Not sure if his Major League success is sustainable in the short run due to higher-than-ideal walk rate.
20) Bill McCarthy, OF
Hitting .226/.295/.339 at Richmond, much less than expected. Plate discipline has slipped and prospect status is fading.
There are a few disappointments, but overall a lot for Braves fans to be happy about. The biggest question in my mind is Jeff Francoeur. He could be awesome, he could be terrible, he could be anywhere in between. Right now his immense natural talent is overriding his weaknesses in technique.