Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9) | 2009 (6) | 2008 (8)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [94-68] NL East
AAA: [62-82] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [62-77] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [72-68] Carolina League – Lynchburg
A: [62-76] South Atlantic League – Rome

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Chris Jones (LHP); Cory Rasmus (RHP); Zeke Spruill (RHP); Cory Brownsten (C); Edward Salcedo (3B);

Graduated Prospects
Tyler Pastornicky (SS); Andrelton Simmons (SS); Jose Constanza (OF); Randall Delgado (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is a beautiful thing.  Injuries and whatnot can destroy Major League rotations and bullpens, so to have a pool of talented, cost-controlled options waiting in the upper levels of the farm is a luxury every team strives for.  The Braves are overflowing with pitching depth in their minor leagues — some of it elite, some of it average, but the depth is real, and it’s hugely important.  The same cannot be said for Atlanta’s prospects at the plate, however.  Not to suggest that this system is void of promising hitting prospects, but the state of the farm in this regard is lagging behind.  There is a fair amount of upside — a guy like Evan Gattis could blossom into a catcher-eligible masher as soon as this year.  He also could bust and never see the bigs.  The other bats here are rather young, and as we know, youth is volatile.  So what the Braves have here is a bit of a lopsided system, but it’s a good system, and it brings plenty of fantasy intrigue.  And along with the fantasy impact, it should keep Atlanta competitive in the NL East for the foreseeable future.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Julio Teheran, RHP:  Teheran’s fastball lost a few ticks in 2012 as he worked on some mechanical flaws.  This helps explain why his ERA at Triple-A Gwinnett doubled from 2011 to 2012, but the regression is alarming, nonetheless.  The alterations will supposedly make Teheran a more durable pitcher, and scouts are hopeful his fastball will return to form.  Meanwhile, his changeup remains a plus-plus offering.  The 21-year-old (22 later this month) will be in the mix for a gig in the Braves’ rotation out of camp, and he certainly has the potential to be a valuable fantasy option.  ETA:  2013

2.  J.R. Graham, RHP:  Graham doesn’t quite have the ceiling that Teheran does, but at this juncture, he might be a safer option to contribute immediately.  Granted, he’s only thrown 45 innings above A-ball, but in 205 professional IP since being drafted in 2011, he’s posted a 2.49 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.  The power-armed 23-year-old profiles as a mid-rotation guy, but some see #2 starter potential.  Graham likely spends some time at Triple-A to begin the year, but he should debut in Atlanta before long.  ETA:  2013

3.  Lucas Sims, RHP:  With great pitching depth at advanced stages of the system, the Braves can afford to take their time with their 2012 1st-rounder.  Sims will play full-season ball at Rome in 2013.  The 18-year-old brings a nice fastball-curveball combo, and he projects as a front-end starter.  ETA:  2016

4.  Alex Wood, LHP:  Wood was the Braves’ 2nd-round pick last June out of the University of Georgia.  He debuted at Low-A Rome and looked great:  2.22 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 8.9 K/9.  With plus command and #3 starter upside, he’ll reach the upper levels in 2013, on track for arrival sometime next year.  ETA:  2014

5.  Sean Gilmartin, LHP:  Gilmartin is a soft-throwing lefty who relies on deception more than pure stuff (although, his changeup is a very nice pitch).  These finesse-types don’t often make for exciting fantasy arms, but Gilmartin brings enough polish to put up Tommy Milone-like numbers once he arrives.  ETA:  2013

6.  Evan Gattis, C/OF:  It seems kinda crazy for me to be ranking a 26-year-old here, but Gattis has done enough over the past year to convince me that he’s the top bat in this system.  After destroying Carolina League pitching to the tune of a 1.289 OPS, he stepped up to Double-A where he managed a .865 OPS.  Gattis spent the winter playing in the Venezuelan League and continued mashing:  .303/.365/.595 with 16 HR in 211 PA.  And even though scouts doubt he’ll be able to stick at catcher in the bigs, there’s a decent chance he’ll arrive in fantasy leagues with catcher eligibility.  ETA:  Late 2013

7.  Christian Bethancourt, C:  Bethancourt is only 21 years old, and he’s already played a full season at Double-A, so he has the youth thing going for him.  What’s not going for him is the .243/.275/.291 line he put up at Mississippi last year.  The plus defender could spend time in the bigs this year as McCann recovers from surgery, but don’t expect much from the bat — not yet at least.  ETA:  2013

8.  Jose Peraza, SS:  Peraza brings an enormous ceiling.  His tools profile has him projecting for plus speed, plus hitting, and average pop.  From the shortstop position, that’d be mighty nice for fantasy purposes.  Of course, he’s only 18, so there’s plenty of time for his stock to rise or fall.  ETA:  2016

9.  Tommy La Stella, 2B:  La Stella is a bat-first 2B with some glove skills too.  He hit .302/.386/.460 in 358 PA at High-A Lynchburg.  Scouts love the hit tool, and he figures to be able to stick in the middle infield.  He’ll reach the upper levels in 2013.  ETA:  2015

10.  Zeke Spruill, RHP:  Spruill was steady across 161 IP at Double-A Mississippi.  At 6-5, 190, the 23-year-old features a big, durable frame and enough stuff to cut it as a back-end innings eater.  His ceiling is rather low, but his likelihood of reaching that ceiling is very high.  Not much risk here.  ETA:  2014

  1. mooseknuckles says:

    Gattis being linked in a potential Upton trade
    does this help or hurt his ETA if he goes to Arizona?

  2. mooseknuckles says:

    Also what is the plural of Upton. If both are in Atlantas outfield, would that mean there are two Uptons or does it change to Upti. Not sure on the rule for that one.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Haha I think Upti has a nice ring to it. Re: Gattis, I don’t see an immediate opportunity & with just 207 PA above A-ball, I think they’d like to test him at AAA for a stretch… Mid-Late 2013 still holds, but these ETA’s are always a guessing game.

  3. Jay29 says:

    Thought of this post when I heard about the deal this morning. Are Ahmed and Drury guys that just missed this list? Or just fillers?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Ahmed was close. He’s more of a glove-first MI, so I left him off because he doesn’t figure to generate much fantasy excitement. Drury is a filler, but he brings a bit of upside to AZ.

  4. Cole says:

    wow, the braves trade for upton and the only prospect on this list they give up in return is Spurill…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Well Delgado graduated prospect status, but he’d rank #2 or #3 here if he were still eligible. Still, sure seems like a bargain for Atlanta.

      • Cole says:

        @Scott Evans: It’s weird, but I am actually interested in a rundown of the mets farm system. I’m not a fan, but they have been piling prospects with dealing dickey and beltran a few years back. Are you going to get to them?

  5. TheNewGuy says:

    Gotta question for my keeper league so who better to ask than my minor league buddy!

    I get: Profar and Skaggs
    I give Encarnacion ($1) and Olt

    I know Encarnacion’s price looks great but in reality its 8$ for 2 years or $12 for 3 years and he hasnt resigned as a keeper yet, plus theres a good chance of the regression zombies coming to feast on him.

    I love the idea of getting Profar though, is he your no 1 prospect right now (have I missed the rankings)? Does he start the year in the bigs too or is it too early to say. I don’t mind losing Olt for Skaggs as I can’t see Olt getting much a full time chance anytime soon.

    Thoughts on the deal too?

  6. TheNewGuy says:

    On a side note, no Salcedo in this list? Had him on my farm once upon a time ( a few years back) and suprised to see him not in the top 10. Guess he can’t be developing as they hoped. And Cory Rasmus, Colbys bro?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:

      Profar is definitely my #1 long-term prospect & I love your end of that deal for the long haul. Take it! Also, you haven’t missed my rankings… I’ll be rolling out my top fantasy prospects for 2013 in the next couple weeks.

      Re: Salcedo & Rasmus… Salcedo likely moves to #10 after Spruill’s departure — the tools are still there, but his approach is garbage. And Rasmus doesn’t really sniff the top 20 — no real fantasy intrigue unless he ends up closing ballgames…

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