Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (26) | 2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9) | 2009 (6)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [96-66] NL East
AAA: [60-84] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [76-63] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [69-70] Carolina League – Lynchburg
A: [73-66] South Atlantic League – Rome

Arizona Fall League PlayersScottsdale Scorpions
John Cornerly (RHP); Juan Jaime (RHP); Aaron Northcraft (RHP); Shae Simmons (RHP); Kyle Kubitza (3B); Tommy La Stella (2B); Elmer Reyes (SS); Robby Hefflinger (OF)

Graduated Prospects
Evan Gattis (C/OF); Julio Teheran (RHP); Alex Wood (LHP); Anthony Varvaro (RHP); Luis Avilan (LHP); Cory Gearrin (RHP);

The Run Down
The high-impact fantasy potential on this list starts and ends with Lucas Sims.  Still, I view this Braves farm system as an underrated group, in that, there are a number of intriguing college arms here, and Atlanta, as an organization, has proven itself in recent years to be quite adept at developing college pitchers into MLB assets. (See Mike Minor and Alex Wood.)  On the offensive side of things, there’s far less appeal.  Hitting prospects like Bethancourt, La Stella, and Salcedo could all be spending time with the big club in 2014, and they each bring a glimmer of fantasy upside, but it’s the variety of upside that barely garners consideration in mixed leagues.  With a decent amount of talent pushing through the upper levels, this is a group worth monitoring early on next season, but there’s truly nothing here to get too excited over until Sims makes his way to Turner Field.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Lucas Sims, RHP:
  With three pitches (FB, CB, CH) that have plus projection, Sims is a front-end starter and a high-impact fantasy piece in the making.  In his first year of full-season baseball, the 19-year-old posted a 2.62 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a K/9 at 10.3 across 116 IP in the South Atlantic League.  He’s a must-own guy in dynasty formats, a top-25 pitching prospect.  Depending on how things go for him in Lynchburg next spring, Sims could surface in the upper levels by by year’s end.  ETA:  2015

2.  J.R. Graham, RHP:  After his phenomenal 2012 brought on big expectations for 2013, Graham ended up missing the bulk of the season due to a shoulder injury.  Superb command of a repertoire deep with plus pitches (FB, SL, CH) has the 23-year-old projected as a solid #3 starter with front-end upside.  The shoulder injury is concerning, of course, but reports are optimistic for a healthy 2014 season.  He’ll likely return to Double-A to begin the season, and he’ll be under consideration for a starting gig in Atlanta as soon as there’s a need.  ETA:  2014

3. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP:  Cabrera had some command-fueled struggles in his first year at the full-season level (4.18 ERA, 1.44 WHIP), but his long-term outlook remains strong thanks to a darn fine fastball and some projectable secondary stuff.  The 20-year-old brings the heater with elite velocity, touching 100 MPH on occasion, so it’s easy to see why there’s significant upside in the fantasy game.  With improved command, Cabrera could push through the next levels quickly and skyrocket up prospect lists.  He’ll be one to keep an eye on in High-A next spring.  ETA:  2016

4.  Jason Hursh, RHP:  Hursh was drafted 31st overall this past June out of Oklahoma State.  His fastball is a weapon, and it’s close to MLB-ready as-is, but his secondary offerings are lagging behind.  The Braves are hopeful that his slider and changeup will make strides in 2014, allowing the 22-year-old a chance to surface in the upper levels sometime next summer.  A mid-rotation starter is what most folks are projecting for Hursh, but I believe there could be more here if everything clicks.  ETA:  2016

5.  Christian Bethancourt, C:  If I’m rating Braves prospects without fantasy spin, Bethancourt would probably  come in at #2.  Plus defensive receivers are as valuable as any commodity in the game, and that’s precisely what this 22-year-old is.  His skill set behind the dish almost assures him a regular role in the bigs as soon as an opportunity presents itself.  His bat, by the way, improved greatly in his second full year of Double-A ball, raising his OPS from .566 to .741.  That aspect of his game should only continue to improve as he matures.  ETA:  2014

6.  Jose Peraza, SS:  In his first year of full-season ball, Peraza hit .288/.341/.371 with 64 stolen bases through 504 PA at Low-A Rome.  He’s a plus-plus runner with an advanced approach and a solid hit tool, which is a skill set that should land him at the top of a big league batting order some day.  Provided he can cut it defensively up the middle — and reports suggest that he can — Predraza could make for a useful fantasy MI a few years from now.  ETA:  2016

7.  Tommy La Stella, 2B:  La Stella can hit, and he’s ready for a look in the bigs now, but Dan Uggla and his absurd contract might delay his arrival for a little while longer.  The 24-year-old La Stella batted .343/.422/.473 at Double-A in 2013, and he’s the type of hitter who could provide immediate fantasy help in AVG and OBP.  There’s very little appeal outside of those two cat’s, so his overall impact isn’t overly sexy.  ETA:  2014

8.  Edward Salcedo, 3B:  Salcedo is a toolsy 3B with major upside at the plate, but he’s yet to translate his raw ability to on-paper success.  The 22-year-old posted an unimpressive .675 OPS through 132 games at Double-A last season, which was his first taste of upper levels baseball.  The Braves are hopeful he’ll begin to tap into his considerable power next year, in what will likely be a return trip to Mississippi.  ETA:  Late 2014

9.  Sean Gilmartin, LHP:  Gilmartin took a couple steps backward in 2013 as he battled a shoulder ailment for most of the season, but Atlanta is hopeful he’ll return to form in 2014 as he return to Triple-A Gwinnett.   The 23-year-old 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 should bring enough polish to cut it as a back-end starter once he arrives.  ETA:  2014

10. Cody Martin, RHP:  Martin had a bit of a breakout year in 2013, posting a 3.16 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP, and a K/9 at 9.0 through 132 innings of work between Double-A and Triple-A.  The 24-year-old isn’t the type of arm who’ll overwhelm opponents with stuff, but he mixes four pitches with confidence, and he commands his entire repertoire.  Martin will be an option to earn some starts for the Braves in 2014 if/when they need rotation help.  ETA:  2014

14 Comments
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Wake Up
8 years ago

Down goes Buxton…down goes Sano…2016 and 1/2 now?

Wake Up
Reply to  Scott Evans
8 years ago

@Scott Evans: completely agree…

Buddo Chezuski
Buddo Chezuski
8 years ago

Scott, what are your thoughts on Trevor May’s career prospects going forward?? Thanks.

Buddo Chezuski
Buddo Chezuski
Reply to  Scott Evans
8 years ago

@Scott Evans: Thanks for the reply! You think he’ll start in AA and have to pitch well to get a call up?

Gregorius Chant
Gregorius Chant
8 years ago

I kinda have always had a soft spot for Atlanta. Bummer that their minor leagues are pretty thin. As always, great analysis! BTW, who is next?

Gregorius Chant
Gregorius Chant
8 years ago

I kinda have always had a soft spot for Atlanta. Bummer that their minor leagues are pretty thin. As always, great analysis! BTW, who is next?

Jay
Jay
8 years ago

Great stuff Scott.

If we did see La Stella (I know, I bother you about him all the time!), do you think there’s 20+ home run potential there?

apoxonbothyourhouses
apoxonbothyourhouses
8 years ago

Wren should be in here, too. Not the GM, but his kid. He’s been pretty good so far. Peraza should be MUCH higher, IMHO. I’m thinking #2 on this list.