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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (26) | 2013 (26) | 2012 (15) | 2011 (2) | 2010 (9)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL East
AAA: [65-77] International League – Gwinnett
AA: [83-56] Southern League – Mississippi
A+: [68-71] Carolina League – Lynchburg (2015: Carolina)
A: [56-84] South Atlantic League – Rome

Graduated Prospects
Tommy La Stella, 2B | David Hale, RHP

The Gist
The Braves have a few interesting fantasy prospects in the pipeline, with Jose Peraza looking like the most relevant for 2015. The farm is on the thin side in general, but that could change if Atlanta decides to part ways with any of their major league stars. Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are both free agents in 2016. Evan Gattis is another trade candidate. Starting pitching is up in the air with both Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang possibly leaving in free agency, while Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen are still recovering from injuries. This could give the younger arms in the system a chance to crack the rotation in 2015. The Braves were part of the affiliation shuffle as High-A Carolina is now affiliated with Atlanta. Change also came in the front office this fall. Interim GM John Hart named Brian Bridges the organization’s new scouting director.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects

1. Jose Peraza, 2B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
499 79 159 20 11 2 44 3.4% 9.4% 60 15 .339 .364 .441

Peraza is the most fantasy relevant prospect of this group. It’s not just that he’s a talented player with plus speed and a good bat. He’s also close to the majors and plays a position at which the Braves could use a spark. A midseason call-up is definitely in the cards and he could be up even sooner than that. The Braves struggled to find a capable leadoff hitter last season, calling upon Jason Heyward to fill the role at times. Peraza could be that guy. He has 70 speed on the 20-80 scale and while there’s no power to speak of, he makes good contact. Peraza held his own as a 20-year-old in Double-A, slashing .335/.363/.422 with 25 stolen bases in 195 plate appearances.

2. Braxton Davidson, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
186 24 33 9 1 0 11 16.7% 22.6% 0 0 .224 .387 .299

Davidson gets a high ranking on this fantasy list thanks to his plus raw power and the potential to be a middle-of-the-order hitter at some point. The Braves took him in the 1st round of the 2014 draft (32nd overall). It feels odd to say a guy with zero homers has plus raw power, but at just 18 years old there is still a long road ahead for Davidson to refine his game. In his first season he posted a .387 OBP, showing that he’s patient enough to take his walks. He profiles as a left fielder/first baseman and if his power develops as expected he should be a useful player in fantasy.

3. Lucas Sims, RHP | Age: 20 | ETA: 2016

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
8 11 4.19 28 28 0 156.2 146 81 73 12 3.3 6.1 .247

Sims is the best pitching prospect in the Braves’ system with two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball.  The fastball is clocked in the low to mid-90s with good command. Sims improved in the Carolina league as the year progressed. After posting a 4.88 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, and 4.9 K/9 in the first half, the 20-year-old righty increased his strikeout rate to 7.5 per nine innings over the last two months of the season while at the same time lowering his ERA and walk rates. He should battle for a spot in the rotation at some point in 2016 and his ceiling is a #2 starter.

4. Christian Bethancourt, C | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
365 33 97 17 1 8 48 3.6% 16.7% 7 1 .283 .308 .408

Every once in a while I have to bite the bullet and rank a catching prospect in the top five, and Bethancourt is as good as any. A lot of his fantasy value comes from the fact that he is on the cusp of getting a full time role behind the plate in Atlanta. He has always been known as a defense-first catcher, but his offense has slowly come around. Bethancourt hit eight homers and stole seven bases with Triple-A Gwinnett, earning him a big league promotion in late 2014. In fact, he just missed graduating from this list with 113 major league at bats. There’s a good chance Evan Gattis gets moved in a trade, which would make Bethancourt the Braves’ everyday catcher. How much he’ll hit is still a question, but he’s worth a play in 2-catcher leagues and deeper formats for sure.

5. Jason Hursh, RHP | Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
11 7 3.58 27 26 0 148.1 151 70 59 5 2.6 5.0 .272

Hursh was the Braves’ minor league pitcher of the year and could be in the major league mix at some point in 2015. He throws a mid-90s sinker as well as changeup and slider. In just his second season, Hursh threw 148 innings for Double-A Mississippi. While he’s not a strikeout artist, he induces lots of ground balls (55.1% GB%) and has good control and command of his arsenal. Of the pitching prospects listed in this year’s top ten, I think Hursh has the best chance to be fantasy relevant in 2015.

6. Garrett Fulenchek, RHP | Age: 18 | ETA: 2018

W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB/9 K/9 AVG
0 7 4.78 12 10 0 37.2 34 21 20 2 5.3 6.9 .238

Like Sims, Fulenchek has the potential to pitch at the front end of a rotation. He has a plus fastball and a good slider with a developing changeup that could quickly become another weapon for him. He struggled in his first season but scouts liked his low-90s sinker and there is plenty of time left to develop his mechanics and command. The 18-year-old righty probably won’t see the big leagues for another three years, which makes him more of an upside play in deeper leagues at the moment – but he’s an arm that could shoot up the rankings in the near future.

7. Kyle Kubitza, 3B | Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
529 76 130 31 11 8 55 14.6% 25.1% 21 6 .295 .405 .470

Aside from the high strikeout rate, Kubitza brings a decent mix of power and speed. He could find his way into the Braves’ lineup at some point in 2015 as well. He’s “older” at 24 and there are questions as to whether his raw power can show up in major league games, but he’s a patient left-handed hitter with some speed who plays good defense at the hot corner. Whether that translates into a starter or not we’ll have to see, but even as a utility player he’ll have value in deeper leagues, especially those that are more focused on OBP. UPDATE: Traded to Los Angeles (AL)

8. Ozhaino Albies, SS | Age: 17 | ETA: 2018

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
239 41 72 7 3 1 19 11.7% 9.6% 22 5 .364 .446 .444

With a youngster like Albies, there is a lot of development left and therefore a lot of risk. However, there’s also a lot of upside. Signed out of Curacao in 2013, Albies has shown that he is a capable hitter even at 17. He has plus speed, makes good contact, and he’s patient. A higher walk percentage than strikeout percentage is typically a very good sign. According to reports, he’s also a very good defensive shortstop and should stick at the position. In time, he could develop into a slick fielding, speedy shortstop prospect not unlike Francisco Lindor of Cleveland. Now’s a good time to roll the dice as his stock is rising.

9. Victor Reyes, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
361 32 86 13 0 0 34 6.6% 16.1% 12 7 .259 .309 .298

Reyes was signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela and was supposed to have decent power potential, but he has hit exactly zero homers in the minors up to this point. That said, he’s still just 19 years old, meaning there is plenty of time for his stroke to start yielding more long balls. Pretty much all of his fantasy value hinges on whether that power starts to show up as he continues to develop. If it does, he could be a corner outfielder with a starting gig. If it doesn’t, well, he’ll probably top out as a fourth outfielder.

10. Kyle Wren, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB% K% SB CS AVG OBP SLG
563 74 144 21 8 0 43 8.2% 14.0% 46 14 .290 .350 .365

Wren is a name that will start popping up in SAGNOF columns on this site in the near future. He has the ability to hit for a high average and brings plus speed, but there’s not much else here. Even if Wren doesn’t end up as a starting outfielder, his speed will provide some value in fantasy. At 23 he’s older than some of the other names on this list, but he has already reached Double-A where he hit .283 with 13 steals for Mississippi. My guess is he’ll either be ignored or ranked too aggressively on prospect lists. His true value probably lies somewhere in between. UPDATE: Traded to Milwaukee

Braves Previews: 2014 | 2013

NL T10 Prospects Index

   
  1. TK says:
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    What does the future hold for Tommy La Stella? Does Peraza take his job and banish La Stella to the bench or can TLS start somewhere else some day? Could Peraza move to CF?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Peraza could force the issue at second, yes. He’s already moved off of shortstop with Simmons holding that position down at the bigs. I don’t see La Stella as the type of player that would “block” Peraza, but a move to center is certainly a possibility too, similar to what the Cubs did with Alcantara.

  2. Lville Jim says:
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    With those numbers and his age Albies is certainly drool worthy at MI position considering the dearth of talent there. Wonder if he will be added next preseason on Yahoo?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      for sure…from what I’ve heard ESPN and Yahoo are pretty slow to add these guys

  3. Russ says:
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    What does 2015 hold for Mauricio Cabrera if he proves healthy?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Great velocity, not so great control. Guessing Double-A in 2015 and a 2016 ETA. IMO seems like the type that ends up as a reliever, which is why I passed him over with other options for the T10.

      • Russ says:
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        @Mike: Ah all right. I’d seen him ranked top ten elsewhere despite his injury during the year so I was curious.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          He’s definitely one of their better arms, and could make a case for the back end of the top ten. I just went with bats instead.

  4. Yescheese says:
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    Is Ozhaino or any MI really dynasty material though? It just seems the margin between MI prospect ceilings is so small. Wouldn’t you rather gamble on a Jacob Gatewood / Javier Baez type?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      They’re all risky, and it really depends on size and depth of league. I think part of the game is getting in on specs before they blow up and cost you name value like a Baez does right now. Him and Gatewood are different profiles from Albies as well.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    in that deep 30 man league with currently max 25 minor spots (we exited season with 20) i have all of kubitza/reyes (both won in july bidding)/m.cabrera/salcedo. i see salcedo and cabrera moved down (cabrera is only a RP, so that much i expected), but what’s up with their trajectories? i still have hale too at league minimum till end of 2017. a have a lot of ATL guys.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: noticed you explained the man with the name of mauricio (and always shall be!) above.

      • Mike

        Mike says:
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        Mauricio has the velo but might end up using it in the bullpen. With Salcedo, the Braves seemed aggressive promoting him to AAA. He’s got some power and speed, but he might have benefited from another year in AA at just 22. I think you hold on to him with that many roster slots, but Kubitza is probably the next in line for 3B. Maybe Salcedo gets moved to corner OF or UTIL role. I think you’ve got them ranked correctly above…Kub/Reyes/MCab/Salcedo. Hale should eat some innings for you and those guys are always nice to have at league minimum. Deep leagues like that give even the mid/back rotation guys value, especially when they have cheap contracts.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Looks like they have already started transitioning Salcedo to corner OF.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Mike: i wasn’t actually attempting to rank them, but it worked out. i could use CI and OF pretty bad, so i don’t mind him moving there.

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              ah gotcha. sounds good then.

  6. TK says:
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    Now that La Stella has been shipped off to Wrigley, what will the Braves do at 2b this year? And what on Earth are the Cubbies going to do with La Stella with Javier Baez and Arismendy at 2B? Is it possible Baez goes to AAA, Arismendy to CF and La Stella starts at 2B to get his value back up and gets dealt when/if Baez gets his K rate down?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Peraza could get a look in ST, otherwise they may just sign a stopgap 2B to a one-year deal and wait until later in the season to bring Peraza up. As for the Cubs, this smells like a move that a team makes in preparation for another move – possibly a Castro trade. I don’t see them sending Baez back down, but maybe La Stella acts as insurance if he does struggle too much out of the gate. The Cubs are working with a lot of moving parts but there’s a plan at work here it seems.

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