Scout.com has released their 2007 prospect guide (on the newsstands now), and their top-20 Braves prospects (compiled by Bill Shanks of The Braves Show) are a bit surprising:
- Elvis Andrus - Renteria's gone after 2009, and Elvis could be ready then.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia - McCann has him blocked, so will he move to 1B?
- Jo Jo Reyes - Took off last season and could start in AA in '07.
- Van Pope - The defense is there, so he might be Chipper's replacement.
- Eric Campbell - A switch to second base is possible.
- Yunel Escobar - Could battle Prado for the second base job.
- Matt Harrison - He's still very young, but he's also very close.
- Joey Devine - When healthy, Devine has been very effective.
- Martin Prado - The favorite to replace Marcus Giles at second base.
- Brandon Jones - Braves' best outfield prospect heads back to AA.
- Isaiah Ka'aihue - The next Andres Galarraga? Maybe.
- Anthony Lerew - Is he a starter or reliever? He wants to relieve.
- Jordan Schafer - Great defense, just wait for his bat to develop more.
- Jeff Lyman - Might be the best long-term pitching prospect.
- Tommy Hanson - Former JUCO star could shoot up the system.
- Will Startup - Lefty reliever should make Atlanta debut soon.
- Brayan Pena - Meet Brian McCann's new backup at catcher.
- Gregor Blanco - Speedy Blanco could battle for a backup job.
- Mike Broadway - His elbow is okay, so he'll go to Rome.
- Tony Pena, Jr. - Could be a reserve in Atlanta in '07.
Once again we see Elvis at the top of the list over Salty. More surprising to me is that Jo Jo is listed third, Pope second and Campbell drops all the way to fifth and Harrison to seventh. I certainly like seeing Ka'aihue on the list, and it's also interesting to see Prado that high up the list. Shanks doesn't seem to know or admit that Kelly Johnson is the "favorite" for the second base job and not Prado.
There are three names which surprise me on this list; Schafer, Lyman, and Broadway. Earlier in the week several of you mentioned Lyman as someone who could rise to prominence in the Braves system this year, and while seeing him mentioned as possibly being "the best long-term pitching prospect" might be overstating his ability, he is someone who we should all pay a bit more attention to this year.
Not seeing Jamie Richmond on this list is, in my opinion, a huge oversight. Lyman, Broadway, and Hanson are listed and in many ways Richmond was better than all of them last season. He at least should have made the list over the Pena's.
Brent Lillibridge was listed eighth on the Pirates top-20 list with some solid praise. I must say I was impressed with the depth of the entire prospect guide, presented in an 80-page magazine style. For only $4.95 it's a great option over the more expensive Baseball America guide. They also list the top-300 prospects, which is quite an extensive list.