Sickels Releases Top-20 Braves Prospects for 2009

We get our first top prospect list of the year from one of the major prospect outlets. John Sickels has been putting out prospect books for over six years now, where he reviews prospect from every organization, over 1000 prospects all together. His 2009 prospect book is available for pre-order here, and is well worth buying.

The following are his "extrememly preliminary" prospect rankings for the 2009 Braves prospects:

  1. Jason Heyward, OF, Grade A-: A personal favorite, though he actually hit fewer homers than expected. Broad base of skills.
  2. Frederick Freeman, 1B, Grade B+: Debating whether or not to move him up to A-. Not as broad a skill base as Heyward, but power and youth stand out.
  3. Thomas Hanson, RHP, Grade B+: Looks good to me, though will need some Triple-A to put on the finishing touches. Number Two starter ceiling.
  4. Jordan Schafer, OF, Grade B+: I should have put him on the Rotowire Top 100 list. Will be in the 50/50 for the book. Power, speed, defense, OBP, and played well without the juice.
  5. Tyler Flowers, C, Grade B: Love the power and walks, main question is glove.
  6. Cole Rohrbough, LHP, Grade B: Excellent ceiling. I cannot prove why objectively, but I worry a bit about his arm. Needs sharper command too.
  7. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Grade B: I hesitate to grade relief prospects this highly, but I can’t ignore his early dominance.
  8. Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Grade B-: Would like to see more power, other skills coming along.
  9. Kris Medlen, RHP, Grade B-: Am I overrating him? Looks like he could be a really good swingman.
  10. Jeff Locke, LHP, Grade B-: I’ve liked him since he was in high school. Like Rohrbough, worry some about injuries.
  11. Randall Delgado, RHP, Grade B-: Needs better command, but a high ceiling guy.
  12. Brett DeVall, LHP, Grade B-: A long way away, but a high ceiling.
  13. Zeke Spruill, RHP, Grade B-: Like DeVall, a long way off, but fits into organization philosophy perfectly.
  14. Brandon Hicks, SS, Grade C+: Love the power, walks, speed, defense. Hate the strikeouts.
  15. Eric Campbell, 3B, Grade C+: If his head is on straight, could surprise people in ’09.
  16. James Parr, RHP, Grade C+: Fourth/fifth starter type.
  17. J.J. Hoover, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper call on a junior college guy that I love. Hard-thrower with improving command.
  18. Kala Ka’aihue, 1B, Grade C+: Similar to his brother Kila though I don’t think he will perform quite as well in ’09 as his brother did in ’08.
  19. David Francis, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper pick.
  20. Edgar Osuna, LHP, Grade C+: Sleeper pick, great K/BB ratio.

The biggest surprise here is listing Randall Delgado over Julio Teheran. He does mention JT as a C+ prospect, and I suppose there are more games played to evaluate Delgado than there are for Teheran.

He lists five guys from this year's draft, with Craig Kimbrel getting a very high grade. It's great to see 12 prospects getting a B-something grade -- Sickels doesn't give those out lightly; and of course I expect to see the A- Jason Heyward grabbing the top spot in all of these lists.

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