As part of season reviews for major league players and top prospect rankings for minor league players, we here at Talking Chop thought it would be a fun idea to get all of our bloggers together with the help of Google Docs and debate the various aspects of each position in theorganization.
The participants are, yours truly (gondeee, indicated by MG), yondaime4 (indicated by MF), royhobbs (indicated by DH), and cbwilk (indicated by CBW).
The round table for right-handed starters in the Braves organization is after the jump.
MG: For all of the Braves historic focus on young high-ceiling left-handed pitching, the Braves seem to have a whole lot more high-ceiling right-handed pitching. Teheran, Spruill, R. Delgado, and Hoover all seem to project as major leaguers.
MF: You know the crazy thing about those guys? 3 of the 4 might be underrated. John Sickels has maintained for a while that Braves prospects are generally overrated (and I think he in turn underrates some of our guys, but that is another story) and I think that is true to an extent. But I believe that Spruill, Delgado and Hoover could all be top 50 prospects this time next year. I've said it several time about Spruill, with his advanced feel for the game and the fact that his body is supremely projectable he could add a couple MPH to his fastball next year and really start to improve. Delgado is getting some respect but mostly only on Braves lists. The guy throws gas and showed genuine improvement last year with his control. I have a lot of hope for him. I'll get into Hoover a little farther down this list.
CBW: You really do have to like those four guys; I think Teheran is going to be an ace, Spruill looks like a good bet to be a 2 or 3, Delgado at worst could be a great closer, and Hoover could be anything from Good Steve Trachsel to Peter Moylan. And I really think Jacob Thompson is right there with them as a guy who looks like he's right on the path to being a big leaguer and Todd Redmond really could have been in the Majors at any point this year if they needed him, and it wouldn't shock me to see him working out of the bullpen in 2010. From the left side, Minor looks like as good a lock as anybody in the system to be a regular in the Majors, and I personally love Osuna and Ortegano. At the absolute worst those two are going to be awesome LOOGYs. So yeah, definitely when you add in guys like Robinson Lopez, Caleb Brewer, Paul Clemens, and Cory Rasmus you see that things might be looking a little better from the right side, but either way there's a ton of young talent in the system. This is why I think people are ridiculous when they try to say the system is dry, most teams would kill to have any two of Teheran, Spruill, and Minor, and we've got all three.
MG: I'm a fan of Todd Redmond. I'm surprised that Matt didn't list him in his top-10 RHSP list, and I'm surprised that CB put Cofield and Reynoso ahead of him. Why the hatin' on this guy? He may not blow your socks off, but he seems to be a pretty refined starting pitcher.
CBW: You questioning my list? The first 6 guys I had on my list for the RHSP ended up being our first 6 guys! But seriously, I'm a big fan of Redmond's. I saw him make about 3 starts this year and even in the games where he didn't pitch that well he showed what a bulldog he is. The guy doesn't give in and he's got that stone-face that you just can't tell how the game is going by looking at. I swear if the Braves had to go into next season with him as the 5th starter I'd be great with it, cause I think you could expect him to do well, considering that he'd be the last guy in the rotation and a rookie. I think his final destination is in the bullpen, but I feel like he's going to excel there. I actually didn't put Reynoso ahead of him though. They're the same age and Redmond is a level ahead, so Ryne doesn't get to be ahead of him for me. But, for a guy who didn't really start pitching until he was a professional, he's done an outstanding job, and I think he'll make a great Major League reliever. Now Cofield, I did put ahead of Redmond, because he's 2 years younger, only playing one level below, and while he didn't have the same season Redmond did in 2008, he had a good season, and was still a year younger than Redmond was last year. Once he figures things out, kind of like James Parr did last year, he's going to rocket to the Bigs.
MG: I listed J.J. Hoover higher than either of you guys. I'll give you that if I ranked them today I may put R. Delgado and Spruill ahead of him, but I still like the package that Hoover brings to the table.
MF: I like Hoover a lot really. Especially after seeing him in the All Star game. His curve is nasty when it is on and he can strike people out with his fastball as well. My only real issue is I have heard too many negative scouting reports on him recently. There isn't much room for projection in his body, his fastball is straight and his curve can be good but it is too inconsistent. I just fear he is pretty close to his potential. His numbers look great, but I am going to have a wait and see approach to him.
CBW: As great as Hoover was this year, he was also a 22 year old in Low A. He should have been that good. In fact, I think if I had the list to do over again, I probably would have put him behind Thompson (same age, pitched better at a higher level), Brewer and Lopez (both 3 years younger with a lot more projectability) and maybe even behind Cofield (same age, pitched decently 2 levels higher). I definitely get caught up in the ages when judging where a prospect should be, but that's just kind of the game. All that being said, aside from Mike Minor there might not be a better lock to pitch in the Majors in the system than Hoover. Matt's right, his body is pretty done, he's big and strong and probably is what he's going to be. He's shown he knows how to pitch, especially how to strike guys out, and he's shown he can eat up innings. I like him a lot and of the guys on this list he's the one I'd be the most surprised not to see play in the Majors for a while.
MG: Robinson Lopez and Caleb Brewer are pretty much unknowns right now, but they could be up near the top of this list this time next year.
MF: Yes, they could. Caleb Brewer has already received praise for his excellent fastball and Baseball America voted his curve the best in the system as well. I don't know much about Robinson Lopez currently other than he was flat out dominant in the GCL this season. His peripherals aren't quite as impressive as his ERA so I am going to wait and see with him.
CBW: I honestly had a hard time writing up these guys, because I've never seen them play, or even seen them in person, so I knew pretty much nothing about them other than their stats. I don't even know what kind of injury kept Brewer out of action in 2008. But, I think we all had enough context with the stats, they had great years and they're both young, to know that they needed to be on this list. It's a complete hunch, but something tells me Lopez is the better of the two and that he's going to show it in 2010.
MG: I still like Jacob Thompson, but something tells me he's going to flame out.
MF: I think of all the guys I ranked he is probably most likely to flame out. He walks too many and doesn't strike out enough guys, but he still had a successful season thanks to generating a lot of groundballs. We'll see.
CBW: I have to disagree. I love the fact that he was better at the higher level and I know it was a direct result of working with Guy Hansen. And the thing about Hansen is that he makes guys better even after they leave him; look at Osuna and Ortegano, better with Myrtle Beach than they had been with Rome, and then even better after they were promoted to AA, away from Hansen. Before he got Mono in college, Thompson was a guy who could have gone in the middle of the second round. He's a big strong guy, and probably has a better frame for pitching than Zeke Spruill, who's kind of the ideal size. I have no doubt that I get swayed on guys because of how I personally feel about them, and Jacob is an outsanding person, but I really think he's got it in him to keep his mechanics straight and really move up the ladder fast.
MG: Has everyone given up on EriK Cordier?
CBW: Haha. No, not me. I had Cory Rasmus and Ryne Reynoso on my personal top-10 and I'm not even sure Cordier would have ranked just after them, but I still hold out some hope for the guy. He's going to be 24 next year, but this was his first full season; almost half of his career appearances came in 2009, so it's really hard to even judge him. I was lucky enough to get to talk with Erik for about 20 minutes the last time I saw Myrtle Beach this year and you really have to admire his determination. The guy has been a pro for 6 seasons and in 2 of those years he hasn't even been able to throw a pitch. And it's not like he's Mike Hampton making 15 million a year to sit out, he's making 20 thousand a year like all the other A ball players. Sure, he got almost 600 thousand when he first signed with the Royals, which is a huge amount of money, but it's not enough to make a guy complacent. The amount of work he's had to put in just be able to pitch in 2009 is phenomenal. And, he didn't have that bad of a year. He pitched better than he did in 2008 with Rome and even though he did worse down the stretch than he had at the start of the year, again, you have to remember that he'd never pitched a full season before. I don't know if Erik is ever going to be a Major Leauger, I don't know if he'll even make it to AAA, but you have to give some creedence to the fact that he's still pitching, still working, and still improving, even after all the crap he had to go through.
CBW: You guys really threw me with the David Francis pick. Not only did he not really have a very impressive year, but the vast majority of his appearances were as a reliever. So, what's up with that guys?
MF: Even if he was still pitching mostly as a reliever he was still kind of doing that Tandem starter thing for a lot of the year. The guy has good stuff but I think he is just still putting things together really and I don't think swinging back and forth between the bullpen and starting really helped him. I think probably by the end of the year he was a bonafied reliever but only because there were 5 good starters already in Rome. I still like his arm, but he needs to prove something next year, you are right.