Atlanta Braves Mid-Season Top-25 Prospects

The hardest part about this Atlanta Braves mid-season top-25 prospects list has been deciding who the number-3 prospect should be, but I am satisfied with my decision. The first note about this list is a note I make about every top prospect list we do here at Talking Chop. I am not a scout, nor have I seen many of these players. These rankings are based on scouting reports from various sources and on my built-up knowledge of many of these guys over the years from following them on a day to day basis.

These prospects are ranked on a combination of their ultimate ceiling, what level they’ve completed, and the success they’ve had on the field. Some guys get moved down because they’ve hit a wall, other guys get moved up because they’re succeeding. Players who are no longer eligible for this list include Jordan Schafer, Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, and Brandon Jones.

In the comments section of this post, list your top-25 mid-season Braves prospects. On Wednesday, we'll collect all of your top-25's and we'll have our combined Talking Chop top-25 Braves mid-season prospects. Make sure you list 25, or they won't be included, and get them posted by Wednesday afternoon.

1.  Jason Heyward, OF – Jay-Hey has done everything that the Braves and their fans hoped he would this year, and the organization has seen fit to move him quickly this year. Quite amazing for a 19-year old to be succeeding at double-A. He’s the number-1 prospect in baseball, too. Pre-season Rank: 1

2.  Freddie Freeman, 1B – Another 19-year old who finds himself at double-A, and holding his own. His homerun power is down, but I don’t think too many people are worried about – it will return in time and he’s still hitting doubles. Pre-season Rank: 4

3.  Brett DeVall, LHP – Here is my choice for the third spot. It’s only his first full year in pro ball, but already he is distinguishing himself and holding hitters to a low BAA. He is converting the scouting reports into results. Pre-season Rank: 16

4.  J.J. Hoover, RHP – A 10th-round draft pick a year ago who may find himself as a reliever down the road, but with his ability to get the strikeout he may profile as a closer. He has been very impressive this year. Pre-season Rank: NR

5.  Julio Teheran, RHP – Still just 18, and finally showing some good work on the mound in Danville. He’s fallen a bit from where we thought he would be at this point, but again, there’s plenty of time for this 18-year old. Pre-season Rank: 10

6.  Cole Rohrbough, LHP – He’s struggling for the first time in his baseball career, and he’s battling the time and distance of being away from his newborn – he may truly be at a crossroads where life intersects with the harsh demands of the baseball season. The talent is still there, we just have to have faith that he can harness it once again. Pre-season Rank: 6

7.  Cody Johnson, OF – Johnson showed his power last year by leading the Braves organization with 26 homeruns. He’s likely going to shatter that this year, as he already has 22 homers. The strikeouts are also there, and he will have to control those before he moves up these rankings much more, but there’s a lot to like in the power department. Pre-season Rank: 13

8.  Zeke Spruill, RHP – Another promising pick from last year’s draft, Spruill has been very consistent this season after a stellar debut last year. His emergence may be one of the big reasons the Braves were comfortable trading Jeff Locke. Pre-season Rank: 23

9.  Randall Delgado, RHP – This 19-year old out of Panama is a bit more hittable than he was last year at Danville. Like many young pitchers he seems to be struggling with consistency. He’s keeping the strikeouts up, but he needs to avoid the big innings. Pre-season Rank: NR

10.  Jacob Thompson, RHP – Here’s a guy who has gotten better just about every time out. After starting out in low-A Rome and not having too much success, he was moved up to high-A Myrtle Beach and has flourished. He held batters to an opposing average .100 points lower at the higher level. We need to keep a close eye on him, as he could move fast through the system (being a college pitcher), and he could be a real sleeper. Pre-season Rank: NR

11.  Cory Gearrin, RHP – He’s been good at two levels this year, and has moved up the depth chart while going from being a setup man to a closer. He is really putting it together this year, keeping his hits allowed low and bringing down his walk totals. He’s also a guy who could help out in Atlanta as early as this year. Pre-season Rank: NR

12.  Craig Kimbrel, RHP – A slightly disappointing performance, after a stellar debut last year. He’s still young, and perhaps he was moved too fast this year. The extra time at Rome seems to have helped, as he’s doing better in his second promotion to the Beach. Command still seems to be an issue at the higher level. Pre-season Rank: 14

(Placeholder) Mike Minor, LHP – Our first round pick in this year's draft still has not signed, but that seems to be the norm as only a handful of first rounders have signed with their teams. A pick this high, I suppose we should expect that the negotiations will last until just before the deadline. Minor will likely have a lot of success in the low minors as he is an accomplished college pitcher. I wonder how many levels the Braves will let him skip next year.

13.  Richard Sullivan, LHP – He has had sporadic success at three different levels while throwing a ton of innings. He may eventually profile as a setup man, but I like this guy to be major league ready quick. Pre-season Rank: NR

14.  Scott Diamond, LHP – He seems to be passing the double-A test, but the Braves organization has a history of being able to develop soft-tossing left-handers who succeed in the minors, but not in the majors. Still, Diamond is an interesting prospect. Pre-season Rank: 22

15.  Eric Cordier, RHP – He’s having a strong year at high-A, though the walks are a big problem. He may wind up as a reliever, but there’s still time for him to turn into a solid mid-rotation starter. Pre-season Rank: 24

16.  Edgar Osuna, LHP – The soft-throwing lefty has been slowed some by injuries, but he’s putting together some good work while tackling a mid-year promotion. He may profile more as a bullpen guy than a starter. Pre-season Rank: 17

17.  David Francis, RHP – This guy is bubbling with talent, as many prospects are, and the Braves seem to be moving him quickly through the system, despite results that aren’t yet mind-blowing. Pre-season Rank: NR

18.  Dimaster Delgado, LHP – The other Delgado from Panama, he may prove to have one of the big breakout seasons for the Braves organization. There are a lot of things to like here, and he’s certainly improved from last year. Pre-season Rank: NR

19.  Stephen Marek, RHP – The walks are really catching up to him, and will have to be controlled before he can make a contribution in the big leagues. Still, he’s got a live arm, though the clock is ticking. Pre-season Rank: NR

20.  Brandon Hicks, SS – He is possibly the biggest disappointment in the Braves system so far this season. We were expecting big things from Hicks, hoping he would build on his solid 2008 season, but all of his numbers are down, and down considerably. The power outage is most disappointing. Pre-season Rank: 12

21.  Luis Sumoza, OF – He hasn’t made that leap yet, and after an unimpressive stint at Rome, he is struggling at the Beach. His power has eluded him and his strikeouts are way up. Pre-season Rank: NR

22.  Adam Milligan, OF – A big bat whom the Braves have coveted for a long time (they drafted him three times). He’s the leader of the next wave of big power bats from the Braves system. Pre-season Rank: NR

23.  Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, 1B – Big power, big debut, but remember that it’s Danville, and RSF is a college hitter playing against younger pitchers. Still, because of his debut he’s worthy of being listed here.

24.  Jose Ortegano, LHP – Another soft tossing lefty, he is handling the higher levels better since being moved to the bullpen. He does a good job of keeping runners off base, but his durability may be an issue, and it keeps him from being higher in these rankings. Pre-season Rank: NR

25.  Rudy Darrow, RHP – He’s been slowed by injuries, so any judgment of him may have to wait until after the season. Still, he needs to work on getting left-handed hitters out before he can be taken more seriously.

Just missing, but given strong cosideration:  Kevin Gunderson, Paul Clemens, Corey Rasmus, Benino Pruneda, Tyler Stovall, Eric Campbell (Pre-season Rank: 15), Matt Kennelly, Brett Oberholtzer, and Todd Redmond (Pre-season Rank: 18).

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