Talking Chop ranks the top-25 Braves prospects for 2011. For an introduction and an explanation of how this list was compiled, go here. Below are top prospects 16 through 20. Whereas yesterday there were four hitters and only one pitcher, today the tables are turned as this group includes four pitchers and just one hitter. Showing the depth of Braves pitching prospects, the last guy on this list (David Filak, 20th overall) is only the 8th-ranked right-handed pitcher in the Braves system.
16. Cory Harrilchak, OF
The Skinny: The little left-handed hitter excelled in his first full season, playing right field for Rome and center field for Myrtle Beach, while putting up a .754 OPS and 22 steals. He performed even better in the Arizona Fall League, posting a .952 OPS.
The Good: Polished college hitter who excels at contact. Above average speed and a smart baserunner. Well above average defender who can play all three outfield positions. A smart player and a team leader.
The Bad: Needs to improve on driving the ball with authority. Below average home run power. Fast, but doesn't have game-breaking speed.
In a perfect world: Harrilchak develops into an everyday Major League centerfielder who can hit well out of the two-hole or near the bottom of the order.
ETA: Mid to late 2012. With a great 2011 he could find himself in Atlanta in September, but a conservative projection is more realistic. He opened a lot of eyes in the AFL.
17. Cory Rasmus, RHSP
The Skinny: Spent years suffering from various injuries, 2010 was his first fully healthy season, and it was a great success as he split time between Rome and Myrtle Beach.
The Good: His fastball and curve are still above average even after the surgeries, and he maintained a solid strikeout rate. His control was solid, especially for a guy coming back from his injuries. He is still fairly young as he will be just 23 next season.
The Bad: Though his fastball and curve are still above average they aren't quite as dominant as they used to be. Also his secondary offerings have lost two years of development time and need to catch up.
In a perfect world: He works his way back into the plans and finds a spot as a back of the rotation starter or a live-armed middle relief pitcher.
ETA: 2012 or 2013. With so many guys ahead of him he will need a couple of breaks to make it to Atlanta.
18. Eric Cordier, RHSP
The Skinny: Traded by the Royals to Atlanta in the midst of his recovery from Tommy John surgery, it has taken him a couple of years to get completely healthy, and has now had two consecutive injury-free seasons.
The Good: Eric has always thrown very hard, getting his fastball up to 98 even after his surgery, but he sits at around 93-94 most days. He posted the best full season strikeout rate of his career and drastically improved his strikeout to walk ratio over last season.
Bad: Even though he has shown improvement, his control is still an issue and probably always will be. He is beginning to regain the feel for his off-speed pitches, but they may never return to their pre-injury levels. At 25 years old he will be in a make or break year in 2011 with so many good prospects breathing down his neck.
In a perfect world: He makes the majors as a solid back of the rotation guy or a late inning reliever with good stuff.
ETA: 2011. He is on the Braves 40-man roster so chances are he will see the majors this season. If not, he may have some late season trade value in the same vein as Kyle Cofield.
The Skinny: After missing all of 2009 recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Australian lefty got a late start to the 2010 season, but dominated at Rome, ending the year in their rotation.
The Good: Learned how to be a pitcher instead of a thrower while recovering from his injury. Gets the absolute most out of his stuff. Smart and willing to learn.
The Bad: Has very little experience due to injury and lack of top amateur competition in Australia. His stuff is only average, meaning he has to consistently hit his spots to be successful.
In a perfect world: Kent overcomes his injury history and develops into a solid, middle of the rotation pitcher.
ETA: Mid to late 2014. Kent will take a while to develop, and may get his first taste of the Majors out of the bullpen.
20. David Filak, RHSP
The Skinny: The first pitcher the Braves drafted in 2010 (fourth round), he dominated Division III hitters and then carried that dominance over into ten appearances in the Appalachian League.
The Good: He has a strong pitcher's frame at 6'3" 220 lbs and actually still has some projection left and room to fill out. His fastball can get up to 95 currently, and he pairs it with an above average 12-to-6 curve. His lack of experience as a pitcher means his best is yet to come.
The Bad: His third pitch - a change up - is still developing and will decide how he is used down the road.
In a perfect world: Everything comes to together and the change develops into a weapon making him the next Kevin Millwood.
ETA: 2013. Young for a college player at just 21 he has all the time in the world to develop.