Talking Chop ranks the top-25 Braves prospects for 2011. For an introduction and an explanation of how this list was compiled, go here. Today we look at the bottom half of the top-10, a very good group of prospects, most of whom should get much better with more experience and move further up this list. All of these guys have a chance to be Major League impact players.
6. Arodys Vizcaino, RHSP
The Skinny: Rated by some as a better prospect than Julio Teheran coming into the season, he surprised many by showing better than expected polish between and Rome and Myrtle Beach before being shut down with an arm injury.
The Good: Features a fastball that can get up to to 96 and a curveball that grades better than Teheran's. Spent the entire season at age 19, showing surprising control, walking just nine in 70 innings with Rome.
The Bad: The injury throws up immediate caution flags, though he returned for two games and apparently pitched with no discomfort. For him to continue to develop as a starter he needs to improve his change-up.
In a perfect world: The injuries are a non-factor and his change becomes average making him a top flight starter and yet another top of the rotation option for Atlanta.
ETA: 2012. The shoulder injury put him a step behind his partner in crime, Julio Teheran.
7. Matt Lipka, SS
The Skinny: The top pick in the 2010 draft had an excellent debut with the GCL team, earning a late season promotion to Rome.
The Good: Excellent athlete. Well above average speed and intelligent baserunner. Solid, fundamental hitter. Natural on base skills. Great baseball instincts. Hustles better than anyone. Athletic enough to profile well at several positions.
The Bad: Relies on his hands too much as a hitter, causing a lack of power. Body isn't prototypical for a shortstop.
In a perfect world: Lipka becomes an All-Star, top of the order hitter, leading the Atlanta offense while more than capably playing either shortstop, second base, or center field.
ETA: Late 2014. Lipka is young and the Braves will have to be patient with him, but he has all the tools and mental makeup to be a great player.
8. Edward Salcedo, SS
The Skinny: The Braves gave him more money than they'd ever given an international free agent and the 18 year old shortstop made his professional debut with the DSL team before moving up to Rome, where he struggled.
The Good: First class athlete with the potential to be a five too player. Outstanding range and a strong arm. Strong natural instincts, though unrefined. Big, lean body with tons of room for projection.
The Bad: Was rusty this season after not playing much the last few years, and the Braves probably promoted him too quickly. Less experienced than most 18 year old Dominican players. Made a ton of errors, leading some to question his ability to stick at shortstop in the long run.
In a perfect world: Salcedo develops into a top shortstop in the mold of Troy Tulowitzki or Hanley Ramirez.
ETA: Late 2014. With his natural ability, Salcedo has the potential to rocket up the system at any time, but a conservative projection is more realistic.
9. Brandon Beachy, RHSP
The Skinny: An undrafted free agent success story that spent his first seasons with the organization as a promising reliever before switching to the rotation mid-season in 2010 and dominating his way into Atlanta's rotation plans for the future.
The Good: Has excellent command and control of three average to above average pitches: Fastball, curve and change. Has the versatility and experience to pitch in the rotation or the bullpen.
The Bad: Doesn't have any skill other than command that projects as above average. His stamina as a starter is unknown at this point. Little to no projection going forward: what you have now is likely what he is going to be.
In a perfect world: He becomes a very good middle of the rotation starter or valuable setup guy.
ETA: Now. He finished 2010 as a starter for the Braves and barring a trade he will be back in Atlanta in some capacity during the 2011 season. If the Braves plan on keeping him as a starter, he could benefit from a year of starting in the minors. Still, he's probably the first option if one of the Major League starters goes down.
The Skinny: Lean lefty was dominant for Danville and Rome before a shoulder blade injury ended his season.
The Good: Tall with good mechanics that allow him to sling the ball in the mid-90s. Surprisingly good feel for pitching for a young foreign player. If he continues to progress as he has, we should be talking about him in the same vein as we talk about Randall Delgado or Arodys Vizcaino next year.
The Bad: Season ended early due to injury, but it shouldn't affect him going forward. Is rail thin and needs to put on a ton of weight to handle the rigors of a full season. His secondary pitches are developing but still not in the same class as his fastball.
In a perfect world: Perez develops into a top of the rotation, strikeout lefty as part of Atlanta's dominant home grown rotation.
ETA: Mid to late 2014. If he's able to put everything together he could come up at some point in 2013, but the Braves will be more than willing to be patient with him.