Cory Harrilchak has all the tools to go far, even if none of them are spectacular.
It's time for Talking Chop to present the mid-season top-30 prospects for the Braves organization. This list was compiled by taking the three lists of gondeee, yondaime4, and cbwilk and averaging them together. There was a lot of disagreement about the bottom two thirds of the list, but there was also a lot of consensus as to who the top-10 prospects should be. This shows the current state of the Braves system -- 10 or so top-flight talents, and then a bunch of other guys who people have different opinions on.
We'll present the top-30 in groups of 10 each today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. On Wednesday we'll ask all the Talking Chop readers to submit their own list of the Braves top-30 prospects. While a top-30 is daunting, you've got fair warning and three days to do some research. We'll then take all of the lists and average them out to arrive at our Talking Chop mid-season community top-30 Braves prospects.
Here is the bottom third. Note that stats for hitters include batting average / on-base percentage / slugging percentage, while stats for pitchers include ERA / WHIP / innings pitched.
21 Cory Harrilchak, OF :: .286/.359/.371 between Rome and Myrtle Beach
Gregor Blanco, Melky Cabrera and Josh Anderson all come to mind when I think about Harrilchak. He has a very similar skillset to these guys though with a bit less power and a bit more on-base skills. Cory has always been able to hit for average and I don't doubt that he will continue to hit above .300 as he moves up the ladder. He can also take a walk and has some speed to burn (though he has had some issues harnessing it properly this season). Defensively his speed helps him get to balls others can't and his strong arm is an asset at any of the outfield spots. Long term, if he can continue to get on base at a high clip and learn the nuances of professional base stealing there is no reason Harrilchak can't be a valuable Major Leaguer.
22 Caleb Brewer, RHP :: 3.86/1.56/32.2 at Rome
A big right-hander who can pump his fastball into the high 90s, Brewer missed the second part of 2007 and all of 2008 after succumbing to Tommy John surgery. He didn't join Rome until May after being beaten out for a spot on the roster to start the year by other pitchers, but he has been effective there. He hasn't dominated in the same way he did last season, but he has a big arm and big league potential and seems, at worst, destined to be a back of the bullpen type pitcher.
23 Cody Johnson, OF :: .210/.282/.385 at Mississippi
Johnson's critics have argued that his boom or bust approach won't allow him to succeed at the higher levels, but those same critics wouldn't have believed that he could have had successful years at the lower levels the last few years. His approach needs a lot of work, he strikes out as much as any player in the Minor Leagues, but he also has as much power as any player in the Minors, and that kind of tool can't be overlooked. Still, the clock is running on Johnson, and he needs to learn plate discipline now, or he will never make it out of double-A.
24 Brett DeVall, LHP :: 4.02/1.49/71.2 at Rome
After being the Braves top pick in the 2008 draft, DeVall was having a successful pro debut between the Gulf Coast League and Rome when he reported arm discomfort and was shut down after just 64 innings of work. Brett has a great pitcher's frame but just average stuff, which has him relying on his baseball IQ and location to get the job done. Since returning to action this season DeVall has been solid but unspectacular in most of his starts. It may take the whole season for him to get back to form, but when he is healthy he has the frame to be an innings eating starter. Though the top of the rotation projection one would expect from such a high draft pick (40th overall) may not be there.
25 Paul Clemens, RHP :: 3.44/1.49/49.2 between Rome and Myrtle Beach
A lean and lanky right-hander, Clemens can get his fastball into the high 90s, which he pairs with excellent break on his curve. The Braves shifted him into relief last season and he's had much more success out of the pen, especially since the team also allowed him to go back to his original delivery, a lower 3/4 arm slot, and reincorporate his long leg kick into his windup. He still has the ability to succeed as a starter and an arm like his can shoot through the system at any time.
26 Todd Cunningham, OF :: .286/.370/.381 at Rome
The Braves spent their second overall pick in this year's draft on the Jacksonville State third baseman, but their plan for him seem to be to use him as an outfielder. He won the Cape Cod League batting title last summer posting a .387 average with a wooden bat, proving that his switch hitting ability can make the transition from the metal bats of college to the wood bats of the professional ranks. He isn't going to hit for much power, but he can control the strike zone and hit for a high average while stealing a few bases. The keys to Cunningham's future will be how his defense plays in center field, and whether or not he can develop more home run power.
27 Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, 1B :: .323/382/.430 between GCL (2 rehab games) and Rome
He's moving slower than some would like for a college player, but injuries have slowed him a bit this year. He has quick hands and a body that should create some power down the road, though he hasn't shown much home run power this season. At some point he should have a breakout performance. He's keeping his average up, though, and his strikeouts down, which is a good place to be. Once healthy look for him to move up the ladder quickly.
28 Michael Dunn, LHP :: 1.05/1.13/42.2 at Gwinnett
Michael Dunn has been flat out dominant since coming over in the Javier Vazquez trade. Dunn features a mid-to-high 90s fastball from the left side that he combines with a slider that ranges from above average to plus. In April, May, and June he allowed just 1 ER in each month covering 28 appearances, until he finally surrendered 2 ER on July 6. The only knock I can see on him at the moment is his control: he has issued 22 walks in just 42.2 innings of work. Dunn has the kind of arm you look for at the back of the bullpen and he has already proven that he's ready to get out of AAA, now he just needs the opportunity to prove himself in Atlanta.
29 Cory Gearrin, RHP :: 4.41/1.43/49 at Gwinnett
With his sidearm delivery Gearrin gets a ton of movement on his fastball and sinker, allowing him to generate ground ball after ground ball. He gets into trouble occasionally when he leaves the ball up and his delivery style can lead to control issues, which is always accompanied by walks. Still, he has the stuff and the mental makeup to be a solid middle reliever in the vein of Peter Moylan.
30 Robby Hefflinger, OF :: .250/.303/.382 at Rome
There is a lot of power potential here, but all the trappings that come with it too. He has a big swing that doesn't seem to change from pitch to pitch, and that leads to a lot of strikeouts and poor plate discipline. His value is in his power and he'll need to turn some more doubles into homers, increase his walks, and cut down on the K's if he is to find success.
Just missing the cut: Cory Rasmus, Edison Sanchez, Benino Pruneda, Ryan Weber, David Filak, Tyler Stovall, David Hale, Scott Diamond, Willie Cabrera, and Tyrelle Harris.