Braves Mid-Season Top-30 Prospects:  1-10

Julio Teheran, who pitched for the World team in the All-Star Futures Game, is the Braves top prospect.

Today we finish up the Braves 2010 mid-season top-30 prospects with the top-10. Once again this list was compiled by taking the three lists of gondeee, yondaime4, and cbwilk and averaging them together. The write-ups were contributed by all three bloggers, as we each try to write about the guys we know the best.

For top prospects 11 through 20 click here.
For top prospects 21 through 30 click here.

In the comments section list your top-30 Braves mid-season prospects. This weekend I'll take all the submissions and average them together, and then next week I'll present the Talking Chop Community Mid-Season Top-30 Prospects.

Note that stats for hitters include batting average / on-base percentage / slugging percentage, while stats for pitchers include ERA / WHIP / innings pitched.

1 Julio Teheran, RHP :: 2.13/1.02/88.2 between Rome and Myrtle Beach
Julio comes into the halfway point of the season as the Braves best prospect and arguably the best pitching prospect in the minors. Baseball America has him ranked as their sixth-best prospect in their mid-season list. Teheran features a mid-90s fastball, a plus changeup and average to plus curve that he combines with plus control and command. Still just 19 years old he could end the year in double-A and give the Braves something to think about in late 2011. As good as Tommy Hanson has been, Julio Teheran might be better... that's scary awesome!

2 Freddie Freeman, 1B :: .287/.347/.478 at Gwinnett
Freeman is far and away the best position prospect in the system, and has spent all of 2010 as the second youngest player in the International League (Jesus Montero being three months younger). Scouts spent all off-season doubting Freeman's ability to hit for power and while he may not have classic first base power he currently ranks in the top ten in the International League in doubles and has hit some absolutely monster shots this season. Freddie attacks the ball at the plate, and while he may never walk a ton, he also doesn't strike out much. He has an outside chance at a late season call-up, though the Braves may not want to start his Major League clock just yet. He should be given the chance to win the starting job in 2011, with potentially very little competition. 

3 Randall Delgado, RHP :: 2.85/1.05/110.1 at Myrtle Beach
If prospects were judged solely by their win-loss record then Delgado, who's lost twice as many games as he's won in his career, would be a complete afterthought. Fortunately, that's not the way things are done and Delgado's immense talent continues to garner more and more attention. In fact, that unfavorable win-loss record may make Delgado more of a sleeper prospect than anyone in the system (even though he ranks third on this list). With three plus pitches -- a mid-90s fastball to go with a curve and a change-up -- the tall righty has all the tools you could want in a pitcher. His lean frame continues to fill out as he gets older, giving him more speed on his pitches and more leverage in his pitching motion. He's dominated for Myrtle Beach this year and only needs to continue to refine his game to find himself in Atlanta's rotation within a couple of years.

4 Arodys Vizcaino, RHP :: 2.71/1.06/83 between Rome and Myrtle Beach
As upset as many Braves fans were to see Javier Vazquez get traded away, Vizcaino has done everything in his power to make the trade look like a steal for Atlanta. A big, projectable righty with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a hammer curve that is a plus, plus pitch. He dominated for Rome before a mid-season promotion to Myrtle Beach. He's currently on the disabled list with an arm strain that will sideline him for at least six weeks, and after missing last August with a back strain there are some mild concerns about his durability. Still, his sturdy frame and solid mechanics indicate that he'll likely be a durable pitcher, and a very good one at that.

5 Mike Minor, LHP :: 3.70/1.21/99.2 between Mississippi and Gwinnett
The most ballyhooed Braves draft pick in recent memory, Mike Minor has done everything possible to preclude any doubt that the Braves knew what they were doing. At the time of the draft most prognosticators had the soft tossing lefty as a late first-round to early second-round pick, but the Braves selected him with the seventh overall pick to everyone's surprise and to the dismay of some. Since being drafted Minor has transformed himself from a soft tossing lefty with a ceiling of a number-three starter to a strikeout machine who could be a good number-two starter in the Majors. He did this by changing his delivery (from more upright to using his legs more) and scrapping a curveball (which he had fallen in love with his senior year at Vanderbilt) in favor of his change/slider combo from earlier in his college career. These two changes helped him boost his velocity from 89-91 to 92-93, even touching 96 on occasion. His fastball also regained its former life and his slider is crisper than it was during his senior year at Vanderbilt.

6 Christian Bethancourt, C :: .248/.280/.322 at Rome
In 2008 the Braves signed Bethancourt for $600,000 as one the top talents from the international market and so far he is justifying their investment. At 18 years old he came into 2010 as the second youngest player in the Sally League. His bat is still developing, as evidenced by his .600 OPS in the first half, but his body continues to mature and he projects to hit for some power as he grows. Whatever kind of bat Bethancourt develops will just be a bonus alongside his fantastic defensive tools. His arm grades out as plus-plus and he has a plus release which leads to some ludicrous sub-1.90 second pop times from home to second. While most of his game is still raw, the Braves believe he has the tools and intangibles to become a special player.

7 Edward Salcedo, SS :: .273/.389/.418 between DSL and Rome
When the Braves signed Salcedo in February it was considered the equivalent of signing a high first-round pick. With a body reminiscent of a young Hanley Ramirez, and the skills to match (minus the attitude problems), it's easy to see why the Braves signed him. He's a big strong kid with tons of room on his frame to add muscle. He has easy, natural motions both at the plate and in the field. After some visa issues left him stranded in his native Dominican Republic, he showed off his five tools for the Braves' DSL squad, and though he's struggled a bit since joining Rome, it can't be said enough: He's only 18 and it's his first professional season. The Braves may have found their long-term answer for both the middle of the diamond and the middle of the lineup.

8 Matt Lipka, SS :: .304/.368/.348 at GCL
Coming into the 2010 draft Lipka was considered one of the most athletic and toolsy middle infielders available. His best tool right now is his speed, running sub 6.4 times from the right side to first base. His short stroke sprays balls into the gap right now, and his athletic frame could lead to better than average power down the road. Matt's biggest question mark comes on the defensive side of the ball where most believe he will be average defensively at shortstop, but could profile as an above average center fielder with a strong arm. The Braves will be patient with Lipka and will allow him the necessary time to develop as both a hitter and a fielder.

9 Craig Kimbrel, RHP :: 0.82/0.94/33 at Gwinnett
The right-handed version of Billy Wagner, Kimbrel has already seen time in the Majors twice this season, and pitched well in limited work each time. With a devastating fastball that not only heads toward the plate in the high 90s, but goes there with an unbelievable amount of movement, he can dominate hitters. When he adds a changeup in the low 80s, thrown with nearly identical arm action, things just become unfair for opposing hitters. All Kimbrel needs to work on is his control, which is an unfortunate byproduct of the deadly movment on his fastball. He's close to being a full time Major Leaguer, and not far from being a top-flight closer. He should get his chance to prove his worth at the end of games in the Major Leagues sometime in the next year.

10 Robinson Lopez, RHP :: 3.72/1.22/77.1 at Rome
He's got great tools and great velocity, but he needs plenty of work. He's also reversed a trend from last year where he was more dominant out of the stretch than the windup. This year batters are hitting almost 70 points higher off of him from the stretch -- it's not a good thing to get worse when runners are on base. His fastball also needs to be located better and tends to be flat at times. Overall, though, he has a lot of projection and should at least be considered a Major League bullpen prospect, with an outside shot as a starter, though he is a bit undersized.

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