Atlanta Braves Top-30 Prospects Monthly Recap: August and September

Matt Lipka, the Braves' first selection in the 2010 draft, didn't exactly race to the finish line, but he still had a fine debut season.

Again, we update you on the past month's performances by the Braves' top prospects, this month with the updated Talking Chop Top-30 prospects.

1. Julio Teheran, RHP, Mississippi -3-1, 2.55 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.7 K/BB, 8.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 - Teheran adjusted to AA as easily as he adjusted to Low and High A. The lean righty is one of the top prospects in baseball, and possibly the best pitching prospect overall, and while he's likely to start 2011 back with Mississippi, it won't be long before he's a fixture in Atlanta's rotation.

2. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Gwinnett -.394 AVG, 1.040 OPS, 11 2B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB - Freeman had a fantastic season at AAA, and he just kept getting better, finishing off August with an OPS over 1.000 and a promotion to the Majors on September 1st. This is the second year in a row that the Braves' top hitting prospect has lived up to his billing, with Jason Heyward earning Minor League Player of the Year honors last season.

3. Randall Delgado, RHP, Mississppi -3-3, 4.41 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.1 K/BB, 8.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 - Delgado had a bit of a rough adjustment to AA but he finished strong, allowing only 5 earned runs in 18.2 innings over his last 3 starts, allowing just 11 hits, 4 walks, and striking out 20. He'll probably return to Mississippi to start 2011, but he's definitely getting close to knocking on the door to Atlanta's rotation.

4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Rome -0-1, 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 K - Vizcaino missed most of June, all of July, and most of August with a straned elbow before making 2 appearances with Rome to test his arm. Unfortunately, he left the second appearance with an injury to that same elbow and it remains to be seen if he'll require rest or surgery to heal the injury.

5. Mike Minor, LHP, Gwinnett - 1.2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K - Minor had a tuneup appearance on August 5th before making his Major League debut on August 9th. Since joining Atlanta he's gone 3-0 in 5 starts, pitching 27 innings with a 5.33 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP.

6. Christian Bethancourt, C, Rome -.243 OPS, .559 OPS, 4 2B, 3B, 9 SB, 24 K - The just-turned 19 year old struggled with the bat all year, and ended on a fairly weak note. On bright, and sort of odd note, on the final month plus was that he stole 9 of his 11 bases for the year. He'll return to Rome to start 2011 hoping to get his production to match his talent.

7. Edward Salcedo, SS, Rome - .183 AVG, .458 OPS, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 32 K - Salcedo has struggled mightily in his first tase of pro ball, struggling with making contact, striking out in 29% of his at bats with Rome, and also struggling with his defense, with 28 errors in 51 games at shortstop. But, Salcedo hasn't played much at all in the last few year, and, as the Braves would point out, Chipper Jones hit just .229 with a .592 OPS and 18 errors in 44 games as an 18 year old shortstop. As an 18 year old Derek Jeter hit just .210 with a .626 OPS and 21 errors in 57 games. Say what you want about how people overrate Jeter, but you have to admit, he turned out alright.

8. Matt Lipka, SS, GCL, Danville -.250 AVG. .611 OPS, 2 2B, 2 3B, 4 BB - Lipka was undoubtedly the GCL team's best player, but he seemed to wear down toward the end of the year, culminating with hitting just .125 with a .301 OPS in his 4 game stint with Danville. Still, the Braves have plenty to be excited about in their first selection from the 2010 draft.

9. Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Gwinnett - 1-1, 9 SV, 1.15 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2.7 K/BB, 13.8 K/9, 5.2 BB/9 - Kimbrel was his usual dominant self at the end of the year. The only issue he has is that he still walks too many, he actually had more walks than hits allowed in the last month plus, 9 walks to 7 hits. He also pitched in one game for Atlanta, tossing a scoreless inning while allowing a hit, a walk, and striking out 2. Despite his walk issues he should be a fixture in Atlanta's 2011 bullpen.

10. Robinson Lopez, RHP - Lopez was traded to the Cubs as part of the Derrick Lee deal.

The rest of the list after the jump:

11. Myke Jones, SS, Myrtle Beach, Mississippi -.229 AVG, .792 OPS, 6 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR - Jones' averge took a nosedive compared to his torrid July, but he was still productive, both at getting on base, with an OPS that was almost 100 points higher than his average, and a .466 slugging percentage, which is fantastic for a leadoff hitter. The most athletic player in the organization really proved himself this year and he'll likely head back to Mississippi to start 2011 to try to prove that he can be a full-time Major Leaguer in 2012.

12. JJ Hoover, RHP, Myrtle Beach, Mississippi  - 5-2, 2.23 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 2.2 K/BB, 10.7 K/9, 4.9 BB/9 - Hoover's July was the best of any Braves prospect and his August/September was outstanding as well, and it included a jump from Myrtle Beach to Mississippi for 4 starts. His walk rate jumped but that's pretty standard for any pitcher when they move up to a new level and would likely work itself out with more starts. Hoover is as solid and dependable as they come.

13. Adam Milligan, OF, Myrtle Beach - Milligan hasn't played since early May, succumbing to a shoulder injury he incurred in mid April

14. Brett Oberholtzer, LHP, Myrtle Beach -3-2, 3.19 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 7.0 K/BB, 8.9 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 - Oberholtzer finished the season strongly, dominating over his last 2 starts, allowing just 1 earned run over 17 innings while striking out 21. He had a solid season and firmly placed himself in Atlanta's plans.

15. Jose Ortegano, LHP, Gwinnett -1-3, 5.51 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 1.5 K/BB, 6.3 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 - Ortegano had a pretty bad season and his final month numbers are fairly indicative of his overall numbers. He has a live arm but clearly something wasn't working this season. He may have nevery recovered from the injury that kept him from pitching in Spring Training, he may have been overextended as a starter; either way, a move to the bullpen in 2011 would greatly benefit him.

16. Zeke Spruill, LHP, Myrtle Beach - 2-3, 5.26 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 2.5 K/BB, 5.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 - After as strong July in which he returned from a broken hand, Spruill sort of limped to the finish line. For the year he only threw 68 inning compared to the 135.2 the threw last season, and his overall production was much worse. He'll return to the Pelicans in 2011 and try to get his career back on track. Fortunately he'll still only be 21 next year.

17. Kyle Rose, OF, GCL, Rome - .232 AVG, .605 OPS, 5 2B, 11 RBI, 8 BB, 18 K, 10 SB - In August,  Rose returned from a hamstring injury, but he had little success. His .500 average and 1.122 OPS in his rehab sint in th GCL mask the .185 average and .510 OPS he had with Rome after returning. He did manage to steal 7 bases and only get caught 3 times after coming back to Rome, which is much better than the 26-23 ratio he put up for the whole season.

18. Carlos Perez, LHP, Rome -5 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K - Perez made just one start in July before he was shut down for the season. He suffered a stress fracture in his non-throwing shoulder, an injury that is apparently fairly common. He should be ready to resume pitching when the Instructional League begins in late September.

19. Joe Leonard, 3B, Rome - .288 AVG, .756 OPS, 4 2B, 1 HR, 10 RBI - Leonard suffered a broken hand that ended his season on August 16th. He had been putting up solid production at the hot corner for Rome, particularly for a player in his first season of pro ball.

20. Andy Otero, LHP, GCL - Otero missed the entire season. He felt numbness in his throwing arm and had surgery to transpose the ulnar collateral ligament. He should be fully healthy in 2011.

21. Cory Harrilchak, OF, Myrtle Beach -.210, .630 OPS, 2 2B, 2 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 20 K - Harrilchack struggled in August, striking out in 32% of his at bats before his season ended with an injury on the 20th. He still had a fine season, and will be healthy enough to head out to Arizona and compete in the AFL.

22. Caleb Brewer, RHP, Rome - Brewer's last appearance was on July 22nd, as he ended the year on the disabled list after suffering a stress fracture in his right shin.

23. Cody Johnson, OF, Myrtle Beach, Mississippi -.232 AVG, .749 OPS, 4 2B, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 41 K - Johnson started the month off horribly with Mississippi, going just 1-21 and striking out 12 times, but he rebounded nicely with Myrtle Beach, hitting .264 with a .839 OPS in 91 at bats. Still, with the Pelicans he struck out in 32% of his at bats and for the year he struck out in 44% of his at bats. It was basically a lost year for the slugger, and he'll return to Mississippi in 2011 as a 22 year old ready to give AA a second try.

24. Brett DeVall, LHP, Rome -1-2, 6.75 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 2.8 K/BB, 5.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 - After tossing a complete game victory,  in which he allowed just 1 earned run, in his first August start, DeVall went on to allow 13 earned runs in 9.2 innings in his next 2 starts before it was discovered that he would require Tommy John surgery. He will miss all of the 2011 season and will look to return at full strenght as a 22 year old in 2012.

25. Paul Clemens, RHP, Myrtle Beach -0-2, 3.86 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.7 K/BB, 8.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 - After beginning the year as a reliever with Rome, Clemens ended it as a starter for Myrtle Beach. All but 1 of his appearances in August and September was as a starter and he put up solid numbers. The lanky righty has an electric arm and while his future may still lie in the bullpen, letting him pile on innings as a starter is an advantageous strategy.

26. Todd Cunningham, OF, Rome -.254 AVG, .590 OPS, 4 2B, 3B, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 15 K - Cunninham was adequate in his pro debut, but he finished weakly and he lacked the ability to drive the ball, finishing the year with a higher OPB than slugging percentage, .341 to .338.

27. Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg, 1B, Rome -.281 AVG, .603 OPS, 4 2B, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB, 16 K - RSF's second year was about as far removed from his first as possible, as he followed up being the Appy League MVP with a year where he missed basically 3 months to a broken hand and wasn't productive in the time he did play. He actually ended up with fewer at bats this season than he had last season, and didn't play after August 26th, needing to rest his wrist.

28. Mike Dunn, LHP, Gwinnett - 0-0, 5.79 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 2.7 K/BB, 15.4 K/9, 5.8 BB/9 - Dunn made just 5 appearances for Gwinnett, tossing 4.2 innings, bouncing between AAA and the Majors for parts of the month. So far in August and September he's thrown 7 innings for Atlanta with a 0.00 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

29. Cory Gearrin, RHP, Gwinnett - 2-1, 1.99 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.5 K/BB, 7.1 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 - Gearrin came on strong at the end of the year and after a solid AAA season he should compete for a job in Atlanta's bullpen next year. He will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft in the offseason so he's at least likely to find his way onto the 40 man roster.

30. Robby Hefflinger, 1B-OF, Rome -.229 AVG, .656 OPS, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 7 BB, 16 K - Hefflinger never really managed to get things going, missing the first part of the year recovering from mono, and missing another good chunk of the season in July and August wtih a hairline fracture in his thumb.

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