Today we continue Talking Chop's countdown of the top 25 prospects in the Braves organization. The top 25 are selected by yondaime14, gondeee, and myself each putting together our own lists, then averaging the three lists together.
6. Edward Salcedo
The Skinny: Top international signee struggled in his pro debut in 2010, then started strong with Rome in 2011 before fading down the stretch. Originally a shortstop but struggled with errors, forcing a move to third base, which hasn't helped keep his errors down.
The Good: Huge, strong frame with plenty of room to fill out and add power. Athletic and quick. Great baseball instincts. Soft hands and strong throwing arm. Has the physical skills to play any position on the field. Hard worker and natural leader. Good, opportunistic baserunner. Only 20 years old.
The Bad: Inconsistent at the plate. Swing gets long and occasionally struggles to make contact. Often too aggressive, leading to strikeouts and lack of walks. Less experienced than most 20 year olds. Consistently makes mental errors in the field.
...in a perfect world... Salcedo harnesses his potential, finds a defensive home, and develops into an All-Star caliber middle of the order hitter.
ETA: 2014. The Braves will be patient with Salcedo, and he'll move up the ladder one rung at a time.
7. Zeke Spruill, RHP
The Skinny: After a disappointing 2010 that saw him miss half the season after breaking his hand punching a wall in frustration, Spruill had a fantastic rebound in 2011, with a strong showing at Lynchburg followed by an equally impressive run at Mississippi.
The Good: Big bodied, strong and durable. Has all the potential to be a workhorse. Tossed 6 complete games in 2011. Classic pitcher's body. Overcame immaturity and thrived this season. Smart pitcher who uses his fastball to set up his secondary pitches. Allows his defense to work behind him. Pitches better than his stuff.
The Bad: History of immaturity, including a disciplinary demotion in 2009 and wasted his 2010 season by breaking his own hand. Stuff is only average.
...in a perfect world... Spruill becomes a middle of the rotation innings eater and a solid Major League starter.
ETA: 2013. He'll return to Mississippi to start 2012, and there's a good chance he could make his Major League debut later in the year.
8. Tyler Patornicky, SS
The Skinny: Shortstop acquired in the Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez trade who had an All-Star season with Mississippi before catching fire in a month long trial at Gwinnett.
The Good: Absolute baseball rat. Hard worker and a natural leader. Quick, above average athlete. Soft hands, quick actions, and great range in the field. Fast baserunner with above average instincts. High contact hitter who is willing to sacrifice himself. Doesn't try to do more than he's capable of at the plate. Hard to strike out.
The Bad: Arm is average at best, leading to questions about his ability to stick at shortstop. Must get better at taking walks to be an effective top of the order hitter. Little to no power. Needs to drive the ball with more authority. Injuries have cost him the last few weeks of each of his last 2 seasons.
...in a perfect world... Pastornicky becomes a solid number 2 hitter in the order and an average defensive shortstop. In a less perfect world he becomes a solid number 2 hitter and an above average defensive second baseman.
ETA: 2012. There are indications Pastornicky could be given a chance to win Atlanta's shortstop job out of Spring Training. Even if he doesn't, he should contribute in the Majors in some way this season.
9. Andrelton Simmons, SS
The Skinny: Drafted as a pitcher, but signed as a shortstop. Had a phenomenal year for Lynchburg, winning the Carolina League batting title while hitting 35 doubles and stealing 26 bases.
The Good: Insanely good fielder with a cannon for an arm. Will perennially compete for Gold Glove awards. Quick, flexible, and extremely athletic. Fast baserunner. High contact hitter. Hard to strike out. Whip-like bat speed. Hard worker who takes coaching well.
The Bad: Skinny frame leads to questions about his ability to drive the ball at higher levels. Needs to learn how to take walks. Has to become a better base stealer to use his speed effectively. Little to no power. Less experienced than most 22 year olds.
...in a perfect world... Simmons becomes a perennial Gold Glover at shortstop who provides adequate offensive value.
ETA: Late 2013. He'll go to Mississippi to start 2012, which will be his biggest test as a professional. If he passes it, he'll move up quickly.
The Skinny: A freak injury in his non-throwing shoulder cut short his sterling 2010 season, and he struggled with inconsistency for much of 2011 with Rome.
The Good: Outstanding stuff with movement. Low 90s fastball that is likely to gain velocity as he gets stronger. Promising secondary pitchers that are advanced for his age. Lanky, whipping arm action with plenty of deception. Only 20 years old. Long, lean frame with plenty of room to add muscle.
The Bad: Lacks control. Has trouble repeating delivery, which contributes to control problems. Hasn't shown durability and will need to add strength to his frame to gain it. Needs a better mental approach to pitching.
...in a perfect world... Perez harnesses his massive potential and becomes a classic top of the rotation lefty.
ETA: 2015. The Braves will be patient with him as he moves up a level at a time. Likely to start 2012 with Lynchburg, but he may have to head back to Rome to start the year.