Braves come in at numbers 4, 36, 42, 65,and 91. Pretty good showing considering the young guys already on the squad. I took the time to place the Braves players' analysis in the post but I'd recommend scanning through the prospects. The setup is quite user friendly.
4. Julio Teheran:
Statistically speaking: His FIP (fielding independent pitching) of 3.06 was a bit higher than his actual ERA of 2.55, meaning Teheran had some good fortune in 2011. That’s not bad by any means and his .288 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) was lower than the .300 average for pitchers. His hits-per-nine-innings rate of 7.7 was right in line with his career average as well.
Scouting report: With three pitches that grade as above-average or better, there’s good reason the Braves are excited about Teheran. With a clean delivery, he delivers fastballs in the mid-90s, and though he still looks like he could add some strength, durability and maintaining velocity have not been issues. To complement his fastball, Teheran also throws a curve and changeup, both above-average to plus, and he commands all three of his pitches well. The Braves were willing to push Teheran aggressively, then call him up at such a young age last year because of his outstanding poise on the mound. He’s not one to be fazed by taking his lumps at the highest level.
Upside potential: Pitching at or near the top of a Major League rotation soon and for a long time to come.
Other 4 after the jump...
36. Arodys Vizcaino:
Statistically speaking: Vizcaino has always done well in keeping his walks low and his strikeouts up and 2011 was no exception. He averaged 9.3 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings, in line with his 9.3 and 2.3 career marks. He has a robust 4.10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his Minor League career.
Scouting report: Completely healthy after missing time in 2010 with an elbow issue, the key prospect the Braves got from the Yankees in the Javier Vazquez deal has the chance to have three above-average to plus pitches. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and when he was working in shorter relief stints, he could reach back for a little more. He has a plus curve to go with the fastball and his changeup has improved tremendously. He commands his pitches well and has all the makings of a solid starter, though his power repertoire, success out of the bullpen last year and some lingering concerns about durability have some thinking he might be better suited to a short relief role.
Upside potential: The stuff and command are more than enough to be a No. 2 starter, but he also could be a high-octane setup man or closer if need be.
42: Randall Delgado:
Statistically speaking: Delgado pitched well down the stretch for Atlanta in 2011, with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts. His walk rate of 3.6 per nine innings was right in line with his 3.3 ratio in the Minors, but his strikeout rate dipped from 9.5 to 4.6. On the plus side, his hit rate also went down, from 8.0 in the Minors to 7.5 with the Braves.
Scouting report: Delgado will be 22 for all of 2012 and is ready to contribute full time at the big league level. He has a solid three-pitch mix with his breaking ball as his best pitch. He’ll throw his fastball consistently in the low 90s and his changeup is a more than usable option. He has struggled with command at times in his career, but he’s also shown an ability to make adjustments as he’s moved up the ladder.
Upside potential: A very good No. 3 starter, with perhaps a slightly higher ceiling than that.
65. Andrelton Simmons:
Statistically speaking: Simmons was equally productive in the first and second halves of the Carolina League season, hitting .304/.339/.381 in the first half and .319/.363/.436 after the break. His strikeout rate went down and his walk rate went up a tick in that second half.
Scouting report: The Curacao native and junior-college product might be ready to play defense in the big leagues right now, with a plus arm and outstanding range. He can hit, too, with excellent bat speed and an innate ability to make consistent contact. He doesn’t strike out much, but he doesn’t walk, either, and is a little too aggressive at the plate. He has the same approach on the basepaths, and once he learns how to rein it in a bit, he could become a very good all-around shortstop.
Upside potential: Tyler Pastornicky might be the short-term answer at shortstop in Atlanta, but Simmons could be the long-term one when all is said and done.
Statistically speaking: It didn't make much difference to Bethancourt whether he was facing left- or right-handers in the Carolina League as his splits against lefties (.288/.278/.327) and righties (.263/.277/.325) weren't far off. He followed that up with an Arizona Fall League campaign in which he hit .304 against southpaws and .306 against righties, showing the matchup wasn't a big factor in his at-bats. Also worth noting, he threw out 47 percent of baserunners in high Class A ball, which is seven percent better than the MLB leader, Miguel Montero.
Scouting report: Bethancourt is an extremely athletic catcher who has the chance to be a special all-around receiver. Scouts who saw him in the Arizona Fall League raved about Betancourt's athleticism behind the plate to go along with a plus arm, though he still needs work defensively on things like blocking balls in the dirt. He doesn’t walk, but he also doesn’t strike out, making consistent hard contact and showing good raw power. He runs very well for a catcher. One scout in the AFL compared him to a young Andruw Jones, rather than to another backstop.
Upside potential: Brian McCann doesn’t need a replacement yet, but Bethancourt’s the next in line, with the chance to be a superb all-around catcher
I'm excited about the core of young players that the Braves continue to produce. Furthermore, it's doubly good that we can develop them because after Terry McGuirk's bomb today, the Braves won't be paying for players for a few decades.