While the Braves have graduated three prospects to the Majors in the last two years who were challengers for, or won, the Rookie of the Year, it's good to know there is a wealth of young talent still to come in the Atlanta system. MLB Network and MLB.com released their top-100 prospects last night, and five Braves farm hands found their way onto the list.
The top guy was of course Julio Teheran, who was ranked as the fourth-best prospect in baseball. Here is the scouting report from Jonathan Mayo on the Braves young hurler:
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.
After Teheran, the next Braves prospect on the list was Arodys Vizcaino, who ranked 36th, followed by Randall Delgado at 42. Talking Chop's top prospect rankings have them reversed, with Delgado ahead of Vizzy. Much of that has to do with Delgado projecting as more of a starter, while Vizcaino has begun his MLB career as a reliever. Both are terrific young pitching prospects who should be impact players in the next year or two.
The last two Braves on the list are both hitters, a good sign for an organization that is a little thin in the hitting prospect department. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons ranks 65th on the list, more evidence that he is breathing down Tyler Pastornicky's neck, and may be ready for Major League action as soon as this season. John Sickels also ranked Simmons on his top-50 hitting prospects in baseball.
And the final Braves prospect on the list is catcher Christian Bethancourt. CB finally had a breakout year in the minors, while repeating at Rome in the first half. He then went to the Arizona Fall League and dominated, which likely earned him inclusion on this prospect list. He's still very raw and will move slowly through the system, but he's full of tools, and if he puts the right amount of energy into his everyday catching duties, he has a chance to be a special player.
Great seeing so many Braves listed in the top-100. As always you can find the Talking Chop top-25 prospects on the left sidebar all season long.