2012 was a breakout season for Todd Cunningham. - CB Wilkins
We break down the Atlanta Braves top 25 Minor League prospects for the 2013 season.
Prospects 11 through 15 include a pair of 2nd round draft picks, a converted reliever with serious strikeout stuff, a defensively challenged third baseman with tantalizingly frustrating talent, and a complete masher who lacks a defensive home.
11: Todd Cunningham, CF
The Skinny: After a mediocre debut with Rome in 2010 and an injury plagued year in 2011, just missed winning a batting title in a breakout 2012 campaign with Mississippi.
The Good: Line drive hitter who can spray the ball all over the field. Has shown consistent ability to make contact. Cut down an already low strikeout rate. Well above average speed. Solid defensive outfielder with great instincts and range.
The Bad: Doesn't show much pop and doesn't project to have any with his batting approach. Doesn't walk enough for a top of the order type hitter. Lack of walks means his on base value is dependent on batting average, which means the hits will always have to drop for him to have value. Average arm. Speed hasn't shown up on the basepaths. Might not be able to handle center field at the Major League level, which would hurt his overall value. Already 24 years old.
...in a perfect world...Cunningham becomes an ideal 2 hole hitter and a solid defensive center fielder.
ETA: 2014. He'll head to AAA Gwinnett in 2013, though he might be given a chance to win a job on Atlanta's roster in Spring Training depending on how the offseason plays out.
12: Zeke Spruill, RHP
The Skinny: Former 2nd round draft pick who has steadily worked up the organizational ladder and turned in a solid season with Mississippi in 2012 that led to him being added to Atlanta's 40 man roster after the season.
The Good: Classic pitcher's build and frame. Workhorse pitcher capable of eating innings. Led the Southern League in innings pitched this year. Smart, determined pitcher who gets the most out of his stuff. More than happy to let hitters put the ball in play and allow his defense to work behind him. Overcame maturity issues early in his career to become a dependable member of the organization.
The Bad: Stuff is average at best. Even though he's been reformed for a few years, players with a checkered past always have the potential to become a headache again.
...in a perfect world...Spruill continues to be as durable and dependable as he's been for the past few years and has a solid Major League career, either as a back of the rotation innings eater or as a reliever capable of making a ton of a appearances each season.
ETA: Late 2013. He'll move up to AAA Gwinnett to start 2013 and will be available whenever Atlanta needs an extra arm.
13: Cody Martin, RHP
The Skinny: College reliever who dominated in his debut with Rome in 2011 before moving to the rotation with Lynchburg in 2012 and putting up an impressive season.
The Good: Plus plus cutter that is by far his best pitch. Great mid-90s fastball. Outstanding knack for strikeouts. Thick, sturdy frame that should allow him to eat up innings. Fierce competitor. Has excelled both as a starter and as a reliever.
The Bad: Developing a slider as a third pitch, but it's nowhere close to his fastball and cutter. Excellence of fastball-cutter combo and lack of a solid third pitch may force him to the bullpen. Control was more of a problem as a starter. Reached his innings limit in July, so still hasn't experienced a full season of pitching. No real projection left in his body.
...in a perfect world...Martin perfects a third pitch and becomes a solid mid to back of the rotation innings eater who can rack up strikeout after strikeout. In a less perfect world, he's limited to a relief role and becomes a dynamite setup man or closer.
ETA: Late 2014. He'll move up to Mississippi in 2013 to try for a full season in the rotation.
14: Edward Salcedo, 3B
The Skinny: Top international signing who followed up a few mediocre seasons with Rome in 2010 and 2011 with a decent year in Lynchburg in 2012.
The Good: Oozing with potential. Rare power/speed mix. Above average runner. Has show plenty of power potential. Strong throwing arm. Great range defensively. Physically impressive frame with room to add muscle. Still only 21.
The Bad: Hasn't show ability to hit for average. Rarely walks. Strikeouts may become a problem as he faces more advanced pitching. Incredibly error prone. Fall prey to mental lapses on the field, particularly on defense.
...in a perfect world...Salcedo shores up his defensive issued, taps into his potential, and becomes perennial All-Star hitting in the middle of Atlanta's order for years.
ETA: 2015. He'll move up to AA Mississippi in 2013.
15: Joey Terdoslavich, 1B/3B
The Skinny: After a monster 2011 with Lynchburg he jumped all the way up to Gwinnett and moved from first base to third base. Struggled both offensively and defensively with the G-Braves, leading to a demotion to Mississippi and a move back to first base. After settling in, he finished with great offensive numbers for the M-Braves.
The Good: Absolute wrecker at the plate. Doubles machine with the potential for over the wall power. Contact had been a concern, but he improved his batting average from High A to AA.
The Bad: Poor defender no matter where he plays. Hard hand and a poor throwing motion. Remains to be seen if he could play in the outfield. Slow runner.
...in a perfect world...the Braves are suddenly allowed to use the DH and Terdoslavich begins 2013 in the Majors. Since that's unlikely to happen...in a perfect world...Terdoslavich finds a defensive home and becomes a great Major Leaguer whose outstanding bat more than makes up for any of his defensive failings.
ETA: 2013. His bat is ready now, it's his defense that's holding him back. He'll take another crack at AAA Gwinnett in 2013, though it's still not clear what position he'll be playing.