New Braves Prospect Juan Jaime Getting Noticed

Prospects in any organization's system come and go. Sometimes they stay under the radar for years before their talent really shows on the field. Often that's just the standard development curve, but sometimes it's because of injury. Pitcher Juan Jaime is the latter. Here is Baseball America, who put Jaime in the "Helium Watch" category on their latest Hot Sheet:

No matter how hard you throw, if you can't get on the mound, it's hard to keep you on a roster. For the past two years, that's been Jaime's problem. The No. 17 prospect in the Nationals system back in 2009, Jaime missed all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons after Tommy John surgery. The Nationals tried to slip him through waivers after the 2010 season only to have the Diamondbacks claim him, then the Braves did the same thing to the Diamondbacks when Arizona tried to slide him off the 40-man roster after the 2011 season. But the Braves waiver claim has gone better than the Diamondbacks' did, as Jaime is back on the mound and throwing harder than ever. Jaime was raw before the injuries and two years on the mend didn't help him catch up to his peers, but he does have a fastball that can touch 100 mph and sits in the high 90s. And lately he's been showing improved control—in May he's posted a 15-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio after a much more pedestrian 10-7 ratio in April.

Any pitcher that can touch 100 mph is going to keep scouts coming back to see him. Here's what Jaime has done this year with Lynchburg, the Braves high-A affiliate, while serving as the team's primary closer:

ERA
G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO GO/AO AVG
4.05 20 0 0 0 9 20.0 12 10 9 3 11 28 0.52 .167

At 24 years old in high-A, he's not the kind of young Dominican prospect you normally don't get excited about, but like another player who was at Lynchburg earlier this year and played catcher, even though he's older he's still a guy who will likely be a useful Major League player one day. These guys are only older prospects because they lost a few years in the middle of their development due to injuries or off-the-field issues.

Jaime's got some work to do and areas that need improvement, but he should get the call to move up to double-A Mississippi this year, and if he performs well there, he could figure into the Atlanta bullpen plans as early as next season.

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