The malaise between the All-Star game and the first game of the second half is when Talking Chop takes the time to present an updated version of the 2012 top-25 Atlanta Braves prospect list. This list is mostly a collaboration between me (gondeee) and the two guys who bring you the daily minor league recaps on the site (CB and Dan). We take each of our top-25 lists and average them together to bring you this list.
For the most part we rely upon tools and projection when ranking players, but what level they are playing at and how old (or young) they are certainly factor in, as well as their current and previous year stats. It's not a perfect process, but there probably isn't a perfect process for ranking prospects -- that's half the fun of it.
Today we present the bottom 15 of the top-25. The top-10 will be released tomorrow. I've included a short writeup about each prospect; more of a report card of how they're doing and where they could be headed, than a full prospect breakdown. So without further ado, here are the 11 through 25 top prospects in the Braves system:
11. Zeke Spruill, RHP ... @zekespruill
Spruill has been a workhorse for Mississippi, going six plus innings in just about every start. As more of a pitch-to-contact guy his strikeout numbers don't look that impressive, and that probably keeps him out of the top-10. A solid prospect who should move up to Gwinnett later this season, and could challenge for a spot in Atlanta next year as a back of the rotation starter. Decent trade bait too.
12. Nick Ahmed, SS
Putting together a terrific first full season in the minors, Ahmed has built off of his pro debut in Danville last year, and made the Braves look good by performing even though they skipped him a level all the way to high-A. His speed has been an asset and his power in the gaps has been improving. He should challenge for a spot in Mississippi later this year.
13. Joe Terdoslavich, 3B ... @JoeTerdoslavich
The Braves were over-confident in Terdo's ability to skip double-A, and his star likely fell due to his awful start in Gwinnett. He has rebounded nicely in Mississippi, but we now know it will take him longer to develop than many believed it would when he put together a solid spring training. Don't consider him a replacement for Chipper next season, but 2014 should be realistic if he can conquer triple-A next year.
14. Jose Peraza, SS
After Andrelton Simmons, Peraza is the best defensive shortstop in the Braves system, and one of the fastest players on the base paths. Only 18 in rookie ball, if he can continue hitting, he should move quickly through the Braves system. The Braves know they have something special, but it may be too early to report another Elvis sighting.
15. Todd Cunningham, OF ... @Todd_Cunningham
The pure hitter the Braves thought they drafted is finally showing his hitting ability, after finally being fully healthy. He's still not showing much power (0 home runs), but there are lots of good tools there, and he's using most of them at a high level in Mississippi. He still needs to work on his power and on-base ability to be considered a future starter.
The bottom-10 after the jump...
16. Tommy La Stella, 2B
After a hot start in April, he's cooled off a bit, and his power numbers especially have cooled off. Still, he's one of the better hiting prosepcts in the system.
17. Navery Moore, RHP ... @moorenc
A short but strong frame, this former Vanderbilt closer switched to starting in his first full year with the Braves. His stuff is still catching up to a starting role, and ultimately he will probably return to a relief role where his power can be most effective.
18. Luis Merejo, LHP
A sleeper international signing last year by Atlanta. The Braves thought enough of this 17-year old lefty that they had him debut in the states instead of in the Dominican. 29 Ks in 24 innings, while only walking one, with a solid mid-90s fastball and advanced secondary pitches, you'll start to see him popping up on prospect lists more often.
19. William Beckwith, 1B/OF ... @wbeckwith23
This is a guy who just hits. He's been one of the best hitters in the system this year, both for average, power, and consistency. He'll eventually need to cut down on the strikeouts and increase the walks as he moves up the ladder, but there's already a lot to like.
20. Cody Martin, RHP ... @zagsbaseball32
Martin has been terrifc this year, showing great strikeout numbers, and holding opposing batters at bey. We'll see if he remains a starter or moves to a relief role down the line. If his final line this year is close to what it is now, he should shoot up prospect lists.
21. Kyle Kubitza, 3B ... @Kubbyk3009
A polished college hitter, he's hitting for good power and showing some speed, but he has been streaky this year, which has hurt his overall numbers and his prospect status.
22. Brandon Drury, 3B/1B
He had a horrible first half, hitting below .200 until just recently. The tools are there, and this is his first full season, and he's still only 19 years old, but the lack of patience at the plate we saw from him last year at Danville may be catching up.
23. Matt Lipka, OF ... @MattLipka
He's still young (20) with tons of tools, but none of them have shown up yet in pro ball. No power, and not as much speed on the base paths as advertised. The Braves seem to remain confident in him, and keep moving him up the ladder, and as they do he is slowly getting better. We're just waiting for him to break out.
Flashes of brilliance in some starts, but utterly hittable in other starts. He seems to be more comfortable in a relief role, but the Braves seem insistent on keeping him in a starting role for now.
25. David Filak, RHP ... @DaveFilak27
The velocity and projection are still there, but he has been way too hittable. He may still need some time to catch up to the level of competition he's facing, coming from a Division III college program.
The top-10 tomorrow!