After a great first half, Kyle Kubitza struggled in the second half. - CB Wilkins
Following the loss of 3 prospects after the Justin Upton trade, we highlight 5 more prospects to watch for in 2013.
Last week, the Braves pulled off a major trade, picking up Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In addition to sending Major Leaguers Martin Prado and Randall Delgado to the D'backs, the Braves also parted with 3 players who appeared on Talking Chop's Top 25 Prospects List, SS Nick Ahmed (9), RHP Zeke Spruill (12), and 1B/3B Brandon Drury (20). With that in mind, here are the next 5 prospects after the top 25 to fill the prospect void.
26. Bryan de la Rosa, C
The Skinny: Braves 3rd round pick in 2012 who struggled in his debut in the GCL.
The Good: Well above average defensive catcher. Considered to have the best throwing arm in his draft class. Will always be able to provide value with his defense. Frame reminds some of Pudge Rodriguez. Will only be 19 at the beginning of the 2013 season.
The Bad: Bat is a huge question mark. Doesn't project to hit for power. Shorty, stocky body doesn't leave much room for projection.
...in a perfect world...de la Rosa's bat develops enough for him to be a decent Major League hitter with near Gold Glove defense. In a less perfect world, he provides great value as a Major League backup with stellar defense.
ETA: 2017. He'll head to Low A Rome to start 2013 and it will take a while for his bat to develop.
27. Gus Schlosser, RHP
The Skinny: Braves 17th round selection in 2011 dominated as a reliever in his debut with Danville and Rome. Moved into the rotation for Lynchburg in 2012 and was named the Carolina League Pitcher Of The Year, leading the league in wins and innings pitched.
The Good: Above average control. Intelligent and meticulous. Gets the most out of average stuff. Diving, biting slider is a plus pitch. Creates deception with sidearm delivery. Low stress delivery makes him durable.
The Bad: Stuff is only average. Changeup needs lots of work. Sidearm delivery may not work well as a starter. Already 24 years old.
...in a perfect world...Schlosser continues to find success in the rotation and becomes a solid back of the rotation innings eater. In a different perfect world, he becomes a dominant reliever with a deceptive delivery.
ETA: 2014. He'll fight for a job with AAA Gwinnett in Spring Training, though he may begin 2013 with AA Mississippi. Either way, he could end up pitching out of Atlanta's bullpen by the end of the season.
28. John Cornely, RHP
The Skinny: Braves 15th round selection in 2011 excelled for Danville in his debut. Pitched well for Rome in 2012 before dominating for Lynchburg after a late season promotion.
The Good: Outstanding, live fastball that sits in the mid 90s. Solid, sweeping slider. Closer mentality. Strong, thick body. Pitched his best games in the playoffs with Lynchburg.
The Bad: Major control issues. Body doesn't leave much room for projection.
...in a perfect world...Cornely fixes his control issues and becomes a dominant Major League reliever.
ETA: 2015. With a good Spring Training he could begin 2013 with AA Mississippi, but it's more likely he opens the year back at High A Lynchburg.
29. Kyle Kubitza, 3B
The Skinny: Braves 3rd round pick in 2011 excelled in his debut for Rome. Got off to a hot start for Rome in 2012 before fading in the second half to put up a solid, if unimpressive, season.
The Good: Outstanding eye at the plate leading to well above average on base skills. Nice combination of power and speed. Plenty of extra base pop, including the ability to leg out triples. Solid defender with an above average arm. More than capable of becoming a Major League defender at third base. Quiet team leader.
The Bad: Contact ability seemed to disappear in the second half of 2012, leading to a low batting average and a bunch of strikeouts. Was slightly old for his level but didn't show the sustained dominance you would expect.
...in a perfect world...Kubitza regains his hitting stroke and develops into an above average 2 hole hitter.
ETA: 2016. He'll move up to High A Lynchburg in 2013. He has the kind of skill set that could lead to him moving quickly up the ladder.
30. Josh Elander, C
The Skinny: Braves 6th round selection in 2012 had a solid debut for Danville.
The Good: Great hitter who projects to have plus power. One of the better bats in the 2012 draft. Great eye at the plate. Takes walk and doesn't strike out much. Legitimate middle of the order bat. Strong, thick frame. Has experience playing in the outfield.
The Bad: May not be able to stick at catcher. Awkward and bulky behind the plate. Defense lags far behind his bat.
...in a perfect world...Elander becomes a decent enough defender to become an every day Major League catcher with an above average bat. In a less perfect world, he moves to the outfield and becomes a solid every day player.
ETA: Late 2015. He'll likely skip over Low A Rome and begin 2013 with High A Lynchburg. How long his development takes will depend on how well his defense improves.