After bringing you prospects #16-25 yesterday, our Midseason Top 25 Prospects List rolls right along with prospects #6-10 today. We'll wrap up on Thursday with #1-5.
The list so far:
25. David Hale
24. Bryan De La Rosa
23. Juan Jaime
22. Robby Hefflinger
21. Ian Thomas
20. Matt Lipka
19. Aaron Northcraft
18. Victor Caratini
17. Josh Elander
16. Kyle Kubitza
15. Carlos Salazar
14. Todd Cunningham
13. Luis Merejo
12. Tommy La Stella
11. Christian Bethancourt
Note: All statistics in bold represent the player's season-long stats to that point, and may have been accumulated across multiple levels. For pitchers, BB is a measure of unintentional walks, not total walks.
#10 | Sean Gilmartin | Left-Handed Pitcher | Age: 23 | Gwinnett
71.0 IP, 29 BB, 47 K, 1.676 WHIP, 5.83 ERA
Drafted 28th overall in 2008 out of Florida State, Sean Gilmartin was touted as a polished lefty that would overcome a perceived lack of stuff by locating and inducing weak contact. Gilmartin has the picture-perfect mechanics to back up the belief that he’ll develop plus command, but he hasn’t yet reached that point, as evidenced by the 9% walk rate in AAA. He’ll need to improve that because the stuff isn’t good enough to survive with such a high walk rate. The lefty’s fastball sits 86-88, and while it touches 90-91, it doesn’t touch it often while also being pretty straight. Gilmartin adds a solid changeup with some sink and tail, a loopy curveball with good two-plane movement, and a slider that has depth but not a lot of movement. AAA hasn’t been kind to Gilmartin, who’s not missing bats, but with a new type of fastball or an uptick in the quality of one of his pitches, he might carve out a Paul Maholm-like career.
- Mark Smith
#9 | Jose Peraza | Shortstop | Age: 19 | Rome
308 PA, 1 HR, 38 SB, 28 BB, 48 K, .276/.348/.354
The Venezuelan shortstop might be the most exciting position player the Braves have. Peraza has elite speed, and his game revolves around this playing in game situations. His .276/.348/.354 line in Low-A Rome is a nice full-season debut for a player playing against guys a few years older than he is. The shortstop’s swing is geared for line drives, and with a very small frame, there’s no power projection. He’ll need to get on base at a high clip to have offensive value, and if he does, he has the speed to be a real threat on the basepaths, having nabbed 38 bases already this season. Defensively, Peraza is still quite raw. When I saw him a month ago or so, he had the range and enough arm - it’s not an awesome arm but should play there - to play shortstop, but he was borderline careless in the field, leading to bobbled balls and errant throws. He’s only 19, so there’s plenty of time to iron the kinks he has. If he develops as hoped, he’s a traditional top-of-the-order threat.
- Mark Smith
#8 | Joey Terdoslavich | First Baseman/Left Fielder | Age: 24 | Atlanta
351 PA, 18 HR, 3 SB, 23 BB, 65 K, .318/.359/.567***
The recently promoted Terdoslavich has been a bit of a Braves farm system folk hero since he hit 52 doubles in 2011. After a rough start to 2012 in Gwinnett, he went down to Mississippi and rediscovered his stroke. During his return to Gwinnett this season, the switch-hitter kept hitting and has found himself on the big-league bench. With a solid swing from both sides - the left side looks a bit more natural - Terdoslavich has the ability to frequently barrel balls, and there’s some power in his game as well, though he may never hit 20 home runs in a season. The bat will need to play, however, as he can only play the outfield corners and first base, and he’s not particularly good at any of those. Terdo has hit at pretty much every level, and there’s every reason to give him as many at bats as possible, even though a full-time starting spot would probably have to come from another team.
- Mark Smith
***Statistics from stint with Gwinnett
# 7 | Cody Martin | Right-Handed Pitcher | Age: 23 | Gwinnett
96.2 IP, 42 BB, 106 K, 1.334 WHIP, 2.79 ERA
Cody Martin has been a statistician’s wet dream since he entered pro ball. During his brief debut in 2011, his K/BB ratios were above 8.00, and he followed that up with a 3.62 K/BB in High-A Lynchburg last season. The problem was that the scouting reports haven’t always matched the stats, and there was a healthy amount of skepticism surrounding how he would perform as he moved up the ladder. During past years, Martin had trouble eclipsing 90 mph with frequency, but I’ve heard that his fastball has ticked up a bit this year, which is a great sign. Martin’s best secondary pitch is a cutter that scouts have always been very fond of, and he’ll add a curveball and change-up that are fringy to solid in quality depending on the day. Martin has continued missing bats this year with a 25% and 28% rate at AA and AAA, respectively, but a minor caveat is that the walk rate has increased at every level, including 10% and 12% this season. Martin was believed to be a reliever headed into the year, but the uptick in stuff has a few more people believing he could start.
- Mark Smith
#6 | Jason Hursh | Right-Handed Pitcher | Age: 21 | Rome
4.0 IP, 2 BB, 4 K, 1.250 WHIP, 0.00 ERA
This year’s first round pick was a bit of a surprise. Neither a finesse lefty nor a Georgia prep pitcher, Hursh is a hard-throwing right-hander from Oklahoma State. Hursh’s bread-and-butter is a low-to-mid 90s fastball with heavy sink, and it by itself will probably give him a major-league job. What job that becomes will depend on the development of his secondary pitches, which currently consists of a solid slider and a nascent changeup. I’ve heard a few Jordan Zimmermann comps thrown on his potential, and if the Braves can find that type of value out of the 28th pick, that’s a great pick. If the secondaries don’t develop, we’re looking more at a late-inning reliever, which is useful but not as exciting from the team’s first pick. As with all draftees, we’ll just have to see, but it’s nice to see another big arm added to the organization.
- Mark Smith
All photos courtesy of CB Wilkins.