Thanks to some terrific scouting, drafting and signing, the Braves are going to be a very good team for the considerable future.
So when Keith Law ranked four Braves in his top-25 under 25 list, it was no shock to see four guys who play in Atlanta included in the top-15. No other team in baseball has more than two players listed in the top-15.
Simmons' career to date at the plate looks a lot like some other well-regarded shortstops, including Ozzie Smith, Barry Larkin and Omar Vizquel, none of whom was much to write home about with the stick early in his career, but all of whom posted high contact rates from their rookie years. Simmons is a better defender than Vizquel and has more pop than Omar or Ozzie, but he does have to develop the patience Ozzie and Larkin found by their mid-20s. The downside here is a better-fielding Shawon Dunston, but the upside is a Hall of Fame-caliber shortstop who sparks debates over whether he or the Wizard is the best defensive shortstop of all time.
Next on Law's list was Freddie Freeman at No. 8. Law never really seems to give Freeman the credit he deserves for being one of the 10 or 15 best hitters in baseball when projecting his future, but it's whatever at this point.
Jason Heyward checks in at No. 11, and Law hits the nail right on the head with him:
Heyward can be maddening, as he has all-world talent but hasn't put everything together for a full season ... although he's also still 24 years old and has been on every iteration of this list that I've done. Heyward is a plus-plus defender in right with outstanding patience at the plate, and he shows plus power when his swing is right (not often) and his shoulder isn't barking. The reference point of his rookie season has colored everyone's impressions of Heyward's performance since then, but FanGraphs had him at 3.4 WAR last year in just 104 games, when only 10 players in the entire National League reached 5.0 WAR for the whole season.
Last but not least is Julio Teheran at 15. Law really liked the strides he made last season towards cementing himself as a No. 1 starter, and he points to the development of his breaking pitches to determine whether he's a bonafide ace or just a solid No. 2 guy moving forward.
The whole article is worth checking out. For reference, the Marlins have three on the list (Fernandez 3, Stanton 6, Yelich, 16), the Nationals have one (Harper, 2), the Mets have one (Wheeler, 18), and the Phillies have none.
Kinda scary to think that the Braves not only have four of the top-15, but also have Mike Minor, 26, Craig Kimbrel, the world's best closer, who is 25 now, and guys like Alex Wood and Lucas Sims as candidates to make future lists.