Today, we continue to unveil Talking Chop's midseason top 25 prospects list, with a look at prospects 16 through 20. If you missed yesterday's first look at the list, you can find the link below.
20. Johan Camargo, Shortstop, Rome Braves
Preseason ranking - #21
After enduring an April in which he posted a .409 OPS, Camargo has shown a massive turn-around at the plate, slashing .281/.332/.351 throughout the summer months. The 20-year-old Panamanian has a top-of-the-order approach with very little lower-half involvement in his swing, preferring to slap the ball from gap to gap. As he continues to add mass and fine-tune his swing, he could add some power to his game, though it will likely never be more than below average. He’s a below-average runner and relies on first-step quickness and instincts to handle shortstop currently, and while he has the hands to handle the position as he climbs the ladder, his lack of foot speed and concerns about how his body will fill out push him into a more of a utility profile long-term. His arm strength is easy plus and will play on the left side of the infield. Camargo is young and has a long developmental road ahead of him, but the amount of success he’s had after his sluggish start is indicative of his ability to make in-season adjustments, a huge component of success throughout the minor-league journey.
- Ethan Purser
19. Cody Martin, Right-Handed Starting Pitcher, Gwinnett Braves
Preseason ranking - #8
Martin's seemingly-precipitous drop on our lists should not be taken as an indictment of him as much as a sign of those ahead of him performing better. As a prospect this year, Martin's been a bit of an enigma. By all accounts, his stuff is the same as it has been - a decent fastball and impressive yet inconsistent breaking stuff. This leads to games where Martin will look utterly dominant, and others where he looks completely pedestrian. The most troubling thing about Martin is that his K/9 has decreased every year he's been in the minor leagues. As Martin is a converted reliever, I can't help but wonder if some of that is attributable to the fatigue of starting. Still more can be attributed to the fact that his stuff is simply good and not great, which should lead to being hit harder the higher he climbs up the ladder.
That leads me to wonder if Martin's future with Atlanta is in the bullpen, where he can go back to airing thing out. Barring that, he could be a useful trade chip, as Atlanta's rotation logjam is well-known.
- Daniel Simpson
18. Phil Gosselin, Second Baseman, Gwinnett Braves
Preseason ranking - not ranked
The recent (albeit temporary) beneficiary of a strange Dan Uggla situation, Gosselin more than deserved a call-up after putting up together a .345/.381/.494 slash in triple-A, numbers which were 42% above league average. The lack of walks and BABIP-driven performance should be noted, but Gosselin’s ability to consistently barrel up the ball was impressive in my viewing. His versatility in the field is also a much-added bonus, playing all four infield positions as well as some left field. The 25-year-old is a bit of a late bloomer in prospect terms, but he should provide a solid, super-sub, option off the bench as long as the Braves decide to keep him in Atlanta.
- Andrew Sisson
17. Todd Cunningham, Center Fielder, Gwinnett Braves
Preseason ranking - #18
Cunningham again makes his way onto the list after repeating triple-A for the second time. After a brief cup of coffee last season, he is still pushing to replace Jordan Schafer as the Braves fourth outfielder. His offensive performance over the past two seasons (92 wRC+) won’t get him the call, but his speed and defense could put him over the top. In the field, the former second-round pick has a great instinct for knowing where the ball is going off the bat, “getting to the spot” in a fast and efficient manner. One worry to take note of is that a lack of bat speed will limit him at the plate against top-tier major league pitching, who continually ramp up the velocity, especially in late game situations.
- Andrew Sisson
16. Aaron Northcraft, Right-Handed Starting Pitcher, Gwinnett Braves
Preseason ranking - #15
Aaron Northcraft is probably the most boring pitching prospect in the Braves system. I say that without a hint of malice; sometimes boring is good. The first time I ever watched Northcraft pitch, I left feeling decidedly "meh" but then looked at a box score and said to myself "Wait, he threw 6 innings of 1 run ball with 7 strikeouts!?". Northcraft is your textbook pitchability guy. He has a low ceiling but makes up for it with a relatively high floor. None of his pitches are plus, but he commands them all well and pounds the strike zone. He's used a four-pitch mix to keep hitters on their toes, and translated that into an 8.5 K/9 mark this year in AA. Due to his average stuff, scouts doubt that he will be able to keep punching out batters at that clip in the big leagues. But there will almost always be room on major league rosters for guys who have the command-control combination that Northcraft does. His ceiling is a backend starter, while he could also end up being a ROOGY out of the bullpen. Like Martin, I also wouldn't be surprised to see Northcraft used as a potential trade chip.
- Daniel Simpson