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Braves Top-3 Minor League Second Base Prospects

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Despite never playing a professional game at second base, Myke Jones is still the team's top prospect at the position.
Despite never playing a professional game at second base, Myke Jones is still the team's top prospect at the position.

1. Mycal Jones - B/T: R/R, Born: 5/30/87, Ht: 5'10", Wt: 165 - Jones' 2010 season started horribly, as he hit just .125 with a pathetic .320 OPS in April for Rome, but he rebounded strongly, finishing with a .261 average and .713 OPS in 219 plate apperances at that level. He earned a promotion to Myrtle Beach in early June and was even better at the higher level, hitting .269 with a .776 OPS in 318 plate appearances. He earned a late season promotion to AA Missisissippi, going 6-30 there to finish the season, ending with a total line of a .262 average, a .747 OPS, 31 doubles, 15 homers, 61 RBI, and 22 stolen bases in 570 plate apperances. He spent most of the year batting at the top of the order, but if he wants to stay there at the higher levels he'll need to improve on his .327 on base percentage. He struck out in 24 percent of his at bats, a number that will also need some improvement. Jones is a superior athlete, by far the best in the organization, and that allows him to be a dynamic offensive player, combining both power and speed, so if he can work on the finer points of his game, making contact and just plain getting on base, there's nothing stopping him from becoming an everyday Major Leaguer. The Braves have made a decision geared toward that end, shifting him from shorstop, where he's played all 189 of his games as a professional, to second base in 2011. He made 43 errors in 2010, most of which were on balls that less athletic players wouldn't even have been able to get to. He'll start 2011 back with Mississippi and his athleticism should make the transition much easier for him, and it's easy to envision him as a Major League regular, in the vein of Orlando Hudson, within the next few seasons.

2. Phil Gosselin - B/T: R/R, Born: 10/3/88, Ht: 6'1", Wt: 190 - Gosselin's claim to fame as an amateur was hitting a homer off of a 97 mile per hour Stephen Strasburg fastball in the 2009 NCAA tournament while playing for Virginia. The Braves selected Gosselin in the 5th round of this year's draft and he provided immediate dividends, hitting .294 OPS, .767 OPS in 244 plate appearances for Rome and he earned a late season promotion to Myrtle Beach, where he went 4-26. His defense was a little shaky, committing 9 errors in 58 games, including 3 in just 5 games with Myrtle Beach, but he projects to be a solid defender. Gosselin is bigger than your average second baseman and he's an above average athlete. While he doesn't have any one outstanding skill, he's more than solid across the board and, perhaps most importantly, he's a polished player who won't take long to develop. He'll start 2011 back in High A with Lynchburg and there's a good chance he finishes the year in AA.

3. Elmer Reyes - B/T: R/R, Born: 11/26/90, Ht: 5'11", Wt: 150 - Coming into the year, Reyes wasn't on anyone's radar, even after a respectable 2009 where he hit .275 with a .725 OPS in 129 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. The Nicaraguan started 2010 in the Gulf Coast League, going 8-22 with a homer and 5 RBI before a promotion to Danville, where he took off, hitting .294 with a .816 OPS, 15 doubles, 5 RBI, and 24 stolen bases in 213 plate appearances. Reyes' biggest problem right now is that he doesn't have a proffesional body. When he was signed as a 17 year old he barely weighed 130 pounds, and while he's gained over 20 pounds since, mostly muscle, he's still incredibly thin, making his ability to drive the ball even more impressive. He's already shown a natural knack for hitting, so if he can continue to add weight and muscle to his frame he could become a dynamic hitter. His lean body does allow for quick, fluid action in the field, making him an above average defender. He may take longer than most prospects to develop, but the Braves believe in his ability and will give him every chance to prove himself. He'll start 2011 with Rome and it will be interesting to see how he handles the rigors of his first full season.