Things have been a little slow around RSM this summer, but it is time to turn things up a bit. You won't get posts on here the next 3 weeks on the NFL/NBA lockouts, Derek Jeter's chase to 3000, or a Home Run Derby breakdown, but you will get some quality Braves, Fantasy Sports, College Football, and other tidbits as the summer is in full force.
One note I came across yesterday that I thought was interesting and on topic as our 4th annual top Braves prospects list is released is the career of Jose Capellan. He was the consensus top Braves prospect in 2004-2005 after going 14-4 with a 2.34 ERA and a ton of strikeouts in A/AA/AAA. He was later dealt to Milwaukee for Dan Kolb and after Kolb's breakdown, it looked like the Brewers got a steal.
Since then, however, Jose hasn't nearly lived up to the hype. He was decent in AAA in 08, going 4-1 with a 4.05, but 09 produced a 2-10 record with a 7+ ERA and a ticket out of the minor leagues. He was last seen in 2010 playing for Hanwha of the Korean league, where he went 0-11 with a 9.15 ERA in 13 starts. Those numbers will end your career in a hurry.
On to our Braves prospects list...This list has produced 3 current everyday players for the team the last 3 years (Schafer, Heyward, Freeman) and the new #1 moves up from the 2 hole last year and looks to be everything Jose Capellan should have been.
This list includes Braves players that have not received a big league call up yet or just been up for a very limited time (why you won't see Mike Minor but will see Randall Delgado). Prospects from the 2011 draft are also considered.
2011 Braves Top Prospects
1. Julio Teheran - (#2 in '10) - Julio has dominated AAA this year, going 9-1 with a 1.74 ERA. He has impressed in 2 big league starts as well and is just about untouchable for other clubs. Will be up with the big club for good in a month or two and then in the rotation starting in 2012.
2. Randall Delgado (#5 in '10) - Serving as the ace of the Mississippi Braves staff, Delgado has had great success in AA this year. Outside of a bad outing in late May, he has been very consistent all season. He also got some experience on the big league club earlier this year, and has a ton of potential having just turned 21.
3. Aroyds Vizcaino (#4 in '10) - Vizcaino was recently moved up to the AA Mississippi team with Delgado, and has done so with impressive results. In his 7 AA starts, Aroyds has pitched 5+ innings with 5+ K's in each start, collecting a 4.12 era and 14 walks to 46 K's in 43 innings.
4. Edward Salcedo - (NR in '10) - Salcedo was a big-time signee from the Domincan Republic a few years ago, and has now figured out in 2011. After struggling in his 1st 77 minor league games in '10 (.225-3-27), the 19 year old 3rd baseman has taken off in Rome (.267-9-40). He is still a few years away, but after Chipper retires the Braves will only need a stop-gap for a year or 2 at 3rd until young Edward is ready.
5. Christian Bethancourt (#6 in '10) - The Braves top catching prospect was just promoted to Advanced A ball in Lynchburg after hitting (.303-4-33) in Rome this year. Christian won't be 20 for another 4 months and this youngster has all the looks of a future major league starter.
6. Carlos Perez - (NR in '10) - Another 19 year old in Rome, Carlos has had a pretty good season so far in Rome (4-7, 5.17). He has shown a great deal of potential and is thought of very highly by the Braves front office.
7. Tyler Pastornicky (NR in '10) - Pastornicky was acquired along with Alex Gonzalez in the Escobar/JoJo Reyes deal last summer. He is still a few years away, but helped bring needed athleticism to the organization. Tyler is in Mississippi now and has a (.298-6-36) line for the year with 19 SB's.
8. Matt Lipka (#10 in '10) - Matt is leading off and playing short in Rome, and while not hitting for power, he is been steady in the field and shown off his speed. He is currently (.233-0-23) with 16 SB's on the year.
9. Adam Milligan (#8 in '10) - Adam has rebounded really well after an injury-plagued 2010 season. Playing in Lynchburg, the left handed hitting outfielder has 32 XBHs in 60 games, including 11 HR's. His .286 average is solid, but he needs to up his walks and cut down on strikeouts.
10. Zeke Spruill (#9 in '10) - Zeke is 6-7 with a 3.19 ERA in 17 starts so far in Lynchburg. In his last 10 starts, Spruill has 2 CG's and 4 other starts going at least 7 innings. He has excellent command and projects as a solid starter in the big leagues.
Bret Oberholtzer and JJ Hoover are also solid prospects that the organization really likes and are having solid seasons. The strategy of bringing in some speed and athleticism to the organization last year has worked with Lipka and Todd Cunningham (All-Star) having strong seasons and bringing in Pastornicky has been a nice addition.
The Braves are viewed around the league as having one of the best farm systems around. A lot of fans want to use some of these prospects to acquire another bat, but the team is a little handcuffed financially with a maxed-out payroll. I think the recent emergence of Uggla, the play of Schafer, and return of Prado will keep Frank Wren from making any big moves.
However, this off-season, with Minor/Teheran ready for the rotation and Lowe/Hudson/Jurrjens/Hanson/Medlen/Beachy under team control or contract, things could get interesting. Throw in some needed payroll flexibility with the likely retirement of Chipper, and Atlanta may be a huge player in the Hot Stove come December...