Top-20 Atlanta Braves Prospects Rankings Released By Baseball Prospectus

Baseball may still be a few months away, but January and February are always a fun time for fans everywhere. Not only does the anticipation of Spring Training begin to build, but it's also typically when most prospect rankings come out. While some of these guys may never set foot in Turner Field, it's always fun to look forward to the future and see how your farm system stacks up against the rest of the league.

We take a look at the latest Braves rankings after the jump...

Courtesy of Kevin Goldstein and Baseball Prospectus:

Five-Star Prospects
1. Julio Teheran, RHP
2. Randall Delgado, RHP
Four-Star Prospects
3. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Three-Star Prospects
4. Christian Bethancourt, C
5. Andrelton Simmons, SS
6. Tyler Pastornicky, SS
7. Sean Gilmartin, LHP
8. Edward Salcedo, 3B
9. Matt Lipka, OF
10. Zeke Spruill, RHP
Two-Star Prospects
11. J.R. Graham, RHP

Nine More:
12. Nick Ahmed, SS: This second-round pick is a competitive grinder with a good approach, but scouts wonder if he can stay on the left side.
13. J.J. Hoover, RHP: Hoover could reach the big leagues this year. His ceiling is a seventh or eighth inning role.
14. Joe Terdoslavich, 1B/3B: He has a chance to boost his stock if he can stick at third, but it's a long shot.
15. Kyle Kubitza, 3B: Kubitza has all the tools to play third base in the big leagues, but his power and defense remain well below what they could be.
16. Brandon Drury, 3B: Drury boasts an impressive bat, but his free-swinging ways could get exposed as he moves up.
17. Carlos Perez, LHP: The lefty tantalizes with talent but frustrates with inconsistency.
18. Adam Milligan, OF: He can really hit, but can't stay on the field due to constant injuries.
19. Todd Cunningham, OF: This 2010 second-rounder has tools, but he disappointed in his full-season debut.
20. Billy Bullock, RHP: A power arm with the stuff of a set-up man, Bullock needs to throw more strikes.

The biggest surprise has to be Matt Lipka, who was the first round draft pick of the club in 2010. Lipka isn't even in my top-15 for the Braves and I have doubts he'll ever become anything more than a utility guy should he come close to the Major Leagues. The tools may be there, but at some point or another you have to start producing.

J.R. Graham continues to receive praise from scouting gurus and I truly believe he could move through the Minors similarly to how Craig Kimbrel did a few years ago. Even if he never develops a third go-to pitch, he already possesses a filthy fastball and slider to get outs.

Also, courtesy of Talking Chop, we have Goldstein's top ten players age 25 or younger.

1. Tommy Hanson, RHP
2. Jason Heyward, OF
3. Craig Kimbrel, RHP
4. Julio Teheran, RHP
5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. Brandon Beachy, RHP
7. Mike Minor, LHP
8. Randall Delgado, RHP
9. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
10. Christian Bethancourt, C

There is a very good chance nine of those ten guys are in Atlanta to begin the season, and you could make the argument all 10 will reach the Major Leagues by 2013 if you place Andrelton Simmons higher than Christian Bethancourt, which I do. The future is very, very bright for our Braves. Now it's just a matter of living up to potential and staying healthy.

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