Keith Law of ESPN released his top-100 prospects for the upcoming season, as well as a few guys who just missed the cut. The Atlanta Braves had four guys in the top-100, including two in the top-25, and a guy who just missed the list. Let's take a look at them.
In a bit of surprising news -- well, actually, it should not be that surprising considering Law had him higher than Teheran in his latest rankings as well -- Arodys Vizcaino was ranked No. 14 overall, which was the best among Braves players. Here's a snippet from Law's scouting report.
Vizcaino, who was acquired from the Yankees in the Javier Vazquez trade, appeared briefly down the stretch for Atlanta as a fastball-curveball reliever with two plus offerings and erratic command, but long term, he's a three-pitch starter who has a history of plus control, and just needs time and health to become a No. 1 or No. 2 starter.
More after the jump...
Julio Teheran, who was my No. 1 Braves prospect, came in at No. 18.
Teheran's biggest shortcoming is the lack of an above-average breaking ball, although his mid-70s curveball was shorter and harder this year than it was in the past. He also opens up his front side very early, making the ball much easier for hitters to track, especially from the left side. Most importantly, he is still just 21 and is at least ready to pitch in a big league bullpen, with the kind of loose arm and easy velocity you can't teach.
Christian Bethancourt was ranked No. 94 overall by Law:
Behind the plate, he's everything you want in a catching prospect, from soft hands to arm strength to accuracy, and pitchers like working with him.
It's a long swing starting with a near arm-bar and a hip leak that gives him trouble with off-speed stuff, but he's strong enough and gets his hips rotated enough to show you plus-power in BP. I don't know if he'll hit, but he's here because if he hits even a little bit, the other tools make him an everyday player.
Finally, Randall Delgado comes in at No. 98, which I thought was pretty low given his age of 21, upside of a front-end starter and potential for three plus-pitches.
He is still projectable with a loose arm, but the upside of his two system-mates hasn't rubbed off on him. There's a good enough chance that Delgado ends up in the bullpen because of the lack of a third pitch to drop him a level on these rankings, as he's more like a No. 3 or a No. 4 in a rotation or a setup man if he goes to the pen.
While he did not make the cut of the top-100, shortstop Andrelton Simmons was mentioned in the group of prospects that just missed the list.
He has a plus glove, plus-plus arm and plus speed. But with minus power, will he get on base enough to be more than an extra guy? His .351 OBP for high Class A Lynchburg was nice, but he needs to show he can maintain that this year.
So there you go. Five players in the top-110 or so, which is solid. This will be a huge year for the Braves and their Minor League clubs, especially with three of these guys likely graduating to Atlanta in 2012.
Keith Law does fine work and we appreciate all the time he takes to inform the fans of their prospects like he does.