SB Nation Atlanta is introducing an Atlanta Braves top-prospect roundup each week. What is that, you may ask? These recaps will provide both season and weekly updates on the top-10 prospects in the system, and can also include an honorary mention or two for excellence within the organization. Maybe we can refer to this as the Evan Gattis Award.
Anyway, the first annual prospect recap will take a look at the top-10 prospects at the beginning of the year. The rankings come courtesy of SB Nation Atlanta.
1. Julio Teheran, RHP
2012 stats, Triple-A Gwinnett: 54.2 IP, 5-2, 3.15 ERA, 43K/21BB
Teheran has been inconsistent with his starts this year, although his last start on Sunday was a gem. The top-prospect tossed nine shutout innings and did not walk a single batter, striking out six in the process. A promotion to Atlanta could be in the cards should a few guys go down to injury or continue to struggle. It's just a matter of experience and gaining confidence on the mound for Teheran at this point.
2. Randall Delgado, RHP
Delgado began the year with Atlanta and has had mixed results as the No. 5 starter. His future remains bright and we have all seen just how good he can be when he has full command of his changeup.
3. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Vizcaino, who was ranked by some as Atlanta's best prospect, underwent Tommy John Surgery during the spring and will miss the entire 2012 season.
4. Andrelton Simmons, SS
Simmons was recently called up to Atlanta to take over the starting shortstop job after two strong months with the Mississippi Braves. Along with his stellar defense, Simmons was hitting .292 at the time of his promotion with an OPS of .794. He appears to be the shortstop of the future for the organization.
5. Edward Salcedo, 3B
2012 stats, High-A Lynchburg: .249/.299/.421, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 10/16 SB, 44K, 13BB
Salcedo continues to be one of the more interesting prospects around. He has the athleticism and tools to become a very good player one day, but he still is yet to put it all together. All reports indicate he has a very aggressive approach at the plate and his defense continues to be a work in progress. He is still just 20 years old and has plenty of time to develop.
6. Sean Gilmartin, LHP
2012 stats, Double-A Mississippi: 69 IP, 3-5, 3.39 ERA, 52 K, 17 BB
Gilmartin, the Braves' first round pick in 2011, is having a very nice season and is showing why scouts loved his polish coming out of college. He lacks the stuff to become a front-end starting pitcher one day, but his command and approach on the mound project him to be a very solid No. 3 or 4 starter down the road. Look for a possible promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett in the coming weeks.
7. Christian Bethancourt, C
2012 stats, Double-A Mississippi: .266/.302/.284, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 4/6 SB
Bethancourt already posses the talent behind the plate to have a solid career in the Major Leagues one day, but his bat is still yet to come around. He's only 20 years old and facing some tough competition in Mississippi, but it would be nice to see some signs of life at the plate on occasion. He has one hit in his last 15 at-bats.
8. Tyler Pastornicky, 2B/SS
Pastornicky spent the first two months in Atlanta before his recent demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett. While his future still remains bright it was pretty apparent that he simply was not ready for the big leagues. The Braves will have him play second base, shortstop and even a little outfield in order to groom him to become a super utility player, which is the best for all parties involved.
9. Joey Terdoslavich, 3B
2012 Stats, Gwinnett Braves: .180/.252/.263, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 3/3 SB
A lot of folks had hopes for Terdoslavich following a strong showing against weaker competition in 2011, but his struggles in Triple-A suggest the hopes of him replacing Chipper Jones next season were a bit silly. There is still a chance J-Terd turns it around -- he's still only 22 years old -- but it is looking more and more likely that he becomes a Quad-A or bench player moving forward.
10. J.R. Graham, RHP
2012 Stats, Lynchburg Hillcats: 69.2 IP, 6-1, 2.71 ERA, 44 K, 14 BB
Few had Graham as highly ranked as I did coming into the season, and the hard-throwing righty is having an impressive first season with the organization. At 22 years of age he's a bit old for High-A ball, but his numbers are excellent and he should see a promotion in the coming weeks. It is still unknown if Graham's arm will hold up for the starting rotation or if he will shift to the bullpen down the road, but he is a very interesting prospect to say the least.
So that was the top-10 heading into the season. Guys such as Delgado and Simmons will be off the list in our next entry due to their arrival in MLB, and you can expect names such as Zeke Spruill and Tommy La Stella to join shortly.
For more on the Braves check out Talking Chop.