I spoke with a few scouts at the winter meetings about the minor leagues in the Atlanta farm system. Here are some notes from those conversations.
The one thing people keep pointing to about Julio Teheran is his work ethic. He doesn't rest on his talent. He works hard to stay in shape and really works hard at his skill. Scouts also love the mound presence he has on the hill. He's a slender kid, but he's very strong and pitches like he's more like Tommy Hanson's size instead of Pedro Martinez's build.
Carlos Perez had a broken rib on his non-throwing side, which caused him to miss some time. They think he'll be fine in spring training, and he'll probably head back to Rome to start the 2011 season. Perez's fastball was at 90-93 mph, and he's still getting stronger and bigger. The curveball is his pitch. It's above average. The changeup is coming along well.
Dimaster Delgado was back in the Instructional League. They expect him to have a normal spring. He's still wearing a brace on his knee, due to the injury he suffered in the car accident. But they were very happy with how he looked in his first test back in the Instructional League.
Brett Oberholtzer was bothered by a blister during the season, but he was outstanding in the Instructional League. They think this kid is ready to bust out. He was hitting 91-93 on his fastball, and if he has a full season he could be one that could really pop up on that prospect list.
Arodys Vizcaino finished the Instructs healthy with a live game and threw very well. He should have a normal spring training. He may come in a bit early to continue his rehab program, but they think the rest and exercises have strengthened the elbow strain. They really believe if he has a full season in 2011 Vizcaino could be one of the top prospects in the game.
J.J. Hoover has been very consistent in his development over the past two years. It's not like you can say he's much better than he was when he first got into the system in one area or the other. He's just continued to get better across the board to where he's a great prospect. He's got a heavy, sinking fastball that is at 91-93. His breaking ball and changeup continue to develop.
Erik Cordier had a bit of tricep tendonitis in the back of the arm, but it was just inflammation and really nothing serious. His velo was very good all season long - which is a great sign. It's not like he dipped in velo late in the year due to being tired. He was able to keep that velo the entire time.
Cole Rohrbough had shoulder surgery to really clean out some things. The Braves hope he'll be back around June or so. Maybe that will fix what went wrong.
Brett Butts had Tommy John. He should be back in midseason.
Adam Milligan had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder and came back to swing the bat at the end of the Instructional League. They really want to see him healthy for a full season to see what they have. Scouts really loved his swing before he got hurt.
The Braves are not concerned with Edward Salcedo, who struggled in Rome. They think he was very strong to handle his struggles, and there is no doubt they asked a lot of him to send him to Rome. Not saying that was a mistake, but I do wonder if they would do that again if they could do it over. They still love his potential.
There doesn't seem to be any worries either about Christian Bethancourt. Remember how young he is - very young - for the Sally League. They can't wait to see where he is in two years.
Joe Leonard didn't play much at third base in Rome because of a bad elbow. They think he'll be ready to tackle that position in 2011. The power was there, and that's what they expected when they drafted him out of Pittsburgh in June.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on
WPLA Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, GA and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes columns for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
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