Instead of a Top 40 list of all the prospects, BravesCenter.Com has decided to break our list up into a Top 20 for the pitchers and a Top 20 for the position players.
The list was compiled using several factors: current performance, proximity to the big leagues, and overall potential. A player with more overall talent and potential may be a bit lower on the list if another player is a little closer to the big leagues. Also, a player with better potential who is not currently playing well may be a bit lower until his play improves.
The lists will be updated bi-weekly.
1. BUBBA NELSON - He has been promoted to AAA after a
consistent season in Greenville. He would have more
wins (as would the other G-Braves pitchers) if he had
better run support. Now the Braves are going to see
how Bubba can handle the bullpen. A September call-up
to Atlanta is not out of the question. This change
does not mean Nelson will not be a starting pitcher.
2. ADAM WAINWRIGHT - Adam is finishing strong, which
is something he has not done the last two seasons. His
fastball is maintaining the velocity. Strikeouts
remain up and the walk total remains low. Still a top-of-the-rotation starter who will debut in 2004.
3. ANDY PRATT - The only question is Pratt's control.
His slider is nasty when he can keep in the zone.
Richmond has not been a huge challenge for him.
Consistency could be better. He'll head to Atlanta in
a few weeks and go to Orlando next March with a great
4. MATT BELISLE - Could be the best story in the
system. Three years ago, he was being compared to
Kevin Brown. Then a back injury pretty much put him
two years behind. Now he's back to where he was before
the injury. Pitchers search for consistency and he's
found it this season in both Greenville and Richmond.
He'll be called up in three weeks.
5. MACAY MCBRIDE - His numbers in Myrtle Beach are
similar to what he did in Macon in 2002: low ERA, low
walks, high strikeouts. He's still a couple of years
away, but when he's ready, someone will have to move
out of the rotation.
6. DAN MEYER - Meyer's stock has risen more than any
prospect over the past two months. The classic example
of a college pitcher who is more advanced than high
school kids. How did Billy Bean not draft this guy in
2002? He'd be in AAA with Oakland. With Atlanta, he'll
develop a little more slowly and head to AA in 2004.
7. BRETT EVERT - Comeback player of the year in the
Braves system. Two months ago, he was a candidate to
be dropped off the 40-man roster. But a Jung Bong
bullpen stint got him back on track. This guy could be
a innings eater in the big leagues. If he does well in
August in his remaining 5 starts, he could be a
surprise promotion to Atlanta in September
8. ANTHONY LEREW - Best pitching prospect in Rome. His
career ERA remains in the low 2 range, even after 250
career innings. Where will he be in three years?
9. KYLE DAVIES - Davies has had a solid season. At
times, he's dominated and looked like he could be at a
higher level. Other times he has shown why it's good
to take time to slowly develop young pitchers.
10. BLAINE BOYER - Blaine has accomplished every goal
the Braves have given him this season. He has gotten
solid innings in Rome. Here's a guy who could skip
over Myrtle Beach and possibly head to Greenville in
2004 as their closer. Smoltz' replacement?
11. ZACH MINER - Zach has not dominated as many
predicted in Myrtle Beach. He has had a solid season
and continued his development. He's a guy who could
bust out at any time and dominate whichever level he's
12. ROMAN COLON - Why would a middle reliever in AA be
so high? Well, Roman Colon has put himself in
contention for a 40-man roster spot and a solid chance
at being in the Atlanta bullpen in 2004. Other scouts
hope the Braves leave him off the 40-man, but it won't
13. JO JO REYES - We're hesitant to put a kid in the
GCL up this high. But Jo Jo Reyes deserves it. He's
that good. The Braves now feel Reyes was top of the
first round talent but slid to pick 43. 4 solid
pitches and great control. Horacio all over again?
14. CHRIS WATERS - Chris has struggled all season with
nagging injuries. This is the first adversity he's had
in his Braves career. He'll go to winter ball to
hopefully get back on track. Don't discount Waters.
The Braves still think highly of his chances and he's
a favorite of many in the organization.
15. JOSE CAPELLAN - Throws consistenty in the high
90's but must stay healthy. Jose has had some numbness
in his fingers over the past few weeks, but it's
nothing serious. Another pitcher who must be protected
this winter. Doubtful the Braves will let him go.
16. ALEC ZUMWALT - Another hard thrower who has done
tremendous work after being switched from the
outfield. He was solid in Myrtle Beach and deserved
the promotion to Greenville. Another protection
question this winter.
16. MATT COENEN - Matt started off strong but has
slumped as the season has progressed. It will still a
good trade to get a prospect like Coenen for someone
who was not going to make the Atlanta roster. Coenen
will head to AA in 2004.
17. MATT MERRICKS - Injuries have been the trouble for
Merricks, but catchers rave about his stuff being some
of the best in the system. His ball moves every time
he throws it up there, and that's half the battle. The
other half, for Matt, is staying healthy.
18. SEAN WHITE - Sean's numbers are not the best in
Danville, but he's impressed scouts with his work
habits and acceptance of a few suggestions on his
delivery. The changes are causing his numbers to
suffer a bit now, but the Braves feel he could be a
very good prospect in a few years.
19. CHUCK JAMES - Last season's 20th round draft
choice has been outstanding in Danville. He has
allowed only 22 hits in 40 innings and struck out 53.
20. PAUL BACOT - Can't ignore the sub-1.00 ERA for our
second round pick from this June. He simply gets
people out. He could join Reyes in skipping Danville
and heading straight to Rome in 2004.
Prospect Rankings: Top 20 Pitchers
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