Braves vs Mets: Starting Pitching Prospects

Continuing our comparisons between the Mets and Braves farm systems, we take a look at the crop of starting pitching prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two rival NL East farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: While it's true the Atlanta Braves do not have a ton of depth in their farm system, including their starting pitching prospects, they do have some real high-end talent. However, the Mets have just as much high upside starting pitching talent and their depth more than laps that of the Braves right now.

Arguably the most complete starting pitching prospect in either farm system is New York's Zack Wheeler. Obtained from the San Francisco Giants in the Carlos Beltran deal, the former top ten overall pick has certainly lived up to the hype. Not only does he sit in the mid-90s with his fastball with two above average to plus breaking pitches, he has a quality changeup with room to grow too and he pounds the strike zone with all of his pitches. A potential 'ace' in the making, he is also arguably the most big league ready.

The Braves have their highest upside starting pitching prospect who is also the closest to big league ready too -- Julio Teheran. The right-hander throws just as hard as Wheeler and boasts a better changeup, but the breaking ball isn't nearly as good and still needs some more fine-tuning. He'll be on the short list of potential replacements for the recently traded Randall Delgado.

Clearly the top pitching prospects between the two clubs, beyond those two each organization has a series of potentially high-end starting pitching prospects at the upper levels who each have at least one question mark that either limits their ceiling or has them profiling better in the bullpen long-term, including New York's Rafael Montero and Cory Mazzoni, and Atlanta's J.R. Graham and Sean Gilmartin.

Montero and Graham nearly mirror each other as smallish right-handed power pitchers who sit in the low to mid-90s and armed with one of the best sliders around, and both are polished strike-throwers. Both might translate better into the back end of the bullpen long-term given their lack of size, but Montero in particular has the kind of quality changeup needed to stick in the rotation if the Mets decide to go that route.

Mazzoni, a right-hander, and Gilmartin, a left-hander are pretty similar style-wise other than their handedness. Both sit in the low to mid-90s with their fastballs and rely more on inducing harmless ground ball contact with their changeups than going for the strikeout with their average breaking balls.

Both clubs also have some serious high-end potential starters at the A-ball level, including New York's Noah Syndergaard and Michael Fulmer, and Atlanta's Alex Wood.

Syndergaard, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason in the R.A. Dickey trade, has a plus fastball that has hit 100 mph, an above average changeup with plus potential, and an above average curveball with plus potential. Fulmer, New York's first round pick in 2011 out of high school, has a similar frontline starting ceiling even though the changeup is not nearly as advanced right now. Wood, Atlanta's second round pick out of the University of Georgia, is a southpaw that routinely hits 96 mph, has an above average changeup, and the curveball has long-term plus potential. All three should see significant innings in high-A ball in 2013.

Both the Mets and Braves also have some high ceiling starting hurlers from the short-season leagues last year who could jump on to the national scene in A-ball this coming season, including New York's Luis Mateo and Steven Matz, and Atlanta's Mauricio Cabrera and Lucas Sims.

All four will sit anywhere from 92-96 mph with their fastballs, each of them show advanced strike-throwing ability, and all four have at least one plus secondary offering. Matz is the only left-hander of the group and he is also the only one whose changeup grades out much better than the breaking ball right now, but he is also the one with the most checkered injury history after missing essentially three seasons with Tommy John surgery.

And both clubs also have some rookie level, high-end pitchers who could someday rise atop the prospect rankings in the coming years, including New York's Akeel Morris and Miller Diaz, and Atlanta's Andry Ubiera. All three throw in the low to mid-90s, each has flashed breaking balls with plus potential, each has a developing changeup that is not yet consistent, and each one has had some issues pitching ahead in counts. Ubiera is the one who is a bit more advanced throwing strikes consistently, however.

Both organizations have a list of 'what if' candidates, pitching prospects who have shown flashes of high upside potential at times, among their group of long-season league pitchers. New York's Jeurys Familia and Jacob deGrom, and Atlanta's Aaron Northcraft and Navery Moore all throw gas in the mid-90s and each has a plus secondary offering, but each one has a significant question mark that prevents them from being rock-solid top pitching prospects right now.

Familia and Moore have had big issues pitching ahead in counts and limiting walks, Northcraft just started getting over those issues in 2012 but does not have an extended history of throwing strikes, and DeGrom, a former college hitter, has shown some great stuff and surprising pitch-ability but still has work to do learning the nuances of attacking batters.

So while the Mets consistently get a lot of love for their depth of quality pitching prospects, and rightfully so, the fact is Atlanta has similar high upside arms that can match that of New York thus far. However, it's beyond the aforementioned names where the guys from Queens begin to overwhelm the Atlanta Braves depth-wise in the starting pitching comparison.

Whether it is right-handers Logan Verrett, Collin McHugh, Tyler Pill, Chase Huchingson and Eric Goeddel, or left-hander Darin Gorski, they all have a high level of pitch-ability of average to above average stuff, they all throw strikes, and each one has a strong ceiling as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher type.

Throw in the likes of right-handers Domingo Tapia, Rainy Lara, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Cessa, and Hansel Robles [who secured a 40-man roster spot after pitching in the short-season leagues last season], all of whom average anywhere from 90-96 mph and has at least one plus secondary pitch, the Braves simply can't compete depth-wise with the Mets; they have far too many high-end arms and even more lower ceiling, higher floor type pitchers.

How Do They Compare In...

Fastballs: The two systems compare very well fastball-wise among the top pitching prospects but the Mets have far too many quality power arms up and down the farm system. The short-season Brooklyn starting staff alone had six pitchers who averaged 91-95 mph. New York has too much depth here. Advantage: Mets

Secondary Pitches: Again, the depth is what kills Atlanta here. They have quality secondary pitches whether it's Teheran's changeup, Graham's slider, or Lucas Sims' curveball, but the Mets have hurlers to combat them and guys below that who are nearly as effective. Neither organization, however, is very deep among quality curveballs -- they're almost all slider type pitchers. Advantage: Mets

Command: What makes this coparison a little unfair for the Braves is the fact that even the Mets "soft" tossers, the guys who won't hit the mid-90s each game, are elite command pitchers. Advantage: Mets

Overall Potential: The Braves have a lot of high-end talent with the likes of Teheran, Cabrera, Sims, Gilmartin, Wood, etc, but the Mets have at least double [if not more] the amount of legitimate starting pitching prospects right now, thanks in large part to a better International free agent signing program and through trade acquisitions. Advantage: Mets

Highest Ceilings: Zack Wheeler (Mets), Julio Teheran (Braves), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Mauricio Cabrera (Braves), Luis Mateo (Mets), Rafael Montero (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves), Lucas Sims (Braves), Michael Fulmer (Mets), Domingo Tapia (Mets)

Best Fastballs: Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Zack Wheeler (Mets), Julio Teheran (Braves), Luis Mateo (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves)

Best Curveballs: Zack Wheeler (Mets), Lucas Sims (Braves), Andry Ubiera (Braves), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Alex Wood (Braves)

Best Sliders: Luis Mateo (Mets), Rafael Montero (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves), Zack Wheeler (Mets), Mauricio Cabrera (Braves)

Best Changeups: Julio Teheran (Braves), Sean Gilmartin (Braves), Darin Gorski (Mets), Alex Wood (Braves), Domingo Tapia (Mets)


Atlanta Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nThe Two Farm Systems: While it's true the Atlanta Braves do not have a ton of depth in their farm system, including their starting pitching prospects, they do have some real high-end talent. However, the Mets have just as much high upside starting pitching talent and their depth more than laps that of the Braves right now.
\r\n
\r\nArguably the most complete starting pitching prospect in either farm system is New York's Zack Wheeler. Obtained from the San Francisco Giants in the Carlos Beltran deal, the former top ten overall pick has certainly lived up to the hype. Not only does he sit in the mid-90s with his fastball with two above average to plus breaking pitches, he has a quality changeup with room to grow too and he pounds the strike zone with all of his pitches. A potential 'ace' in the making, he is also arguably the most big league ready.
\r\n
\r\nThe Braves have their highest upside starting pitching prospect who is also the closest to big league ready too -- Julio Teheran. The right-hander throws just as hard as Wheeler and boasts a better changeup, but the breaking ball isn't nearly as good and still needs some more fine-tuning. He'll be on the short list of potential replacements for the recently traded Randall Delgado.
\r\n
\r\nClearly the top pitching prospects between the two clubs, beyond those two each organization has a series of potentially high-end starting pitching prospects at the upper levels who each have at least one question mark that either limits their ceiling or has them profiling better in the bullpen long-term, including New York's Rafael Montero and Cory Mazzoni, and Atlanta's J.R. Graham and Sean Gilmartin.
\r\n
\r\nMontero and Graham nearly mirror each other as smallish right-handed power pitchers who sit in the low to mid-90s and armed with one of the best sliders around, and both are polished strike-throwers. Both might translate better into the back end of the bullpen long-term given their lack of size, but Montero in particular has the kind of quality changeup needed to stick in the rotation if the Mets decide to go that route.
\r\n
\r\nMazzoni, a right-hander, and Gilmartin, a left-hander are pretty similar style-wise other than their handedness. Both sit in the low to mid-90s with their fastballs and rely more on inducing harmless ground ball contact with their changeups than going for the strikeout with their average breaking balls.
\r\n
\r\nBoth clubs also have some serious high-end potential starters at the A-ball level, including New York's Noah Syndergaard and Michael Fulmer, and Atlanta's Alex Wood.
\r\n
\r\nSyndergaard, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason in the R.A. Dickey trade, has a plus fastball that has hit 100 mph, an above average changeup with plus potential, and an above average curveball with plus potential. Fulmer, New York's first round pick in 2011 out of high school, has a similar frontline starting ceiling even though the changeup is not nearly as advanced right now. Wood, Atlanta's second round pick out of the University of Georgia, is a southpaw that routinely hits 96 mph, has an above average changeup, and the curveball has long-term plus potential. All three should see significant innings in high-A ball in 2013.
\r\n
\r\nBoth the Mets and Braves also have some high ceiling starting hurlers from the short-season leagues last year who could jump on to the national scene in A-ball this coming season, including New York's Luis Mateo and Steven Matz, and Atlanta's Mauricio Cabrera and Lucas Sims.
\r\n
\r\nAll four will sit anywhere from 92-96 mph with their fastballs, each of them show advanced strike-throwing ability, and all four have at least one plus secondary offering. Matz is the only left-hander of the group and he is also the only one whose changeup grades out much better than the breaking ball right now, but he is also the one with the most checkered injury history after missing essentially three seasons with Tommy John surgery.
\r\n
\r\nAnd both clubs also have some rookie level, high-end pitchers who could someday rise atop the prospect rankings in the coming years, including New York's Akeel Morris and Miller Diaz, and Atlanta's Andry Ubiera. All three throw in the low to mid-90s, each has flashed breaking balls with plus potential, each has a developing changeup that is not yet consistent, and each one has had some issues pitching ahead in counts. Ubiera is the one who is a bit more advanced throwing strikes consistently, however.
\r\n
\r\nBoth organizations have a list of 'what if' candidates, pitching prospects who have shown flashes of high upside potential at times, among their group of long-season league pitchers. New York's Jeurys Familia and Jacob deGrom, and Atlanta's Aaron Northcraft and Navery Moore all throw gas in the mid-90s and each has a plus secondary offering, but each one has a significant question mark that prevents them from being rock-solid top pitching prospects right now.
\r\n
\r\nFamilia and Moore have had big issues pitching ahead in counts and limiting walks, Northcraft just started getting over those issues in 2012 but does not have an extended history of throwing strikes, and DeGrom, a former college hitter, has shown some great stuff and surprising pitch-ability but still has work to do learning the nuances of attacking batters.
\r\n
\r\nSo while the Mets consistently get a lot of love for their depth of quality pitching prospects, and rightfully so, the fact is Atlanta has similar high upside arms that can match that of New York thus far. However, it's beyond the aforementioned names where the guys from Queens begin to overwhelm the Atlanta Braves depth-wise in the starting pitching comparison.
\r\n
\r\nWhether it is right-handers Logan Verrett, Collin McHugh, Tyler Pill, Chase Huchingson and Eric Goeddel, or left-hander Darin Gorski, they all have a high level of pitch-ability of average to above average stuff, they all throw strikes, and each one has a strong ceiling as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher type.
\r\n
\r\nThrow in the likes of right-handers Domingo Tapia, Rainy Lara, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Cessa, and Hansel Robles [who secured a 40-man roster spot after pitching in the short-season leagues last season], all of whom average anywhere from 90-96 mph and has at least one plus secondary pitch, the Braves simply can't compete depth-wise with the Mets; they have far too many high-end arms and even more lower ceiling, higher floor type pitchers.
\r\n
\r\nHow Do They Compare In...
\r\n
\r\nFastballs: The two systems compare very well fastball-wise among the top pitching prospects but the Mets have far too many quality power arms up and down the farm system. The short-season Brooklyn starting staff alone had six pitchers who averaged 91-95 mph. New York has too much depth here. Advantage: Mets
\r\n
\r\nSecondary Pitches: Again, the depth is what kills Atlanta here. They have quality secondary pitches whether it's Teheran's changeup, Graham's slider, or Lucas Sims' curveball, but the Mets have hurlers to combat them and guys below that who are nearly as effective. Neither organization, however, is very deep among quality curveballs -- they're almost all slider type pitchers. Advantage: Mets
\r\n
\r\nCommand: What makes this coparison a little unfair for the Braves is the fact that even the Mets \"soft\" tossers, the guys who won't hit the mid-90s each game, are elite command pitchers. Advantage: Mets
\r\n
\r\nOverall Potential: The Braves have a lot of high-end talent with the likes of Teheran, Cabrera, Sims, Gilmartin, Wood, etc, but the Mets have at least double [if not more] the amount of legitimate starting pitching prospects right now, thanks in large part to a better International free agent signing program and through trade acquisitions. Advantage: Mets
\r\n
\r\nHighest Ceilings: Zack Wheeler (Mets), Julio Teheran (Braves), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Mauricio Cabrera (Braves), Luis Mateo (Mets), Rafael Montero (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves), Lucas Sims (Braves), Michael Fulmer (Mets), Domingo Tapia (Mets)
\r\n
\r\nBest Fastballs: Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Zack Wheeler (Mets), Julio Teheran (Braves), Luis Mateo (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves)
\r\n
\r\nBest Curveballs: Zack Wheeler (Mets), Lucas Sims (Braves), Andry Ubiera (Braves), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Alex Wood (Braves)
\r\n
\r\nBest Sliders: Luis Mateo (Mets), Rafael Montero (Mets), J.R. Graham (Braves), Zack Wheeler (Mets), Mauricio Cabrera (Braves)
\r\n
\r\nBest Changeups: Julio Teheran (Braves), Sean Gilmartin (Braves), Darin Gorski (Mets), Alex Wood (Braves), Domingo Tapia (Mets)
\r\n
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