Atlanta Braves Top 30 Prospects: 5-1

We have been profiling our top-30 prospect list in groups of five and we've finally reached the end. Here are the top five Braves prospects.

5. RHP, Lucas Sims: Last year's first round pick, Sims enters the professional ranks armed with two plus pitches with his fastball-curveball combination and an advanced feel for a changeup for a kid coming out of high school. A shortstop in high school, while the delivery needs work from a consistency standpoint, he does show very good athleticism that it doesn't make repeating his mechanics a long-term concern. Throw in great makeup, he has the chance to pitch atop a big league rotation someday.

4. RHP, J.R. Graham: The fourth round pick in 2011 mowed down batters at the high-A and Double-A levels in 2012, thanks in large part to a plus fastball combination, an above average slider with plus potential, and an average changeup. He'll sit anywhere from 91-93 mph with his heavy sinking two-seam fastball, 93-97 mph with his power four-seamer, and the slider can pile up strikeouts in a hurry. There's a middle of the rotation ceiling here but there's also some legitimate big league setup or closing potential too if the Braves decided to go that route. He's the closest thing to Craig Kimbrel down on the farm.

3. RHP, Mauricio Cabrera: The 19-year old Dominican native has about as high a ceiling as there, and not just in the Braves' farm system either. Sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball, a pitch that already shows good sink and movement, he is a true power pitcher. What makes him so special is an advanced changeup that shows plus potential and an above average slider that has plus potential. The only thing holding him back is spotty command right now but his bulldog mentality should aid him long-term in correcting that issue.

2. C, Christian Bethancourt: Critics will point to his lackluster offensive numbers to date as a negative but the fact is he is already such a big-time weapon defensively that anything he does with the bat down the road will be absolute gravy. He threw out nearly 40 percent of would-be base stealers last year and he has room to get better. A plus receiver and adept at blocking balls, he is already one of the best catchers in the game. He has issues chasing pitches out of the zone and he could stand to be more patient at the plate, but the bat speed is superb and he has raw power potential. It could take time for the bat to come around, but the Braves will put the 21-year old in the lineup everyday just to have his presence behind the plate as often as possible.

1. RHP, Julio Teheran: The now 22-year old has seemingly been the top Braves' prospect forever now and for good reason -- the stuff is just that good. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and his changeup is a big-time pitch that can be effective against any batter. The slider, which has been an issue from a consistency standpoint, still needs work, and so does his curveball. If he can get his breaking pitches to be more consistent he has true 'ace' potential. He should be able to help the Braves' rotation real soon and he should be a mainstay for years to come.


Atlanta Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n5. RHP, Lucas Sims: Last year's first round pick, Sims enters the professional ranks armed with two plus pitches with his fastball-curveball combination and an advanced feel for a changeup for a kid coming out of high school. A shortstop in high school, while the delivery needs work from a consistency standpoint, he does show very good athleticism that it doesn't make repeating his mechanics a long-term concern. Throw in great makeup, he has the chance to pitch atop a big league rotation someday.
\r\n
\r\n4. RHP, J.R. Graham: The fourth round pick in 2011 mowed down batters at the high-A and Double-A levels in 2012, thanks in large part to a plus fastball combination, an above average slider with plus potential, and an average changeup. He'll sit anywhere from 91-93 mph with his heavy sinking two-seam fastball, 93-97 mph with his power four-seamer, and the slider can pile up strikeouts in a hurry. There's a middle of the rotation ceiling here but there's also some legitimate big league setup or closing potential too if the Braves decided to go that route. He's the closest thing to Craig Kimbrel down on the farm.
\r\n
\r\n3. RHP, Mauricio Cabrera: The 19-year old Dominican native has about as high a ceiling as there, and not just in the Braves' farm system either. Sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball, a pitch that already shows good sink and movement, he is a true power pitcher. What makes him so special is an advanced changeup that shows plus potential and an above average slider that has plus potential. The only thing holding him back is spotty command right now but his bulldog mentality should aid him long-term in correcting that issue.
\r\n
\r\n2. C, Christian Bethancourt: Critics will point to his lackluster offensive numbers to date as a negative but the fact is he is already such a big-time weapon defensively that anything he does with the bat down the road will be absolute gravy. He threw out nearly 40 percent of would-be base stealers last year and he has room to get better. A plus receiver and adept at blocking balls, he is already one of the best catchers in the game. He has issues chasing pitches out of the zone and he could stand to be more patient at the plate, but the bat speed is superb and he has raw power potential. It could take time for the bat to come around, but the Braves will put the 21-year old in the lineup everyday just to have his presence behind the plate as often as possible.
\r\n
\r\n1. RHP, Julio Teheran: The now 22-year old has seemingly been the top Braves' prospect forever now and for good reason -- the stuff is just that good. He sits in the mid-90s with his fastball and his changeup is a big-time pitch that can be effective against any batter. The slider, which has been an issue from a consistency standpoint, still needs work, and so does his curveball. If he can get his breaking pitches to be more consistent he has true 'ace' potential. He should be able to help the Braves' rotation real soon and he should be a mainstay for years to come.
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