THE HOT LIST: Braves' Top 20 Position Players

BravesCenter's Bill Shanks takes a look at how the Braves' best position players stack up in the Top 20 Hot List.

1. Andy Marte – He's close. Defensively, he showed everyone in Atlanta how good he is. He just needs consistent at bats to prove the offensive part.

2. Jeff Francoeur – Jeff is walking more and becoming a RBI machine for the AA team. A good July by Jeff may make force the Braves to release Brian Jordan.

3. Scott Thorman – The forgotten prospect. No one ever mentions Scott, but he's showing this season that he's a hitter.

4. Josh Burrus – He turned the corner last season and this year he is showing that he is a prime prospect.

5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia – When the season is over, he'll be one of the most highly touted catching prospects in the game.

6. Billy McCarthy – Struggling in his second season back in AAA, but he's still a hitter that the Braves love.

7. Matt Esquivel – Also showing tremendous production, Esquivel must cut down on his strikeouts.

8. Wes Timmons – Ladies and Gentleman, the next Pete Orr. He's versatile, plays hard, and makes things happen.

9. James Jurries – Somebody's going to have to give JJ a chance, but it might not be Atlanta.

10. Brayan Pena – Still has huge defensive question marks. Short stint in Atlanta did nothing to dispel defensive shortcomings. But his bat still makes him a prospect.

11. Van Pope – Having a solid season in Rome. Pope is a lower-level prospect that will be fun to watch develop over the next several seasons.

12. Tony Pena, Jr. – Instead of showing Braves he could be Furcal's replacement, Pena is instead becoming just another prospect.

13. Yunel Escobar – In the organization for less than a month, Escobar might replace Pena as an option to supplant Furcal.

14. Martin Prado – He's hit since the day he put on a Braves' uniform. He's not going to be thought of as a star, but might turn out to be one anyway.

15. Elvis Andrus – He's 16 and he's going to be a star. He won't be at 15 for long on this list. By the end of the year, he might be in the Top 10.

16. Luis Hernandez – His offensive struggles have him a bit low, but we've got to remember he's only 20 years old in AA. The glove continues to sparkle.

17. Clint Sammons – Meet your backup catcher in 2008. Clint can handle pitchers with the best of them and provide a spark in the lineup.

18. Eric Campbell – Off to a great start in Danville. The Braves expected his power to come and Campbell is not disappointing so far.

19. Steve Doetsch – Started in Rome but an injury pushed him up to Myrtle Beach. Doetsch is having a nice developmental season.

20. Jonathan Schuerholz – Has anyone noticed the impressive season this guy is having? Not really. Don't count him out.

Bill Shanks has a new book out on baseball scouting and player development. "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team" is at your local book store and available online at Bill can be reached at

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