October 14, 2009 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Draft, Farm System, Minor Leagues, Prospects
Luis Sumoza signed out with the Red Sox of Venezuela and was later shipped to the Braves for Mark Kotsay in 2008. In 2009 he showed a lot more of why the Red Sox were willing to part with him than why the Braves were excited to acquire him. In 534 PA’s between Class-A Rome and Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach he hit .265/.311/.353 with 4 HR, 2 3B, 28 2B, 31 BB, and 109 strikeouts. He stole 8 bases in 19 attempts. While he played good defense in right, his power completely disappeared. After hitting 11 HR and posting a .236 ISO in 2008, his .088 ISO and 4 HR are extremely measly. He’s still very young, he’ll be 21 next year, and he still has a great deal of upside, but he needs to do a better job of using his tools in game situations. He’ll probably begin the 2010 campaign at Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach, but don’t rule out a return to Rome.
2009 was not kind to Brandon Hicks. He spent the entire year at Class-AA Mississippi and was met with rather terrible results. In 534 PA’s he hit .237/.319/.373 with 10 HR, 4 3B, 25 2B, 53 BB’s, and 131 K’s. His contact rate actually improved from 2008, but his walk rate took a hit. Additionally, his power evaporated. He hit 20 HR with a .232 ISO in 2008 but only 10 HR wit a .136 ISO in 2009. Coming into 2009 the contact issues were there, but overshadowed by his excellent defense and plus power potential at SS. He performed well defensively, but with the power gone and contact issues only marginally improved, his stock is way down. There is still some potential, but the contact issues may be too great to overcome as he’ll be 24 in 2010. I imagine he’ll repeat Class-AA Mississippi in 2010. If he doesn’t improve in 2010 you can probably kiss his hopes of reaching the majors goodbye. He’ll also be joining others from this list in the Arizona Fall League, which started yesterday.
2009′s 20th rounder pitched three years at the University of Virginia with pretty crappy results for his stuff and approach. However, he turned in two solid Cape Cod League campaigns and the Braves’ scouts figured he’d play better against wooden bats. In 2009 he began to prove them right, posting a 4.09 ERA, a 1.303 WHIP, and a 42-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 33 innings for the Danville Braves. He never posted a K/9 > 7.0 in his college career, so the 11.5 is very encouraging, even if he was facing weaker competition in the Appy league than he did in the ACC. He’ll probably advance through the system rather quickly, but he’ll most likely report to Class-A Rome in 2010.
2009′s 8th rounder out of Community College did not fail to impress in his professional debut. In 174 PA’s between the Appy League and the GCL, he hit .293/.397/.354 with 1 HR, 1 3B, 4 2B, 20 BB’s, and 21 K’s. He also stole 27 bases in 31 attempts (87.10% success rate) and played excellent defense in Center Field. He isn’t going to hit for any power, but he displays an impressive approach at the plate. He has a chance to be the prototypical lead-off CF’er, good avg, OBP, tons of SB, and plus defense in center to off-set his lack of power.
The comp is Carl Crawford. Good average, good approach, a bit of pop, lots of speed, good defense, etc.. He hit .324/.401/.441 in 253 PA’s for the Rookie Danville Braves. He hit 2 HR, 5 3B, 10 2B, drew 27 walks and struck out only 22 times, and stole 19 bases in 21 attempts. Unlike Crawford, he possesses the arm to play Center or Right, where he mostly played in 2009. Harrilchak was the Braves’ 2009 14th rounder out of Elon University, where he posted a 1.109 OPS in his career. He also pitched, thus the good arm.
Brewer was a 14th rounder in 2007, but injuries limited him to 32 and 2/3 innings his first two seasons (all in 2007). He came back in 2009 as a 2o-year old and pitched 44 and 2/3 innings in the GCL, posting a 2.82 ERA, a 1.142 WHIP, and a 65-to-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Even though he was rather old for the league, Baseball America named him the number 17 prospect in the GCL. He throws a low-to-mid 90′s fastball and a good, tight curveball. He’s developing the change and command issues–leading to the 31 walks–hindered him a bit in 2009. I imagine he’ll be ready for a full-season assignment in 2010, so Class-A Rome is the logical destination.
Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg got the attention of a lot of bloggers after jumping off to a hot start at Danville. The 2009 16th rounder finished the year hitting .359/.411/.543 in 263 PA’s with 8 HR, 19 2B, 16 BB’s, and 37 K’s. It was certainly a good line, but his walk rate was, simply, bad and a lot of his power was batting average driven. The .184 ISO, for instance, is lower than fellow 1B prospect Gerardo Rodriguez posted in 2009. He has plus power potential, but defensively he’s limited to 1B. He was also rather old for the Appy League at 21. Displaying more secondary offense is what “RSF” needs to do in 2010. He’ll probably have to do it against South Atlantic League pitching. He just missed being ranked in Baseball America’s Appalachian League top-20.
2009′s 11th rounder put up one heck of a showing in Danville during his professional debut. He pitched 69 and 2/3 innings, posting a 1.42 ERA, a 0.890 WHIP, and a 85-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The numbers speak for themselves, but keep in mind Masters was old (21) for the league and faced stiffer competition at Western Carolina University for the past three years. He throws, and commands very well, a low-90′s fastball, but needs to develop his secondary stuff. He also just missed ranking in Baseball America’s Appalachian League top-20.
Oberholtzer was an 8th round pick in the 2008 draft and has gotten off to a great start of his professional career. He throws a high-80′s to low-90′s fastball with good life, an average curveball, and an average change-up. He walked only 6 hitters in 67 innings for the Danville Braves, displaying his exquisite control. He does a good job of holding runners, he fields his position, and he handles the bat well. As Baseball America says (he was ranked the 20th best prospect in the Appalachian League): Though he lacks a knockout pitch, the sum of his abilities gives him a chance to pitch at the back of a big league rotation. He’ll probably make his full-season debut in 2010–presumably with Rome. He profiles as the typical pitchability back-end lefty. I’m expecting good things from Oberholtzer in 2010.
There were a lot of things to like about what 2009′s 4th rounder did in his professional debut. Playing every day and batting 2nd for the Danville Braves, Jones hit .258/.337/.430 in 282 PA’s. He hit 4 HR, 6 3B, 18 2B, drew 26 BB’s, struck out 55 times, and stole 19 bases in 23 attempts. He was also good defensively at SS, displaying above-average range and an average arm. His walk rates and contact rates, while good, could stand to improve a bit. He displayed an advanced approach at the plate and impressive strike-zone knowledge. While he was rather old for the Appy league, there is still a lot to be encouraged by what he did and where he’s headed. Rome or Myrtle Beach will be his 2010 destination.