October 15, 2009 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Draft, Farm System, Minor Leagues, Prospects
2009′s third rounder played his high school ball at Walker High School in Marietta, Georgia before going to Princeton, where he was met with rather pedestrian results. He has the stuff to be a front-line starting pitcher. He throws a mid-90′s fastball with good tailing action, an above-average change-up that he throws ~20 MPH slower than his fastball, and a developing slider that could be an average pitch. His 3/4 delivery generates the tailing action on his pitches. His ERA at Princeton in 2007 and 2008 was 4.88, though. You would expect a guy like Hale with good stuff to have better results against weak Ivy League competition. His command is spotty. When it’s on, he is. When it’s not he does things like post a 4.88 ERA in the Ivy League. In 16 innings for the Danville Braves this season, Hale posted a 1.12 ERA, a 0.750 WHIP, and a 12-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. There’s a great deal of upside here, but he needs to get a lot better. Class A Rome will probably be Hale’s 2010 destination.
The Braves took Tyler Stovall in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft and signed him to a significantly over-slot bonus. He should’ve made the list last season, but injuries and oversight on my part kept him off my map. This season, with the Danville Braves, Stovall pitched 52 innings with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.769 WHIP, and a 57-to-56 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It was the strangest of seasons. Stovall throws two above-average pitches right now, his fastball and curveball. However, he doesn’t trust his fastball (something I’ve dubbed “Clay Buchholz Syndrome”) and frequently uses his curveball as his primary pitch. Thus the 56 walks in 52 innings. He’s an athletic guy, which usually bodes well for control, so I don’t anticipate walks will be a huge problem going forward, he just needs to trust the fastball. Like Hale, he’s got the stuff to be a front-line starter. I imagine he’ll join Hale in Class-A Rome’s rotation in 2010.
Ortegano is a Venezuelan product that saw his stock increase as he made a seamless transition to the upper minors in 2009. In 117 and 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach and Class-AA Mississippi, he posted a 3.22 ERA, a 1.159 WHIP, and a 101-to-34 strikeout-to-walk ratio. I wrote the following about him last year: “He’s a control guy, and he won’t ever miss enough bats to bee a Scott Kazmir, but his future is brighter than Chuck James’”. He’s gotten better and better as he’s progressed through the system and has a fairly good shot at making it to MLB. He’ll probably start the 2010 season at Mississippi, and with a good year there, he could find himself competing for a job out of 2011 Spring Training. Or even sooner. Though he doesn’t possess a whole lot of upside.
A little guy. 5’9″, 170 LB, and only 20 years old. But he somehow throws a 100-MPH fastball. Due to a funky delivery and lack of much to go with his heater, he’s strictly a relief prospect and has made all of his professional appearances in relief. In 2009, he pitched 59 innings between Class-A Rome and Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach and posted a 4.73 ERA, a 1.508 WHIP, and a 77-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The only thing that stands out about his game is his ability to strike batters out (thus the 100-MPH fastball). It’s easy to fall in love with this ability, but I’m skeptical as to whether or not it will translate into success in the upper minors or MLB. While his walk rate is alarming, he’s still one of the more interesting relief prospects in the system. There’s no need to rush him, and I think he’ll begin his 21-year old season at Myrtle Beach.
Cody Johnson was taken in the 1st round (24th overall) of the 2006 draft. Since then, he’s been impressing scouts and prospect huggers alike with his 80 raw power, but showing plenty of other limitations. In 2009, he hit .239/.342/.500 in 518 PA’s with 32 HR, 18 2B, 67 BB’s, and 180 K’s. He made marginal progress with his walk rate, but his contact rate is still miserable. People are generally impressed with power because it’s sexy, but striking out in nearly 35% of your PA’s won’t cut it. Major league hitters can be productive striking out that much, but we’re talking about a Class-A Advanced hitter. The contact issues lead me to question whether or not his bat will continue to play as he reaches the upper minors. He’s not a good fielder and will be limited to LF if he ever makes it to MLB. Still, there’s a great deal of upside here and he’s still very young, so don’t give up hope yet. If he could overcome his contact issues, he’d be in consideration for the various top-100 lists encompassing all of MiLB. Class-AA Mississippi is likely where he’ll begin the 2010 season.
2009 was sort of an 11th hour turn-around for Matt Young. He profiles as the typical left-handed hitting, lead-off, center fielder. In 2009, he increased his walk rate, posting a line of .284/.414/.403 with 5 HR, 10 3B, 23 2B, 97 BB’s, and 64 K’s in 600 PA’s between Class-AA Mississippi and Class-AAA Gwinnett. He also stole 43 bases in 60 attempts (71.67% success rate). I normally wouldn’t rank a player this old, much less at number 15, but the turn-around he experienced in 2009 was too much to ignore. With the glut of left-handed hitting outfielders with no power, I doubt he gets any shot at a big-league job out of spring training, but a promising 2010 season at Gwinnett could land him on a big-league roster (either the Braves’ or another) by late 2010.
Dimaster Delgado (aka “the other Delgado”) is a Panamanian import who has shown a great deal of promise with outstanding strikeout and walk rates throughout his minor league career. In 2009, for instance, he made 17 starts for the Class-A Rome Braves, posting a 3.61 ERA, a 1.154 WHIP, and a 104-to-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 99 and 2/3 innings. It was an extremely good campaign for his first full season. He throws a high 80′s fastball, a decent show-me curveball, and a developing change-up. Developing that change-up will be key for him, as the curveball doesn’t figure to be an out-pitch further in his career. He locates all of his pitches very well. There’s not a great deal of upside here and scouts wonder if he’s not as good as his numbers, but three very good seasons in a row is too much to ignore. He’ll probably begin 2010 at Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach.
2009′s polarizing first rounder (7th overall) was taken after three years at Vanderbilt and a pair of very impressive showings for Team USA. He throws a low-90′s fastball, a change-up that can be above-average at times, an average slider, and an average curveball. His 14 Class-A innings in 2009 aren’t particularly meaningful, but he did post a 0.64 ERA, a 0.714 WHIP, and struck out 17 batters while walking none. We’ll have more meaningful data and more scouting information after his AFL campaign, which kicked off two days ago as he allowed an unearned run on a hit and 2 walks in 2 innings, getting the start for Peoria Saguaros. His ceiling is probably that of a “number 3 starter” (I hate using that term), but he’s a polished college product and should advance through the system rather quickly.
Osuna is a Mexican pitcher who is utilized as a starter in the Braves’ system and a situational lefty in the Mexican League. Like Ortegano, he’s a soft-tossing lefty who locates his pitches. He made 27 appearances (26 starts) between Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach and Class-AA Mississippi in 2009, posting a 4.02 ERA, a 1.273 WHIP, and a 105-to-35 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 150 innings. The dip in his strikeout rate is concerning, but he worked very efficiently in 2009, averaging over 5 and 2/3 innings per start. Like a lot of lefties, the question isn’t so much if he’ll make it to the big leagues, but when and as what. If he improves in 2010, his future could be rather bright as a starter. If not, he’ll probably be relegated to a relief role in the big leagues.
For the 2nd straight season, Brett DeVall, a 2008 compensation round pick, saw his season hampered by injuries. He totaled only 53 and 2/3 innings for the Class-A Rome Braves. The numbers were good, as he posted a 3.52 ERA, a 1.193 WHIP, and a 41-to-14 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those 53 and 2/3 innings. Still, concerns about his durability leave him out of the top-10. DeVall is a prototypical pitchability lefty, throwing a high-80′s fastball, a good change-up, and a solid curveball. Like Minor, his ceiling is probably a mid-rotation starter, but he’s younger and has more time to develop. The next step for DeVall is getting through an entire season without an injury. I don’t know if he’ll get that chance with the Class-A Rome Braves or Class-A Advanced Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2010, but it will likely be one of the two.