October 14, 2010 at 8:00 am by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves
Continuing the series.
Number 20: David Hale – RHP (22) 6’2″ 200 LB. 2009 Rank: Unranked.
A third round pick in 2009, David Hale began the year as a member of Rome’s rotation where he struggled mightily. He was moved to the bullpen mid-season and completely took off, finishing the year with a 4.13 ERA, a 1.505 WHIP, and a 69-to-44 strikeout-to-walk ratio despite the terrible start in the rotation. He surrendered only one home run all year in 93 and 2/3 innings. It’s difficult to explain the contrast in performance between Hale’s stint in the rotation and bullpen. It is universally true that it’s easier to be an effective relief pitcher than an effective starting pitcher, but it’s rare to see a player be completely worthless as a starter and utterly dominant as a reliever. Perhaps this means Hale is better suited for relief, or maybe something else is at play.
Number 19: Tyler Stovall – LHP (20) 6’1″ 180 LB. 2009 Rank: Unranked.
I have always liked Tyler Stovall. He was taken in the second round of the 2008 draft (64th overall) out of Hokes Bluff High School in Alabama and signed to an over-slot bonus ($750,000). So far the results have not matched the stuff. Stovall was used exclusively as a reliever in 2010 and control continued to be an issue. He walked as many batters as he struck out (27) in 31 and 1/3 innings. He has the stuff to be a back-end bullpen arm or #2 starter, but without substantial improvements in his control and approach (he often gets curveball-heavy), he won’t make it out of the lower minors.
Number 18: Jose Ortegano – LHP (22) 6’1″ 145 LB. 2009 Rank: 30.
Rehabbing from injury, Ortegano had a very forgettable year, posting a 7.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, and 1.1 HR/9 in 103 innings at AAA Gwinnett. He spent a bit of time rehabbing in the Carolina League as well with similarly middling rate stats. As a guy that doesn’t figure to be an impact arm, he’ll need to perform to continue to attract attention, but I’m willing to give him a pass here because of the injury and because of the fact that he was pitching in AAA at age 22. He is on the 40-man roster and it should be noted that the Braves obviously like him enough to protect him from the rule V draft.
Number 17: Benino Pruneda – RHP (21) 5’9″ 175 LB. 2009 Rank: 12.
In 2010 Pruneda pulled the same trick he did in 2009. He continues to advance through the system–making it to AA this past season at age 21–and strike out a ton of batters (93 in 64 and 2/3 innings in the Carolina League and Southern League), but his walk rate (5.1 BB/9) keeps him from being an elite relief prospect. His fastball is so good that if he were to get the walks under control he could be pitching the eighth inning in MLB next year, but without improvement in that regard he’ll never make it. I know I’m going to be pulling hard for the 5’9″ guy with a triple-digit fastball.
Number 16: Cody Johnson – OF (21) 6’4″ 195 LB. 2009 Rank: 25.
Things just keep getting worse for Cody. 2010 was basically a lost season because he was limited by injuries and struck out 151 times in 344 AB’s (43.9% K/AB) when he played. His isolated power and walk rate also took hits. As a fan of a team that has struggled to put a) competent outfielders on the field and b) a legitimate power-hitting threat in the line-up, I really want Cody Johnson–a left-fielder with true 80 raw power–to succeed, but at this point it doesn’t seem like he’ll be able to parlay his impressive power into any useful MLB skills.
Number 15: Matt Young – CF (27) 5’8″ 175 LB. 2009 Rank: Unranked.
For the second straight year Matt Young walked more than he struck out, hitting .300/.380/.407 over 555 PA’s for Class AAA Gwinnett. He also stole 39 bases in 46 attempts. With speed, patience, and the ability to play all three OF positions, Young is an ideal 4th outfielder whose more or less ready. He hasn’t gotten a shot in Atlanta mainly because the Braves need right-handed power, and Young does neither of those things, but if not in Atlanta he should get a shot somewhere pretty soon.
Number 14: Dimaster Delgado – LHP (21) 6’2″ 180 LB. 2009 Rank: 32.
Dimaster Delgado (aka the other Delgado) got in a horrible car accident in the off-season and wasn’t able to pitch in 2010 as a result. We’re all pulling for him to make a successful return to pro baseball in 2011.
Number 13: Mike Minor – LHP (22) 6’3″ 200 LB. 2009 Rank: Unranked.
Mike Minor had an extraordinarily successful first full season, blowing through the upper minors and making it to MLB by early August. He struck out 146 batters in 120 and 1/3 MiLB innings with 46 walks and 9 home runs. He was visibly tired for much of his stint in the majors, which is completely understandable, but still managed to post a 43-to-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 13th rank was obviously too low because a) he exhibited an uptick in velocity for the bulk of the season before hitting a wall down the stretch with the big club and b) he probably deserved to be ranked higher even if he hadn’t. He’s eligible for the 2011 list having pitched only 40 and 1/3 innings in MLB, but he’ll lose his prospect eligibility very shortly into the 2011 season because he’s slated to break camp with the big club as a member of the Atlanta rotation.
Number 12: Edgar Osuna – LHP (22) 6’1″ 165 LB. 2009 Rank: 14.
The Royals wasted their 4th pick in the 2010 rule V draft on Osuna and he failed to make their big-league roster. So, they offered him back to the Braves for $25,000 (half the price they paid to get him), but much to my chagrin Atlanta said: “Nah, that’s OK, you can keep him.” Turns out Atlanta was right and I was wrong, because he was unspectacular in the Royals’ system. No sense in fretting over it, anyhow; he’s gone.
Number 11: Brett DeVall – LHP (20) 6’3″ 215 LB. 2009 Rank: 10.
I don’t know what’s going on anymore. DeVall injured his elbow last year and received some kind of alternative treatment–rather than the traditional UCL replacement surgery–and it worked through 19 starts. DeVall doubled his previous career-high in innings, going 106 and 2/3 with a 4.39 ERA, a 1.519 WHIP, and a 71-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Control was good and he only allowed five homers, but he struggled to generate adequate velocity for much of the year. Also, his ERA is misleading, given he allowed 22 “unearned” runs. The worst news is he didn’t quite make it the entire year, and he was shut down in mid-August with more injury issues, prompting a visit to James Andrews’ office. That’s all I know, I have no idea whether or not we’ll see him next year.