February 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm by Kevin Orris under Atlanta Braves
Surprisingly, the reason that I joined CAC wasn’t to rank starting pitchers in the NL East. The real reason that I joined Peter is because of our difference in opinion and style, and it’s about time for our first big disagreement.
If you click here, you can view Peter’s top 40 Atlanta Braves prospects. Overall, I think he did a decent job… but I have on BIG issue — Adam Milligan isn’t listed.
Milligan is an outfield prospect that the Braves have loved so much, that they drafted him three times until he finally signed a deal in 2008 as a sixth round pick. While he signed in time to make his professional debut in 2008, a knee injury prevented him from doing so.
In 2009, his first year in professional baseball, he started the year in Danville, and managed to work his way up to the Carolina League (Class Advanced-A) by season’s end. In just 67 total games, Milligan posted a .344/.393/.592 slash line, an impressive line for a 21-year-old.
In 2010, we saw a much different side of him. Milligan appeared in just 21 games last year, hitting .200 with four home runs and two stolen bases (.200/.226/.376). I think we can all agree that those are terrible numbers.
Admittedly, I failed to tell you that he played with a torn rotator cuff last season that was surgically repaired in June.
I understand that it can be difficult to have faith in a guy that a career .193 average in the Carolina League, but leaving him outside of the top 40 is a big mistake.
Every scouting report that I’ve read seems to agree that Milligan is one of the best bats in the system, showing power to all fields with potential to hit upwards of 25 home runs down the road.
I think it would a fair assessment to say that Milligan’s potential is similar to the numbers that Jason Heyward posted in his rookie campaign for the Braves last season. While .277/.393/.456 isn’t going to garner very much attention throughout the league as an established veteran, they’re numbers that I would take across the Atlanta outfield any day.
Ranking top prospects is a difficult thing to do, because it’s hard to actually watch so many different players on so many different teams, much less rank them. Then you have the criteria. Do you rank players based on the likelihood that they reach their potential, or the potential that they have? I think most lists try to find a point between the two.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Milligan’s potential and the likelihood of him reaching it. If he can stay healthy for 2011, I think he has the potential to be a top ten prospect in the Braves system, especially if his numbers are anything like they were in 2009.
From a scouting perspective, I would like him to close his stance a bit, and keep an eye on his back elbow. I don’t like the way that he sets up in the box. Starting open and closing himself off, prevents him from being able to turn on inside pitches, often fouling them off.
Take my opinion for what it’s worth, but I think he at least deserves a spot in the top 25 and hopefully higher as we progress through the 2011 season.
Share your thoughts on Milligan and other top 40 snubs in the comments section below.