July 30, 2012 at 9:31 am by Ethan Purser under Atlanta Braves
Here are the write-ups for prospects 11-25 from our midseason prospects list. Here is the composite list. Once again, ages are as of midnight on June 30th.
11. Nick Ahmed | RH SS | 6’3”, 205 lb. | Age: 22
Ahmed’s performed fairly well in his first full professional season in High-A Lynchburg, hitting .274/.342/.419 with 6 homers, 31 doubles, and a 40/72 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 446 plate appearances. He’s shown surprising speed, as he has swiped 31 bags in 40 attempts. After having a very slow May, Nick has picked it up as of late, including a solid .300/.349/.450 line in July. His defense at shortstop has been passable but not spectacular, committing 20 errors in 545 defensive chances. Possessing only one true standout tool—his arm—Ahmed faces a bit of an uphill battle at shortstop, as his large frame leads to some concerns about his long-term position. At his current pace, do not be surprised if he makes it to the Double-A level by season’s end.
12. Matt Lipka | RH CF | 6’1”, 195 lb. | Age: 20
The slow-developing Lipka has hit a paltry .271/.335/.337 with 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs in 229 plate appearances for High-A Lynchburg. As suggested by his low strikeout rate (14 percent), Matt is still making a good bit of contact and has boosted his walk rate (8.7 percent) from previous seasons. The Texan has not shown the greatest instincts on the bases, as he has been caught 6 times in 18 attempts. The transition to center field has been smooth, from all accounts. Lipka’s still all about tools/projection, and as a 20-year-old in High-A, that is perfectly fine. Some sort of standout statistical production would be nice, however. Until then, Lipka remains in the middle tier of Braves’ prospects and continues to carry huge boom/bust potential as a prospect. He is currently on the 7-day disabled list.
13. Kyle Kubitza | 3B; Bats: L Throws: R | 6’3”, 190 lb. | Age: 21
Kubitza’s first full-season assignment in Rome has been quite strange, as he’s posted a .232/.347/.403 line with 9 home runs and a 58/102 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 409 plate appearances. Kyle’s monthly splits are quite telling of how his season has progressed, as a .977 OPS in April, .687 OPS in May, .819 OPS in June, and .519 OPS thus far in July hint at the overall inconsistency with which he has swung the bat. Regardless of this streakiness, the Texan has shown both raw and in-game power, good patience, and has even shown some speed on the base paths (16 SB), although he is still quite raw in this regard (10 CS). His defense at third base has been iffy, collecting 17 errors in 175 chances. Kubitza’s shown some pop and patience—two aspects one likes to see early in a corner prospect’s offensive game, especially one coming from college—but has also shown a propensity to swing-and-miss in bunches. Monitor how he adjusts during his most recent funk, and look for him to make the move to High-A Lynchburg by next season.
14. Todd Cunningham | OF; Bats: S Throws: R | 6’0”, 200 lb. | Age: 23
2012 has been somewhat of a breakout season for Cunningham. After posting subpar numbers over the past two seasons, Todd is coming into his own in Double-A Mississippi, hitting .322/.372/.423 while posting a .370 wOBA in 379 plate appearances. His walk rate has slipped a bit from last season (6.3 percent), but he has built upon his reputation as a low strikeout/high contact hitter. The switch hitter has shown a noticeable platoon split over his minor league career and this season has been no different, posting a .783 OPS from the left side while posting a measly .663 OPS from the right side. Cunningham’s showcased his solid-average speed, swiping 16 bags in 22 chances. Todd has spent a majority of his time in center field, committing 3 errors and registering 2 assists in 128 chances. He will never be a big power hitter, so he will need to play superb defense in center field and get on base at a high rate in order to play regularly at the next level. Cunningham’s supporters believe he will be able to do just that; his detractors question the former part of the equation, along with the transition of the hit tool to the major league level. Look for Cunningham to continue his solid play at the Double-A level, and don’t rule out a promotion to Gwinnett by the end of the year. He will likely compete for a roster spot next spring.
15. Tommy La Stella | 2B; Bats: L Throws: R | 5’11”, 185 lb. | Age: 23
La Stella’s had a good, not great season in the Carolina League, putting together a .273/.366/.424 line with a 34/22 walk-to-strikeout ratio* in 328 plate appearances. Tommy has shown decent speed and savvy on the base paths, stealing 13 bases in 15 attempts. His play at 2nd base has not been awful in terms of errors—he’s committed 7 in 306 chances—but La Stella’s biggest concern on defense is his range, something that will not show up in his minor league statistics. He’s missed some time this year due to a recurring back injury. Considered one of the top pure hitting prospects in the system coming into this year, La Stella has not completely overwhelmed in his first full season. He has shown well above-average OBP skills, decent power production, and the ability to put the bat on the baseball consistently, but it would be fair to say that he was expected to produce a bit more based on his age versus the level at which he is playing and the skills he flashed in 2011. La Stella still remains a nice prospect, but his profile is starting to resemble that of an organizational piece rather than an everyday player. Monitor how he comes back from his latest injury and look for him to possibly see some time in Double-A by season’s end
*Not a typo.
16. Navery Moore | RHP | 6’2”, 212 lb. | Age: 21
The 14th round pick of the Braves in 2011, Moore has shuffled between starting and relieving this year in Low-A Rome. Between the two, he’s compiled a 4.15 ERA/3.52 FIP in 82.1 innings pitched with a 65/36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Righties have posted a mere .589 OPS against Navery, while lefties have posted a much better .736 OPS. Moore’s mechanics are not incredibly deceptive, as he shows the hitter the ball at the bottom of his arm swing, a trait left-handed hitters can recognize and exploit easily. He possesses a low-to-mid 90s fastball that features a good amount of movement along with a developing slider and changeup. Moore had Tommy John surgery prior to college, so this should not be a huge concern going forward. The biggest issue Navery’s faced this season is a lack of control. In order to be successful going forward, he will need to work on this aspect of his game, whether he finds himself in the rotation or the bullpen. My inclination is to say that Moore will stay in Rome for the duration of the season in order to work out some of his control issues and to work on his secondary pitches, but I could be way off.
17. Brandon Drury | RH 1B/3B | 6’2”, 190 lb. | Age: 19
When looking at Drury’s raw statistical line from this season, it is easy to get discouraged at what is perceived to be a poor overall performance thus far in Low-A Rome. Indeed, Drury has managed a measly .220/.271/.312 line with 4 home runs and a 19/55 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 380 plate appearances. While this may seem putrid, Drury has battled to overcome a horrible first half to his season in which he hit .187/.226/.270. Drury has completely turned it around as of late, plowing his way to a .295/.367/.410 line thus far in the second half, during which he has showed massive improvement in every aspect of his offensive game, including his overall contact ability, plate discipline, and power production. While this is obviously a small sample, the trends are very nice to see. Brandon features a sweet swing from the right side and making contact should not be an issue as he climbs the ladder. I’ve observed a slight hip leak in Drury’s swing from time to time, but this should be an easy fix down the road if he/they choose to address it. Brandon has split the majority of his playing time between first base and third base—due in part to Kyle Kubitza’s presence in Rome—and his athletic frame should play very nicely at the hot corner. He features a nice arm and great instincts, but as is the case with most young players, Drury needs more repetitions at third. Monitor how he finishes this season, keeping in mind that he is currently the youngest player in Rome. Drury’s ceiling is quite high, and he remains a player who could jump up lists in the coming years. I’m already kicking myself for not having him higher on my personal list, for what it’s worth.
18. Cody Martin | RHP | 6’2”, 210 lb. | Age: 22
A 7th-rounder out of Gonzaga, Martin has excelled in High-A Lynchburg, posting a 3.02 ERA/2.92 FIP with a 118/32 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 101.1 innings pitched. Cody has shown no noticeable platoon split this season, as lefties have managed a .586 OPS against and righties have posted a .615 OPS against. Although Martin was a closer at Gonzaga, he has made 18 starts with 3 relief appearances this season, excelling in both roles. He even twirled this gem a few weeks ago. Cody has sound mechanics and possesses a solid four-pitch mix, but as Kevin Goldstein notes, his stuff is not as great as his numbers would indicate. He’s a solid pitching prospect and deserves recognition, but for now he profiles as a middle or back-of-the-rotation starter if he continues to climb the ladder as a starter. The Braves seem confident in his ability to start games, so monitor how he finishes the season in this role.
19. Joey Terdoslavich | 1B; Bats: S Throws: R | 6’0”, 200 lb. | Age: 23
We all know Terdoslavich’s story. 52 doubles in High-A—fifty-two! Pumped aggressively by the media as Atlanta’s third baseman of the future. Promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett straight out of the spring. All was good for “The Terd” . . . until he completely flopped in Gwinnett. In 215 plate appearances, Terdoslavich managed a .180/.252/.263 line with a 19/50 walk-to-strikeout ratio. While playing third, he recorded 22 errors in 130 chances. After suffering for nearly two months, Joey was demoted to Double-A where he has posted a much more reasonable .366 wOBA. While in Mississippi, Terdoslavich has spent a majority of his time at first base, the position he is most likely to play at the major league level. The switch hitter has always been a better overall hitter from the right side, and during this season alone he’s posted a .747 OPS as a righty as opposed to a .613 OPS as a lefty. Joey possesses pretty incredible raw power, but the amount to which he will tap into this power is still in question, as his hit tool remains raw and very unrefined. Terdoslavich is not necessarily young for his level in Double-A, and while seeing some sort of production is a good sign, it still does not take away the fact that he’s 23 and more than likely needs another year—maybe two—in the minors. With these factors in mind, Joey is looking more and more like a bench bat that can provide a bit of pop with little defensive versatility (1B/LF type).
20. David Hale | RHP | 6’2”, 210 lb. | Age: 24
In his first full year of starting, Hale’s performance has been quite erratic. His overall line is decent, posting a 4.39 ERA/4.27 FIP with a 95/49 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 112.2 innings pitched as a starter. As shown here, however, David has had a hard time translating success from start to start. While still throwing an inconsistent changeup, Hale has managed to fend lefties off quite well, holding them to a .623 OPS. Hale possesses a plus fastball (in terms of velocity) and slider, but both need refinement in terms of control/command. The Braves seemingly want to give the Princeton grad every opportunity to start as he climbs the ladder, a move that could be beneficial if he strings together some consistency with his performance and repertoire. It would not surprise me if the Braves pulled back the reins a bit on his workload, as he’s already surpassed last season’s innings pitched total. He’s also experienced some shoulder problems in the past, costing him the better part of a month in 2011. With this in mind, the Braves could choose to slot him in the bullpen to finish out the season, but this is just speculation.
21. Mauricio Cabrera | RHP | 6’2”, 180 lb. | Age: 18
Mauricio Cabrera is one of the most exciting arms in the system. Equipped with three potential above-average offerings, the 18-year-old Dominican right-hander has pitched exceptionally well in the Appalachian League, which is loaded with older college hitters. In 31.2 innings pitched, he’s posted a 2.84 ERA/3.80 FIP and has struck out 32 batters, walked 15, and allowed 22 hits. After signing Cabrera to a reported six-figure bonus in 2010, the Braves placed him in the Dominican Summer League in 2011. While his statistical results were not eye-popping, the Braves believed in him enough to skip the Gulf Coast League altogether, which is a testament to both his makeup and his raw stuff. When he makes a stop in Rome—whenever that may be—expect a full scouting report on him here at CAC. Mauricio could be a top-5 prospect within the next year or so. Follow this kid.
22. Jose Peraza | RH SS | 5’11”, 167 lb. | Age: 18
The other big name from the 2010 crop of international signees, Peraza has performed extremely well in his stateside debut. Beginning the season in the GCL, he hit .318/.348/.424 in 92 plate appearances with 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts. Noting his success, the Braves promoted Peraza to the Appalachian League earlier this month. In his 35 plate appearances with Danville, Jose’s shown decent contact skills, posting a .256/.326/.359 line while stealing 5 bases in 5 attempts. All reports rave about his defense, despite his 10 errors in 113 chances (error totals in rookie ball are not telling for a number of reasons). Jose offers a combination of defense, speed, and contact ability, and this is a nice package on which to build for an 18-year-old physically undeveloped shortstop that is knocking on the door to full-season ball. Peraza will more than likely spend the rest of the year in Danville, opening the 2013 season in Rome. Peraza’s another potential fast-riser in the system in terms of rankings.
23. Fernelys Sanchez | OF; Bats: S Throws: R | 6’3”, 200 lb. | Age: 18
Sanchez, the 16th round pick of the Braves in 2012, has been able to get into some games in the GCL after breaking his left fibula in March. He was considered a premium talent for the draft prior to this injury, and the Braves were excited to be able to draft the speedster on the third day of the draft. In the limited amount of games he has played, Fernelys has not particularly overwhelmed, hitting .171/.326/.200 in 43 plate appearances with an 8/19 walk-to-strikeout ratio. He’s split his time between right field, center field, and DH, but profiles best as a center fielder when he fully recovers from his injury due to his impressive speed, as he was clocked as low as 6.27 seconds in the 60-yard dash* in high school. Fernelys has struggled to find consistency with his swing from both sides of the plate. Sanchez obviously has a long way to go in all aspects of his game, but his ceiling is quite high. He’s going to take some time and will require a good bit of patience.
*This is ridiculously fast.
24. Justin Black | RH OF | 6’0”, 200 lb. | Age: 19
After being selected by the Braves in the 4th round of this year’s draft, Justin Black’s performance hasn’t necessarily jumped off of the page statistically. He has posted a .213/.341/.293 line with a homer and a 14/28 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 93 plate appearances for the GCL Braves. Justin has spent a majority of his time in center field, a place where his elite speed should flourish. Black is from Montana, and due to his inability to play ball year-round, he is still quite raw with respect to other players his age. The Braves seem to really like this kid, and given his impressive speed/power combination, one can easily see why they do. Justin is a bit older than a typical high school draftee, but this isn’t a huge deal. He’s still a special talent, one who warrants watching in the coming years.
25. Bryan De La Rosa | RH C | 5’8”, 200 lb. | Age: 18
One of my “personal cheeseballs” from this year’s draft, Bryan De La Rosa has had a rough go of it in his limited amount of plate appearances for the GCL Braves. De La Rosa’s posted a .214/.261/.310 line with a homer and a 2/17 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 47 plate appearances. Bryan registered pop times in the 1.7-second range at showcase events prior to the draft, and he’s shown off his arm in limited attempts, throwing out 30 percent of potential base stealers so far this season. Although it hasn’t translated to pro ball just yet, De La Rosa’s bat has the potential to be a plus tool, as he flashes nice bat speed in conjunction with a short, compact stroke. Perfect Game notes that De La Rosa had the tools to be a first-round pick. Bryan is similar to—comparison alert—Carlos Ruiz, in that he profiles as a plus defender with nice contact skills at the plate, but whose stature is a bit smaller than usual. Monitor how he finishes this season and see if his performance catches up with his scouting report. Confession: I really like this kid.
Players who just missed: Luis Merejo, Billy Bullock, Aaron Northcraft, Evan Gattis, Luis Avilan