One thing is clear following a winter where the Braves added several high-value prospects. The bottom of this list would have been pretty sad and without the moves of this winter. As is, the Braves depth made this list a real challenge because a couple of guys who probably should be on organizational Top 30 lists are pushed out in favor of guys who probably would have been near the Top 20. With that in mind, over the next three weeks, I will be counting down to the Walk-Off Walk Top Prospect as we head toward the 2015 season. When we’re done, I will also include a sort of honorable mention article where a player for each position that could be the next player to break into this list is looked at.
A small note on grading…simple A-F grading scale with pluses and minuses added. To be a grade-A player, you have to be a top prospect in all of baseball and spoiler alert, there is not a grade-A guy in the system according to my grading. There is one A-, though, and a trio of B+ guys. Only 11 players received a grade of B- or better.
30. Victor Reyes, OF, Grade: C….A highly sought after international free agent from the Frank Wren era, Reyes jumped to full season ball last year for the Rome Braves. While the numbers were not impressive (.607 OPS), Reyes was just 19 for the entire season. There is a lot of hope that as he matures, Reyes will add pop from both sides of the plate and become a solid athletic corner outfielder.
29. Wes Parsons, P, Grade: C….Others have been much higher on Parsons than me. He came on the scene as an undrafted free agent in 2013 with very impressive numbers as a Rome Brave, but struggled with the Hillcats last year (5.02 ERA, 1.35 WHIP). Parsons needs to display better control because he probably won’t be a huge strikeout guy. I do love his fearlessness.
28. Max Povse, P, Grade: C….It has to be slightly intimidating to see the lanky 6’8″ Povse rearing back and throwing 93 at you. The 2014 selection out of UNC-Greensboro gets great natural sink and his secondary pitches are improving. If Povse can gain a bit more consistency in his delivery, he has the potential to be a sleeper in this system. I like his chances a lot.
|Norm Hall | Getty Images Sport|
27. Shae Simmons, P, Grade: C….Obviously, the bad news is that Simmons will miss 2015 following Tommy John surgery. The good news is that returning from TJS is exceedingly more common and Simmons looks like a beast provided he stays healthy. You start to get excited when pitchers are posting K/9’s in the 13.0 range to go with a K-to-BB rate of over 3. Simmons might be two years away from really realizing his potential, but if he does, he might eventually replace Craig Kimbrel if the latter becomes too expensive.
|Stacy Revere | Getty Images Sport|
26. Williams Perez, P, Grade: C….One of the surprise additions to the 40-man roster this offseason, Perez did have a wonderful season with Mississippi. He gets a lot of natural sink on his delivery and that leads to a plethora of groundballs from the righty. That’s the good news. But his stuff won’t generate many K’s and if he can’t spot as well against smarter hitters, they will eat him alive. Still, there’s some hope here.
25. Tanner Murphy, C, Grade: C….A fourth rounder in 2013 out of Missouri, Murphy has not debuted in full season ball just yet, but he had an impressive run in Danville last season. His average was only .242 and his hit tool may never allow him to put up big batting average numbers, but he posted a .361 OBP with the help of great plate awareness. He also blasted five homers in 50 games. Murphy’s defense has been given some good marks and if he continues to walk and hit homers, he will be a guy to watch for.
24. Dilmer Mejia, P, Grade: C….Few names are more exciting than Mejia when we focus on projection. Just 17 years-old, Mejia made the jump late last season from the Dominican Summer League to the Gulf Coast League, where he was an average of 3-to-4 years younger than the competition. He held his own in the GCL after dominating the DSL. The southpaw is a bit undersized, but keep your eye on him. He could be the surprise of 2015.
|C. Martin (Elsa |Getty)|
23. Cody Martin, P, Grade: C….What more needs to be said about Martin? The right-hander out of Gonzaga went from a reliever to starter in 2012, posted impressive numbers in a run to AAA the following year, and simply held serve last year with Gwinnett. He will get a look this spring, but is definitely not one of the favorites to land a rotation spot. Nevertheless, there is a enough talent here to wonder what he can do in the majors.
22. Andrew Thurman, P, Grade: C….The first guy to make the list that was acquired last offseason, Thurman was the afterthought in the Evan Gattis deal and why not? He did just post a 5.40 ERA with Quad Cities. The former 2nd rounder out of UC-Irvine enters his second full season with a chance to wipe the slate clean and get another chance, probably in A-ball. At 23, he needs to right the ship.
21. Johan Camargo, SS, Grade: C+….One of Thurman’s teammates might be Camargo, who we have also seen this spring. Another in the long line of lanky and athletic shortstops the Braves find, Camargo’s offensive numbers fell last season, which he spent mostly in Rome. The switch-hitter, who profiles as a plus defender, was ranked 8th in Baseball America’s Top 10, though he probably would have dropped out after the trades with the Astros, Padres, and Angels. Still, that is a sign that some publications and scouts love him. I’m not as convinced, but there is enough here to have hope.
Thanks for reading! Next Monday, I’ll look at the middle of the Top 30 list!