With the bitter taste of disappointment still fresh in the collective mouths of Braves fans everywhere, the end of the 2012 season draws near.
The only thing the Braves can do at this point is look to the future. With the legendary career of Chipper Jones coming to an end, the Braves are looking to the future for the upcoming 2013 season, but also for the organizational depth of their prospects.
After the World Series, the Braves will have many roster decisions to address and must decide which path they will take.
Will they use some of the money freed up from Chipper's retirement on pricey free agents? Will they pull the trigger on a deal that will restructure the dynamic of the clubhouse? Or will they look to address their needs in-house?
When a trade proposal comes across the desk of Frank Wren this offseason, these three prospects should require a king's ransom to pry from the organization.
Sean Gilmartin comes in as the Braves fourth overall prospect, according to mlb.com rankings. The crafty lefty was the Braves' first-round pick only a year ago but has already moved his way to the Triple-A level. Having a roster and farm system that is chock full of top-flight pitching talent can never be a bad thing.
With Tim Hudson edging ever closer to the end of his career, the likely departure of Jair Jurrjens and the recent decline of Tommy Hanson, starting rotation spots might open up sooner than expected.
Sean Gilmartin comes from the same mold of Mike Minor. He is a polished college lefty that has a similar pitching repertoire. After seeing the second-half success of Mike Minor, Gilmartin's stock has risen.
The one time No. 1 overall prospect, Julio took a step back in 2012. The hard-throwing ace seemed to be the heir-apparent prospect that would assert himself atop the rotation entering the 2012 season.
However, Teheran lost his roster spot to both Mike Minor and Randall Delgado in Spring training.
While in the minor leagues, Teheran had the worst year of his young career. What makes him untouchable, however, is his raw talent. Teheran is just 21 years old with an explosive arm. He has all the physical tools to be a dominating ace, but he must take the next step in his evolution as a pitcher.
His youth and meteoric rise through the minor-league ranks should give the organization the patience to make him a prized jewel in the Braves' farm system.
Braves catching prospect Christian Bethancourt might be ranked one spot behind Julio Teheran in the Braves prospect list, but he is more valuable to the organization at this point due to factors that aren't tied to Bethancourt's ability.
The reason Bethancourt is so valuable to the Braves entering 2013 is that Brian McCann's contract will have run its course by the end of next season.
McCann's $12 million team option will most likely be picked for 2013. Beyond that, the Braves have a very difficult decision to make concerning Big Mac and his future with the club.
McCann's string of productive seasons mean he will be in line for a big payday. Bethancourt factors in because he is next in line if the Braves do decide to part with the often-injured, aging catcher.
It is likely that Bethancourt would have made his major league debut this past season if it weren't for a broken hand suffered shortly before the September roster expansions.
In addition to how McCann's contract extension talks go before he hits free agency, Bethancourt's production and health will determine the future for the Braves' No. 2 prospect.