Which Atlanta Braves Prospects Could Make the 2013 Roster?
The Atlanta Braves are notorious for playing their top prospects and giving young players the opportunity to play.
In 2012, top prospect Andrelton Simmons burst onto the scene and established himself as the Braves shortstop for years.
Pitchers Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran also got some starts at the big league level.
They will undoubtedly get an opportunity again in 2013 to earn a spot in the rotation.
Along with those top pitchers, here's a look at the prospects who could make the 2013 roster.
1. Christian Bethancourt
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Christian Bethancourt has a great chance to begin the 2013 season with the MLB team.
Brian McCann's offseason shoulder surgery will most likely mean he won't be ready for the first few weeks of the season.
Gerald Laird will serve as the starter in his place, but Bethancourt will most likely be the backup.
This will be a great opportunity for him to get a taste of the major league level and for the Braves to see how he reacts.
McCann is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, and there's a good chance the Braves will let him walk and move forward with Bethancourt.
Therefore, this next season will be a good test run for Bethancourt and the Braves.
2. Julio Teheran
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Braves fans have been hearing about Julio Teheran for a few years and have anticipated his arrival at the major league level.
Besides a few spot starts, Teheran has been stuck in the minors with all the arms the Braves have in their organization.
However, this year will be his best opportunity to establish himself in the rotation.
He was out-pitched by Randall Delgado last year during Spring Training and missed a chance last year.
Getting sent back to the minors probably played a role in his shaky season last year. Teheran expected to be in the big leagues and was disappointed in the Braves decision.
Teheran still has great stuff, but he will need to pitch better this spring to prove he is worthy of a spot in an MLB rotation.
3. Randall Delgado
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Teheran's main competition for the fifth spot in the rotation will be Randall Delgado.
Delgado won the battle last year and has the same opportunity again in 2013. His advantage over Teheran is the experience he gained last season.
Although he eventually lost his spot in the rotation, he started 17 games for the Braves and has an understanding of what it takes to pitch in the major leagues.
Delgado is likely wondering how he fits in the Braves' future plans after it looked like he was traded to the Cubs and was in trade rumors again this offseason.
However, the Braves know Delgado is an extremely talented prospect and has a great chance to be the Braves' No. 5 starter for the second consecutive year.
4. Evan Gattis
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The Braves are exploring all their options to fill the left field spot and that includes internal options.
If the Braves choose to not acquire anyone via free agency or trade, Evan Gattis could see extended time in left field.
Gattis has come out of nowhere, but just continues to hit wherever he's at.
He hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs at three stops last year in the minors.
He could also provide the Braves with versatility, as he could serve as a backup catcher as well.
The 26-year-old Gattis is an unconventional prospect but his bat is just impossible to ignore. And that may earn him a spot on the 2013 roster.
5. Sean Gilmartin
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The Braves selected Sean Gilmartin with their first round pick in the 2011 draft.
Gilmartin came out of Florida State as a polished player and has smoothly ascended through the minor leagues.
The Braves promoted Gilmartin to Triple-A Gwinnett last season and he compiled a 6-10 record with a 3.84 ERA at his two stops in 2012.
Gilmartin looks to be a possibility for a spot in the 2014 rotation with uncertainty surrounding the futures of Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm with the Braves.
If that's the case, the Braves will want to see Gilmartin pitch at the big league level in 2013.
That makes him a good candidate to be a September call-up this season. That will give him some experience and allow the Braves to get an early look at a possible 2014 pitcher.