Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 5

Gavin AndrewsCorrespondent IIMay 6, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 5

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    Now more than a month into the 2013 season, Atlanta's top prospects are doing big things.

    Julio Teheran has lost his prospect eligibility and there's a new top prospect in town, while a new prospect enters the top 10.

    Alex Wood is continuing to embarrass minor league hitters, Matt Lipka and Todd Cunningham have started to turn their seasons around and Juan Jaime has yet to throw a pitch.

    But enough of introductions, here's this week's update on Atlanta's top 10 prospects.

1. Christian Bethancourt

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    Level: Double-A (Mississippi)

    Position: Catcher

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: 44 AB, 15 H, .341 AVG, 6 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1-6 BB/K, 3 SB, .356 OBP, .500 SLG

     

    Analysis

    With Julio Teheran exhausting his prospect eligibility, Bethancourt moves up into the top spot of the Braves' prospect rankings.

    However, there is nothing new to report here, as Bethancourt has been on the disabled list for the past couple weeks. 

    While the Braves are anxious to see if the young backstop can continue his hot hitting, injuries plagued Bethancourt's 2012, so it's for the best that he gets fully healthy before playing again.

    Stock: Steady

2. J.R. Graham

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    Level: Double-A (Mississippi)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 1-2, 3.45 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 28.2 IP, 30 H, 8 BB, 25 SO

     

    Analysis

    Graham's past two starts have been a little shaky, as they've combined for 10.2 innings, six earned runs, 15 hits and four walks. 

    However, they've also come with 11 strikeouts, an area that Graham has begun to improve on.

    Over the course of the young season though, Graham has been very impressive, leaving his stock up.

    Stock: Up

3. Lucas Sims

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    Level: Low-A (Rome)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 0-1, 5.02 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 14.1 IP, 8 H, 12 BB, 10 SO

     

    Analysis

    Atlanta is still stretching Sims out in the bullpen for now, but he seems to be getting more comfortable.

    Last week, he had a three-inning outing in which he walked two, but only allowed one hit and struck out three.

    Hopefully Sims will be starting by midseason, showing Atlanta what it has in him.

    Stock: Steady

4. Sean Gilmartin

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    Level: Triple-A (Gwinnett)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Left-handed

    Season Stats: 2-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 36.2 IP, 34 H, 15 BB, 20 SO 

     

    Analysis

    After a shaky spring training performance, Gilmartin has come out of the gate very strong.

    The southpaw has struggled a little bit with his command, but he is starting to iron out his issues and put fewer runners on base.

    The results have been pretty promising thus far, and if Teheran continues to struggle, Gilmartin could be putting the heat on him soon.

    Stock: Up

5. Alex Wood

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    Level: Double-A (Mississippi)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Left-handed

    Season Stats: 1-1, 0.58 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 23 H, 7 BB, 38 SO

     

    Analysis

    Wood's ERA this time last week was 0.67.

    This week, it did the unthinkable and dropped.

    At this rate, Wood will be in Triple-A Gwinnett by June and knocking on the door of the big leagues not long after that; he simply does not belong in Double-A.

    Stock: Up...Way Up

6. Mauricio Cabrera

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    Level: Low-A (Rome)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 1-2, 3.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 31.1 IP, 19 H, 23 BB, 17 SO

     

    Analysis

    When evaluating a 19-year-old pitcher with such a filthy repertoire, concessions have to be taken regarding his command.

    In other words, Cabrera walked seven hitters in 4.2 innings pitched last week, but because he's still learning how to pitch, not much should be made of it.

    By the end of the season though, one would typically like to see Cabrera's strikeouts outnumber his walks.

    Stock: Steady

7. Matt Lipka

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    Level: High-A (Lynchburg)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: 105 AB, 25 H, .238 AVG, 15 R, 9 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 9 BB, 22 SO, 5 SB, .302 OBP, .438 SLG

     

    Analysis

    Finally, after signs of breaking out of his season-long funk, Lipka delivered on an eight-hit week that included five hits that went for extra bases.

    Lipka has cut down on his strikeouts lately, but if he can begin to take walks at a healthier rate, he will be able to be more selective with the pitches he puts into play and could really see his offensive development take off.

    Stock is relative to previous positioning, so while Lipka has not had a great opening to the 2013 season, his stock is certainly on the rise.

    Don't give up on Lipka just yet.

    Stock: Up

8. Todd Cunningham

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    Level: Triple-A (Gwinnett)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/S

    Season Stats: 107 AB, 26 H, .243 AVG, 11 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 11 BB, 18 SO, 6 SB, .325 OBP, .299 SLG

     

    Analysis

    Like Lipka, Cunningham is starting to turn his 2013 season around, which is pretty crucial considering the logjam in the Atlanta outfield pecking order. 

    Cunningham's slugging percentage is annoying, but his on-base percentage is healthy enough to give Braves fans some hope that he continues to develop into a player capable of being Atlanta's fourth outfielder in 2014. 

    Stay tuned on Cunningham's 2013.

    Stock: Up

9. Juan Jaime

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    Level: High-A (Lynchburg)

    Position: Reliever

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: Disabled List. No action seen in 2013.

     

    Analysis

    Jaime throws gas. Jaime is hurt. 

    Nothing new here. 

    Still.

    Stock: Steady

10. Cody Martin

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    Level: Double-A (Mississippi)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 0-1, 3.32 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 21.2 IP, 22 H, 8 BB, 27 SO

     

    Analysis

    With Teheran evacuating the top 10, Cody Martin (not he of the Disney Channel, but he of the Mississippi Braves) enters it.

    Like Gilmartin, Graham and Wood, the righty from Gonzaga is on the fast track to the big leagues. His future may be as a starter, but there is talk of giving Martin a role in Atlanta like Kris Medlen had the first half of last season.

    Martin boasts four strong pitches, including an above-average cutter, and the potential for plus command all while striking out a fair amount of hitters. 

    By the end of this season, Martin could find himself a lot further up on this prospects list.

    Stock: Up