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Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 11

Gavin AndrewsCorrespondent IIDecember 23, 2016

Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 11

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    According to a tweet by Braves beat writer David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta prospect and current southpaw reliever Alex Wood will earn a spot start this week, after Brandon Beachy suffered a minor setback in his rehab.

    After watching Wood dominate college hitters last year and AA hitters early this season, it's fair to say that this could be an audition of sorts for perhaps an extended look at a rotation spot in 2014. Should Atlanta deal Paul Maholm to make room for Brandon Beachy, Wood could become the team's sixth starter with a good performance this week.

    As a whole, this was a very good week for Braves prospects, as the stocks of more than half of the top 10 are rising.

    Prospect rankings courtesy of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

10. Cody Martin

2 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 3-3, 2.82 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 67.0 IP, 63 H, 27 BB, 71 K

    Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 11 K

     

    Analysis

    Last week I wrote that Cody Martin would be looking to harness his control this week. Sure enough, he only walked one in his 6.1 innings pitched.

    In addition to improved control, Martin also continues to strike out hitters at a great rate–a quality that, paired with his plus-cutter, will help him climb the ladder to the big leagues in a hurry.

    Stock: Up

9. Juan Jaime

3 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Reliever

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 2-1, 1.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 10 H, 9 BB, 27 K

    Last Week's Stats: 2-0, 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K

     

    Analysis

    Juan Jaime continues to knock on the door of the big leagues, as he is simply overpowering AA hitters with his plus-plus-fastball. 

    As long as he can strike hitters out at this rate and command his 100 mph heater, Jaime will continue to blow away hitters in the upper-minor leagues.

    Stock: Up

8. Todd Cunningham

4 of 11

    Level: AAA (Gwinnett)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/S

    Season Stats: .279/.368/.373, 34 R, 10 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 28 BB, 36 K, 10 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .450/.500/.500, 4 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB

     

    Analysis

    Todd Cunningham's stock continues to soar after putting together a week in which he garnered nine hits in 20 at-bats.

    His slow start to the year is out of sight at this point, as he has put up a .370/.452/.494 slash line since May 21, per Baseball-Reference.

    He'll never be a power threat, but his speed, plate discipline and defense in center field will allow him to play in the big leagues sometime very soon.

    Stock: Up

7. Matt Lipka

5 of 11

    Level: High-A (Lynchburg)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: .284/.328/.418, 40 R, 18 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 15 BB, 48 K, 17 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .310/.333/.345, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 5 K, 4 SB

     

    Analysis

    In seemingly his make-or-break year at High-A, Matt Lipka has shrugged off a sluggish start to 2013 to push his average up over .284.

    Atlanta would like to see Lipka improve upon his plate discipline, but he has shown enough growth to lead one to believe that will come with time.

    The athletic converted shortstop has the speed to play the outfield and hit atop an order, but with the Braves outfield loaded for the foreseeable future, one has to wonder if Lipka will see reps at second base sometime in the next couple years.

    Stock: Up

6. Mauricio Cabrera

6 of 11

    Level: Rookie (Danville)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 1-4, 5.04 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 64.1 IP, 62 H, 37 BB, 52 K

    Last Week's Stats: No action seen.

     

    Analysis

    Perhaps Mauricio Cabrera would have been the fifth-straight rising stock of this slideshow if he had pitched any. 

    However, the 19-year-old flamethrower's command will have to be monitored another week. He was demoted to Danville this past week.

    Stock: Even

5. Alex Wood

7 of 11

    Level: MLB

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Left-handed

    Season Stats: 4-2, 1.26 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 57.0 IP, 41 H, 15 BB, 57 K (at Double-A)

    0-0, 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 9 K (in Atlanta)

    Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K

     

    Analysis

    Even though Alex Wood suffered his first bad outing this week, it's difficult to be too harsh on a rookie southpaw who can give Atlanta innings from the bullpen and is now striking out hitters like it's his job.

    Which, it is.

    Wood has been exactly what the Braves bullpen needed, and will likely keep his role in Atlanta for the rest of the season. 

    Stock: Even

4. Sean Gilmartin

8 of 11

    Level: AAA (Gwinnett)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Left-handed

    Season Stats: 3-7, 5.83 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 71.0 IP, 89 H, 30 BB, 47 K 

    Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 3.2 IP, 9 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 2 K

     

    Analysis

    Last week's line for Sean Gilmartin is simply painful to see. Consequentially, his once below-average season stat line has dipped to the territory of ugly.

    However, this is the first extended period of struggle for the lefty out of Florida State, and Atlanta drafted him in the first round for a reason. He should iron out his command issues soon, making him less hittable.

    Stock: Down

3. Lucas Sims

9 of 11

    Level: Low-A (Rome)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 2-2, 2.87 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 47.0 IP, 32 H, 17 BB, 53 K

    Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K

     

    Analysis

    Lately, Lucas Sims has really come into his own as a starting pitcher, and he'll be hard pressed to not end up as Atlanta's top prospect by the end of the season.

    As the year grows older, Sims is walking fewer hitters and striking out more. It's still early in his development, but the Braves have to be encouraged by what they see so far in last year's first-round pick.

    Stock: Up

2. Christian Bethancourt

10 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Catcher

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: .244/.259/.333, 14 R, 8 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 3 BB, 34 K, 7 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .313/.313/.563, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 K, 1 SB

     

    Analysis

    After a horrid performance the week before, Christian Bethancourt bounced back nicely last week, flashing some power and surprising speed.

    It's well-known that Bethancourt is an absolute wizard behind home plate, but unless he can learn a more patient approach at the plate and start taking some walks, he's going to have a tough time moving up in the Braves' system.

    Stock: Up

1. J.R. Graham

11 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 1-3, 4.04 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 35.2 IP, 39 H, 10 BB, 28 SO

    Last Week's Stats: Seven-day disabled list; no action seen.

     

    Analysis

    Still without any action seen, Graham's development continues to stall.

    However, seeing that Atlanta has a glut of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery, any injury to an arm of Graham's stature should be taken seriously and allowed to heal completely. 

    When he returns, he'll have the chance to prove that he belongs in the 2014 Atlanta rotation.

    Stock: Even

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