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Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 12

Gavin AndrewsCorrespondent IIJune 30, 2013

Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 12

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    With a recent offensive surge, Christian Bethancourt has begun to justify his lofty ranking atop the Atlanta Braves top prospects list.

    Should he finally figure things out at the plate, Bethancourt could find himself in a heated battle for the starting catcher gig midway through next season.

    However, there is still much baseball to be played and many more walks that need to be taken for the young catcher.

    This week's stock watch is a mixed bag for Braves prospects, the rankings of which are courtesy of MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.

10. Cody Martin

2 of 11

    Level: AAA (Gwinnett)

    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 (AA)

    2-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 21.0 IP, 11 H, 5 BB, 24 K (AAA)

    Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 11 K

     

    Analysis

    Cody Martin's success this season has been nothing short of remarkable. His emergence as an innings eater and strikeout artist presents the Braves with a surplus of options for both the present and future. 

    Should Brandon Beachy return triumphantly, Martin (along with Alex Wood) allows the Braves brass the depth needed to deal Paul Maholm should they choose to, while simultaneously making himself available for a job in the Atlanta bullpen. 

    With an arsenal of average pitches, a plus-cutter and excellent control, Martin's future with the Braves is very bright.

    Stock: Up

9. Juan Jaime

3 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Reliever

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 2-2, 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 25.1 IP, 15 H, 15 BB, 44 K

    Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 9 K

     

    Analysis

    While Juan Jaime's stock may be down this week, it's difficult to be too harsh on him, considering the four earned runs he gave up came on three walks and three hits—none of which cleared the fence.

    Jaime's poor performance of late has simply been the downside to his unpredictable control. The strikeouts are still coming in bunches thanks to his high-octane, 100 mph heater.

    Expect Jaime to earn time with Atlanta after the All-Star break. 

    Stock: Down

8. Todd Cunningham

4 of 11

    Level: AAA (Gwinnett)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/S

    Season Stats: .283/.365/.367, 45 R, 12 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 32 BB, 42 K, 14 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .190/.190/.190, 2 R, 3 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, 3 SB

     

    Analysis

    After watching his stock soar week after week for the past couple months, the balls stopped finding holes for Todd Cunningham. 

    However, while his power is minimal, so too is the amount of strikeouts Cunningham takes. This should be a minor blip on the radar for Cunningham, who is likely hoping to get traded at the deadline so that his path to playing time clears up.

    Stock: Down

7. Matt Lipka

5 of 11

    Level: High-A (Lynchburg)

    Position: Outfield

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: .287/.327/.414, 45 R, 19 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 15 BB, 57 K, 19 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .348/.375/.435, 4 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 5 K, 2 SB

     

    Analysis

    After a rough week at the plate, Matt Lipka bounced back and showcased his knack for getting on base, as well as his need to cut down on his strikeouts.

    Regardless, it is always encouraging to see the former first-round pick hitting well. Should he sustain his success, a promotion to Double-A Mississippi should be in order after the All-Star break.

    Stock: Up

6. Mauricio Cabrera

6 of 11

    Level: Low-A (Rome)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 1-4, 4.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 75.1 IP, 68 H, 40 BB, 66 K

    Last Week's Stats: 0-0, 11.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 14 K

     

    Analysis

    After a rough stretch in which he struggled with his command and then was placed on the disabled list, Mauricio Cabrera stormed back with a dominant 11 innings in which he gave up no runs, striking out 14 and walking only three. 

    Cabrera has all the tools to someday climb to the upper half of a big league rotation, but his command and development of his secondary pitches will determine how far he goes.

    If his latest performance is of any indication, Cabrera could find himself further up the Atlanta prospects list by the end of the year.

    Stock: Up

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 (AA)

    0-2, 3.29 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 11 H, 7 BB, 19 K (Atlanta)

    Last Week's Stats: 0-1, 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K

     

    Analysis

    Alex Wood was the unfortunate victim of a Royals rally in extra innings, giving up two hits in two-thirds of an inning and getting saddled with the loss.

    However, he has still been terrific this season—everything the Braves could have asked for and more. He has the capability to start games in the major leagues, but as a southpaw with an unorthodox delivery and a penchant for striking hitters out, Atlanta will likely keep him in the bullpen for the remainder of the season, essentially the Braves' version of Detroit lefty Drew Smyly.

    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: No action seen

     

    Analysis

    Sean Gilmartin still hasn't seen action since June 16, an absence that hopefully makes Gilmartin come back out with a renewed vigor once he returns. 

    In spite of an inconsistent and overall disappointing start to the year, Gilmartin remains a good prospect with a high floor, albeit with a low ceiling. He should be a good bet to eventually become a No. 4 starter on a big league staff, possibly with the Braves.

    Stock: Even

3. Lucas Sims

9 of 11

    Level: Low-A (Rome)

    Position: Starting Pitcher

    Throws: Right-handed

    Season Stats: 3-3, 2.83 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 57.1 IP, 38 H, 22 BB, 65 K

    Last Week's Stats: 1-1, 10.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 5 BB, 12 K

     

    Analysis

    Young Lucas Sims continues to impress everyone in the Braves organization, fanning 12 hitters in 10.1 innings while only giving up three earned runs last week.

    His fastball and curveball are a great one-two punch, and as he improves his changeup and command, Sims should start to shoot through the minor leagues and join Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran in the big league rotation no later than 2016. 

    Stock: Up

2. Christian Bethancourt

10 of 11

    Level: AA (Mississippi)

    Position: Catcher

    Throws/Bats: R/R

    Season Stats: .262/.286/.383, 19 R, 10 2B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 6 BB, 40 K, 7 SB

    Last Week's Stats: .300/.364/.550, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K

     

    Analysis

    Christian Bethancourt continued his recent success at the dish, ripping two doubles and a home run this week in addition to taking two walks.

    Even with the legend that is Evan Gattis primed to take over the catching position for the 2014 season, the offensive development of Bethancourt would be nothing short of a major lift to the big league club.  

    Don't expect Bethancourt to be promoted to Triple-A until he displays a sustained major improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

    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

    The Braves are taking their time with the rehabbing J.R. Graham to ensure that when he returns to the Double-A rotation, he does so at full strength.

    Graham could easily be in the big leagues right now as a reliever, but Atlanta is trying to see if the 5'10" righty with the hard and heavy heater can stay healthy pitching every five days.

    Stock: Even

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