Atlanta Braves

Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 20

Martin GandyFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2014

Stock Up, Stock Down for Atlanta Braves' Top 10 Prospects for Week 20

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    It was another good week for the Atlanta Braves' top prospects. Many of the players on this list are finishing the season strong, which is especially encouraging considering the up-and-down season that some of them have had.

    For the first time nearly all season, all of the players on this list are also healthy and playing in games at the same time. Of course, there are a number of nagging injuries still lingering, as you will read.

No. 10 Prospect: RP Juan Jaime

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at Triple-A Gwinnett:

    No hits, no runs, no walks in one inning of work.

     

    Overview:

    The Braves sent Jaime down this week, demoting him in favor of lefty Luis Avilan.

    It was a weird move, since Jaime had been pitching okay, with the exception of his normal elevated walk rate. He certainly seemed like a better option for the pen than Avilan, who wasn’t even getting people out at Triple-A.

    Jaime should see time with Atlanta again in September when rosters expand, though his long-term tenure with the team seems dependent on harnessing his control a bit better.

     

    2014 Stats:

    16 saves in 36 games, 3.68 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 3.36 FIP, .181 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Down

No. 9 Prospect: SP Wes Parsons

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    CB Wilkins

    Last Week’s Stats at High-A Lynchburg:

    No-decision in one start, 2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

     

    Overview:

    The Braves continue to limit Parsons’ innings while keeping him in the starting rotation. He has not thrown more than five innings in any of his last six starts.

    This will likely be the norm for the rest of the year, as the Braves remain cautious with Parsons after he missed some time this season with various arm ailments.

     

    2014 Stats:

    4-5 in 20 starts, 4.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.82 FIP, .265 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Even

No. 8 Prospect: SP Jason Hursh

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at Double-A Mississippi:

    One win in his only start, 6 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K

     

    Overview:

    Jason Hursh continues to roll and looks like he’s finishing strong after scuffling off and on for much of the season.

    In his past eight starts, Hursh is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA and .211 BAA. He’s definitely figured something out about how to pitch at Double-A.

    It’s important to keep in mind that the Braves skipped Hursh over High-A and sent him to Double-A in just his first full season of professional ball.

    While his prospect stock and ranking fell at mid-year, the work he’s done in the second half will have him moving back up the Braves' prospect rankings.

     

    2014 Stats:

    11-6 in 24 starts, 3.27 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.48 FIP, .255 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Up

No. 7 Prospect: 3B Kyle Kubitza

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at Double-A Mississippi:

    7-for-20 (.350), 2 2B, 3B, HR (6), 4 BB, 5 K

     

    Overview:

    Kubitza just keeps on doing his thing every week. While he had an exceptionally good week in the power department, he also did a great job of getting on base. The presence of good power and on-base ability make the higher-than-average strikeout numbers tolerable.

    He’s still blocked by Chris Johnson at third base in Atlanta, so it will be interesting to see what Atlanta’s plans for Kubitza are this offseason. He could be an important trade chip for the team.

     

    2014 Stats:

    .297/.409/.468, .401 BABIP, 24.3 K%, 14.9 BB%

     

    Stock:

    Up

No. 6 Prospect: SP J.R. Graham

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at Double-A Mississippi:

    No-decision in two relief appearances, 2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 1 K

     

    Overview:

    After a handful of terrific relief appearances from Graham, he got absolutely shelled this week, giving up multiple runs in each of his appearances.

    Graham has now had two lost years at Double-A. Last year was lost after he missed most of the season with shoulder soreness. This season has been lost battling various arm and shoulder ailments in between bouts of wildness and ineffectiveness.

    His second consecutive poor season will send him tumbling down Braves' prospect lists. Already this season he’s fallen to No. 6 after starting the year No. 3.

     

    2014 Stats:

    1-5 in 23 games, 5.59 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3.56 FIP, .274 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Down

No. 5 Prospect: Outfielder Braxton Davidson

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    Todd Kirkland/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at High-R Danville:

    2-for-11 (.182), 2 2B, 2 BB, 3 K

     

    Overview:

    The Braves' top draft pick this year, Davidson had a big week, as he received a promotion from low rookie ball to advanced rookie ball in Danville. While he did collect a pair of doubles in his first game, he took a couple of 0-fers after that.

    This is a big move for Davidson and the Braves. While he wasn’t hitting the cover off the ball in Orlando, the organization clearly thought he needed to be challenged at a higher level.

    This promotion should also set Davidson up to start next season at full-season ball in Low-A Rome instead of returning to Danville. This follows the Braves' M.O. of aggressively promoting and challenging their top young prospects.

     

    2014 Stats:

    .244/.396/.336, .341 BABIP, 22.8 K%, 15.4 BB%

     

    Stock:

    Up

No. 4 Prospect: SP Mauricio Cabrera

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    CB Wilkins

    Last Week’s Stats at High-A Lynchburg:

    0-1 in 3 relief appearances, 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

     

    Overview:

    Cabrera gave up a few runs this week, but overall, he continued his good work out of the pen.

    As a reliever, Cabrera is not as exciting a prospect as he would be if he were still a starter. The move to the pen was in response to his missed time with a forearm strain and the Braves’ desire to limit his innings the rest of the year.

    We’ll have to wait until next season to see if he returns to the rotation, where he has more value as a prospect.

     

    2014 Stats:

    1-1 in 16 games, 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.51 FIP, .208 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Even

No. 3 Prospect: 2B Jose Peraza

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Last Week’s Stats at Double-A Mississippi:

    2-for-3, 1 CS

     

    Overview:

    Peraza was named the Southern League Player of the Month for July. In 24 games last month, he hit .359/.371/.447 with 16 stolen bases.

    August has not been as kind, as Peraza has battled leg soreness and was finally held out of most of the team’s games last week. According to various tweets by M-Braves radio broadcaster Kyle Tait, Peraza’s absence from the lineup has been purely precautionary.

    As Peraza has emerged as one of Atlanta’s top prospects this season, they don’t want a nagging injury to develop into something more serious, and they are being extra-cautious.

     

    2014 Stats:

    .341/.366/.430, .368 BABIP, 8.0 K%, 3.2 BB%

     

    Stock:

    Even

No. 2 Prospect: C Christian Bethancourt

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Last Week’s Stats at Triple-A Gwinnett:

    6-for-22 (.273), 2B, HR (7), 0 BB, 4 K

     

    Overview:

    Bethancourt continues to plug away at Triple-A, waiting for the calendar to roll to September, when major league rosters expand. He’ll almost certainly get called up and will likely find his way into a couple of games a week.

    Since he was moved back down to Gwinnett from Atlanta toward the end of July, Bethancourt has hit .256/.259/.451 in 21 games. The increased power numbers are nice to see, but he has one walk in that stretch.

     

    2014 Stats:

    .268/.292/.393, .296 BABIP, 16.2 K%, 3.6 BB%

     

    Stock:

    Even

No. 1 Prospect: SP Lucas Sims

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    Dave Tulis/Associated Press

    Last Week’s Stats at High-A Lynchburg:

    No-decision in one start, 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HBP

     

    Overview:

    After a season of ups and downs for Sims, he has calmed the waters recently. His last seven games have all been quality starts, during which he’s posted a 2.56 ERA and a .242 batting average against.

    He’s posted that good work despite some bad luck. His season BABIP is .276, but his BABIP during that seven-game stretch was up to .298. That's a slight inflation in his luck on balls in play, but it shows that despite this, he’s been able to limit damage.

    I tend to look beyond the luck here and see the long run of quality starts as a pitcher emerging into the top-of-the-rotation ace he’s projected to be. It’s great to see the system’s top prospect finishing the season strong, having conquered High-A at just 20 years old.

     

    2014 Stats:

    7-9 in 25 starts, 4.36 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.62 FIP, .243 BAA

     

    Stock:

    Even

     

    Season stats are courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com and accurate as of August 16. Weekly stats run from August 10 through August 16 and are taken from Minor League Central.

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