The Atlanta Braves come into the 2011 season with high expectations following a playoff berth this past season. This season should have tons of excitement and a ton of wins for the boys from Atlanta, but the future looks even brighter than this year.
ESPN ranked the Braves as having the third-best farm system in all of the league. They possess arms that just about any other team in baseball would kill for, as well as bats that should help the club in the next few years.
Some of these studs have gotten an opportunity this spring to show what they can do against some big leaguers, and the majority of them have impressed.
We will now take a closer look at these players and what they have done this spring.
The sweet-swinging lefty has had the Opening Day first base job practically locked up the whole offseason, but it is still great to see him producing enough in spring training to make the front office feel comfortable with the decision.
Freeman has 11 hits in 36 at-bats (.355 average) with three doubles and four runs batted in.
Freeman's batting average has him in second place for the team, and while he has only drawn two walks, he has been more impressive at watching pitches than expecting.
If any of his success carries over to the regular season, Braves fans will be in for quite a treat from the 21-year-old.
Delgado is just one of the trio of big arms that the Braves have. Delgado was considered the third-best of the three by Keith Law, but it isn't a knock on Delgado's talent.
Delgado has an arsenal of a fastball that touches 96 but sits around 94, a good changeup and a curveball that he is trying to improve on.
Delgado has thrown three innings so far this spring, giving up four hits and one run while striking out three. Not numbers that will blow you away, but he has impressed the Braves, and he may make an appearance this year and may stick as early as 2012.
Law says that Vizcaino was likely to end up in his top 20 prospects, but a partially torn elbow ligament kept him at No. 47.
Vizcaino has massive potential if healthy. He possesses a 96 mph fastball and a plus curveball. He is also known for extraordinary control, which will help him out in abundance when he reaches the majors.
Vizcaino has been lights out all spring, having thrown four scoreless innings while striking out three batters. He has also pitched very well outside of games and appears to be back on the fast track after his injury in 2010.
Teheran is no worse than the second-best pitching prospect in baseball, having drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez.
Teheran was outstanding in rookie workouts and every time he has pitched in front of Braves personnel. He has only thrown two innings this spring, giving up four hits while striking out a batter, but Teheran could be soon at the major league level sooner rather than later.
I'm hoping that he can get another full season in the minors, particularly in Gwinnett, to get a little more experience and to see how he can adjust to better competition.
Teheran's stuff is as good as any prospect in baseball not named Aroldis Chapman, but he has the potential to be the best pitcher in baseball.
The "catcher of the future" has a tough road to travel if he is to take over the catcher position in Atlanta, because Brian McCann has been to five straight All-Star games and has won four of the last five Silver Slugger awards amongst catchers in the National League, and he is only 27 years old.
Bethancourt has enormous potential, though, with what projects to be an impact bat and a cannon for an arm.
Bethancourt won't turn 20 until September, so he has plenty of time to develop, which he needs after hitting .251 in Rome last year. The Braves aren't worried though, as he still has years to become what they expect him to.
Bethancourt is 0-for-3 with a walk this spring.
The left-handed Oberholtzer has dominated so far this spring, throwing six innings of scoreless baseball while only giving up three hits.
I think Oberholtzer projects as a reliever if he is going to make a major league impact, and this spring he has shown that he can do it very well.
Talking Chop has ranked him as the Braves' 14th-best prospect at this point. He could make a major league appearance this September, but 2012 is more likely.
Talking Chop is projecting that the shortstop will be moved to second base this year, but he has played the outfield the majority of spring training.
The 23-year-old possesses good all-around skills, having stolen 41 bases the past two seasons while also hitting 19 homers.
Dan Uggla has second base on lockdown for a few years, so working Jones out in the outfield has been a good idea. He has the talent and skills to play any outfield position, though he works best as a center fielder, which he has played this spring.
Jones has racked up two hits in his 10 at-bats while also drawing two walks.
If the stars align properly, Pastornicky will be the starting shortstop in 2012, if not at some point this year.
The .263 career minor-league hitter doesn't project to be a great bat, but he plays good defense and has a good understanding of the game.
There is a chance that he is a late bloomer at the plate, as he is just 21. If he progresses into a .280 hitter with average power, the Braves will be ecstatic.
Pastornicky has one hit in three at-bats and an RBI this spring.