The Atlanta Braves have been known to have a talented minor league system. They produce the best year in and year out and every time they trade 5 or 6 (Looking at you Mark Teixeira) the Braves always seem to produce more, almost instantly. Today, I take a look at their top prospects and what kind of fantasy impact they will have in the upcoming years.
Five Star Prospects
1. Julio Teheran, RHP
Ceiling: #1 Starter on a contending rotation.
Comments: Unless the Braves have a crazy amount of injuries in the rotation this summer, we won’t see him this year. The Braves, of course, could trade away a starter to make room for Teheran. Although, a few things have to go in play for that to happen. Teheran has to have a great start, injuries in the field or a lack of production from a spot (outfield). I don’t see the Braves dumping a starter anywhere just for prospects. They are well off on prospects, so they would want an impact batter back in return. It’ll be known in the offseason that Teheran will be in the rotation.
Fantasy Impact: Julio will rack up strikeouts and keep a low WHIP/ERA. Potential first round pick and his rookie year I would expect him to be drafted around the 5th round on a 20 team league, potentially higher depending on how he does this year in the minors.
2. Freddie Freeman, 1B
Ceiling: 5 hole hitter
Comments: Freddie will start at first base this year, so we’ll see what he has. What people have to understand is, he is only 20. Best thing going for him and it’s incredibly important for a prospect his age, is being comfortable. Best friend, Jason Heyward, is alongside him and will help him through his inaugural season. Personally, I’m not too high on him. I project him to be around a .260-.270 hitter with a ceiling of 30 home run seasons. I also fear he will blossom too early and then fade away in the wind.
Fantasy Impact: Freddie is getting drafted in the late 15-20 rounds but like I said, he will hit around .260-.270 and produce about 17 HR’s this year. His OBP should hover around .350 but he will lack in runs scored and steals.
3. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Ceiling: A one or a two, depending on the rotation strength
Comments: I know most rankings have him 5th, but I believe he will be better than that. The Braves ripped off the Yankees with the Javier Vazquez trade (like we all didn’t see that coming), but Vizcaino will make the fans forget about Vazquez. (Maybe not this year though, as Vazquez could be a pain in the ass for the Braves this year.) Injury concerns have me thinking the Braves might be well off to trade him as he gets closer to the majors. If Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor produce as they should, someone here has to be traded and my bets are on Beachy or Minor though.
Fantasy Impact: He will be the sleeper in almost all leagues. Anyone that would draft him as a high pick would more than likely get burnt as he is a high injury risk.
Ceiling: Elite closer
Comments: It’s hard to put a closer as a five star prospect, but he’s almost a sure thing as you can get for a closer. He’s been referenced as a right handed version of a Billy Wagner, which Braves fans are salivating over. He’s the player I am most anxious to see play this year. We’re looking at a sub 2.50 ERA, year in and year out.
Fantasy Impact: I drafted him as a 10-14 rank closer. He’s a rookie, I have to have some boundaries here. It would be foolish to draft him as a top 5 closer. At the end of the season, don’t be surprise if he is.
Four Star Prospects
5. Mike Minor – LHP
Ceiling: Number 2 on a decent rotation.
Comments: Pitches like a power throwing Tom Glavine with less control. He shows flashes of brilliance and command of his pitches at times. When he does, he can be unhittable and rack up strikeouts. Minor also shows how inexperienced and raw he can be at times, which leads me to give him a four star rank and a number 5 ranking. It’s worrisome and reminds me of a Jo-Jo Reyes.
Fantasy Impact: Mike will accumulate the K’s. Although, it’s realistic at times he will get hit hard. An ERA of 4.40 sounds about right. He’s risky to draft, but he also can win a matchup for you and he can lose one. Tread carefully.
Stayed tuned for the next five prospects in the Atlanta Braves minor league system and let me know who your top five are!