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braves-top-30-10-6 | November | 2007 Articles

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Braves Top 30: 10-6

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10. RHP Kris Medlen- Medlen is a very rare type of prospect. You just don't get too many elite relief prospects out there with the majority of major league pens being comprised of failed starters. The right-hander is one of a small group, just slightly behind guys like Joey Devine and Jon Meloan. Medlen's utter dominance was pretty impressive to watch through his first two stops this year and while we have to remember that this was a 21-year old in A-ball, he definitely has got the stuff to back it up. The righty brings a nice low-to-mid-90's fastball with a very impressive curve and deception in his delivery as well as command of the strike-zone. The negative is always going to be his size though. At this point, it is hard to tell whether or not his 5'10" frame could bring some injuries down the road. Medlen should start at Mississippi next year and because of his showing in Hawaii, I wouldn't be shocked to see him in Atlanta at some point next year. 9. RHP Joey Devine- Devine's minor league stats alone would put him a couple spots higher, but the stats he put up with Atlanta dropped him down a bit to me. Devine, who has had a roller coaster pro career so far, finally seemed to have everything sorted out this year between Mississippi and Richmond. Devine posted a 1.89 ERA between his two stops, showing very good peripherals. On the outside. his 1.08 ERA with the Braves seems like a plus, however his command, which has been his kryptonite in the bigs, disappeared again. The 24-year old reliever allowed eight walks in 8.1 innings. The team has been very cautious with Devine, however because he is out of options, he's basically guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster. I think with a secure job in the majors, Devine will get more comfortable and that problem should go away. He still has a chance to be a dominant Major League reliever. 8. LHP Cole Rohrbough- Out of everyone of the prospects I had on my list, Rohrbough jumped around the most. I had him listed everywhere from number three to number eight, where he eventually ended up. His numbers are great and his stuff is supposed to be impressive, however something I remembered from a BP chat is what really secured his fate at number eight. Rohrbough's money pitch is the spike curve he throws and in A-ball, playing against young, raw hitters, not many guys are going to have seen a good one before and even less from a left-hander. Just from that, I want to see him keep performing against more advanced hitters before I move him up to the top five. This ranking, more than any, really shows just how deep this Atlanta farm system has become. 7. LF Brandon Jones- Jones really put everything together this past season. He was one of those guys whose performance never seemed to match up with their potential, but the 23-year old outfielder went out and hit .295/.367/.490 between Mississippi and Richmond with 19 home runs and 100 runs batted in. Jones' tools are average or a bit above in just about every category but nothing is incredible. On the low end of the spectrum, I'd say he becomes a platoon man who hits righties pretty well and on the other end, he becomes a league-average offensive left fielder with above average defense. Either way, it is still a nice commodity to have. The strikeouts are the key to bridging that gap. If the plate discipline increases a bit, I'd think his chances of reaching the latter become a lot better. Jones will more than likely platoon with Matt Diaz next year or become the utility outfielder on the team. It probably depends on his showing this spring. 6. RHP Tommy Hanson- Hanson was incredible through the first half of 2007, however a promotion to Myrtle Beach brought some troubles with it. His command and ability to keep the ball in the park both struggled with the Pelicans and Hanson managed only a 4.20 ERA in a pitcher's park. I think those should go away with a better feel for the league and I absolutely love Hanson's tools an projection. He has a very classic repertoire, relying on a fastball, curve, and changeup on the mound. The fastball clocks in, in the mid-90's with movement and his changeup, which lags behind the other two, is supposed to be progressing very well. The money pitch however is his overhand power curve ball, which is quite commonly referred to as a knee-buckler. At 6'6", he has a great pitcher's body with room to fill out. Purely on potential, Hanson far and away beats out any of the Braves pitching prospects.

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