BravesHeart Top 40 Prospects: #25-21
25. Tyler Stovall
Stovall’s got control issues, that’s obvious to anyone who’s taken a look at his numbers this year. He was the first of two second round picks the Braves had in 2008 (the other of which, you’ll see in a little while). Stovall did have a couple of things going for him in 2009: he struck out 9.87 batters per 9 (while walking the same amount, but lets ignore that just for the time being), and he only allowed 1 home run in 52 innings. Stovall also had a GB:FB of 1.87, which is not at all consistent with his time in the gulf coast league last year, and allowed a BAA of .202, which may be a little low. Stovall has had two seasons, with various similarities (lots of walks and strikeouts, no homers) and various differences (huge BAA difference, major GB:FB difference). The third season will give us a better gauge on who he really is, and I expect him to start the year in Rome (which is going to be a LOADED team this year). Stovall is still a teenager, so there is definitely reason to believe he can cut the walks down while keeping the positives from 2009 intact.
24. Brandon Hicks
The third rounder from 2007, Brandon Hicks had a rough 2009 season. He spent the season in Mississippi, where he was expected to become a top ten Braves prospect, solidifying his 2008 season where he OPSed .802 between Mississippi and Myrtle Beach. The 2008 season had a caveat though: he only hit .235. His ISO of .232 was nearly as high as his batting average, which is something you really don’t see too often. Well, that power completely disappeared in 2009, and Hicks became…just a bad player. He hit .237, which is consistent with what he normally does, but his power completely disappeared, dropping his ISO all the way down to .136. He did extremely cut down his strikeout rate, from a Cody Johnson-esque 35.1% in 2008 down to a slightly less horrible 28.2% this season. One other positive: Hicks stole 17 bases, and was only caught once. I’d assume he’ll start 2010 in Mississippi again, due to Diory Hernandez still attempting to become a major league hitter in Gwinnett. If Hicks flourishes, and Hernandez continues to struggle, I’d expect to see him get called up.
23. Tommy Palica
Oh look, another reliever. Yeah, Tommy Palica. He spent most of the year in Myrtle Beach, but had a late season callup to Mississippi where he held his own. Palica wasn’t as great in 2009 as he was in 2008, but he was still pretty darn good, striking out 9.98 per 9 and allowing a .238 BAA. Palica only allowed 4 homers in his 61 1/3 innings, which is a good sign. He primarily served as middle relief for the Beach, only racking up 6 saves on the year. Palica will start the year in Mississippi, and could get fast tracked to Gwinnett with some success.
22. Scott Diamond
Diamond is more of an organizational arm, but he’s got a chance to be effective. Diamond’s major selling point to me was his lack of homers: only 5 allowed this year in 131 innings. Last season, he only allowed 8 in 152 2/3. Diamond was really hittable this year, with an obscene .294 BAA, but these things happen when your BABIP is .342. The control needs to get better…it was really great in 2008, with Diamond’s walk rate sitting at 2.30 per 9, which is excellent. This year, that number spiked to 3.64…not great, but still workable. But when you’re allowing as many hits as Diamond did this year, you cannot give away baserunners.
21. Edgar Osuna
I think I’ve got Osuna too low on this list, but in the end, it was a numbers crunch and really nothing more. I’m very concerned about Osuna’s strikeout rate absolutely falling off a cliff, going from 9.69 per 9 down to 6.3 this year. A K rate dropping by 3 whole batters per 9 is shocking, and something you really need to pay attention to. Thankfully, Osuna kept his walk rate low at 2.1, so the hit wasn’t as bad as you’d expect. The ball stays in the air too much with Edgar (0.69 GB:FB this year), but the ball isn’t leaving the park thankfully (only 11 homers in 150 innings this year), so that’s a good sign. Edgar is currently tearing up the Mexican League, and I’ll have an update on that sometime in the near future.
And that will do it for this update...until next time, take care! Remember, follow BravesHeart on Twitter and add us on Facebook!
Fresh off the hot Billy Wagner signing, its time for 5 more Braves prospects! Today, I'll discuss numbers 25 through 21..and hey look, that leaves 20-16 for Thursday, and 15-11 for Friday...will I do the top ten over the weekend, or force myself to do ten a day each of the next 2 days? Or wait until the beginning of next week to make you guys wait, and give myself more content? We shall see...