Baseball America released its annual Top 100 Prospects rankings today. Braves' prospects Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward rounded out the top five by taking positions four and five, respectively.
I know you've all heard of both of these guys because they've simply been too good to ignore. Tommy Hanson's performance last season was strong, going 3-1 at Myrtle Beach (A+) and 8-4 at Mississippi (AA). He also posted an impressive 0.90 ERA at Myrtle Beach and 3.03 at Mississippi. He also had a no-hitter at Mississippi last year. Fast forward to fall league and Hanson became the first pitcher ever awarded the MVP award in the Arizona Fall League. He deserved it, too, after racking up 49 strikeouts in just 29 innings pitched. Did I mention he went 5-0 with a 0.63 ERA? Yeah, I knew you'd like that. Oh, and the players out there all started calling him "Jesus." Now you're excited about him, aren't you? Well, I don't think you'll have to wait for 2010 to see him in Atlanta. Although he isn't figured to break camp with the big league team, I'm pretty sure we'll see him up by the end of the season. Let's just hope it's not because our rotation has decided to visit the DL like last year!
Ranking right behind Hanson is Jason Heyward. Heyward has become a household name for Braves fans as well, which is perhaps the result of an offseason full of worry about our outfield. I know we all wish Heyward was ready to make his appearance at the Big Show, but I'm afraid we'll have to wait another season. Heyward spent 120 games at Rome (A) last year and 7 at Myrtle Beach. He sported a solid .323/.388/.483 while at Rome. He didn't see as much success at Myrtle Beach, but he only made 22 plate appearances. All signs point to him continuing to mature on the minor league level this year before debuting in the Big Show next season. It's been awhile since we've had a much-anticipated, young outfielder. Let's hope this one is more like Andruw Jones was his first few seasons than Jeff Francoeur.
Other Braves making the list were outfielders Jordan Schafer (#42, down from #25 last year) and Gorkys Hernandez (up to #62 from #92 last year), and first baseman Freddie Freeman (#87), whose .521 slugging percentage at Rome last year was second-best in the South Atlantic League.
In other news, you should all be planning a sick day, or at least setting your DVR, for the Braves vs. Astros match-up on ESPN on Thursday. Need more incentive than the fact that it's the first televised spring game for the Braves? Alright, I'll give it to you: Tommy Hanson is scheduled to follow Campillo's start. Tune in and savor the future folks, 'cause it's bright!