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5-who-took-a-hit | August | 2010 Articles

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5 Who Took a Hit

Written by Joe Lucia on .

I love my prospect lists...here's a look at 5 Braves prospects I ranked in the midseason top 40 who did nothing to help their cases for being in the offseason list with their second half performances. There were a few guys who could have made this list...I've picked 5 guys who just didn't deliver. There will be 2 more companion pieces to this: one detailing players on the list who did a lot to help themselves, and one detailing players not on the list who have played themselves into contention. Without any further ado, here's the list. Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg (offseason: 30. Midseason: 21). He broke his hand 5 games into the season and didn't finish his rehab assignment until the end of June. He played well after his return, and I moved him up the list...it would be a mistake. After the All-Star Break, RSF's hitting skills vanished. His line read .266/.322/.355 after the break, and the power he showed last season with Danville (.184 ISO) was totally gone (.089 ISO after the break). RSF was placed on the DL yesterday to effectively end his season. It was a huge step back for the 22 year old who was the Appy League MVP last season. Christian Bethancourt (offseason: 4. Midseason: 7). I had high hopes for Bethancourt in 2010 after a season that saw his bat begin to mature with the GCL and in Danville, with a .277/.342/.446 line as a 17 year old for the entire season. Panicking about Bethancourt's horrendous line (.256/.283/.335) would be silly, as he's still only 18 years old, playing in his first full season of organized baseball. But maybe expectations should be tempered a little bit. The first thing to work on would be his patience at the plate: he's walked 14 times in 393 at bats. That's just terrible. The power should mature as he ages, but the star has lost a little bit of its luster after this season in Rome. Zeke Spruill (offseason: 8. Midseason: 13). The 2008 draftee isn't as bad as his statline would indicate. He's got 40 strikeouts, 12 walks, and 3 homers allowed in 62 innings...that's good for a 3.11 FIP. His ERA? 5.52. In those 62 innings, Spruill has allowed a ghastly 81 hits (.315 BAA). When you compare the amount of hits he's allowed to those of teammate Brett Oberholtzer, you realize that its not the pitcher's fault...its the defense behind them. Both men are pitching great and getting screwed by balls in play. Despite his shoddy luck, I expected a little more from Zeke though...he missed 3 months after injuring himself 2 starts into the season, and there were questions about his maturity last season after a demotion to the GCL for 4 starts in the middle of the season. He's still a great prospect at only 20 years old, and we all know he can produce with a capable defense behind him. Brett DeVall (offseason: 15. Midseason: 26). Its becoming more and more apparent to me that DeVall may just be snakebitten, and just might not have fate on his side. After his season ended after only 53 2/3 innings last season, he made it through 106 2/3 innings this year before his elbow injury flared up again. DeVall didn't get Tommy John as rumored last season, and the procedure he did get done apparently didn't do the job correctly...he's looking TJ in the face yet again. The former supplemental pick in 2008 has thrown 170 innings in his professional career, and has been...adequate. The 9 homers he's allowed is an excellent rate, while the 119 to 44 strikeout to walk ratio is good, but not excellent. Put it all together, and you get a 3.26 FIP...and 2 season ending injuries in 3 years. I'm hesitant to put a lot of faith in him until he can get through an entire season without getting hurt. Jesus Sucre (offseason: NR. Midseason: 32). Straight up? I made a mistake putting him on the list. I needed some filler. He started hot once being promoted to Mississippi in the middle of the season, and has struggled with the bat since. In 82 at bats since the All-Star Break, he's got a .598 OPS and hasn't walked once. He's only a 22 year old in AA, so there may be some room for a little improvement, but overall...he's not even in the top 3 catchers in the minors for the organization right now. Companion piece 2 will be up in a couple of hours...that one will be 5 guys on the list who IMPROVED their stock. A rare piece of positivity from me!

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