I criticized the Gilmartin draft pick immediately when it happened because I saw no reason for a team with a glut of near major league ready pitching prospects to take a college arm that would zip through the system. Well, his performance hasn't warranted me to be irritated at him, but the point still remains: he's going to go through the system ridiculously fast. The 21 year-old threw two innings in the GCL before the Braves moved him up to Rome, where he threw 23 innings, struck out 30, and walked....two. In the AFL, he struck out 26 and walked eight. One negative about Gilmartin's pro debut: he allowed three homers in Rome, and five in the AFL. He's going to move very fast, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him start 2012 in Mississippi. Remember Mike Minor (another college arm) and his tour to the majors....14 innings in Rome after getting drafted, going right to Mississippi in 2010, and being with Gwinnett and Atlanta later that season, the year after he was drafted. Yeah, I wouldn't be shocked to see Gilmartin on the same track.
4. Edward Salcedo
I still believe in Salcedo. Salcedo is another guy who a lot of bloggers are abandoning ship on, despite the fact that he played most of 2011 as a 19 year old. He spent the whole year with Rome, and there were positives and negatives to his game. We'll start with the negatives: his defense was positively atrocious and will definitely require a positional change, and...well, that's really it considering that he's still a raw kid. He hit .248/.313/.396, showing decent power (.148 ISO) and OK plate discipline (41 walks, 105 strikeouts). There are still a lot of holes in his game, but the now 20 year-old will start the year in Lynchburg, with another year in America under his belt and a couple of less excuses for his performance. I think he can break out in a big way this season.
3. Randall Delgado
The freshly minted 22 year-old Delgado reached the show in 2011, and held his own despite some ugly peripherals. Despite a 2.83 ERA in seven starts, Delgado walked 14 while striking out 18 in 35 innings, two numbers that will need to change for him to retain success at the major league level. He also allowed five homers in 35 innings, another number that's way too high. Delgado got just four starts at Gwinnett before getting called up to the majors, but did have 21 for Mississippi, where he struck out 110 in 117 innings. Delgado will start the year in Gwinnett with the majors just an injury away, but he's still got a lot to work on, specifically his control. 71 walks over 174 innings in three levels is too many, and Delgado needs to harness his pitches just a little better in order for sustained success in the majors.
2. Arodys Vizcaino
Vizcaino started the year in Lynchburg's rotation, and ended it in Atlanta's bullpen. He threw a total of 114 innings over the season, both starting and relieving, and struck out 117 while walking just 27. Atlanta needs to figure out what they want to do with Vizcaino. He could potentially be a dominant reliever or a top-line starter, but with Atlanta's glut of starting pitching right now, he could immediately contribute in the bullpen right now. At the same time, you don't want to tie him into the bullpen long-term if you think he can be a better starter, much like has happened with Neftali Feliz (until the Rangers finally decided to make him a full-time starter this year) and Jonathan Papelbon.
1. Julio Teheran
Teheran was the best pitcher in the organization, and one of the best in all of minor league baseball, in 2011, and he did it all as a 20 year-old. For Gwinnett, Teheran went 15-3 in 25 starts (145 innings), striking out 122 and walking 48 while allowing just five homers. His success didn't translate too well to the major league level, where Teheran struck out ten and walked eight in 20 innings in the majors. He could probably still use a little bit of time in Gwinnett to refine his game, but he's pretty damn close to being major league ready. With the Braves major league rotation set in stone right now, it wouldn't be bad to sent him down to Gwinnett to perfect his craft, but putting him (or Delgado for that matter) in the major league bullpen would be a colossal mistake.