Saturday, February 24, 2007

New Location

Baby Braves has moved over to MVN. Please come check it out and see the new features that will be introduced for the 2007 season.

Here is the link: Baby Braves at MVN

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Scott Thorman community project at Minor League Ball

Just thought I would direct your attention to a relevant piece over at John Sickel's site,

Scott Thorman Community Projection

For what it's worth, I'd say that Thorman will have a similar career path to Adam LaRoche. LaRoche was surprisingly given the starting job, at least against right-handers, in 2004 after a solid 2003 in both Greenville and Richmond. Scott Thorman had an all-star season in Richmond last year and looks to be given the same job Adam did in '04. Craig Wilson may serve as the "Julio Franco" to Thorman while he develops into a full-time player.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Major league and minor league swap

The Braves and Pirates finally completed the on again, off again LaRoche for Gonzalez deal but the surrounding players were somewhat surprising. It was widely believed that Schuerholz was holding out for a second quality player in the deal. A few of the names included Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny, and Chris Duffy. It seems they finally came to an agreement which sent one of the Pirates top prospects, Brent Lillibridge, to Atlanta for a marginal prospect in Jamie Romak.

Since this is a minor league blog I'll cover the minor leaguers involved more than LaRoche and Gonzalez since every other site will have their opinions on those players.

Brent Lillibridge was drafted out of Washington University in 2005 and has been rated as the third best prospect in the Pirates organization by John Sickels.

Strengths: He hit over .300 with an OBP over .400 last year in low-A and high-A, his speed is very good with 53 steals last year, he works the count well as seen with his 87 walks, his defense has been said to be even better than his offense, and being a college player he should advance through the system quickly.

Weaknesses: His power took a somewhat significant hit upon his promotion to high-A. He hit 11 of his 13 home runs in low-A. He has been slightly older than his competition at every level thus far. Other than that he really doesn't have any other weaknesses right now.

Follow this link to see what John Sickels has to say about Lillibridge in his 2007 prospect book: Book Excerpts

Now on to Jamie Romak, whom the Braves gave up along with LaRoche in exchange for Gonzalez and Lillibridge.

Jamie hasn't gotten much attention as a prospect but is still young (20 years old) and has some power potential. He is sometimes considered a "moneyball" player because he hits for low averages with high OBP's and has power. Last year in Rome he hit .247 with 16 homers and a .369 OBP. He also struck out 102 times to go with his 59 walks. And that's only in 348 at-bats so he needs to cut down on the k's.

Obviously the Braves like Lillibridge a lot because they took the difference between Lillibridge and Romak when they have been wanting major league contributors. The Braves are probably thinking that Lillibridge is pretty close to the majors, given his age while the Pirates are getting the slugger they have been coveting and a young power bat in the minors.

I don't feel comfortable declaring a win for either side in this deal. It seems that both sides are pretty happy with it for the most part and a lot if it depends on a couple of guys in the low minors.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Baseball America Releases Their Top 10

This is it:

1.Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c
2.Elvis Andrus, ss
3.Matt Harrison, lhp
4.Brandon Jones, of
5.Van Pope, 3b
6.Eric Campbell, 3b
7.Scott Thorman, 1b/of
8.Jo-Jo Reyes, lhp
9.Joey Devine, rhp
10.Yunel Escobar, inf

There are really no surprises on this list except for Van Pope at #5. The rest of the guys round up most of the well known Atlanta prospects. Van Pope is surprising not because I don't think he should be there (that's exactly where I would have him on my list), but because he is ahead of players such as Campbell, Devine, and Escobar who are much more hyped. Eric Campbell thought of by some people as the #1 prospect in the Braves organization and yet here he is one spot below Van Pope. The article does not give any reasons for the rankings but they do list Pope with the best infield defense and arm which adds to his value.

We also see yet another list with Yunel Escobar as the 10th best prospect. I guess people are scared away by his age and lack of development time but others seem to really like him. If I had to choose I would agree with those who list him as #10 although his sophomore slump could be attributed to his first full season of professional baseball in America.

There are a lot of tools at the top of the list with Elvis Andrus 2nd and Brandon Jones 4th. Brandon Jones is once again listed as the top athlete in the system and Andrus would lead the list of those with greatest potential if there was such a list. Andrus played much of 2006 in single-A as a 17 year-old with mixed results but obviously has immense untapped potential.

The fact that there are 2 starters and only 3 pitchers on this list further emphasizes the shortage of upper level arms in the system. Harrison is a well liked prospect but he doesn't have much star potential. The good news is that our crop of young arms in the low minors is more promising than ever.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone and may 2007 be a better year for Atlanta than 2006.

Also, please check out the prospect profiles as I will be periodically updating them with full stats from the 2006 season with updated projections. I will also be replacing Chuck James, Scott Thorman, and Matt Wright so let me know who you want to see on the list.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Another Top 10 List

Here is yet another top ten list for your viewing pleasure. I'll list the top ten but you can click here to see the write-up on each of the players.

1. Elvis Andrus
2. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
3. Eric Campbell
4. Matt Harrison
5. Brandon Jones
6. Joey Devine
7. Anthony Lerew
8. Jeff Locke
9. Chase Fontaine
10. Yunel Escobar

The top three prospects are the same as usual but he obviously went for potential over performance with Andrus as the #1 prospect.

Jeffrey Locke, just drafted this year, seems to be getting a lot of good reviews from people. He could very well turn out to be the best pitcher from that draft.

He is not high on Yunel Escobar and neither am I, however, his great fall league showing at least provides a glimmer of hope.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Schuerholz finally makes a deal

I know this is a minor league blog but I wanted to chime in on the Braves first trade this offseason. Count me as one who loves the Ramirez for Soriano swap. Both seem to be somewhat of an injury risk but Soriano could provide so much more value in Atlanta than Ramirez can. Soriano is automatically the official setup man and could close in a pinch if needed. His numbers last year before he got hurt were excellent.

Because of that deal, the Braves backed out of the LaRoche for Mike Gonzalez deal. That makes sense even though the additions of both Soriano and Gonzalez would have given the Braves not just a good bullpen but a great one. LaRoche could fetch a different position of need now that we have Soriano. Starting pitcher and left field or leadoff comes to mind. Giles or maybe even Davies could be added to sweeten the pot so the Braves can land who they want.

Good News

The Rule V Draft is complete and Sean White was the only Braves player selected. He was taken by the Pirates with the 4th overall pick. White must remain on the Pirates major league roster for the entire season or he can be sold back to Atlanta for half of the purchase price, which was $50,000.

The good news is that Dan Smith is safe for now. I really think he can help our bullpen in the future because he is left-handed and puts up huge strikeout totals. He was successful in AA last year and is 23 so he could move fast.

In other Rule V news, Josh Hamilton was selected by the Cubs and traded to the Reds. This is very interesting because Hamilton was a huge prospect before injuries and drugs led to his demise. He came back and played last year for the first time since 2002 but it was only at low-A ball. It would be an amazing story if he stuck with the Reds the entire year.
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