The New Top Ten is Out
Only three players from last year's list remain on this year's list. Two of those are at the top, Marte and Salty. Of the seven players no longer on the list, five of them are in the majors and two of them (Luis Hernandez and Jake Stevens) have dropped off the list. Stevens is still just 20 years old and can rebound this year to regain his top prospect status. Hernandez is going to need much more help to get back on the prospect radar.
Now on to the new guys. The future of shortstop looks bright with Andrus and Escobar. However, it would have been nice if they could have been ready for next season but they are both still at least a year away. Andrus is just 18 years old I believe but has dominated older players at the rookie level. Escobar, as you might recall, was just drafted this past year. There was some speculation as to what his age really was. He is probably in the 21-24 range which makes him old for a draft pick but he could be ready soon.
Eric Campbell, another high draft pick, has shown some real power potential at third base. Brandon Jones bursted on to the scene out of nowhere this year to claim top ten status.
I am slightly concerned about the lack of a big name starting pitcher prospect which is something the Braves have had every year during their reign. Lerew is the top pitcher in the system according to Baseball America and he really only projects as a bullpen pitcher for Atlanta this year with a chance to earn a rotation spot in the future. However, those concerns can be alleviated by the fact that the Braves still have Davies who is not officially a prospect anymore but has a very bright future. Also, one could argue that Chuck James is the top pitching prospect in the system. He breezed through all levels last year and really has nothing left to prove in the minors. The rest of the Braves system is full of young arms with which we don't know what to expect out of yet. Beau Jones is a great example. He looks great right now but nobody knows if he will take the path of Chuck James or Macay McBride.
Don't expect the Braves to deplete this list like they did last year. All of the rookies they brought up last year should be able to hold down the fort and let these guys develop. However, out of this top ten, I would look for Marte, Lerew, and James to make real contributions in 2006 for Atlanta.