Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reviewing My 2015 Top 30 Prospects (Part 1 of 3)

Recently, I released the first ten players who made this year's Walk-Off Walk Top 50 Prospects. Of course, the Braves followed by adding two more prospects to the mix, but I forgive them. As I originally said about my prospect list, releasing these lists is a mix of talent, results, and hope. The hope comes in big when you look back at a list in a few years. Projection is one thing, but can they take the next step?

With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to look back at a prospect list. In 2015, I released a Top 30 in a similar ten prospects at a time method that I am doing this year. Let's take a look at the 2015's #21-30 prospects as graded and ranked by yours truly. Hope I did well.

30. Victor Reyes, OF, Grade: C....One of the last big international splurges for the Frank Wren era, Reyes is a switch-hitter who would be traded less than a month after I released the list to the Diamondbacks. In exchange, the Braves took on most of Trevor Cahill's salary. They also received the #75th overall pick of the 2015 draft, which was used to draft talented lefty A.J. Minter. Reyes has been productive since the trade, hitting a comebined .307 over the last two years. However, the power projections have yet to happen for the 22 year-old, who had a .113 ISO in the hitter-friendly California League last year. Still, not a bad start to the list.

29. Wes Parsons, P, Grade: C....At the time, others ranked Parsons higher than me. He was coming off a 23-start campaign with Lynchburg in which he struggled with a 5.02 ERA. None of us, however, could foresee the troubles Parsons would have the next two years due to injuries, which have limited him to 86.1 innings. Parsons still made my 2016 Top 50, but didn't make this year's list as he tries to jumpstart his career this spring.

28. Max Povse, P, Grade: C....In March of 2015, I called Povse "a sleeper in this system" and said "I like his chances a lot." Well, he turned into that sleeper with back-to-back productive seasons where he displayed great control, a tendency to induce many groundballs, and the ability to be a workhorse. In November, he was dealt to the Mariners in the Alex Jackson deal.

27. Shae Simmons, P, Grade: C....When I ranked him in March of 2015, he had just been given the news that he was destined for Tommy John surgery. It took him well over a year to get back to the Braves. Recently, he was sent packing to the Mariners to join Povse.

By Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA [CC BY 2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
26. Williams Perez, P, Grade: C....The Braves liked Perez probably more than they should have. Surprisingly kept over a bigger prospect like J.R. Graham, Perez was a groundball artist who relied on location. In Atlanta, the location was often not as spot-on as it had to be. A month ago, he was released on the final day of the winter meetings so the Braves could open up a 40-man roster spot and draft Armando Rivero in the Rule 5 draft. He's been on the market ever since.

25. Tanner Murphy, C, Grade: C....At the time, Murphy was receiving some high marks for his defense and on-base skills. I was quickly a fan, but his bat has become an even bigger liability and his defense has received some poor reports since 2014. Like Parsons, Murphy made my Top 50 last year, but fell off this year.

24. Dilmer Mejia, P, Grade: C....Before the Braves began to acquire every left-handed pitching prospect on the planet, Mejia was a hyped teenager in rookie ball who looked like he might be a force to reckon with. Injuries have sapped some of the hype, but he still made my list this year at #48 and I believe he can once again surprise some people.

23. Cody Martin, P, Grade: C....A 7th rounder out of Gonzaga in 2011, Martin was a veterab of over 200 innings at the Triple-A level heading into 2015. The numbers were there, but the projections weren't. He would pitch in 21 games out of the Braves' bullpen in 2015, but was prone to gopher balls. In July, the Braves sent him to the A's for some international slots so that they could sign their prospects. Since then, he has spent most of his time in the Pacific Coast League with 34.2 innings in the bigs, spent mostly with the Mariners after Oakland waives him.

22. Andrew Thurman, P, Grade: C....Acquired in the Evan Gattis trade, Thurman got off to a wonderful start with Carolina in 2015. However, his season and his team's season would be marred by a bus crash. Thurman never seemed the same after that. Thurman's woeful pitching in 2016 removed any prospect luster from him and he was released last August. He has since signed with the Dodgers and will try to revive his career out west.

21. Johan Camargo, SS, Grade: C+....A plus defender, Camargo has made prospect lists based solely on his skill in the field. The switch-hitter continues to struggle to hit, though. With a career ISO under .100 and a .304 OBP at Mississippi last year, Camargo is a longshot to become a fixture in the majors. However, the Braves do like him and added him to the 40-man roster this winter.

Of the first ten prospects released for the 2015 Top 30, six are no longer in the organization. Of those remaining four, only one made my Top 50 this season. That's both a testament to the system's depth and the struggles prospects have had since the original ranking.

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