March 23, 2013; Dunedin, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin (71) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rundown: Braves Top Prospects / mid-season 2013 (#15-11)


Last week, our own Alan Carpenter began the countdown from 20 to 1, looking at prospects 20 through 16 of our next generation of Atlanta Braves – the best prospects, as we see them.  As Alan noted last week, we hope you’ll keep in mind that these rankings are fluid, and our list is by no means set in concrete.  As Alan noted, these are the players we see a great deal of potential in right now.  The list is always subject to change, and we may be able to provide data and information on some players more so than others.  What we hope to present though is a good snapshot of the potential we see in these players at this point in time.  We have used, as our sources, expert reviews from a variety of analysts, stats, as well as our own eye tests for this list.

At the end of our 20-1 countdown, we’ll also be taking a look at 10 or so more who didn’t quite make our top 20 list, but who we think you need to keep your eye on.  Okay, with all that said, let’s proceed with our 2nd feature in the countdown, and take a look at the Braves’ Top Prospects from 15 through 11….

 

15.  Gus Schlosser

  • Birthdate:  October 20, 1988 (age 24)
  • 6’4″, 215 lbs.
  • Pitcher (RHP – Starter, but can do relief work)
  • 3rd year minor leaguer
  • 17th round pick, 2011 (Florida Southern, Lakeland, FL; born in Sarasota, FL)
  • Throws Right; Bats Right
  • ETA to Majors:  2017 best guess

February 20, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Gus Schlosser (81) poses for a picture during photo day at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gus is a right handed pitcher for Double-A Mississippi, and is a pitcher who has continued to defy the scouts by pitching better than most of them thought he would.  In 2011, Gus moved from rookie ball in Danville, where he pitched a mere 5 innings in two games, to LoA in Rome where he was stretched as a reliever in 21 games posting an ERA of just 1.82 before another promotion to HiA in Lynchburg.  Back to a starter role there, Schlosser struggled a touch more, but still went 13-7 with a very respectable 3.38 ERA in 27 games started.  Promoted once again in 2013 to Double-A Mississippi, Gus has so far gone 6-4 with a 2.37 ERA.

Gus can be streaky at times, and has trouble against left-handed batters, but he throws on average from 91-93 mph, has a pretty good fastball and curve, and tends to get a pretty good amount of hitters to ground out.  He still has quite a bit of development to go, particularly against lefties, but has moved up pretty fast and should be a pitcher on the future radar for the Atlanta Braves.

Best case scenario with Atlanta:  It all depends on how well Gus develops his control with lefties.  If he can get a handle on that, with the speed of development he’s had in other areas, you might see Gus move up to Gwinnett soon.  It’s anyone’s guess though at this point, and I’m certainly not a professional scout.  I would not personally see him moving, even to Triple-A without first having better control against the lefty.  Jury is out.

 

14.  Sean Gilmartin

  • Birthdate:  May 8, 1990 (age 23)
  • 6’2″, 190 lbs.
  • Pitcher (LHP – Starter)
  • 3rd year as a pro
  • 31st round pick 2008 San Diego Padres (Did Not Sign), 1st round pick 2011 Atlanta Braves. (Florida St., born Moorpark, CA)
  • Throws Left; bats Left
  • Currently assigned:  Rome Braves, Low-A South Atlantic League
  • ETA to Majors:  Not much projection, but possibly 2015

February 20, 2013; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Gilmartin (71) poses for a picture during photo day at Disney Wide World of Sports complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You won’t be blown away watching Gilmartin pitch, and despite early projections of a quick move to the majors, Gilmartin has arguably regressed some.  That said, scouts say that he has a good feel for pitching with a solid four pitch repertoire to work with.  Gilmartin is adept at pitching to contact, and has been pretty good at spot command to both sides of the plate.  Gilmartin has just an average fastball, but has good finesse pitches with a good slider and an above average changeup.  Gilmartin is not currently much more than a #3 or #4 type starter, but that could change given enough time to develop the tools he already has.  In 2012, Sean was ranked Best Control in the Southern League, and control can always take you far, excellent fastball or not.

Best case scenario with Atlanta: Sean has battled shoulder tendinitis this year, and as a result has been assigned to the lower minors some, and been on the DL.  Because of some health issues, we haven’t always seen the same Gilmartin that scouts have grown accustomed to, but Sean is still an effective pitcher with some interesting tools who appears to be progressing, minus a few setbacks, fairly on track.   His earliest projection of 2014 may not materialize because of his struggles this year, but he could still turn that around and get back on a more clearly projected track.

As I indicated, Gilmartin has battled some injuries, so it’s hard to immediately say he won’t track to a 2014 start in the majors at some point, but it’s unlikely.  The shoulder problems don’t appear to be serious, and with looming questions about the Atlanta Braves’ current rotation, Sean could see a callup in 2014, but I don’t personally think we’ll see him, at best, until 2015.

 

13.  Carlos Salazar

  • Birthdate:  November 23, 1994 (age 18)
  • 6’2″, 205 lbs.
  • Pitcher (RHP – Starter)
  • Rookie
  • 3rd round pick, 2013 (Kerman High School, Kerman, CA)
  • Throws Right; Bats Right
  • Currently assigned:  Rookie Ball, Braves, Gulf Coast League
  • ETA to Majors:  2018 best guess

Salazar is just getting a taste of rookie ball, and is currently sporting a 4.50 ERA in 1 start and 4 innings pitched.  Not an auspicious start to be sure, but not to worry.  Carlos is young, and has the kinds of tools that make scouts continue to want to see him and see how he develops.  Anytime a high school player throws the kind of heat Salazar does, scouts take notice, and Carlos can set the radar guns on fire, topping out at 97 mph!  On top of that he also has an above average breaking ball for one as young as he is.  Scouts say that he has good movement to the plate, but tends to fly open too much at times, causing pitches to sail high.  Control is currently Salazar’s biggest issue, but that can be normal for an 18 year old, and with continued work, his mechanics will likely improve over time for better command.

Projection for the future: It will be at least 2018 before we are likely to see the young heater throwing in the majors.  I am excited to see how well he develops though, because he has a great deal of potential.

 

12.  Luis Merejo

  • Birthdate:  October 8, 1994 (age 18)
  • 6’0″, 175 lbs.
  • Pitcher (LHP – Starter)
  • 2nd year Rookie
  • Signed as an International Free Agent, August 3, 2011 (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
  • Throws Left; Bats Left
  • Currently assigned:  Danville Braves, Appalachian League
  • ETA to Majors:  2017

Luis is currently listed as being on the 60 day DL, so there haven’t been nearly as many opportunities to see him as scouts would like, but what they have seen already has impressed.  Merejo didn’t produce a ton of buzz, but showing considerable prowess at such a young age, he’s turned out to be a bargain and a great prospect for the future.  Although Luis is not very big, he has an affinity for throwing strikes, and a great feel for how to pitch in one so young.  He has a great fastball, a good curve, and even his changeup is developing into a good tool in his bag of tricks.  He’s still working on mechanics, and trying to develop a better mix of pitches, but clearly has good tools early on.

Projection for the future: Even at such a young age, and though I would recommend caution as I always do when thinking about bringing up a pitcher too quickly, there is a possibility we could see Merejo as early as 2017.  He has the tools to move through the system quickly, so we should all keep our eye on the young International player.

 

11. Victor Caratini

  • Birthdate:  August 17, 1993 (age 19)
  • 6’1″, 205 lbs.
  • Catcher by trade, but been used primarily at 3rd base recently
  • Rookie
  • 2nd round pick, 2013 (Miami Dade South CC, Miami FL; born Coamo, Peurto Rico)
  • Throws Right; Bats Right
  • Currently assigned:  Danville Braves, Appalachian League
  • ETA to Majors: 2017

Caratini came out of the Peurto Rico Baseball Academy, and is the only position player we look at in our countdown from prospects numbered 15 to 11.  Caratini is a switch hitter, and a good one, and that fact alone makes him the kind of player that stays on scout radar, assuming that player can hit.  Caratini can!  Scouts report that Caratini isn’t a hitter prone for power or the long ball, but a hitter who squares up on a pitch well for contact.  He is a catcher by trade, and could well have an opportunity in that role somewhere down the line.  For now, he is being used primarily at 3B.  His versatility as a player has helped them there, and he is developing into a Prado like player that can play multiple positions as needed.

Projection for the future: Caratini is a good hitter, and with his ability to hit for contact, play multiple positions, and with good baseball instincts, he could move up through the minor league system quickly.  It’s hard to say where he might fit going forward, but with his versality, I’ve no doubt the Braves will find a good spot for him in the future.  He’s a multi-position player and hitter every fan should keep an eye on.

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Player bio information and stats from both fangraphs.com and baseball-reference.com, plus the minor league affiliate sites.  Draft information from baseballamerica.com.  Photos from various uncopyrighted internet sources, except as noted.

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