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NL East Prospects Rated


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Saw this and figured would toss it out there to look over. I put it over here since it is for all the NL east.



Braves litter NL East top prospect list

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Dayn Perry / Special to FOXSports.com

Posted: 1 day ago


This week, we'll continue focusing on division races of another kind ? the top ten prospects in each of MLB's six divisions.


This time up, it's the top ten NL East prospects. Just a reminder: Prospects who have already exhausted their major league rookie status aren't being considered for inclusion (so no Ryan Howard or Kyle Davies this week) ...



1. Jeremy Hermida, OF, Marlins

Age: 21

Acquired: 1st round, 2002, Wheeler HS (Marietta, GA)


Hermida in the lower rungs of the minors showed an outstanding command of the strike zone and an ability to hit for average. However, the power just wasn't there. His body type and swing mechanics led many observers to believe the power would come once he matured. Well, the power has come.


This year, Hermida, in his first taste of the high minors, is hitting .304 AVG/.467 OBP/.534 SLG with 94 walks and 41 extra-base hits on the season. That's a tremendous level of production for a 21-year-old in Double-A. At this juncture, he looks like a future MVP candidate at the highest level. Hermida's emerged as one of the handful of best prospects in the game.


2. Andy Marte, 3B, Braves

Age: 21

Acquired: Non-drafted free agent, 2000, Dominican Republic


Marte has impressive raw power, strong plate discipline and Gold Glove-caliber defense at third. He's hit at every level above rookie ball, despite being younger than his peer group at each stop. In 2004, Marte smacked 23 homers for AA-Greenville despite missing a month with an ankle injury. This year, at AAA-Richmond he's averaged an extra-base hit every 8 at-bats even though he's still only 21 years of age. He'll be in Atlanta for good by September at the latest.


3. Jeff Francoeur, OF, Braves

Age: 21

Acquired: 1st round, 2002, Parkview HS (Liburn, GA)


Francoeur boasts exceptional tools: an ability to hit for average, tremendous power, speed on the bases, range in the outfield and a powerful throwing arm. He had a breakout season in 2004, when he slugged .508 despite playing half his games at High-A Myrtle Beach, probably the toughest hitter's park in pro baseball. This season, he held his own at AA-Mississippi and is off to an exceptionally hot start since being called up to Atlanta. Francoeur needs to improve his walk rates, but otherwise he looks like a future star.


4. Lastings Milledge, OF, Mets

Age: 20

Acquired: 1st round, 2003, Lakewood Ranch HS (Palmetto, FL)


Exhale, Met fans; Milledge didn't get traded at the deadline. The 12th overall pick of the '03 draft busted out last season with a .337 AVG/.399 OBP/.579 SLG in the Sally League, and this year he's held his own in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League and at AA-Binghamton despite being younger than the competition. You'd like to see a bit more raw power out of him, but otherwise Milledge has tremendous baseball skills?great bat speed, tremendous defensive tools and speed on the bases. Expect him to hit Queens for good by mid 2006.


5. Brian McCann, C, Braves

Age: 21

Acquired: 2nd round, 2002, Duluth HS (Duluth, GA)


Waiting for the Braves' dynastic run to end? Don't hold your breath. McCann is another premium prospect in the Atlanta fold. McCann's calling card is his power, which is especially impressive by catcher standards. This season, McCann also made good strides with his plate discipline at AA-Mississippi before being called up to the bigs. In limited action in Atlanta this season, he's more than held his own. For the rest of this season, he'll likely back up Johnny Estrada, but his future is as a regular. McCann's offensive upside is somewhere in Javy Lopez territory.


6. Yusmeiro Petit, RHP, Mets

Age: 20

Acquired: Non-drafted free agent, 2001, Venezuela


Another premium Met prospect spared at the deadline ? Petit throws a good moving fastball, plus change and solid slider. He's fanned more than a batter per inning at every stop, and he's also shown exceptional control. This season, Petit has fanned 100 and walked only 16 in 94.2 innings at AA-Binghamton. If there's a source of concern, it's the spike in his home run rate he's seen this year. Overall, however, he looks like a future ace.


7. Chuck James, LHP, Braves

Age: 23

Acquired: 20th round, 2002, Chattahoochee Valley Community College


Talk about a breakout season. James last season posted good K rates and kept the ball in park, but he struggled with his control despite being older than his peer group at Low-A Rome. This season, however, James has harnessed his stuff and breezed through two levels. After a May promotion to AA-Mississippi, James has whiffed 96 batters and walked only 16 in 79.2 innings. To boot, he's also coughed up only four home runs. James' attitude has been questioned in the past, but his troubles seem far behind him.


8. Cole Hamels, LHP, Phillies

Age: 21

Acquired: 1st round, 2002, Rancho Bernardo HS (San Diego)


Hamels has hand a run of injuries in his young career and some off-the-field troubles, but his abilities on the mound are beyond reproach. Hamels' start to the 2005 season was delayed because of a broken hand he suffered in an off-season bar fight, but he's looked solid in limited action since returning. Right now, however, he's sidelined with a back injury. When healthy, Hamels comes at hitters with solid curve and fastball and one of the best changeups in all the minors. He occasionally struggles with his control, but most impressive is that he's fanned 208 batters and given only one homer in 152 career innings. He needs to prove he can stay healthy, and if he does that he'll achieve great things.



9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Braves

Age: 20

Acquired: 1st round, 2003, Royal Palm Beach HS (Palm Beach, FL)


Another Braves prospect? Yep. Some in the organization think that Saltalamacchia and not Brian McCann is the catcher of the future in Atlanta. He earns praise for his catching instincts and mobility behind the plate, and this season his bat has come around. As mentioned, Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League is one of the toughest hitter's parks around. In spite of that tough environment, Saltalamacchia is putting up a batting line of .320 AVG/.392 OBP/.531 SLG. We'll need to see what he does in the high minors, but his performance this season is highly encouraging.


10. Gaby Hernandez, P, Mets Age: 19

Acquired: 3rd round, 2004, Belen Jesuit HS (Miami)


Last season, Hernandez claimed the ERA title in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and this year he blew away the Sally League before earning a July promotion to High-A St. Lucie. He boasts a hard sinker and biting curve. If he's able to stay healthy and cultivate his off-speed stuff, he could be a special one.


NL East system rankings


1. Braves

2. Mets

3. Marlins

4. Phillies

5. Nationals


Dayn Perry is a frequent FOXSports.com contributor.




I dont think Olsen, Vargas count as they are in the majors right now. Nice to see Hermida number 1 of course

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The Braves keep bringing up talent. I'm not saying to stop drafting pitchers, but I think there needs to be a little bit more emphasis on drafting position players too...All the kids the Braves have at their disposal reaffirms my belief in getting an everyday player a little bit more often in the draft...

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Guest Fritz

The Braves keep bringing up talent. I'm not saying to stop drafting pitchers, but I think there needs to be a little bit more emphasis on drafting position players too...All the kids the Braves have at their disposal reaffirms my belief in getting an everyday player a little bit more often in the draft...


That's what Latin scouting is for.

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