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Sickels' Prospect List is Out

Fellow SBN Blogger John Sickels over at Minor League Ball has released his 2007 pre-season top 20 Braves prospects. Here is his list, probably the last one we?ll get before January when Baseball America?s comes out:

  1. Eric Campbell, 3B, Grade B+  (I really like his bat)
  2. Elvis Andrus, SS, Grade B+  (I really like his birthday, lots of development potential)
  3. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Grade B (I am more worried about reports of excess weight gain and defensive problems in the Arizona Fall League more than his erratic regular season)
  4. Matt Harrison, LHP, B
  5. Brandon Jones, OF, B
  6. Joey Devine, RHP, B (he has been handled poorly but still has a good arm)
  7. Yunel Escobar, SS, B  (you can read the comment I wrote below)
  8. Jamie Richmond, RHP, B (an aggressive grade but the numbers are great and my intuition likes him)
  9. Scott Thorman, OF-1B, B- (below 150 at-bats so he goes in the book)
  10. Chase Fontaine, SS, B-
  11. Anthony Lerew, RHP, C+
  12. Jo-Jo Reyes, LHP, C+  (nice rebound season but slumped down the stretch)
  13. Neftali Perez, RHP, C+  (terrific arm but a long way from the majors)
  14. Kevin Gunderson, LHP, C+
  15. Kala Kaaihue, 1B, C+ (sleeper bat, watch this guy)
  16. Kris Medlen, RHP, C+
  17. Jeff Locke, LHP, C+
  18. Cory Rasmus, RHP, C+
  19. Steve Evarts, LHP, C+
  20. Tommy Hanson, RHP,C+
This is another very interesting list. Again we get another number one, Eric Campbell. Salty drops all the way to three, and Andrus is given almost equal grading as Campbell. We once again see the inclusion of Neftali Perez, but this time at a more reasonable number 13. I especially like the inclusions of Kala and Gundy, as well as the listing of Medlen and Hanson ? makes me glad I listed them on my list. I?m also glad he listed Richmond so high at number eight.

The one obvious omission is Van Pope, who he does admit will probably make the list down the road. The other telling indicator that shows the rather bleak state of our system is that there are no players with ?A? grades. It is reassuring to see ten grades in the ?B? range, with the rest being ?C+?.

Of course if you would like to read more of what Sickels writes, you should buy his book, something I plan on doing so after the holidays.

Here is an excerpt from his book about Yunel Escobar:

As for Yunel Escobar, I had asked Kevin Goldstein over at BP to tell me why he didn?t include him in his top-10 and he had this to say, ?Escobar was my #11. He had a tough year and the fact that they tried him at other positions was a big red flag for me.? I also asked him about a Talking Chop fave, Kala Ka?aihue, and he responded with this, ?Kala for me was just a big minor league slugger who really hasn't proven much of anything to anyone. Obviously, his bat has to carry him, and nobody will be convinced until he can mash at Double-A and above.? Thanks to KG for answering some questions and shedding some light on a few more Braves prospects.

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