There are some prospect people that don't like ranking prospects, but I feel it's a good exercise to show how the different players at different levels stack up against each other. I took an initial crack at the rankings last October, and I think as I get to know the Braves system better I'm becoming better able to judge the different players. But that judgment still comes with a disclaimer (or perhaps a caveat) that I'm not in a position to "scout" players like people at other prospect outlets are. Much of what goes into my rankings comes from reading what those folks write about the various prospects, while other factors considered are stats from month to month and progress through the system. I also rely somewhat on how far away the players are from the majors as a factor when deciding where to rank the players.
I'm using the Talking Chop 2007 Top-25 Prospects list that is on the left sidebar of the site, which was a compilation of the lists of several Talking Chop readers, as a starting point. Off the list because he is no longer a rookie is Scott Thorman (formerly #12). Also off the list because I am going to assume that they will play enough games this year to lose their rookie status are Jarrod Saltalamacchia (formerly #1) and Yunel Escobar (formerly #7).
- Matt Harrison, LHP - Best of the bunch of starting lefties coming along.
- Eric Campbell, 3B - Injuries may have set him back a year, but when healthy he's on a solid path to the bigs.
- Jo-Jo Reyes, LHP - Adding the change-ups this year and solving the control issues have skyrocketed his stock; he may be on the cusp of making the majors. (Yes, I wrote that a couple of weeks ago.)
- Kala Ka'aihue, 1B - Early struggles are behind him and he's looking ready for promotion to double-A.
- Joey Devine, RHP - It looks like he's finally figured it out and will be a major part of the Atlanta pen next year.
- Brandon Jones, OF - This year he's healthy and his bat is silencing the critics. If he keeps up his production, he may be near the top of the list to replace another Jones in the Braves outfield next year.
- Brent Lillibridge, SS - His numbers aren't as eye-popping as they were last year, but he will be a solid major-leaguer soon.
- Cody Johnson, OF - Injury-free we're about to see what last year's first round pick can do.
- Dan Smith, LHP - The first of the three Mississippi lefties to reach Richmond, he struggled at first, but with his stuff he'll figure it out.
- Elvis Andrus, SS - Hype, hype, and more hype; maybe it's the name Elvis. He's still only 18, but I want to see results before he moves further up my list.
- Jason Heyward, OF - Can he be all he's cracked up to be? Once he signs, the GCL is about to find out.
- Tommy Hanson, RHP - A strikeout pitcher who gets results - something this system needs more of.
- Jamie Richmond, RHP - He struggled the first month of the season, but he's rebounded to be one of the best in the system.
- Neftali Feliz, RHP - Raw talent will attempt to be tapped in Rookie ball.
- Will Startup, LHP - This lefty reliever is ready for Atlanta.
- Chad Rogers, LHP - Perhaps the best of the bunch of starters from last year's draft thus far.
- Matt Esquivel, OF - His off the field problems behind him, he's found his stroke and in a system devoid of power hitters could work his way up the ladder quickly.
- Kris Medlen, RHP - The JuCo reliever is getting it done big time at Rome.
- Jeff Locke, LHP - Hey look, another talented lefty starter in the Braves system.
- Manny Acosta, RHP - His control problems appear to be straightened out and a call from Atlanta may be soon, aided by the fact that he's on the 40-man roster.
- Kevin Gunderson, LHP - Having a solid season as the Pelicans co-closer.
- Eric Cordier, RHP - He's out all year after TJ, but when he returns he will only add to the depth the Braves have at starting pitcher.
- Moises Hernandez, RHP - He's still a little wild, but he gets results.
- Chase Fontaine, 2B - Early struggles have ended and he's starting to rip. Still searching for a position.
- Deunte Heath, RHP - He's getting noticed in a system rich with starting talent where it's hard to get noticed.
People that I pushed off the list due to lack of "star" prospect status are Anthony Lerew (#13), because I feel he's outlived his prospect status, Van Pope (#11) who I was never really high on. Lesser prospects off the list are Martin Prado (#20), Zach Schreiber (#21), Cory Rasmus (#24), and Steve Evarts (#25). The last two guys, Rasmus and Evarts, are probably my numbers 26 and 27, but neither has yet to pitch this year, though I'm still trying to figure out why.