Two Atlanta Braves prospects have been ranked in the top 10 in their respective positions on mlb.com for the 2012 season. Julio Teheran was ranked the best right-handed pitcher, and Andrelton Simmons was ranked the ninth best shortstop prospect.
Teheran, who will be a scant 21-years-old on Opening Day, made his Major League debut last May with two starts and made another start and two relief appearances in September. Though he started a little sluggish and found himself with a 5.03 ERA, Teheran went from two strikeouts through his first 8 2/3 innings to eight strikeouts over his final 11 innings pitched. He spent most of his time at Triple-A Gwinnett last year, where he went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA while holding opponents to a .232 batting average.
Teheran commands all three of his pitches – the standard fastball, curveball and change-up combination – very well. He only walked three batters per nine innings last year in the minors. With the numbers he has put up in the minors so far, scouts are drooling over what he could do in his prime. Depending on what happens in the Jair Jurrjens trade saga, Teheran will probably spend more time in Atlanta in 2012.
Simmons, who spent his first full minor league season at High-A Lynchburg, is considered one of the best defensive shortstops in the minors. With excellent range and a powerful arm, the Curacao native reportedly hit 98 miles per hour pitching in junior college. Though he has only hit 3 homers in a season and a half of professional baseball, he hit 35 doubles last season with a .311 average. He also rarely strikes out and is willing to take a walk.
Add a base stealing threat to the tune of 26 swipes last year, and Simmons very well could be starting in Atlanta, even over Tyler Pastornicky, fairly soon. Simmons is expected to begin 2012 in Double-A Mississippi.
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