Freeman, Teheran Starred In Braves System
Best Player: Freddie Freeman
and Jason Heyward were attached at the hip throughout their first three seasons in the Atlanta organization. The duo known as "Salt and Pepper" blazed through the farm system while hitting back to back in the lineup.
The tag team split this season when Heyward earned the right field job in the majors, although they remained roommates in the Atlanta area. While Heyward should receive votes for National League rookie of the year honors, Freeman, 20, garnered the same honor in the Triple-A International League. The 2007 second-round pick ranked second on the circuit with 35 doubles and tied for second with a .319 average, and placed third in RBIs (87) and fourth in slugging (.521).
The Braves removed the harness from Julio Teheran
this season and the 19-year-old righthander did not disappoint. He dominated the low Class A South Atlantic League while posting a 1.14 ERA in seven starts before registering a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts at high Class A Myrtle Beach. Promoted to Double-A Mississippi in late July, the Colombian owned a 3.38 ERA in 40 innings with the M-Braves.
Weighing less than 160 pounds with the ability to throw a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, Teheran generated concern in the organization during his first two years regarding the potential wear and tear suffered over the course of a full season with his mechanics. He helped alleviate some of those fears this year by answering the bell for 24 starts.
Keep An Eye On: Brandon Beachy
might have needed a name tag in spring training. That's no longer the case for the hard-throwing righthander who made a seamless move from the Mississippi bullpen to the rotation at midseason. He went 3-1, 1.47 in 27 games (six starts) with the M-Braves prior to pitching equally well at Gwinnett after a late-July promotion, going 2-0, 2.17 in eight outings (seven starts).
Signed in 2008 as a nondrafted free agent out of Indiana Wesleyan, Beachy, 23, throws three pitches for strikes at any time in the count, which led to his fanning 148 batters in 119 innings. With Atlanta expected to have some turnover in the bullpen next year, Beachy could be a prime candidate to fill one of the vacancies.
• Beachy is one of five Braves pitchers scheduled to pitch in the Arizona Fall League. Freeman is also slated to go, along with shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, who was acquired from Toronto in the Yunel Escobar deal.
• Gwinnett outfielder/second baseman Matt Young and third baseman Wes Timmons are going to play in the Mexican Pacific League this fall. Young helped lead the Navojoa Mayos to the playoffs last winter.