Scout's View: Braves' Double-A Pitchers
The Braves were pushing for their first playoff spot in five seasons in 2010, leading the National League East with a big push from rookies such as Jason Heyward, Johnny Venters and, in August, 2009 first-round pick Mike Minor. Meanwhile, none of the team's affiliates figured to make the playoffs in the minors, yet talent is surging through the Braves system. That's particularly true on the mound, as one National League pro scout found during a pair of visits to Double-A Mississippi.
"Based on what I saw in Double-A, I can't imagine another organization has better pitching right now. This was Double-A, and the arms they were running out and the pitching they had, it was absurd. It was big arm after big arm after big arm.
"Erik Cordier was lights out both times I was able to see him. His fastball sat 94-97 mph the whole game. I think the lowest I saw was 92. He also had a plus breaking ball, and he showed enough of a changeup. He's had a long road (see organization report, page 24), but he was impressive.
"The best arm obviously was (Julio) Teheran, though when I saw him his control was a bit off. It's 94-97 regularly, though, and I saw him touch 98. He was just a bit better than (Brandon) Beachy, who I thought was just a bit better than Cordier. I mean, their fourth best starter that I saw was Randall Delgado, who's running it up there 92-96 and leads their system in strikeouts. And at the back, here comes Juan Abreu going 96-99 with a plus-plus curve, a real knee-buckler. He's kind of a little guy but it's big league closer stuff."