Although the Mississippi Braves have not had a good season in the win-loss category, they do have several top players on their roster based on the rating system of MLB.com.
No. 3 Christian Bethancourt, catcher
Sometimes it just takes players a little longer, especially when they have the responsibilities of learning how to catch. The good news is when Bethancourt went back to the South Atlantic League for a return engagement in 2011, he started to figure things out, hitting for average and earning a promotion. Scouts raved about his tools in the Arizona Fall League as well, noting his athleticism and strong throwing arm behind the plate as well as ability to handle the bat.
No. 5 Joe Terdoslavich, first base
In his first full season of pro ball, Terdoslavich hit for both average and power in the Class A Advanced Carolina League, pounding out 52 doubles and 20 homers before going on to hit well in the Arizona Fall League. A switch-hitter who handles the bat well from both sides, Terdoslavich was spoken of as the heir apparent to Chipper Jones in Atlanta but his defense was so bad he was switched to first base where he has still struggled. He jumped from High-A to Triple-A to start 2012, but after struggling offensively early was dropped to Double-A in early June.
No. 6 Zeke Spruill, left handed pitcher
The Braves were hoping that the 2012 season could be a huge one for Spruill, who put himself back on the prospect map with a very successful 2011 campaign. He finally made it out of Class A and pitched well in his Double-A debut. A product of the Georgia high school ranks, Spruill gets compared to Derek Lowe as a tall and lanky right-hander with a sinking fastball, curve and improving changeup. It took him awhile, but the 2008 draftee could be ready to break out.
No. 7 J. R. Graham, right handed pitcher
The Braves’ fourth-round pick in the 2011 Draft, Graham came out of Santa Clara and led the Appalachian League in ERA during his debut. An undersized right-hander, the 6-foot, 185-pound Graham has big-time arm strength that belies his size and goes right after hitters on the mound. He’s used some unorthodox techniques to build arm strength, but as a result, he can crank it up to the mid-90s. The test of a more advanced full-season league should be a good one for Graham. He was promoted to Double-A Mississippi on July 17.
No. 13 Todd Cunningham, center field
The Jacksonville State product’s first full year was interrupted for a month and a half by injury, though he did make up for some lost at-bats in the Arizona Fall League. He can play all three outfield positions and his outstanding speed helps him on both sides of the ball. He has a good approach at the plate and could be a future leadoff hitter in center or left field who hits for average, gets on base and even shows a little power along the way.