Bradley’s Buzz: Heyward, Hanson among best of new decade

There’s no science so inexact as the projection of baseball talent. We know this because Brad Komminsk was not, alas, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. (He made it on the second try — ha, ha.) We know this because the young man Sports Illustrated proclaimed “The Natural” in 2005 was deemed substandard, though not by SI, in 2009.

Still, it’s worth noting that Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has posted his list of the top 20 players for the next decade on ESPN.com’s Insiders (link requires registration), and one of the 20 hasn’t yet had a big-league at-bat. Yes, at No. 13, it’s Jason Heyward, the Braves’ right-fielder-in-waiting. Writes Goldstein:

“The top position player prospect in the game, Heyward has a chance at opening 2010 in the big leagues, and even if that doesn’t work out, he’ll be in Atlanta well before he can legally drink to celebrate his accomplishment. A potential ‘face of the franchise’-level talent, Heyward hits for average, hits for power, draws walks and even runs a bit. He could be Dale Murphy, V2.”

And then, at No. 17, comes another young Brave. (No, not Greg Norton.) Of Tommy Hanson, Goldstein writes:

“Had the Braves opened the 2009 season with Hanson in the rotation (which would have been the right decision), we’d be talking about your reigning National League rookie of the year. Instead, we’re talking about one of the circuit’s best young arms. The only thing keeping him from ranking higher is that some scouts and execs feel his ceiling is “a consistent 15-18 game winner” as opposed to ‘a true ace.’ “

Me, I’m thinking that if you win 18 games every year, that might make you a true ace. But maybe BP has higher standards than ol’ MB here. At any rate, I present the entire Top 20 for your perusal:

  1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
  2. Justin Upton, OF, D-backs
  3. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
  4. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
  5. Zack Greinke, RHP, Royals
  6. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
  7. Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
  8. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals
  9. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners
  10. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
  11. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers
  12. Jon Lester, LHP, Red Sox
  13. Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
  14. Adam Jones, CF, Orioles
  15. Brett Anderson, LHP, A’s
  16. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pirates
  17. Tommy Hanson, RHP, Braves
  18. Rick Porcello, RHP, Tigers.
  19. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
  20. David Wright, 3B, Mets

OK, that’s the good news. Here’s the bad: Among the honorable mentions are two former Braves prospects — Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz, both now of Texas, both exported to import Mark Teixeira, who stayed a year. Ah, well. Live and learn.

112 comments Add your comment

Willie...

December 15th, 2009
10:28 am

heywood...

December 15th, 2009
10:30 am

second…and i read the article.

Jon Hughes

December 15th, 2009
10:39 am

Larvell "SugarBear" Blanks

December 15th, 2009
10:39 am

and a distant third and yes heywood I read the article as well!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

December 15th, 2009
10:40 am

Mark,

Could you let me know what it says about Adam Jones? I have a Keeper league and I was on the fence with him, now this article! That has me curious! Much thanks if you do!

Bryan G.

December 15th, 2009
10:41 am

Where is Greg Norton on the list? 26th, maybe?

EW

December 15th, 2009
10:42 am

I am looking forward to the future…The Yankees may be able to spend their way to a title, but it will be much sweeter watching the farm system come up and succeed. For all the flack the Braves front office gets, nobody ever talks about how well we harvest talent. Can’t wait to see this Heyward kid..hopefully he doesn’t suffer from the Hometown Hero Curse like Frenchy.

renegade#1

December 15th, 2009
10:45 am

Only one more year of Bobby. But what lurks in the shadows as his replacement?

GermanBravesFan

December 15th, 2009
10:47 am

The future looks bright!

GermanBravesFan

December 15th, 2009
10:48 am

Enter your comments here

Paul H

December 15th, 2009
10:49 am

When is Heyward coming up??

Mark Bradley

December 15th, 2009
10:51 am

Here you go, Lowcountry:

14. Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore Orioles
2010 Birthday: 25 on Aug. 25

It seemed as if 2009 was going to be Jones’ bust-out campaign, but second-half injuries meant Orioles fans will have to wait until this upcoming season. After spending most of his minor league career as a shortstop, Jones quickly has developed into one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, and like Longoria, more walks and fewer strikeouts in 2009 portend even more offense to come.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

December 15th, 2009
11:03 am

Mark,

Thank you very much!

Roja

December 15th, 2009
11:04 am

And Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus is the Director of Scouting, GM, VP of Player Development or Manager of which MLB team?

Don

December 15th, 2009
11:04 am

Hopefully Hayward has learned to make consistant solid contact and will have a good BA and OBA as well as hitting for some power. In their minor league system the Braves need to teach/emhpasize making solid contact and having a good BA and OBA and keeping strike outs low. They seem to have been emphasizing power and not worrying about BA and OBA. They need to do just the opposite and then let the power come after the hitter has good BA and OBA and low strike outs. And when they reach the majors it is a disaster because Bobby Cox does not seem to teach, emphasize, demand this at all. Even now they talk about trading or signing hitters who are hitting significantly below .300 with poor OBA just because they hit 20-30 HR. This kind of hitter is the most overrated thing in baseball. The 20 HR hitter is hitting one about ever 30 times at bat or one about every seven games. Even the 30 HR hitter is hitting one about every 20 times at bat and about every 5 games. And a significant number of these HR are in meaningless situations – in games your are winning big of losing big. And many are with no one on base. Even more significantly, this low BA and OBA hitter is usully doing most of his hitting against the weaker pitchers that he faces and thus much of it is automatically not in meaningful situations. The 20-30 HR hitter is usually a real asset only if he also has a high BA and good OBA.

Roja

December 15th, 2009
11:08 am

Where did Jordan Schafer rank last year??

chc4

December 15th, 2009
11:11 am

The 2010 Braves are going to look alot like the ‘09 version. We obviously aren’t going to get that impact bat we need. Don’t think we can count on Heyward to put us over the top next season. Even if we trade Lowe we won’t get much in return other than salary relief.

Eastside Jacket

December 15th, 2009
11:13 am

I kinda thought Matt Wieters might make the list. Oh well, I guess he’ll have to prove them wrong.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

December 15th, 2009
11:20 am

Mark,

While we were at it, pick 9 of these guys to Keep if you don’t mind

Beckham- White Sox
Escobar- Bravos
Ethier- Dodgers
Holliday- FA
Jones- Orioles
Loney- Dodgers
Weiters-Orioles
Bailey-SP Reds
Bell-CL Padres
Hughes- RP Yanks
JJ- Bravos
Marmol-Cubs
Niemann -Rays

This may help you see why I was fencing on Jones. Liked some of the young arms the team has. TKS!
Bell

Ted M

December 15th, 2009
11:23 am

Roja – hope you’re not slighting JS. He had a wrist injury after the first week, which ultimately required surgery. To his credit he didn’t blame his slump on that, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a big part of the problem.

He is going to be a good hitter.

Justin from NM

December 15th, 2009
11:27 am

Way to throw in that last-minute slam about losing Andrus and Feliz.

Tell me Mark, where would Andrus be playing now? We have 2B and SS locked up with Prado and Escobar. Escobar’s hitting more than makes up for the slight fielding advantage that Andrus MIGHT have….

If you want to whine about a bad trade, then JD Drew for Adam Wainwright should be your complaint. BTW, why isn’t he on the list???

Don

December 15th, 2009
11:36 am

Schafer is an example of what I am talking about. If a hitter has not learned to make consistant solid contact in the minors – has high strike out totals and his BA and OBA are not that great – you cannot expect him to be successful in the majors just because he hit some home runs in the minors — expecially if you have a manager like Bobby Cox who seems to do little or nothing to teach, emphasize, demand this when they come up.

JP

December 15th, 2009
11:36 am

Interesting news. Thoughts on this trade anyone?
http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/10523430/Source:-Halladay-to-Phils,-Lee-to-M’s-in-blockbuster

Stan

December 15th, 2009
11:37 am

How does Hanley Make this list….but also made the top 100 players of the decade list? These list are about as scientific as a QuickTrip Soda Machine. Go Braves!

Stan

December 15th, 2009
11:40 am

Hey JP…That trade actually weakens the Phils….here is my logic….Lee was a stud…Halladay is a stud….but a stud who will cost the Phils $7 mill more this year than Lee….that is $7 mill less the Phils have to spend on their pathetic bullpen….just my 2 cents

Jrm

December 15th, 2009
11:45 am

I wonder what the Braves look like in 2-3 years? McCann, Freeman, Prado, Yunel, ? @ 3rd, Diaz or Shafer, ? in LF, McClouth, Heyward. Hanson, JJ, Huddy, kid that looks 16?, ? Thoughts?

bill

December 15th, 2009
11:47 am

Interesting that Matt Weiters was not on the list…

Justin from NM

December 15th, 2009
11:47 am

Stan….the Blue Jays are sending $6mil to the Phils to off-set Halladay’s contract this year.

You need to read more – try http://www.mlbtraderumors.com – excellent site.

Justin from NM

December 15th, 2009
11:49 am

Bill, good point – only 1 catcher and 1 middle infielder on the list…hmmm…

francoeur sucks

December 15th, 2009
11:50 am

dont mind doc in philly, kk already beat him once and if lee had been traded two weeks earlier he probably would have taken the nl cy young, love the phils trade cause it’ll deplete their farm system some for a pitcher who isn’t going to do better than what lee did for them

THE CURSE OF DAVID JUSTICE LIVES IN ATL

December 15th, 2009
11:51 am

WE SHOULD’NT HAVE EVER TRADED DAVID JUSTICE!

matt r

December 15th, 2009
11:53 am

Question: What have the Rangers won with all that talent we shipped them? Nothing yet. Under those circumstances in 2007, to upgrade your absolutely worst position (1B) to make it your absolute best, and get the guy for 1.5 years, you make that trade. Not to mention, when we tanked in 2008, we were still able to flip him for Kotchmann (who we filled for LaRoche).

francoeur sucks

December 15th, 2009
11:55 am

and why didn’t we get juan pierre from the dodgers for schafer and a player to be named, we NEED a lead off hitter plus the dodgers picked up half his salary, posednik would be lucky to be the poor man’s juan pierre

ProScout

December 15th, 2009
11:56 am

Lowcountry- I’ll take

Beckham- good glove, good pop, + arm, pretty good wheels
Escobar- +arm, smooth in the field, with more plate discipline will be a bonified stud. Won’t be in ATl. long as he’ll dictate a big contract.
Ethier- one of the sweetest looking swings and good defensively, good hitter
Weiters- the next Posada (without the championships)
JJ- should have at least 1 CY young if he had any run support
Hughes- he’ll be a consitent 15ish game winner
Marmol- throws smoke!

Personally not sold on Hanson. Time will tell.

Justin from NM

December 15th, 2009
11:58 am

I’m interested to see how Halladay does in that little league field they play @ in Philly. Over the last 4 years, Halladay has become more of a flyball pitcher…

G/F by year:
2005 – 1.60
2006 – 1.42
2007 – 1.21
2008 – 1.17
2009 – 1.05

Ron Roberts

December 15th, 2009
12:00 pm

It’s also worth noting that, within the NL East, the Braves have 2 players on the list, the Marlins, Mets and Nats have one, and the Phillies have zero.

jim

December 15th, 2009
12:00 pm

The Phils did address their bullpen needs in this (reported) trade by aquiring Aumont. He has been used in relief by the Ms and is not too far away from the majors. He should arrive later this year and ultimately replace Lidge as the closer. I think he was the key for them trading (reprotedly) Drabek.

Ted M

December 15th, 2009
12:04 pm

Schafer’s minor league OBP;

2006 – 293
2007 – 374
2007 – 441
2007 – 354
2008 – 378

2007 3 different ML levels

uga_b

December 15th, 2009
12:11 pm

I am just Pacman found a new career outside of football and professional wrestling. What?!?!?!

Iceman47

December 15th, 2009
12:12 pm

Where’s McCann on this list?

uga_b

December 15th, 2009
12:13 pm

So is that like saying he will hit 35-40 home runs a year but is not a true slugger?

Herschel Talker

December 15th, 2009
12:22 pm

Where is Greg Norton? I guess he is too old to have made this list.

Ted M

December 15th, 2009
12:32 pm

Talker – The sad thing is Greg Norton is on Bobby Cox’s LIST.

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

December 15th, 2009
12:40 pm

Norton is 26th on the list…….what list? Bobby Cox’s list but he will only get to keep 25.

Tex trade gets better and better doesn’t it.

All I'm Saying Is...

December 15th, 2009
12:43 pm

Freeman didn’t make the list? What’s up with that?

If Heyward emulates Dale Murphy off the field and exceeds him on the field, then he will be among the best Braves hitters of all time right up there with Hank, Eddie, and Rico.

LET’S GO BRAVES!

Me First Spanker

December 15th, 2009
12:44 pm

My day is ruined. An AJC blog changed over and I did not post a comment first. “Willie” beat me to it. This is terrible because I am such a pathetic loser that the highlight of my day is to beat the other “me first” spankers in posting the first comment on each blog. Never mind that I never read the article first, nor do I ever contribute any constructive comments ( or any comments for that matter), and have to type with my left hand because the other one is busy.

I have to go now so I can go to each blog and hit the refresh button in the hopes that I alone can revel in the radiance of being “first”. Girlfriend, who needs a girlfriend?

“Mom, is lunch ready yet?”

ProScout

December 15th, 2009
12:49 pm

Ron- the Phillies don’t need any on the list with Rollins, Utley, Howard, Werth and Victorino in their lineup for the next few years.

Brian

December 15th, 2009
12:49 pm

Yeah, Don, I can hear Bobby now: “Alright, boys, big game with the Phillies tonight. Now remember what we’ve been talking about: at the plate, try to avoid contact if you can. Make sure you take hacks at plenty of balls outside the strike zone…it makes avoiding contact easier. If I see anyone taking walks out there, your butt’s with me on the bench. We’re doing a good job so far this year hiding from fans the fact that we’re fifth in the NL in walks and fifth in OBP. And last year we were third in both. Year before we were 4th in OBP. But some fans think we’re not doing well in the OBP category, and I want to keep it that way. We have the 4th fewest strikeouts in the NL this year, after having the second fewest last year, so obviously I’m gonna need you to whiff a little more for me. That is my strategy. At least according to this guy named Don on the internet.”

Richard Hamilton

December 15th, 2009
12:57 pm

Tell Greg Maddux that winning only 15 to 18 games a year disqualifies you as a true ace. The amount of games you win isn’t based purely on your quality of pitching. I don’t know if Hanson will turn out to be a true ace, but that is a pretty stupid statement. How many pitchers would turn their nose up at winning 15 to 18 every year? Besides Roger Clemens.

FalconFaninDC

December 15th, 2009
12:59 pm

Hey Mark,

When are we going to see your first mock 2010 NFL Draft?