The Braves Graduates

Over at Baseball Analysts, Bryan Smith reviews the top-20 former prospects who are making major contributions to their teams right now. Kyle Davies is at the top of the list, with Kelly Jonson at 14. Here’s a preview of what he has to say about each.

1. Kyle Davies (ATL): 4.75 ERA in 41.2 IP– Dan Meyer, at this point, is probably trying to get back to playing long toss. And there isn’t anything long about Jose Capellan’s outings, as he was most recently moved to the bullpen. That leaves Kyle Davies atop the 2004 Braves pitching prospect trio, where before the season, many outlets had him at the bottom. This is just another example of why the Braves are smarter than us all, and why having faith in their braintrust is always a smart idea. …

14. Kelly Johnson (ATL): .755 OPS in 77 AB– A one-time shortstop prospect, Johnson found himself this year (like Meyer, Espinosa, Montanez, etc) in the International League as an outfielder. Unlike the other guys mentioned, Johnson showed big-time power in AAA, and has replaced Raul Mondesi in the everyday lineup. It was a genius move for the Braves to stick with Johnson even after an awful debut…

And there’s plenty more good stuff there, so check it out.

In my opinion, Davies is getting a rather rude greeting to the big leagues. Injuries really forced him into the rotation when he wasn’t quite ready. He’s responded well, and I hope he doesn’t let the struggles get to him. If the rest of the rotation gets healthy and Davies is still pitching well, it would be a good time to move Horacio Ramirez.

Johnson has really impressed me with his plate discipline. So far, he’s got walk-rate of 16.5% and a BB/K of 1.33. That’s about about what Chipper puts up, but Kelly’s not a switch hitter and plays against lefties. Very impressive. If he develops even more power as he gets older (as he should), look out. He could be JD Drew good.

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