NL East Prospect Showdown: Miami Marlins Vs. Atlanta Braves

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

A comparison of the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves top prospects, position by position.

While anxiously awaiting the day pitchers and catchers report, I came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. During Spring Training, each major league team should form a prospect All-Star team, filled with their top prospects not at major league spring training. While I have no say with the commissioner, it is fun to dream about something like this happening. Anyways, I came up with the idea to compare the Marlins prospects with other teams in the N.L. East and their top prospects. I've already looked at the Mets, now the Atlanta Braves.

DISCLAIMER: This is in no way to determine which team has the better farm system.

Catcher: Christian Bethancourt is one of my favorite catching prospects in the minors. However, I did not get a chance to watch him during his, by all accounts, extremely disappointing 2012 season. Bethancourt has long excited scouts around the league with his outstanding pop times and his arm that rivals every catcher in the game right now. If Bethancourt becomes the catcher some believe he can, he will rival Travis d'Arnaud as the best catcher in the NL East. However, his bat is a serious question and he has never translated his batting practice power into results. Rob Brantly and J.T. Realmuto both have a chance to become above-average catchers. However, neither of them have tools and potential close to Bethancourt's. Advantage: Atlanta

First Base: Mark Canha is the only real prospect in the Marlins' farm system that is currently playing first base. This is not a cause of concern because first base is an easy position to play, as long as you can hit. William Beckwith and Joey Terdoslavich are the top first base prospects on their way to Atlanta. Beckwith is 22 years old and hit .291/.360/.478 in 426 plate appearances for Rome last season. Terdoslavich, 24 years old, has posted solid numbers in the minors in previous year, but had a terrible 2012 season. He might not be able to hit enough be a first baseman long-term. Beckwith and Terdoslavich are not prospects who look destined for greatness in the major leagues. However, both of them are better prospects at this point than Canha. Advantage: Atlanta

Second Base: In this category, Noah Perio and Austin Barnes of the Marlins run into a interesting challenge, as Tommy La Stella shares a lot of things in common with both of them. Tommy La Stella is a long ways to go, but he is a great hitter and a smart baseball player. La Stella hit .302/.386/.460 with thirteen stolen bases in 2012 at Low-A Rome. La Stella is undersized, standing well under six feet, but height is not very important for a second baseman. Austin Barnes is one of my favorite prospects in the Miami farm system due to his athleticism and plate approach. Barnes and Perio just barely edge out La Stella of the Braves at second base. Advantage: Miami

Shortstop: Jose Peraza brings speed and defense to the table, but he is no match for Adeiny Hechavarria and Derek Dietrich of the Marlins. Peraza, 18, will likely begin 2013 in Rome, after spending 2012 in rookie ball. Nick Ahmed is another shortstop to watch in the Braves system. I am not the biggest fan of Hechavarria, but he has already reached the majors and he plays tremendous defense, which has great value because it can be very difficult to find a slick-fielding shortstop. Even if Hechavarria never learns how to hit, the runs he saves at shortstop could make him a valuable asset. Advantage: Miami

Third Base: Third base is not a positional strength for either of these two teams. For the Braves, Kyle Kubitza and maybe the aforementioned Joe Terdoslavich are the only prospects. Kyle Kubitza had a horrendous month of July, but other than that, I believe his debut season in Rome was very successful. Still, Kubitza is years away and he tends to get more attention than he deserves for the type of player he is. Zack Cox isn't a favorite of mine and due to Kubitza's potential, I give the advantage to Braves at third. Advantage: Atlanta

Outfield: Evan Gattis and Matt Lipka come nowhere close to taking the throne from Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Jake Marisnick of the Marlins. This category is an easy win for the Marlins, as they have a couple of middle-of-the-order outfield prospects on their way to Miami. Gattis, who also plays catcher, has great raw power, but he needs to find a way to stay healthy to show how he can use it. Matt Lipka is a player to dream on, but ever since being drafted in 2010, the chances of him reaching his potential have appeared to have gotten smaller and smaller. The Marlins win this category and it's not even close. Advantage: Miami

Pitching: Both of these teams have a bountiful array of highly touted pitching prospects. Miami obviously has Jose Fernandez, Adam Conley, and others. Atlanta has Julio Teheran, J.R. Graham, Zeke Spruilli, Luke Sims, and a couple more pitchers that can match up with pretty much any team in baseball. Miami has so many talented starting pitching prospects, studs like Chad James and Jose Urena often get overlooked. For Atlanta, Julio Teheran has had a frustrating last few years, but he still has one of the best repertoire's of pitches in the minors. Sims has a high ceiling, thanks to his plus fastball and curveball. Still, Miami's array of pitching prospects has yet to have been matched by the two teams I've looked at so far. Advantage: Miami

Final Tally: Miami 4, Atlanta 3

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