Braves honor top prospects at Turner Field

Braves honor top prospects at Turner Field

ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran and Brandon Beachy arrived at Turner Field on Sunday to be recognized with the other prospects who were named the Braves' Minor League Pitchers and Players of the year. Both believe they could soon return as Major Leaguers.

"Obviously, I'd love to keep pitching [this year]," Beachy said. "But if that opportunity isn't there right now, if I continue to do what I've been doing, it will be there in the future."

While Teheran could be widely considered the game's top prospect this winter, Beachy undoubtedly was one of the game's most surprising prospects this summer. Two years after being found by the Braves while serving as a reliever in the Virginia Valley Summer League, the 24-year-old right-hander managed to produce the best ERA (1.73) among all Minor League pitchers this year.

After beginning this season as a reliever with Double-A Mississippi, Beachy continued to flourish as a starter. In the seven starts he made after being promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett, he went 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA.

Not bad, considering he completed about five innings in high school and didn't begin pitching until given a chance to be a closer for Indiana Wesleyan, an NAIA school. Braves scout Gene Kearns saw him pitch in the Virginia Summer League and then persuaded him to skip his senior season to take advantage of the chance to spend the final month of the 2008 season with Rookie level Danville.

"It might be surprising to a lot of people," Beachy said. "But I've never doubted my abilities. I achieved what I wanted to."

Teheran avoided the shoulder discomfort that plagued him in the past and combined to go 9-8 with a 2.59 ERA with Class A Rome, Class A-Advanced Myrtle Beach and Mississippi this year. The 19-year-old right-hander registered 159 strikeouts and issued 40 walks in 142 2/3 innings. There's seemingly a chance this highly regarded prospect could make his Major League debut as soon as next season.

"I'm going to come in with that mindset, but I've got a lot of work to do," Teheran said with Minor League outfielder Willie Cabrera serving as an interpreter.

Teheran was honored as the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Freddie Freeman, who turned 21 Sunday, was named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year.

This year's other honorees recognized before Sunday's game included:

Gwinnett: Craig Kimbrel (pitcher), Barbaro Canizares (player)
Mississippi : Beachy (pitcher), Cabrera (player)
Myrtle Beach: Randall Delgado (pitcher), Mycal Jones (player)
Rome: Arodys Vizcaino (pitcher), Philip Gosselin (player)
Danville: Carlos Perez (pitcher), Elmer Reyes (player)
Gulf Coast League: Dan Jurik (pitcher), Matt Lipka (player)
Dominican Summer League: Ignacio Geronimo (pitcher), Gerrado Reyes (player)