Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/27/11
Since its inception in 1992, the Arizona Fall League has been one of the premiere off-season leagues for some of baseball's top prospects. Alumni include Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, Nomar Garciaparra, Roy Halladay, Mike Piazza, Todd Helton and Ryan Braun. At least one other big name, Michael Jordan, also is an AFL alum. In recent years, the Atlanta Braves have sent several blue-chip prospects to Arizona for some off-season fine-tuning in the 40-day league, considered something of a "finishing school." In the last three years alone, the Braves have sent pitchers Tommy Hanson (MVP of the League in 2008), Kris Medlen (2008), Craig Kimbrel (2009), Mike Minor (2009), and Brandon Beachy (2010), and position players Jason Heyward (2009), Freddie Freeman (2009 and '10), Tyler Pastornicky (an AFL All-Star Game participant in 2010), and Brandon Hicks (2009). Six Atlanta Braves prospects are currently competing in the 2011 AFL, all of them playing with the first-place Surprise Saguaros, who were leading the AFL West at 14-5 as they hit the 20-game mark Friday afternoon. Among the names drawing the most attention as the six-team league prepares for its final three weeks (the league finishes on Nov. 17) are first baseman Joey Terdoslavich, catcher Christian Bethancourt, and pitcher Sean Gilmartin, Atlanta's first-round pick in the 2011 June Draft. Here is a look at all six Braves prospects. Christian Bethancourt, C: The 20-year-old backstop from Panama City, is hitting .333 (12-for-36), with a homer and five RBIs in 10 games for the Saguaros. The right-handed hitting Bethancourt, who started the fall with an eight-game hitting streak, has hit both lefties and righties well, batting .320 (8-for-25) with a pair of doubles and four RBIs against righties, and .364 (4-for-11) vs. southpaws. Bethancourt has been big in clutch spots, hitting .357 with runners in scoring position, slugging .380 in those spots, but also is hitting .333, with a .600 slugging percentage with the bases empty. In 99 games split between Rome (A) and Lynchburg (Advanced A) he hit .289 (45-for-166), with a homer and 20 RBIs. Billy Bullock, RHP: The 23-year-old, right-handed flamethrower is 1-0 with one save in five appearances, with an 11.12 ERA (7 earned runs in 5 23 innings). The 6-6, 225-pound Bullock has pitched better over the last two weeks, as in his last three appearances he's allowed three earned runs in 3 23 innings (7.30 ERA), allowing three hits, and, most important, five strikeouts, versus only one walk. He was a combined 4-1 at Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett, with a 4.44 ERA (25 earned runs in 50 23 innings), striking out 66, while walking 34. and allowing only two homers. Todd Cunningham, OF: A switch-hitting outfielder, selected on the second round in 2010, Cunningham is hitting .324 with a .368 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage. He has 10 RBIs, two doubles, a triple and is perfect in his two stolen base attempts. The 22-year-old is hitting .571 in limited exposure to lefties (4-for-7), with a double, a triple and five RBIs, but has struggled against righties (.259). He's hit well with runners in scoring position, batting .375, with six hits and seven runs scored in 16 such trips. He's also hitting .350 with runners on base. In 91 games last season primarily at Advanced-A Lynchburg (a season shortened by injuries), Cunningham hit .348, with 12 doubles, four triples, four homers, 20 RBIs, and was 15-for-21 in stolen base attempts. Sean Gilmartin, LHP: The Braves first-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Draft is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA (six earned runs in 16.0 innings) and his ERA has dropped dramatically over his last three starts. In those starts he's allowed three earned runs in 13 innings (a 2.08 ERA) he allowed three earned runs in three innings in his Fall debut. The lefty has continued his superb control, striking out 14, while walking three and is limiting left-handed hitters to a .040 batting average, striking out 11 and walking only one. Gilmartin was 2-2 in stints with the Gulf Coast League Braves and in Rome (A), but made five of his six starts at Rome, where he allowed six earned runs and 18 hits in 21 13 innings. He struck out 30 batters, while walking only two. J.J. Hoover, RHP: The 24-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 10.13 ERA, but before dismissing his fall as disappointing, it should be noted that he was having a superb fall until his Oct. 22nd outing, in which he allowed three earned runs in 23 of an inning. Prior to that appearance, Hoover had allowed three earned runs in his first five games (covering 4 23 innings). A Mid-Season All-Star every year at every level in which he's pitched, Hoover started 47 of his first 56 professional appearances from 2008 through 2010, but in 2011, he began the process of being converted to a reliever. He relieved in 29 of his 43 games last season in Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. In 105 23 innings, Hoover recorded 117 strikeouts, while holding batters to a .200 average and he allowed only five home runs. Joey Terdoslavitch: The 23-year-old switch-hitter has worn out AFL pitching, hitting a league-best .419, with a .486 on-base percentage and a .651 slugging average. He has 18 hits, with three doubles, two triples and a homer in 11 games and has mashed right-handed pitching at a .417 clip (15-for-36), with a pair of doubles and a homer. He's hitting .429 (3-for-7), with a .500 on-base percentage against lefties. He's hitting .500 with runners on base (8-for-16), with 10 runs scored, seven driven in, and is hitting .500 (3-for-6) with 10 runs scored and six driven in with runners in scoring position. He has a .625 on-base percentage in RISP situations. The Braves' sixth-round pick in 2010 out of Long Beach State, hit .286 at Advanced-A Lynchburg in 2011, with a .341 OBP and .526 slugging average, with 20 homers, 82 RBIs and 52 doubles, which set a Carolina League record, snapping a mark that had lasted 65 years. While his primary position is first base, the Braves are giving him a long look at third base.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bobby Hurley dismisses Louisville rumors

Former RB Larry Johnson says he can't remember two of his NFL seasons

Cardinals talking to Blue Jays about former MVP Josh Donaldson

Report: Red Sox among teams expected to meet with J.D. Martinez at Winter Meetings

McCown may be considering retirement after broken hand

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson 'seriously considering' running for president

Miami player thinks Dolphins found ‘blueprint’ to stop Pats

O's shopping Machado, who wants to move to SS?

Report: Rodgers pushing to play; collarbone not fully healed

NFL determined Bennett dove for ball, not Jags player’s knees

Kenny Britt reportedly finalizing deal with Patriots

NFL MVP Watch: Antonio Brown enters suddenly wide-open race

The 'To the Victor, go the spoils' quiz

Matt Barnes and the looming end of the NBA's enforcers

25 players to watch in the pre-Christmas bowls

The naughty and nice athletes list for 2017

NFL free agent signings who have paid off the most in 2017

Six NBA coaches who could be on the hot seat

The best individual performance from every bowl all time

The 'Josh Gordon is back and the NFL will have to deal with it!' quiz

Top 10 Player of the Year candidates

Sports & Politics Intersect: When Olympic gold corrupts

The 'And the winner is...' quiz

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

NFL MVP Watch: Antonio Brown enters suddenly wide-open race

The 'To the Victor, go the spoils' quiz

25 players to watch in the pre-Christmas bowls

The 'Josh Gordon is back and the NFL will have to deal with it!' quiz

The best individual performance from every bowl all time

NFL Week 14 injury report

Sports & Politics Intersect: When Olympic gold corrupts

The best games of 2017

The naughty and nice athletes list for 2017

The 'And the winner is...' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker