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Braves pair part of AFL's Top Prospects Team

Braves pair part of AFL's Top Prospects Team

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Braves pair part of AFL's Top Prospects Team
ATLANTA -- When Luis Salazar completed his duties as Class A Advanced Lynchburg's manager this year, he raved about Joe Terdoslavich's bat and the tremendous promise Christian Bethancourt had shown behind the plate.

While watching some of baseball's top young players in Arizona over the past month, there were a number of scouts who realized why the Braves believe they have a couple of special prospects in Terdoslavich and Bethancourt.

Terdoslavich and Bethancourt were both named to this year's Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team. They were the only Braves to receive the honor, which recognizes players based on their performance in Arizona and how they project at the Major League level.

While Bethancourt has been considered a special catching prospect for a couple years, Terdoslavich became a bona-fide prospect as he batted .286 with 20 homers and a .867 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) for Lynchburg this year. The switch-hitting corner infielder's 52 doubles broke a Carolina League record that had stood for 65 years.

Terdoslavich continued to impress, batting .321 with six doubles, three home runs and a .972 OPS in 84 at-bats during this year's AFL action. The 23-year-old prospect went 3-for-3 with a double and homer in the Rising Stars Game.

With Freddie Freeman projected to be in Atlanta for a while and Chipper Jones nearing his retirement, the Braves plan on moving Terdoslavich from first base to third base this year. He saw some time at the hot corner this summer and during his collegiate career, which included stops at the University of Miami and Long Beach State University.

Bethancourt batted .306 with three doubles, five home runs and a .556 slugging percentage in the 19 games he played during this year's AFL season. The 20-year-old catcher is ranked as the Braves' fourth-best prospect by MLB.com.

Blessed with a tall athletic frame, Bethancourt has caught the attention of many talent evaluators dating back to his younger days in his native Panama. This year, he improved at the plate and seemingly showed more focus than he had during previous seasons.

After hitting .251 with three homers and a .607 OPS with Class A Rome in 2010, he was forced to once again begin this season with Rome. He earned a promotion to Lynchburg after hitting .303 with four home runs and a .753 OPS in 54 games.

Bethancourt batted .271 with a home run and .603 OPS in 45 games with Lynchburg. The Braves will decide whether he will begin the 2012 season with Lynchburg or Double-A Mississippi.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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