G-Braves Pitchers Ready To Shoulder The Load

(Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts)

The Gwinnett Braves (13-7) currently reside in first place of the International League South Division. A huge part of their early success thus far in 2012 can be attributed to their top-notch pitching staff. Presently, the G-Braves have the No. 1 overall pitching in the International League.

Gwinnett possess the top team ERA (2.56), shutouts (5), innings pitched (186.0), least total runs allowed (66) and least earned runs allowed (53) in the 14-team league. The G-Braves are also ranked third in the IL in wins (13), second in least losses (7), fifth in saves (6), fourth in least hits allowed (160), second in least home runs allowed (7) and third in strikeouts (171).

Marty Reed’s staff as a whole has been exceptional this season, but more importantly, they have been consistent. Every arm from top to bottom has made giant contributions to the G-Braves’ success. Already, one player has already been called up to the big club and he is in the form of Cory Gearrin. The righty reliever worked as a set-up man and part-time closer for Gwinnett, where he allowed no runs in 12.1 innings of work and recorded two saves.

Yohan Flande leads the pitchers with a 0.00 ERA through three starts, totaling 15.2 innings. The lefty has been dominant this season, as well as, being a pleasant surprise to the rotation. Flande has allowed just five hits total this season and struck out 16 batters, while walking seven.

Obviously, the reigning IL Pitcher of the Year and IL Rookie of the Year, Julio Teheran has been his usual self for the most part. Barring one start where he was on extended rest due to the Tim Hudson rehab appearances, Teheran has been solid. The ace of the staff is 2-1 with a 3.78 ERA and has struck out 13 batters through 16.1 innings of work. Teheran is rated the No. 1 pitching prospect in baseball according to numerous sources including Baseball America and MLB.com.

The veteran of the staff, Todd Redmond has been consistently good as always. He is 1-2 on the year with a 2.61 ERA but has been dealing with a lot of tough luck. For instance, in his last start at Coolray Field, the righty allowed just one earned run and still took the loss. Currently, Redmond is second in the IL in strikeouts (27) with just 20.2 innings under his belt and he has only walked six batters this season. When his luck starts to turns for the better, watch out.

The bullpen consists of six remarkable Gwinnett pitchers who have an ERA below 3.00 in 2012. Anthony Varvaro has yet to allow a run in his short time with the club, after coming off a Major League rehab assignment. Dusty Hughes has an incredible 0.87 ERA through 10 innings of work, alongside a 1.05 WHIP. The southpaw is also tied with Gearrin for the team-lead in saves with two.  Jaye Chapman has a miniscule ERA at 1.74 so far, including a 0.87 WHIP and 11 strikeouts to just three walks through 10.1 innings pitched. Veteran of the bullpen Buddy Carlyle has been dominant so far in Triple-A. The righty owns a 1.80 ERA and has struck out 12 batters in 15.0 innings thus far. Right-hander Jason Rice possesses a 2.25 ERA this season through eight innings on the mound for the G-Braves. The former White Sox, Padre and Tampa Bay Ray Adam Russell has transitioned beautifully to the Gwinnett bullpen. The 6-foot, 8-inch righty is currently registering a 2.89 ERA, alongside a save and 11 strikeouts through nine and one-third innings of work.

The scary part is that this G-Braves team is leading the league in pitching and in first place before the bats have yet to awaken. Once the team is running on all cylinders, this G-Brave team is going to be more fun to watch than they already are. One fact remains unquestionable, the Atlanta Braves have a stockpile of hard throwers who are ready to get big league hitters out on a consistent basis whenever their time may arise.

By: Tony Piraro

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