Results tagged ‘ Arodys Vizcaino ’

G-Braves Hot Stove: 2014-2015 Transaction Tracker

Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed on November 12.  (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves)

Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed with Atlanta on November 12. (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves)

As the Hot Stove season continues, here’s an overview of Atlanta Braves’ transactions that could directly affect the Gwinnett Braves roster in 2015.  Moves that pertain to the Major League club only are not included.  All information has been obtained through the Braves.com Transaction Report and Baseball America Minor League Free Agent Tracker.  Please note that the official Gwinnett Braves 2015 Roster will not be announced until early April, and all roster projections are my opinion only.

This post was last updated on December 17.


Acquired via trade:

  • Arodys Vizcaino (RHP) – acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Tommy La Stella on November 16.  As mentioned in a previous post, the hard-throwing Vizcaino is back in the Braves’ organization after two-plus seasons with the Cubs.  He rebounded from 2012 Tommy John surgery to go 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 41.0 minor league innings last year, some of that time spent with Triple-A Iowa.  The 24-year-old also pitched out of the Major League bullpen in September, going 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in five relief appearances with the Cubs.  Vizcaino is on the Braves’ 40-man roster and will compete for a bullpen spot this spring, but his limited MLB resume could land him in Gwinnett.
  • Tyrell Jenkins (RHP) – acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden on November 17.  The Cardinals’ 50th pick in the first round of the 2010 June draft is now one of the top pitching prospects in the Braves’ organization.  Jenkins, 22, put up solid numbers with Advanced-A Palm Beach in 2014, going 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts.  He was also impressive in Arizona Fall League action, going 2-2 with a 2.22 ERA in six starts with the Peoria Javelinas.  He’s slated to make his Double-A debut with Mississippi in 2015, but he could be a candidate for a late-season promotion to Triple-A.
  • Aaron Kurcz (RHP) – acquired from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Anthony Varvaro and cash considerations on December 17.  Kurcz, 24, was a teammate of both Chasen Shreve and Bryce Harper at the College of Southern Nevada when the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 10th round of the 2010 June draft.  The Cubs then sent him to Boston in March 2012 as part of the compensation package for hiring Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations.  Kurcz made his debut at Double-A Portland in 2012, going 3-4 with a 3.04 ERA, four saves and 72 strikeouts in 50.1 innings over 29 relief outings.  Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery on his right elbow forced him to miss August and all of the 2013 campaign.  He came back strong with Portland in 2014, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA, three saves and 54 strikeouts in 42.0 innings over 34 outings.  Kurcz held opponents to a .204 batting average and didn’t allow a single home run last year.  With plenty of late-inning experience at the Double-A level, he should fill a similar role with Gwinnett in 2015.

Acquired via Rule 5 Draft:

  • Daniel Winkler (RHP) – selected from the Colorado Rockies in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 11.  Normally, a Major League Rule 5 selection must spend the entire season on his new club’s 25-man roster or be offered back to his old team, but Winkler is an interesting exception.  He is coming off Tommy John surgery performed last June, meaning the Braves can keep him on the Major League disabled list while he rehabs.  Atlanta will likely assign him to minor league rehab outings (potentially with Gwinnett) early in the season, but will have to call him up to the active roster for 90 days to retain him past 2015.  Winkler went 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA and a MiLB-best 175 strikeouts in 2013, then went 5-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 12 starts with Double-A Tulsa last year.
  • Steve Rodriguez (C) – selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Double-A roster in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 11.  Rodriguez, 24, was Arizona’s 15th round pick in the 2011 June draft out of UCLA.  In four seasons in the D-Backs’ system, he batted .225 with 30 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 56 RBIs in 158 games.  He made his Double-A debut with Mobile last year, batting .267 with nine doubles and 11 RBIs in 39 games.  While he didn’t do much with the bat in 2014, he did throw out 50% (19-of-38) of attempting base-stealers in 38 errorless games with the BayBears.  Rodriguez hopes to ride his defense to a Triple-A debut in 2015.

Re-Signed with Braves:

  • Sean Kazmar (INF) – signed to a minor league contract on November 12.  Kazmar, 30, has been a versatile defender and steady bat for the G-Braves for the past two seasons.  After batting .228 in 95 games with Gwinnett in 2013, he posted the highest batting average of his career in 2014, a .297 mark in 67 games.  His production was halted by a left hand fracture suffered in late May, but Kazmar returned in July and batted .299 in 27 games in August.  He capped his season by earning the Gwinnett Braves “Most Competitive Player Award” for 2014.  Expect to see Kazmar at Coolray Field once again in 2015, backing up at second base, third base and shortstop.


Minor League Free Agents:

  • Pedro Ciriaco (2B) – signed to a minor league contract on October 13.  Ciriaco, 29, is a well-traveled Major League infielder, having logged time with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2010-11), Boston Red Sox (2012-13), San Diego Padres (2013) and Kansas City Royals (2013-14).  In 188 career big league games, he has batted .270 with 24 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 36 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.  Despite that experience, Ciriaco played primarily with Triple-A Omaha in 2014, batting .302 and posting a .766 OPS in 62 games.  He brings postseason success with him to Gwinnett after batting .342 in nine playoff games for the Triple-A National Champion Omaha Storm Chasers last year.
  • Eli Whiteside (C) – signed to a minor league contract on November 1.  Whiteside, 35, has reached the Majors in six different seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (2005), San Francisco Giants (2009-12) and Chicago Cubs (2014).  He’s batted .210 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 216 MLB games.  Though he had a brief call-up with the Chicago Cubs in June, Whiteside spent most of 2014 with Triple-A Iowa, batting .214 with 13 doubles, six homers and 21 RBIs in 63 games.  He could split catching duties with Jose Yepez in Gwinnett.
  • Sugar Ray Marimon (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 4.  The Braves are just the second organization for Marimon, who spent his previous eight seasons in the minors with the Kansas City Royals.  The 26-year-old made his long awaited Triple-A debut in 2014, going 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 83.1 innings for Omaha.  Like Ciriaco, he was an important September piece for the Triple-A National Champion Storm Chasers, going 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his two playoff starts.  Marimon is just 27-46 with a 4.14 ERA in 137 career outings (121 starts) in the minors, but may benefit from a fresh start with the Braves.  He should be a strong candidate for the Gwinnett rotation.
  • Greg Smith (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 4.  The veteran southpaw has pitched for seven different organizations prior to joining the Braves, including Arizona (2005-07), Oakland (2008), Colorado (2009-10), New York Yankees (2011), Boston (2011), Los Angeles Angels (2012) and Philadelphia (2013-14).  He has seen time on the Triple-A roster for all seven of those clubs.  Smith’s standout year was 2008, when he made 32 Major League starts for Oakland and went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 190.1 innings.  G-Braves fans will more likely remember him as a staple of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ rotation, where he went 9-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) a year ago.  Consider Smith a challenger for a Gwinnett rotation spot.
  • Francisco Rondon (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 7.  Rondon, 26, has spent all nine of his minor league seasons in the New York Yankees system, going 29-18 with a 3.61 ERA, seven saves and 431 strikeouts in 436.0 innings.  After tastes of Triple-A in 2012 and 2013, he finally caught on with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a longer stretch in 2014, going 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA over 12 relief outings.  The Santo Domingo, D.R. native could be a relief option in Gwinnett or Double-A Mississippi next year.
  • Donnie Veal (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on November 10.  As mentioned in a previous post, the 30-year-old Veal will compete for an Atlanta bullpen spot this spring, but could spend ample time with Gwinnett in 2015.  In 100 Major League outings with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2009) and Chicago White Sox (2012-14), he’s 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA, one save and 70 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.  He spent the majority of 2014 with Triple-A Charlotte, going 4-5 with a 5.94 ERA in 37 relief outings.
  • Chien-Ming Wang (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on November 10.  Also mentioned in a previous post, the 34-year-old Wang is the most notable addition to the Gwinnett pitching staff thus far.  Seven years and several injuries removed from his consecutive 19-win seasons with the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007, Wang is now considered a Triple-A workhorse.  He led the International League with 28 starts in 2014, going 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA between the Louisville Bats and the Charlotte Knights.  His strikeout ratio was low (73 SO in 172.2 IP), but his groundout/flyout ratio was an impressive 1.78.  Wang should headline the Gwinnett rotation in 2015.
  • Victor Mateo (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 13.  Mateo, 25, joins the Braves after spending his first eight minor league seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.  He hasn’t yet reached the Triple-A level, but is coming off back-to-back solid seasons as a starter for Double-A Montgomery.  In 2013, he went 7-9 with a 3.93 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 153.1 innings for the Biscuits.  Last season, he matched a career high with 12 wins, going 12-11 with a 3.90 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 166.0 innings.  Mateo appears poised to advance to Triple-A for the first time in 2015, but a glut of experienced starters in Gwinnett could mean a trip to Mississippi.
  • Corban Joseph (1B) – signed to a minor league contract on November 19.  The New York Yankees’ fourth round selection in the 2008 June draft, Joseph spent seven seasons with the club before being released on August 27.  He made his Triple-A debut in 2012 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .266 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and an .840 OPS.  His 2013 season was highlighted by his Major League debut with the Yankees — a two-game stint as the 26th man during a doubleheader on May 13 — but also included a torn labrum injury in his right shoulder that required surgery in June.  He returned to Triple-A in 2014 and hit .268 with four homers and 28 RBIs in 70 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Joseph, 26, could be a potent left-handed bat for the G-Braves as he seeks to play a full season for the first time since 2012.

  • Jake Brigham (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  Brigham, 26, has experienced a lot in eight minor league seasons prior to joining the Braves.  Originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round in 2006, Brigham underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and missed all of 2008.  He returned from the injury in 2009 and reached as high as Double-A Frisco in 2012, going 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts.  The Rangers traded him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catcher Geovany Soto at the 2012 trade deadline, but got him back from the Cubs via trade the following November.  Brigham made his Triple-A debut with Round Rock in 2013, going 5-5 with a 4.51 ERA in 26 games (18 starts).  The Rangers didn’t re-sign him after 2013, and he moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  Last year at Triple-A Indianapolis, he went 3-5 with a 4.29 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 92.1 innings over 18 games (14 starts).  Brigham profiles to be in Gwinnett, but a definite fit isn’t clear.
  • Travis Mattair (1B) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  The 25-year-old Mattair has yet to play above Double-A, but is an intriguing prospect that could be ready for the next level.  Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the 2007 June draft, Mattair was selected during the Triple-A phase of the 2012 Rule 5 Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.  In two seasons with the Reds’ Double-A affiliate in Pensacola, he combined to hit .240 with 42 doubles, 26 home runs and 126 RBIs in 263 games.  He also struck out 239 times in that span, a rate he’ll have to cut down in order to proceed to Triple-A.  Mattair could be headed for Gwinnett, but is more likely to be in Mississippi.
  • Jairo Heredia (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  Another former Pinstripes prospect, Heredia joins the Braves after seven seasons in the New York Yankees’ system.  The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native was rated the Yankees’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America back in 2009.  He spent most of 2014 with Double-A Trenton, going 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 71.1 innings over 26 games (10 starts).  Heredia also pitched five times for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, going 1-0 with a 7.53 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 14.1 innings in five games (1 start).  He likely starts out in Double-A Mississippi in 2015.
  • K.D. Kang (OF) – signed to a minor league contract on November 21.  Though born in South Korea, the 26-year-old Kang has ties to Gwinnett County.  He attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, GA, the same school that produced former Braves outfielder and current Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Jeff Francoeur.  The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Kang in the 15th round in 2006, and he spent seven seasons in their minor league system before signing with Baltimore for 2014.  The left-handed hitter has batted .269 with 150 doubles, 38 triples, 68 home runs, 307 RBIs and 37 stolen bases in 726 minor league games, stats reflecting decent power and speed.  He has yet to reach the Triple-A level, however, spending nearly all of his time with Double-A affiliates the past four seasons.  Last year, Kang batted .282 with 22 doubles, three triples, 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 100 games with Bowie of the Orioles’ system.  He looks poised to make his Triple-A debut in Gwinnett sometime in 2015.
  • Michael Kohn (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on December 4.  Like Veal, Kohn is a reliever with quality Major League experience that the Braves will take a long look at this spring.  Over parts of four seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, he combined to go 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA, two saves and 107 strikeouts in 110.1 innings.  In 2014, Kohn made 25 big league appearances, going 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA.  He’s also a veteran of four Triple-A seasons with Salt Lake, where he went 5-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 110 relief outings.  The Camden, SC native could end up a G-Brave, but certainly has the ability to pitch for Atlanta as needed.

Notable 2014 G-Braves that have gone elsewhere, or are currently free agents:

  • Mitch Atkins (RHP) – currently a free agent.
  • Pedro Beato (RHP) – currently a free agent.
  • Brandon Boggs (OF) – currently a free agent.
  • Ryan Buchter (LHP) – currently a free agent.
  • Terry Doyle (RHP) – signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Tommy La Stella (2B) – traded to the Chicago Cubs.
  • Steve Lerud (C) – currently a free agent.
  • Ozzie Martinez (INF) – signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Donnie Murphy (INF) – currently a free agent.
  • Gus Schlosser (RHP) – non-tendered on December 2, currently a free agent.
  • Atahualpa Severino (LHP) – signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Zach Stewart (RHP) – currently a free agent.

Please check back for further updates as the offseason continues, and remember to follow @GBravesMedia for baseball-related G-Braves news.

-DL

G-Braves Hot Stove: La Stella Traded for Vizcaino

The Atlanta Braves traded one former G-Brave for another yesterday, sending infielder Tommy La Stella and an international bonus pool slot (No. 4) to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and three international bonus pool slots (No. 2, No. 3, No. 4).

Time for a G-Braves-centric look at the trade:

La Stella entered 2014 with plenty of hype, having earned the Braves’ “Best Hitter for Average” and “Best Strike Zone Discipline” distinctions from Baseball America.  Though he didn’t display much power in his Triple-A debut, he was as-advertised for Gwinnett, batting .293 with a .384 on-base percentage in 47 games.  He ranked among International League leaders in lowest TPA/SO ratio (2nd, 1 SO/14.21 TPA), walks (T-8th, 25) and on-base percentage (10th) as of May 28, and Atlanta rewarded him with his first Major League call-up.

A few more of La Stella’s Gwinnett highlights:

  • He reached base safely in 21 consecutive games from April 10 to May 2, batting .325 (27-for-83) with one double and 14 RBIs.  It was the longest on-base streak by a G-Brave in 2014.
  • In 23 games at Coolray Field, he batted .346 (27-for-78) with two doubles and eight RBIs.
  • In his final game with Gwinnett on May 27 at Pawtucket, he belted his first career Triple-A home run, a two-run shot off RHP Matt Barnes.

La Stella started hot in the Majors, batting .411 with nine multi-hit games over his first 16 contests.  He leveled off, however, batting .251 with 16 doubles, one home run and 31 RBIs in 93 total games with the Braves.  By season’s end, he saw decreased playing time with the emergence of fellow former G-Brave Phil Gosselin.

In sending La Stella to the Cubs, the Braves have helped clear up their second base log-jam.  Gosselin is a good bet to be the Braves’ starting second baseman next April, but he may only be a placeholder for Jose Peraza.  The Braves’ top prospect and 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, Peraza batted .339 with a .364 on-base percentage and 60 stolen bases between two levels last season, but hasn’t yet played above Double-A.  He could follow the same path as La Stella, starting the year in a Gwinnett uniform before earning a Major League call-up during the season.  Second base sets up to be an intriguing spot for the G-Braves in 2015, as Gosselin, Peraza or Tyler Pastornicky could see time at the position.

Yesterday’s trade also brings the hard-throwing Vizcaino back to the Braves organization.  Before Tommy John surgery in 2012 and a trade to the Cubs that July, he was included with Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado as the next wave of prospect pitchers bound for Atlanta.  The Coolray Field faithful saw him briefly during the pitching-rich 2011 season, when he went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, no walks and eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings with Gwinnett.  Vizcaino made his Major League debut with Atlanta that same season, going 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA, nine walks and 17 strikeouts in 17 games, 17.1 innings.

Vizcaino had a comeback year in 2014, as he went 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA, 18 walks and 42 strikeouts over 41.0 innings in the Cubs’ minor league system.  His September call-up to Chicago produced a 5.40 ERA in five outings, 5.0 innings.

Arodys Vizcaino went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six relief outings with Gwinnett in 2011.

Arodys Vizcaino went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six relief outings with Gwinnett in 2011. (Gwinnett Braves)

Though Vizcaino logged most of his appearances at Triple-A Iowa, he was certainly acquired to compete for a bullpen spot with Atlanta this Spring.  His addition also provides competition for another flame-throwing former G-Brave, right-hander Juan Jaime.  Jaime and his upper-90’s fastball have been impressive in both Gwinnett and Atlanta, but he’ll have to improve his control and limit his walks (45 in 53.1 combined innings) to stick in the Majors.

This deal in the long run seems to be more about the international bonus pool slots and the minor league depth the Braves can build with them, but it also helps Atlanta bolster their pitching staff while clearing up the picture at second base.

-DL

Trade: Braves Deal Chapman, Vizcaino to Cubs

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs have announced that the two clubs have completed a four-player trade, as of Monday, July 30. The Braves acquire left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash considerationsfrom the Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Vizcaino, 21, appeared in 17 career Major League games, and in 2011 went 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA. He has the No. 1 arm in the organization and was ranked the Braves No. 2 overall prospect after successful Tommy John surgery this season, according to Baseball America.  The right-hander possesses a 19-15 record alongside a 2.91 ERA over four minor league seasons with Atlanta. Over his career, Vizcaino has struck out an impressive 279 hitters in 268.2 innings of work. He was acquired by the Braves originally, alongside Melky Cabrera through a trade with the New York Yankees that involved Javier Vazquez in December of 2009.

Given Vizcaino’s track record, he is going to be a special player. However, the loss of Chapman creates a void within the organization as Chappy was not only a unique talent, but a special person more importantly. The right-handed reliever was one of the nicest and classiest people you will come across in this game. The Alabama alum would do anything for anyone, and that included any player appearances or opportunities to give back to the fans, community or kids.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

Chapman was not only a solid piece to the G-Braves bullpen, alongside one of the best change-up’s in the organization, but he is a great person that will be dearly missed. Players with Chapman’s talent come around here and again, but a player with his attitude doesn’t exist in today’s game. The righty owns a career record of 17-22 with a 3.95 ERA, as he was signed by Atlanta after the Braves originally drafted him in the 16th round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

The 30-year old Maholm is 9-6 this season with a 3.74 ERA in 120.1 innings of work for Chicago. He has made 21 appearances this year, 20 for starts. He is currently 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his last seven starts with the Cubs, retaining a 7-0 record in those games. The southpaw owns a career Major League record of 62-79 with a 4.30 ERA in just over eight professional seasons. Maholm was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State University.  He is signed through the 2012 season with a club option for 2013.

By: Tony Piraro

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