Results tagged ‘ Atahualpa Severino ’

G-Braves Hot Stove: Almonte, Wang and Veal

Chien-Ming Wang went 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 28 Triple-A starts in 2014.  (Credit Tommy Viola / Charlotte Knights)

Chien-Ming Wang went 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA in 28 Triple-A starts in 2014. (Photo by: Tommy Viola / Charlotte Knights)

Following a historic front office revamp in October, the Atlanta Braves are preparing for their most important Hot Stove season in recent franchise history.  Here at the G-Blog, we’ll periodically take a look at some of the players that President of Baseball Operations John Hart and the new regime are bringing in, specifically those that will have an impact on the 2015 roster here in Gwinnett.

Yesterday marked Atlanta’s first foray into Major/Minor League free agency this offseason, as the club announced the signing of outfielder Zoilo Almonte to a one-year Major League deal and pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Donnie Veal to Minor League deals.  While these acquisitions aren’t the most notable the Braves will make this winter, they are proof that Hart and company are committed to building a deeper organization through the addition of established veterans.

Anyone who follows the Gwinnett Braves or the Triple-A International League closely will be familiar with all three players.  Almonte, Wang and Veal all spent significant time in the IL last season, and each played against the G-Braves on more than one occasion.

Almonte, on Atlanta’s 40-man roster, will contend for a spot on the 25-man Major League roster this Spring.  He’s the youngest of the three acquisitions at age 25, and he’s logged brief stints with the New York Yankees in each of the past two seasons. Almonte has never quite settled in at the plate in the big leagues, batting .211 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 47 career games, but he’s done plenty at the Triple-A level to make him an intriguing prospect.  In 105 games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders last year, he batted .261 with 18 doubles, 18 home runs and 69 RBIs.  His banner performance of 2014 occurred against Gwinnett at Coolray Field from July 23-24, a game that took two days to complete due to rain.  Almonte went 4-for-6 with three homers and seven RBIs in a 12-4 rout of the G-Braves, launching solo and three-run shots off Kanekoa Texeira and adding another three-run clout off Carlos Fisher.

Almonte is reportedly out of options and would have to clear waivers should the Braves ever want to send him to Gwinnett, so it’s unlikely that he’ll bring his homer show back to Coolray Field in 2015.  That’s not to say his addition won’t have an effect on the G-Braves’ roster.  IL veterans Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich, also competitors for the Atlanta bench, are now more likely to return to Gwinnett for their third and fourth seasons, respectively.  Cunningham (.287, 8 HR, 58 RBI, 19 SB) and Terdoslavich (.256, 15 HR, 61 RBI) both had productive Triple-A seasons a year ago.

In contrast to Almonte, Wang appears to be specifically signed to help the Gwinnett roster.  The Taiwanese right-hander posted back-to-back 19-win seasons with the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007, but suffered a career-altering foot injury in 2008 and has since seen his profile transition to Triple-A workhorse.  Since the start of 2011, the 34-year-old has made twice as many starts in the International League (50) as he has in the Major Leagues (22).  Last year, Wang made an IL-best 28 starts with two organizations, going 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA with the Louisville Bats (Cincinnati Reds) and the Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox).  He struck out just 73 batters over 172.2 innings, but kept the ball on the ground with a 1.78 groundout/flyout ratio and only six homers allowed.

Much like Almonte, Wang had success facing the G-Braves last year.  He went 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts while with Louisville, then finished 3-0 with a 3.54 ERA in three starts with Charlotte.  He worked at least 6.0 innings in four of his five meetings with Gwinnett, including 7.1 scoreless, nine-hit frames in a win with the Bats on June 14.

If he joins Gwinnett, Wang would be the elder statesman of a starting rotation that could include returnees Cody Martin (7-8, 3.52) and Aaron Northcraft (7-10, 4.70) and Double-A standouts Jason Hursh (11-7, 3.58) and Williams Perez (7-6, 2.91).  Another season of 170-plus innings from Wang would also help keep the bullpen fresh in 2015.

Speaking of the Gwinnett bullpen, that’s where you might find the left-handed Veal come April.  Veal, a second-round pick by the Chicago Cubs back in 2005, has had a taste of the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago White Sox.  In 100 total games from 2009 through 2014, he went 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA and one save.  His best year was 2011, when he went 0-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 24 relief outings with the White Sox.  Far more of his time has been spent at the Triple-A level, where he logged 25 games with the Indianapolis Indians from 2009-2011 and 89 games with the Charlotte Knights from 2012-2014.

After going 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 17 relief outings for Charlotte in 2013, Veal took a step back in 2014, going 4-5 with a 5.94 ERA in 37 appearances.  Against Gwinnett, he went 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in three meetings.  Though his recent numbers don’t impress, the 30-year-old southpaw will get a look in Major League camp this Spring.  Should he fail to make the Atlanta roster, he’ll be an asset for a Gwinnett bullpen in flux.  Of last year’s G-Braves relief staff, right-hander Pedro Beato and left-handers Ryan Buchter and Atahualpa Severino are all Minor League free agents.  That trio combined to make 131 appearances for the club last season.

Yesterday’s moves don’t represent a “big splash” at the Major League level, but they are the Atlanta Braves’ first steps toward building better organizational depth — and a better Triple-A club — in 2015.

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (30-26) vs. Columbus Clippers (26-31)

Pitching Probables

Tue: Zach Stewart (3-2, 4.03) vs. Gabriel Arias (0-2, 5.73)

Wed: Cody Martin (3-4, 3.36) vs. Danny Salazar (0-3, 7.11)

Thomas (Lofton)

Thomas (Lofton)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-6, 3.38) vs. Tyler Cloyd (2-3, 4.91)

Fri: Gus Schlosser (3-2, 4.94) vs. Kyle Davies (2-3, 3.40)

The Gwinnett Braves open up an eight-game homestand at Coolray Field beginning Tuesday, June 3 against the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Gwinnett enters the contest one game out of first place in the Wild Card standings, while Columbus is 5.5 games back of the front-running Rochester Red Wings in the Wild Card race.

Pitching: Columbus enters the series with one of the better pitching staffs in the league, ranking sixth in the IL with a 3.75 ERA. The Clippers have lost left-hander T.J. House and right-hander Trevor Bauer to Cleveland, but still have a bevy of arms to rely on. Danny Salazar is off to a slow start in 2014, but features electric stuff. The right-hander has a mid-90’s fastball, hard slider and a change-up. In 12.2 innings with the Clippers, he has struck out 15 batters.

While Salazar works out his kinks in hopes to return to the Major Leagues, the Clippers will rely heavily on the bullpen during the series. With Mark Lowe and Vinnie Pestano in the back end of the pen’, the Clippers have MLB talent and experience to close out games. Lowe is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and is 8-for-9 in save opportunities, while Pestano is 1-3 with a 2.41 ERA.

Gwinnett will counter with a talented bullpen of their own, as Juan Jaime, Ian Thomas and Atahualpa Severino are ready to close out games for the G-Braves. Jaime enters the series with a 1-0 mark and 3.10 ERA in 21 games. The right-hander is a perfect 10-for-10 in save chances, while striking out 32 in 20.1 innings.

Thomas returns from Atlanta after serving another short stint with the Braves. The lefty has dominated the Triple-A circuit, going 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 5.0 innings. He has fanned eight batters, while only allowing one hit. Thomas is working out his slider in Triple-A, which can prove to be an asset once he gets it going.

The addition of Thomas hasn’t slowed Severino, as the southpaw entered the series with a team-leading six holds. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 games. Severino has struck out 32 batters in 24.0 innings.

Batting: Gwinnett’s offense was cooled off on their current road trip, scoring 24 runs in eight games and was shutout twice. However, Gwinnett still has the No.2 offense in the IL. Phil Gosselin continues to pace the attack, batting .324 (66-for-204) with 14 doubles, two triples, one homer and 13 RBIs. Gosselin is tied for the team lead in runs (28), doubles and triples.

Tyler Pastornicky has taken his demotion from Atlanta in stride. In four games since being sent down, the infielder is batting .471 (8-for-17) with two runs scored and one double. Last season, Pastornicky hit .292 (84-for-288) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 RBIs in 74 games with Gwinnett.

Columbus will rely on Roberto Perez to lead the offensive attack. The backstop is having a great season, batting .321 (27-for-84) with four doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs. He leads the team in batting, homers and is second in RBIs.

He will look to carry the offense that lost Jesus Aguilar to an early season promotion.

“Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure.” –Jenna Wyatt-

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (25-19) vs. Norfolk Tides (17-28)

Thu: Gus Schlosser (1-1, 5.84) vs. Mike Wright (1-2, 4.46)Fri: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.13) vs. LHP T.J. McFarland (0-1, 3.75)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Sat: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.24) vs. Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 5.30)

Sun: Cody Martin (3-2, 2.76) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 2.90)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Norfolk Tides will meet for the sixth time this season, and their series matchup of the 2014 campaign. In their previous five meetings, the G-Braves took four of five from their South division counterparts. The G-Braves hold an 8.5 game lead over the Tides in the South Division

Pitching: Norfolk will enter the series with the 13th rated staff in the IL, as they own an ERA of 4.77, which is slightly lower than the Louisville Bats (4.88). Despite owning one of the worst ERA’s in the league, the Tides highly-touted prospect Kevin Gausman has been solid in the rotation. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 31.0 innings. He has struck out 32 batters, while walking 15. He has battled command issues for the first time in his career. Entering the 2014 season, he had walked 15 batters in 97 minor league innings. He will try to turn things around in the series finale.

The G-Braves will counter with five right-handers during the weekend series. Martin has been the best of the group, sporting a 3-2 record with a 2.76 ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts and opponents are hitting .200 against the righty. In the month of May, he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Since missing to the rotation after an early season relief appearance, Martin is 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA, striking out 48 in 46.0 innings.

The staff will look to turn over leads to closer Juan Jaime. In 17 games, he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and is 9-for-9 in save chances. He is third in the IL in saves, while his 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings ranked second among G-Braves relievers. Atahualpa Severino leads all G-Braves relievers with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

Batting: With Jose Constanza sidelined by a groin injury, Derrick Mitchell has taken over as one of the regulars in the outfield. The G-Braves haven’t missed a beat, as the right-handed hitting Mitchell has been on fire of late. After batting .143 (6-for-42) with one RBI through his first 22 games, Mitchell is batting .429 (12-for-28) with three homers, eight runs and eight RBIs in last ten games spanning from 5/9 through 5/20. He currently has a seven-game winning streak.

In addition to the hot bat of Mitchell, Todd Cunningham is swinging a hot-stick of late. In 31 contests from late-April to mid-May, Cunningham is batting .344 (42-for-122) with 10 doubles, two homers and 20 RBIs. He is batting .338 (26-for-77) with five doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs during the month of May. Cunningham ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.302, 13th), hits (52, 2nd), RBI (25, T-7th), total bases (69, T-9th) and doubles (11, T-9th).

For Norfolk, everything starts and ends with Quinton Berry. The speedy outfielder is off to a great start, batting .309 (30-for-97) with six doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He has seven bags and is 5-for-7 in his last two games with a homer and one RBI.

After hitting .176 (15-for-85) during the month of April, Brett Wallace is starting to swing a hot bat in May. The first baseman is hitting .373 (25-for-67) with three doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. All of his homers have come in the month of May, while raising his season average to .263 (40-for-152) on the season.

Tides Wash: After taking 14 of 21 last season from the G-Braves, the Tides are off to a slow start against Gwinnett going 1-4 in their first five contests.

 

-Jd-

Spring Training Report- Non Roster Invitees, Pitchers

The Atlanta Braves are ready to open up Spring Training camp on Thursday, February 13.  While, the majority of the 40-man roster returns from a season ago, the roster did take some hits this off season, losing Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Brian McCann to free agency. However, the Braves are locked and loaded to compete for their second straight East Division crown and their third straight postseason berth.

The Braves will enter camp with 62 players, inviting 22 non-roster players to join the fold in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Many of the players will get their first taste of big league camp, while others will compete for a chance at the 25-man roster. Arms are always at a premium, so we will go over all the hurlers that will report to the Disney complex on Thursday.  The Braves invited 11 non-roster pitchers, left-handers Ian Thomas, Daniel Rodriguez, Atahualpa Severino and right-handers Lay Batista, J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, Mark Lamm, Cody Martin, Yunesky Maya, Gus Schlosser and Shae Simmons.

Martin (Moore)

Martin (Moore)

Among the 11 invited, two have big league experience as Severino and Maya spent some time with the Washington Nationals. In 2009, Maya fled Cuba and signed with the Nationals. However, the 32-year old right-hander didn’t live up to the four-year, six-million dollar deal that he signed with Washington, going 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) for the Nationals over the last four years. He will compete for a bullpen spot along with former teammate Severino, but they could end up with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Former Los Angeles Angels’ farmhand Lay Batista is the only other non-roster invitee that did not start his career in the Braves system. Batista reached Double-A last year, going 5-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 122.2 IP. He has relief experience, but primarily started the last two seasons.  He will likely start in Double-A Mississippi, but he will get a long look at big league camp.

The rest of the invitees have been with the Braves since they began their professional careers. Left-handers Ian Thomas and Daniel Rodriguez are interesting prospects, as the Braves’ bullpen enters camp with one lefty reliever. While, Jonny Venters recovers from “Tommy John” surgery, the Braves will look for another southpaw to emerge during Spring Training. Thomas had a strong showing in 2013, going 7-8 with a 2.76 ERA in 104.1 IP. He struck out 123 batters while walking 37. Rodriguez’ numbers did not resemble Thomas’, but he has been in big league camp two straight seasons and starred in Triple-A Gwinnett last year before an injury shutdown his 2013 campaign.

Rodriguez was not the only one that was shut down with an injury in 2013, as Graham had to miss the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. Graham made a name for himself during last Spring Training, tossing in 9.0 IP, allowing six hits, striking out five and recording two saves. He was sent down to Double-A Mississippi, landing on the DL in May.

With Graham’s absences on the M-Braves roster, Schlosser, Lamm and Martin, had a chance to shine for the Braves Double-A affiliate. Schlosser had the most impressive resume, going 7-6 with a 2.39 ERA in 25 starts, but he was the only one of the three that was not promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Lamm and Martin got their first taste of the International League circuit. Lamm went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA, while Martin went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA for the G-Braves.

Finally, the last two players that will get a look during big league camp will be Simmons and Hursh. Simmons dominated Class-A Rome, recording a club-record 24 saves, surpassing former record holder Sung Ki Jung of the inaugural 2003 club. While, last season first round pick Hursh will get his first taste of the big leagues during Spring Training. Hursh lived up to the billing last year, going 1-1 with a 0.67 ERA in 27.0 IP for Class-A Rome. The former Cowboy has an impressive upside, but he is likely heading to Double-A Mississippi to continue his development.

The 11 pitchers that are heading to big league camp will get a long look during Spring Training, but it is likely that all players will start the season in one of the Braves Minor League systems.

Tomorrow we will go over the 11 position players that have been invited to big league camp.

-JD-

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers