Results tagged ‘ Atlanta Braves ’
Yesterday, I delved a bit into the background of right-hander Wirfin Obispo, the hard-throwing Gwinnett Braves closer who was just added to the Atlanta Braves’ 40-man roster last Friday. Today, it’s time to do the same for the other newest 40-man addition, left-hander Ryan Buchter.
The 26-year-old Buchter emerged as a bullpen force for the G-Braves last season, compiling a 4-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in 51 relief appearances. In addition to converting all five of his save chances, the southpaw also ranked among International League relief leaders in strikeouts per 9.0 IP ratio (1st, 14.95) and lowest opponent batting average (3rd, .168). Buchter’s most impressive work came down the stretch as he posted a 0.00 ERA over his final 14 appearances in August and September.
Much like Obispo, Buchter’s “breakout” season in 2013 came after a well-traveled start to his career. Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd round of the 2005 draft, the New Jersey native has already been traded twice. The Nationals dealt him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery in 2008, and the Cubs moved him to Atlanta in a deal for right-hander Rodrigo Lopez in 2011. Amid the ever-changing scenery, including stops in eight different leagues, Buchter put together All-Star seasons in the Class-A Midwest League in 2009 and the Double-A Southern League in 2010.
Buchter’s travels and subsequent learning experiences were featured in a story I wrote for the final regular-season issue of Tomahawk Talk last year. In it, he reflected on his unlikely discovery by the Nationals, the benefits of being traded, his confidence gained from the 2012 Arizona Fall League, his “rollercoaster” 2013 season in Gwinnett and more.
Buchter Breaks Out
Left-hander Ryan Buchter has emerged as a go-to arm out of the Gwinnett Braves bullpen in 2013
by Dave Lezotte (published in Tomahawk Talk, August 26, 2013)
He may not qualify as the biggest prospect arm on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster, but what left-hander Ryan Buchter has been able to do in his first full Triple-A season is nothing short of impressive. The New Jersey native has held International League hitters to a .178 batting average, striking out 83 over 51 innings in 42 outings this year.
Buchter’s professional career, including stops with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs organizations, has always been a bit under-the-radar. Even his signing by Washington came about almost on accident.
“It was a mistake,” said Buchter about his discovery by the Nationals. ”I ended up pitching against somebody who was being scouted already. I kind of outpitched him, and it all started from there.”
The pitcher being scouted by both the Nationals and the Cubs was Winslow Township High School right-hander Chris Rollins. The Nationals passed on Rollins in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, but took Buchter in the 33rd round out of Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, NJ.
A draft-and-follow selection, Buchter attended Gloucester County Community College in nearby Sewell, NJ before starting his professional career in 2006 at age 19. His first two seasons as a Nationals’ farmhand were anything but successful. In his first year in the Gulf Coast League, he went 1-1 with a 7.24 ERA in 11 games, one start. The next year, he went 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA at Short-A Vermont. He finally showed some promise in 2008, going 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 games between the GCL and Class-A Hagerstown, but was traded away after the season.
The Nationals dealt Buchter to the Cubs in exchange for right-hander Matt Avery on November 3, 2008. The change of scenery proved to be a turning point in his career.
“Getting traded kind of jump-started me,” said Buchter about the move to the Cubs. ”It made me take a different path in my career. I started to work a little harder that off-season and it started to show right away. From there, I kept building and building. I attribute (my success) to being traded and not wanting to let the new team down.”
With his career refreshed in a new organization, Buchter put together two award-winning seasons in the Cubs’ system. In 2009, he made his first professional All-Star Game, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and five saves in 38 games for the Peoria Chiefs of the Class-A Midwest League. A year later, he was an All-Star again in the Double-A Southern League, going 7-2 with a 4.65 ERA in 47 games for the Tennessee Smokies. His third campaign as a Cub began with mixed results as he split time between Tennessee and Advanced-A Daytona, but another shakeup was imminent.
On May 26, 2011, Buchter was traded for the second time. The Cubs sent him to Atlanta in exchange for 35-year-old right-hander Rodrigo Lopez.
“I was just sent down to High-A to iron out some kinks,” reflected Buchter on the time of the trade. ”I started throwing well in Daytona with the intention of (moving back up) to Double-A or Triple-A. When I got traded, (Daytona manager Buddy Bailey) pulled me aside and said ‘I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is, you’ve been traded. The bad news is, you’re going back to High-A.’ That was a difficult thing to handle.”
Buchter started his Atlanta Braves’ career with Advanced-A Lynchburg, going 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA and a career-high 15 savs in 2011. In 2012, he moved on to Double-A Mississippi, returning to the Southern League for the first time since pitching with Tennessee. Facing familiar competition, he boasted a 3-1 record, 1.31 ERA and four saves in 35 relief outings for the M-Braves.
“I just went out and did what I knew I could do,” said Buchter about his success. ”Just give me an opportunity and I’ll pitch and throw well, especially late in the game. I embraced the role I was being used in, seventh, eighth, sometimes ninth (inning) and it worked out.”
His stint with Mississippi worked out for a late-season promotion to Gwinnett for his Triple-A debut. Buchter went 0-2 with a 10.12 ERA in nine outings for the G-Braves, indicating that he still needed some refinement. A trip to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League and an extended look in Braves’ Major League camp during the spring helped him regain confidence.
“It helped me iron out some bad habits that I created when I came up here (to Gwinnett),” said Buchter about his fall and spring assignments. ”It made me realize that I can get anybody out. I can get the prospects out; I can get the big league guys out. Once you realize that, I don’t want to say the game becomes easier, but you start to have a little more faith in yourself.”
Buchter began his 2013 season on Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster and was nearly unhittable early, postin a 1.00 ERA in nine April outings. He came back down to earth in the summer months, going 0-0 with a 4.58 ERA in 28 games from May through July, but found his best stuff in August. Through his first seven games, he went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and one save.
“It’s been a pretty fun rollercoaster,” said Buchter about 2013. ”With pitching, it’s easy to be a perfectionist and want to go out and pick yourself apart for giving up a walk or giving up a hit. Sometimes the hardest thing is to realize that if you throw up a zero (no runs), it’s actually a good inning no matter what else happens.”
He’s had plenty of those good innings lately for Gwinnett, most of them in pivotal spots. With the departure of closer Cory Rasmus to the Los Angeles Angels in a July trade, Buchter has been given more opportunities to pitch with late leads and in save situations. Pitching in tight ballgames is something he relishes.
“The game’s a little more fun when you’re out there and you’re up by one, down by one and you know your team needs you to throw up a zero,” said Buchter. ”It’s something that I’ve learned to embrace and I look forward to a one-run game. I get a little antsy in the bullpen hoping they’ll call down and say my name, that way I get a chance to come in.”
Buchter has climbed to the top of the league in relief strikeouts thanks to a fastball that sits in the mid-90′s and a willingness to challenge hitters with it. For the left-hander, getting ahead in the count quickly is the key to his prolific strikeout numbers.
“If I get ahead, a lot of times my success rate is a lot higher than a lot of guys,” said Buchter. ”Get strike one, and then I try to pitch to one side of the plate for righties and lefties. If I get two strikes on a guy, then I’ll try to put him away. It’s a very simple game plan. A lot of fastballs; then I’ll mix the cutter in and then try to put them away with the breaking ball.”
Buchter’s professional career started with an unlikely discovery, progressed with three different organizations and has resulted in a 2013 season that has him closer than ever to the Major Leagues. While he waits for a shot at Atlanta’s bullpen, he remains optimistic and focused.
“Obviously, you’re waiting for your turn, and for a lot of bullpen guys, it’s luck,” said Buchter. ”It’s luck and what the team has planned for you. They may have a plan for you, they might not, but you’ve got to continue to stay focused on the task at hand down here (in Gwinnett). It’s good to just keep your mind on things down here and do your job every day. If you don’t do your job here, they’re not going to be looking for you anyway.”
The Atlanta Braves will certainly be giving Buchter a long look when Spring Training starts up in February. For the first time in his career, he has the stability that comes from being on a Major League 40-man roster.
What did you think?
BB: “I feel good, you know. It was fun. It was nice to be out there in a real game with fans in the seats and be able to compete.”
How did you feel? Were you unsettled at first at all? Did you settle in at all?
BB: “A little uncomfortable I would say. Just a little out of rhythm, out of sync, I would find it. What usually takes a batter or a pitch or two, it’s taking three batters or four pitches to make the adjustments. But, that’s going to come, the feel is going to come as I get more comfortable out there. The speed of the game is a lot quicker than the bullpen I have been throwing, so I have to slow myself down a little bit and that will help out my rhythm. I have to stay back on my back side a little bit and that will help out a lot.”
It (feel for the game) pretty much goes hand-in-hand with the command issues?
BB: “Yeah, that exactly what it was.”
How would you access the performance (4 IP, 2H, 2ER, 3BB, 3K, 70 pitches-35 strikes)?
BB: “I feel good about it. I physically felt strong. I felt good. Like I said, I threw a lot of quality pitches, and at times it would get away, were normally it’s a quicker adjustment, it took me a lot longer to get going. It’s something I have to fight through and really focus on slowing myself down, controlling my breathing and that will help me make the adjustments quicker.”
What was your reaction, feelings about sitting down and coming back out in-between innings?
BB: “I felt really good, that’s something that has been in the back of my mind. How I would respond to the time between innings, but it didn’t tighten up on me or anything like that. It felt really good physically. I couldn’t be any happier with how it felt.”
Command issues aside, how did you feel about velocity, movement?
BB: “I don’t know about velocity, they weren’t really teeing off on my fastball when I was throwing it for a strike, so judging by the swings that is not an issue. Some of the pitches were good, threw a couple good changeups, a couple good sliders, and I threw a handful of bad ones too. It’s all a part of that rhythm, repetition and just being comfortable.”
Is this what you expected for your first time out?
BB: “I really don’t know what to expect. Going up against Triple-A hitters for four innings and not having faced guys in weeks. I guess, I’m happy with it, not knowing what was going to happen. Of course, I want to go out there and not give up a hit, not give up a run, but that’s just part of the process.”
What adjustment will you make between now and your next outing?
BB: “I’ll watch it on tape. I’ll check out the film and I can already tell you what I will see on a lot of them. It’s just rushing down the mound, not sitting back on my back side and getting my weight shifted quite long enough, and that’s causing me to hang some off-speed pitches and throwing some fastballs right into the dirt, and be non-competitive at times with pitches and getting counts where I’m digging myself in holes. However, that’s all fixable and it’s something I should have expected.”
How important was it to limit damage in the 2nd and 4th innings?
BB: “Yeah, I guess. Being in a situation with guys on base that’s something you can’t simulate in the bullpen. I think I did a pretty good job of calming down. I walked a few guys, but it was in situations where I had a bases open and I knew that. I was trying to work on stuff, I threw pitches that I wouldn’t normally throw in that situation just to get them in, and I felt I need to work on and I needed to throw. But, a lot of times they did not work out for me and I didn’t execute them. Those are things I will need to have eventually, so I might as well start working on them now.”
Will you stay on the same schedule (make another start in five days)? Will your pitch count increase?
BB: “Yes, I anticipated it moving up.”
Spring Training is underway and the Atlanta Braves have got off to a slow start, losing three of their first four games. With new faces around camp and early departures for the World Baseball Classic, the Braves are not worried about win-loss records, but concerned with building a continuity to prepare for an exciting summer of baseball.
With several regulars leaving for the WBC, it has allowed for former 2012 G-Braves to make an impact in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Twelve of 15 Braves that wore the G-Braves uniform in 2012 have seen the field this spring.
Joe Terdoslavich made a big splash, hitting a solo-homer on Feb.22 against the Detroit Tigers. His home run was the lone run for the Braves, as they were stymied by seven different pitchers in a 2-1 loss.
Tyler Pastornicky has flourished since Andrelton Simmons left to Taiwan to prepare for the WBC. In his last two games, Pastornicky has picked up two hits and an RBI.
The other three positions players, Ernesto Mejia, Jordan Parraz and Jose Yepez have one hit each through the first four games. Jose Constanza, who is having visa issues in the Dominican Republic, is yet to report to camp.
On the hill, the race for five went from luke-warm to steamy. Sean Gilmartin and Julio Teheran matched each other on Sunday afternoon with two scoreless frames. Both hurlers picked up two strikeouts and allowed one base runner each. Gilmartin gave up a single, while Teheran walked one.
If the race for five was not enough, the bullpen battles are starting to get hot. Cory Gearrin has tossed two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and recording two strikeouts, while Dusty Hughes hurled a perfect frame with one strikeout.
Lefties Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande and Daniel Rodriguez have struggled through the first few days of camp. Buchter has allowed two runs on three hits in one inning. Flande has given up six runs on seven hits in two innings of baseball. Rodriguez’ control issues continue to give him trouble, walking three and giving up three runs in his lone appearance.
The players return to action today at 1:05 p.m. at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL against the Washington Nationals.
With the off-season almost in the books, a new crop of G-Braves is forming at Atlanta Braves Spring Training in Lake Buena Vista, FL. We’ve already taken a look at some of the potential returnees from last year’s club as well as some of the new faces that could impact Atlanta or Gwinnett’s roster. For this post, we’ll check in with 2012 G-Braves who are no longer with the Braves organization.
Catcher J.C. Boscan signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs this off-season. The longest tenured G-Brave spent four seasons with Gwinnett. In 210 games, the right-handed hitting backstop hit .210 with eight home runs and 54 RBI. He is fifth in Gwinnett Braves history in games and fourth in at bats (689) dating back to 2009.
While Boscan spent four years with Gwinnett, shortstop Josh Wilson’s tenure was short-lived, as the slick-fielding infielder wore the G-Braves uniform for one season. Wilson signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the off-season. He spent all of 2012 with the G-Braves after spending a part of the last four seasons in the big leagues. In 122 games with Gwinnett, Wilson hit .241 with five home runs and 43 RBI.
The outfield lost three notable players in Luis Durango, Stefan Gartrell and Felix Pie.
Durango signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Royals. He played all of 2012 with Gwinnett, finishing the season fourth on the team in RBI (45), third in batting average (.289), second in triples (5) and first in stolen bases (46). Durango’s 46 stolen bases led the International League and are second all-time in Gwinnett Braves history.
Pie was another welcomed addition to the club last season, hitting .285 with six home runs and 51 RBI. He led the squad in triples (7) and was a perfect 16-for-16 in stolen bases. Pie signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gartrell’s tenure with the G-Braves may be the most celebrated from a hitter’s standpoint. In two seasons, the outfielder has made his stamp in the Gwinnett record books. He is second all-time in doubles (50), RBI (146) and runs (134), while coming in third in hits (217), games (238) and at bats (849). His 45 home runs top the charts. Gartrell signed with the Chicago White Sox in the off-season and receive an invitation to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. The White Sox originally drafted Gartrell in the 31st round of the 2006 draft, but shipped him to Atlanta in a 2011 trade.
On the mound, the G-Braves saw a few hurlers leave for free agency, while two others were involved in big trades this off-season.
Buddy Carlyle moved on to Canada, signing a free agent deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. The right-handed pitcher made his mark with the G-Braves in 2009, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.76 ERA. Last season, he went 5-4 with a 3.43 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 76 innings.
Jair Jurrjens moved on and signed a contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Jurrjens made 17 career starts for the G-Braves from 2010-2012. In 17 games, he went 6-7 with a 4.93 ERA while striking 51 batters in 91.1 innings.
Tommy Hanson made one rehab start for the G-Braves last season and was the opening day starter for the G-Braves’ inaugural season in 2009. The right-hander was shipped off to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for reliever Jordan Walden. Hanson was always outstanding with Gwinnett, recording a 4-3 record with a 1.39 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 71.1 innings of work.
Finally, Randall Delgado was a part of one of the blockbuster trades this off-season, as the Braves traded him and four others to the Diamondbacks in exchange for outfielder Justin Upton and infielder Chris Johnson. Delgado, rated one of the top prospects in the Braves organization, spent two stints with the G-Braves in 2011 and 2012. In 12 starts, he went 6-5 with a 4.09 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 66 innings.
The lists of other G-Braves that have found a new home are as followed:
Lyle Overbay- Boston Red Sox (Free Agent)
Rusty Ryal- Los Angeles Dodgers (Free Agent)
Miguel Batista- Colorado Rockies (Free Agent)
Erik Cordier- Pittsburgh Pirates (Free Agent)
Peter Moylan- Los Angeles Dodgers (Free Agent)
Adam Russell- Baltimore Orioles (Free Agent)
First-year Gwinnett Braves manager Randy Ready will lead the 2013 edition of the Gwinnett Braves for the first time on Thursday, April 4 as the club opens the season at Coolray Field with a 7:05 PM game against Charlotte. For tickets, merchandise and more information, visit GwinnettBraves.com.
The 2013 Gwinnett Braves will see a lot of turnover as a majority of the team has moved on to different clubs. However, there is a great deal of players still connected to the Braves organization. Here’s a look at some 2012 G-Braves heading to Atlanta’s Major League camp this year.
Former International League hitting champion Jose Constanza remains in the fold. The 5’9” outfielder remains on the Braves 40-man roster after leading the IL in hitting with a .314 batting average. Since being acquired through free agency in 2010, Constanza has been a solid pick up. In 174 games, he hit .318 (212-for-667) with two home runs and 52 RBI. He reports to MLB Spring Training fighting for one of the final Braves’ roster spots.
Constanza will not be alone fighting for a roster spot, as Ernesto Mejia looks to lock up one of the bench spots. The infielder came into his own last season, hitting .296 (152-for-514) with 24 home runs and 92 RBI. He was awarded the IL Rookie of the year and was added to the Braves’ 40-man roster at the end of the season.
While Constanza and Mejia head to camp as part of the 40-man roster, three former G-Braves will look to come out of nowhere and steal a spot on the roster.
Joe Terdoslavich, Jordan Parraz and Jose Yepez will push the veterans for a bench spot. Terdoslavich struggled in his first stint with the G-Braves in 2012, hitting .180 with four home runs and 20 RBI. He committed 22 errors in 53 games, but he turned it around after being sent down to Double-A Mississippi. He finished his second full season (third with organization) hitting .315 with five home runs and 51 RBI.
Parraz was solid as a utility outfielder last season. In 34 games, he hit .288 (34-for-118) with six doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI. His 2012 campaign was significantly shortened by a pair of hand injuries.
Yepez will head to his second straight Spring Training, as he hopes to win the backup spot on the MLB roster while Brian McCann is out with an injury. Yepez played in 79 games for the G-Braves, hitting .264 with three home runs and 30 RBI.
With the Atlanta Braves offseason deal of Randall Delgado, an immediate spot in the rotation has opened up. Both Sean Gilmartin and Julio Teheran will go to Spring Training battling for the fifth and final spot in the rotation.
Teheran, who was IL Player of the Year and Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, is the front-runner for the rotation spot. In two seasons with the G-Braves, Teheran is second all-time in wins (22) and boasts the club’s best ERA (3.75).
Teheran will have to be careful, as Gilmartin is eager to win the final spot after completing his first full season with the organization. In 20 starts with Double-A Mississippi, he went 5-8 with a 3.54 ERA, while going 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA in seven starts for Gwinnett.
While Teheran and Gilmartin battle for a rotation spot, Cory Gearrin, Dusty Hughes and Anthony Varvaro will try to fit in the Atlanta bullpen. Gearrin has been outstanding, appearing in an all-time high 126 games for the G-Braves. Last season, he went 3-3 with a 2.30 ERA and 9 saves in 39 games for Gwinnett. He was even better in Atlanta, hurling 20 innings, allowing four runs (1.80 ERA) in 22 games for the Braves.
Hughes looks to crack the MLB team for the first time in his career. Having big league experience with the Kansas City Royals, Hughes knows what it takes to make the big team. The lefty had a solid 2012 in Gwinnett, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.31 ERA.
Varvaro rounds out the list of Spring Training invitees. He pitched well for Gwinnett before moving up to the big leagues. In 44.1 innings, the right-hander posted an 0-2 record with 2.23 ERA.
Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande and Daniel Rodriguez also received invitations to camp. They will get an opportunity to win one of the 12 spots on the staff, but will have a tough hill to climb as all three have no MLB experience. Flande will go in with the most upside, as he spent all of last two seasons with the G-Braves. In 2012, he was 6-11 with a 4.21 ERA.
The bullpen may be a bit crowded with the acquisition of Jordan Walden from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but these six arms are up for the task.
While plenty of former G-Braves will look to make an impression on the Braves as full practices start tomorrow, there’s plenty of new faces in camp this year. The next edition of the G-Blog will take a look at those new players, some of which could be heading to Gwinnett in 2013.
Justin Upton’s press conference was not the only news in Braves Country, as last night MLB.com announced its Top 100 prospect list, placing one Atlanta farm hand on the list.
Julio Teheran came in at No.31, according to MLB.com draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo. The right-hander makes the list for second straight season after coming in fourth last year.
After a banner year in 2011 with the Gwinnett Braves, capturing the International League’s Most Valuable Pitcher award, International League Rookie of the Year award and Atlanta Braves’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year award, Teheran was ranked the top right arm in the minors, according to Mayo. He dropped in on the countdown at No.4, ranking behind the Rays’ Matt Moore and Rookies of the Year Mike Trout (Angels) and Bryce Harper (Nationals).
His quick ascension to the top sparked attention from the all levels as he received an invitation to MLB Spring Training. During camp, he struggled through mechanical issues and lost out on the fifth spot to Randall Delgado.
He did not fare well in his second stint with the G-Braves. In 26 starts, he went 7-9 with a 5.08 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 131 innings. However, his numbers in 2011, 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 144.2 innings, helped make Delgado dispensable for the Atlanta Braves this offseason, as they traded him away in a package to get Justin Upton.
Despite not ranking in MLB.com top 10 right-handed pitchers this season after being the top guy last year, the Braves Front Office believes he can flourish within the organization in 2013. He heads to Spring Training as the front-runner for the fifth and final spot in the Atlanta rotation.
The 22-year old looked great in the Dominican Winter League, posting a 3.23 ERA in seven starts for Licey. He allowed just two hits while completing 16.2 scoreless innings over his final three starts.
Teheran and the rest of the Atlanta pitchers will report to Spring Training in a few weeks, as baseball season is right around the corner. Don’t miss your chance to catch the action at Coolray Field, as the future stars of tomorrow start here. Gwinnett Braves open the season on Thursday, April 4th at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. For more information on the G-Braves or Coolray Field, visit the website at Gwinnettbraves.com, facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves.
The Gwinnett Braves held a press conference on Thursday afternoon to introduce their new Field Manager Randy Ready.
In front of local media and front office staff, Ready officially took over as the new skipper of the Gwinnett Braves. Ready will replace Dave Brundage, who left the organization after six seasons with the Braves. Brundage will oppose his former squad, as he has taken over as Field Manager for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League.
Ready, who last served as the minor league hitting coordinator for the Texas Rangers, has managerial experience, spending six seasons with the San Diego Padres organization. He posted a career 489-466 record, while leading the San Antonio Missions, Double-A affiliate, to a Texas League championship in 2007. After the 2008 season, Ready earned the Pacific Coast League’s “Best Manager Prospect” by Baseball America for his work with the Portland Beavers, Triple-A affiliate.
Ready was eager to take over the podium, fielding questions from various reporters, while smiling from ear-to-ear. The thirty minute conference was light hearted and fun, as all looked ready to start the season. Ready will head to Spring Training as soon as pitchers and catchers report to Lake Buena Vista, FL in the middle of February.
Prior to the press conference, Ready joined Jim Powell, play-by-play announcer of the Atlanta Braves and Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez for a special luncheon. Various season ticket holders and potential clients gathered in the Home Plate Club of Coolray Field for a Q&A with Powell and Gonzalez. The trade news in Atlanta took over the majority of the discussion, as Gonzalez fielded questions about his new left fielder, Justin Upton, while talking about some of the departures from his current club..
All in all, it was a great day to be at Coolray Field. With the beginning of the season approaching, Ready is up for the job. Gwinnett kicks off the season Thursday, April 4th at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Knights at Coolray Field. For more information on the G-Braves or Coolray Field, visit the website at Gwinnettbraves.com, or through our social media outlets at facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves!
Steady rain resulting from a changing weather pattern forced the postponement of Tuesday’s scheduled 2:05 PM game between the Gwinnett Braves and Pawtucket Red Sox at Coolray Field. The game will be made up as a single nine-inning contest on Wednesday, August 29 beginning at 1:05 PM. All tickets for Wednesday’s game will be free to the public.
As a result of the rapidly changing weather ahead of Hurricane Isaac, Wednesday’s game was originally postponed with a doubleheader scheduled for Thursday, August 30 starting at 5:05 PM. That doubleheader is on as planned. With Wednesday now serving as the make-up date for Tuesday’s postponed game, the Gwinnett Braves have decided to make all admission for the 1:05 PM game free of charge. Thursday’s games will still feature regularly-priced tickets.
Fans are advised to continue checking in at gwinnettbraves.com for updated details on the remaining games of this final homestand. For tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340.
By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte
Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden
Gwinnett Braves first baseman Ernesto Mejia has been named the International League Rookie of the Year as well as the Postseason All-Star first baseman for the 2012 season, announced on Tuesday, August 28 by the league office. Mejia is the third-straight G-Brave to win the award for the IL’s top rookie, joining first baseman Freddie Freeman (2010) and pitcher Julio Teheran (2011).
Mejia, 26, established himself as one of the premier hitters for power and average in the IL this season. Entering play on Tuesday, the Guanare, Venezuela native ranked first in the circuit in RBI (91), hits (148) and total bases (253), second in slugging percentage (.517) and at-bats (489), tied for second in home runs (24), third in extra-base hits (56), fourth in OPS (.871), fifth in runs scored (72) and tied for sixth in both doubles (31) and games played (126). His season accolades include the IL’s Batter of the Week award on May 21 and his first Triple-A All-Star Game selection.
Mejia’s numbers are not only among the league’s best, they are also challenging Gwinnett Braves’ franchise records. Mejia’s 91 RBIs are tied alongside Stefan Gartrell (2011) for the most in one season since the team’s arrival to Lawrenceville in 2009. He’s currently one home run shy of tying Gartrell’s record of 25 blasts, also set in 2011. His 148 hits are six away from matching Mauro Gomez’s 2011 record, while his 31 doubles are four away from Freeman’s record of 35 set in 2010.
For the rest of the International League’s 2012 Postseason awards, visit ilbaseball.com.
Mejia and the rest of the Gwinnett Braves continue the final homestand of the 2012 season on Tuesday, August 28 against the Pawtucket Red Sox. The game time, originally scheduled for 7:05 PM, has been moved to 2:05 PM as a result of rain expected from Hurricane Isaac. The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM in Gainesville, Georgia, while the television broadcast will air on CSS.
Please note that game times for all remaining Gwinnett Braves home games, including Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday, August 30, may change due to Hurricane Isaac. Check in at gwinnettbraves.com for updated information on game times. For tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340.
By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte
Photo courtesy of Karl Moore
For the second-straight night, Syracuse needed just one pitcher to shut down the Gwinnett Braves. Right-hander Jeff Mandel threw the second-straight complete game shutout against the G-Braves in as many nights, leading the Chiefs to a 7-0 win at Coolray Field. Mandel’s six hitter, his first nine-inning effort this season, ensured a split of the four-game series.
Syracuse left-hander John Lannan threw 9.0 scoreless, three-hit innings on Saturday night, and Mandel (W, 5-5) continued the trend on Sunday, scattering six hits over 9.0 innings while striking out four. He walked none in a 102-pitch, 69-strike outing.
After escaping major damage in the second inning, Gwinnett starter Yohan Flande was not able to make it past the third. The left-hander surrendered four runs on five hits in the frame, including five-straight one-out hits. Josh Johnson and Chris Marrero reached on back-to-back singles, and Carlos Rivero singled to left-center, scoring them both. Jesus Valdez singled to score Rivero, and Sandy Leon added a double plating Valdez for a 4-0 lead.
Flande (L, 7-9) allowed four earned runs on six hits, walked three and struck out two over just 2.2 innings of work. Cole McCurry relieved Flande with two outs in the third inning and worked 3.1 scoreless innings. McCurry struck out three and walked none, departing after Stefan Gartrell singled in his pinch-hit at-bat for the pitcher in the sixth.
Ryan Buchter entered the game for the G-Braves in the seventh and allowed three more runs over 1.1 innings. Rivero singled home Johnson to raise the lead to 5-0 in the seventh, and a two-run triple by Eury Perez ensured the final score of 7-0 in the eighth. Anthony Varvaro relieved the left-hander, pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball with one strikeout.
Monday, August 27th G-Braves Starting Line-up from Coolray Field:
The Gwinnett Braves (61-75) welcome the Pawtucket Red Sox (73-63) to town on Monday night as the two teams begin the final four-game series of the season at Coolray Field. First pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The Gwinnett starting pitcher has yet to be announced, while the PawSox will start right-hander Nelson Figueroa (10-5, 4.40). The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The television broadcast will air on CSS.
Pawtucket (2nd IL North) vs Gwinnett (4th IL South)
Monday night is Kids Eat Free Monday as all kids 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog, a bag of chips and a small soda. It’s also the fifth night of “Drive Me Crazy” as the G-Braves gather donations of canned foods, clothes, sports equipment, toys and more to restock local shelters and storage centers. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.
Pawtucket Red Sox Batting Order:
1) Nate Spears, 1B
2) Ivan DeJesus, 2B
3) Jeremy Hazelbaker, DH
4) Tony Thomas, LF
5) Danny Valencia, 3B
6) Dan Butler, C
7) Jason Repko, CF
8) Jon Hee, SS
9) Che-Hsuan Lin, RF
G-Braves Batting Order:
1) Jose Constanza, LF
2) Jack Wilson, SS
3) Lyle Overbay, DH
4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B
5) Josh Kroeger, RF
6) Rusty Ryal, 3B
7) Brian Friday, 2B
8) J.C. Boscan, C
9) Luis Durango, CF