Results tagged ‘ Atlanta Braves ’
Atlanta Braves Director of Player Development Dave Trembley spent four days last week at Coolray Field to work with the Gwinnett Braves for the first time this season in his position as the man who helps oversee the Braves’ farm system.
Trembley, who managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2007-10 and was a Houston Astros coach in 2013-14, joined the Braves in October. He offered his observations of the G-Braves’ heralded pitching staff that had four hurlers in MLB.com’s Top 30 prospect rankings of the Atlanta system before the Braves called up right-hander and No. 3 prospect Mike Foltynewicz to make his first Major League start on Friday, May 1.
“The Braves have always been successful because they’ve had a stable of good, young arms who have come through their system, and I think that’s what the Braves are doing now. They’re re-stocking their system with pitching.”
Gwinnett still has the Braves’ No. 2 prospect and their top pitching prospect Matt Wisler, a right-hander the club acquired from the San Diego Padres on April 5 as part of the six-player trade that sent right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres.
The G-Braves also feature No. 11 prospect, left-handed starter Manny Banuelos, and right-handed reliever Aaron Kurcz at No. 30.
“You’ve got to have pitching,” Trembley said. “You’ve got to have guys who can give you innings, and that’s been the focal point and starting point. Guys like Foltynewicz give you a guy who you like to think you can pencil in and say ‘Hey, this guy is going to be part of your rotation for a long time.’”
Trembley said he was familiar with how the Braves approached construction of their pitching staffs, as longtime Atlanta pitching coach Leo Mazzone was Baltimore’s pitching coach when Trembley took over the managerial post in 2007.
“I knew very well about (John) Smoltz and (Greg) Maddux,” Trembley said. “We’re in a position now where we’ve acquired some very good young pitchers.”
Atlanta also picked up left-handed starters Ricardo Sanchez and Max Fried in offseason trades. Sanchez, the team’s No. 9 prospect according to MLB.com, came from the Los Angeles Angels in January and started the 2015 season at Class-A Rome. The Braves got Fried from the Padres in a December trade that sent outfielder Justin Upton to San Diego. Fried is ranked as Atlanta’s No. 5 prospect by MLB.com but will miss the entire 2015 season after he underwent “Tommy John” surgery in August.
“The Braves have always been committed to player development and scouting,” Trembley said. “That’s been their trademark going back to the days when (Braves President) John Schuerholz started this (in 1990) with (former manager) Bobby Cox, with (former amateur scouting director) Paul Snyder, with all the guys that have been there for a long time. … There’s a nucleus of people who have been here for an awful long time, and they’ve done it by developing pitching.”
Trembley said he sees many similarities in how the Braves are building their pitching depth with talent at the Triple-A level in Gwinnett.
“What I like here is we have some youth in the starting rotation,” he said. “We have some really up-and-coming, young arms that are here that are learning that in order to be successful in the Major Leagues you have to refine and develop their secondary pitches. I think (Banuelos, Wisler and right-hander Williams Perez) are doing that, and they have very good mentors in (guys like Chien-Ming) Wang.”
“I see this staff learning how to pitch, making the adjustments to pitch at this level and to be in Atlanta,” he said.
Mon: LHP Manny Banuelos (0-1, 3.77 ERA) vs. RHP Jaron Long (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
Tues: RHP Williams Perez (1-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Whitley (2-0, 2.12 ERA)
Wed: RHP Matt Wisler (0-2, 4.60 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Davies (1-1, 6.75 ERA)
The Gwinnett Braves open a seven-game homestand with three 6:35 p.m. contests against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The Railriders have finished fifth in the six-team International League North Division in each of the past two seasons, but they have had Gwinnett’s number. The G-Braves are 4-12 against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre since 2012 and have not won any of the eight games between the two clubs at Coolray Field. This will be the G-Braves’ first foray outside of the IL South Division this season. They were 32-46 against non-divisional opponents in 2014.
Pitching: Gwinnett and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre are evenly matched statistically in the pitching department. The G-Braves’ staff enters the series with the league’s sixth-lowest earned-run average at 3.31 (55 ER in 149.1 IP), while the RailRiders sit in seventh with a 3.35 ERA (61 ER in 164.0 IP). The teams are also extremely similar in terms of their pitching staffs’ control. The G-Braves have a 2.39 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (146/61). The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre staff’s rate is 2.55 (153/60).
However, the G-Braves hold the advantage in individual stats. Tuesday’s starter, Perez, boasts the seventh-lowest ERA in the league at 1.69. In the bullpen, left-hander Donnie Veal enters the series tied for the league lead in holds (four) and appearances (nine). Righty Aaron Kurcz is tied for fourth in saves with four.
Batting: The larger differences between the two teams in this series show up in their offensive approaches. The G-Braves use a speed-based game to score runs. The RailRiders’ lineup, meanwhile, produces more power and hardly ever attempts to steal bases.
Gwinnett has a league-low three home runs through 17 games, but it leads the league with 21 stolen bases. Ten of those swipes have come from outfielder Eury Perez, who has been caught twice and was 27-for-31 in steal attempts in 2014 while playing in the Washington Nationals’ and New York Yankees’ organizations. Outfielder Todd Cunningham hit a team-best .429 (12-for-28) with two doubles and a triple during the nine-game road trip and returns to Coolray Field on a seven-game hitting streak.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has eight home runs, which is tied for the seventh-most in the league, but has stolen four bases in eight attempts. RailRiders outfielder Ben Gamel leads the league with a .404 batting average (19-for-47), ranks second with a .472 on-base percentage and sits behind teammate Ramon Flores (.611) for fourth in slugging percentage with a .596 mark. Flores is also tied for second in the league with four home runs.
G-Bites: Gwinnett returns home with a new-look bullpen compared to when it left town April 16. RHP Kanekoa Texeira went on the disabled list along with infielder Sean Kazmar on April 17. That opened a spot for RHP Mitchell Boggs, who the Atlanta Braves signed to a minor-league contract April 20. The Braves also re-signed LHP Greg Smith the next day to join the G-Braves’ corps of relievers. The G-Braves activated catcher Jose Yepez off of the disabled list to fill Kazmar’s roster spot.
RHPs John Cornely and Michael Kohn got the call to Atlanta on Friday, April 24, while RHPs Sugar Ray Marimon and Juan Jaime returned to Gwinnett. Marimon made one appearance for the G-Braves before Atlanta called him up on April 13. Jaime saved 18 games for Gwinnett in 2014 and began the 2015 season with the Braves.
The G-Braves will finish their homestand with a four-game series Thursday-Sunday against the Toledo Mud Hens at Coolray Field.
Wed: LHP Manny Banuelos (0-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Beck (0-0, 5.79 ERA)
Thurs: RHP Williams Perez (0-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. LHP Carlos Rodon (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
The Gwinnett Braves finish their season-opening, eight-game homestand with two games against the International League South Division rival Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Charlotte and Gwinnett have both alternated victories through their first six games and are part of a division-wide tie for first place at 3-3 with the Durham Bulls and Norfolk Tides. The two-game set features 6:35 p.m. contests Wednesday and Thursday at Coolray Field. Both teams will then travel Friday to Charlotte to begin a three-game series at BB&T Ballpark.
Pitching: With two pitchers who were ranked in the top 30 in the Atlanta Braves’ system in the 2015 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Gwinnett will look to continue its early success on the mound. None of the G-Braves’ five starting pitchers has allowed more than two runs in a start through the season’s first six games. The rotation has posted a 2.03 ERA with a combined 30 strikeouts and 16 walks in 26.2 innings but has yet to garner a win, as RHP Chien-Ming Wang is the only starter to last past 5.0 innings. The Gwinnett bullpen, meanwhile, has an equally impressive 2.23 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 14 walks in 32.1 innings. Overall, the G-Braves’ pitching staff is ranked third in the International League with a 2.14 ERA and 58 strikeouts.
Charlotte comes to Gwinnett in the cellar of the International League pitching rankings. The Knights have allowed seven or more runs in each of their three losses and carry an IL-worst 5.17 ERA and seven home runs allowed, three more than any other team. Wednesday’s starter Chris Beck received a no-decision in his first start of the year Friday vs. Norfolk (4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO). Thursday starter Carlos Rodon provided the Knights’ most impressive start of the early season the following day with nine strikeouts (2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2BB) in 5.0 innings during a 4-2 win over the Tides.
Batting: While Gwinnett holds a significant statistical advantage in the pitching department, the opposite is true offensively. The G-Braves’ .224 batting average ranks 11th in the 14-team IL and they are one of two teams (Buffalo) that have yet to hit a home run. Infielder Pedro Ciriaco leads the team with seven hits and four RBIs with a double. Two of the G-Braves’ wins have also come on Ciriaco’s game-winning hits. He singled home the winning run Friday in the 11th inning to beat Durham 5-4 and bounced a grounder off of first base in the 10th inning Monday to score two runs and give Gwinnett a 5-4 victory over Norfolk.
Charlotte leads the league with a .296 team batting average and a .427 slugging percentage that includes five triples. Outfielder Trayce Thompson is second in the league with a .429 batting average and has three runs scored to go with three RBIs. Infielder Tyler Saladino also leads the league with five stolen bases, while outfielder Engel Beltre is tied for the league lead in runs scored with six.
G-Bites: The Atlanta Braves called up right-hander Sugar Ray Marimon from Gwinnett on Monday, and he made his Major League debut the following day. He entered Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins with one out in the third inning and the bases loaded. He struck out the first batter he faced, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and got Adeiny Hechavarria to ground out to escape the jam. Marimon pitched a total of 4.0 innings (4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO) after opening the season on the G-Braves roster. He made one appearance with Gwinnett, throwing 3.0 hitless innings with two strikeouts against Durham on Opening Night, Thursday, April 9 … Left-handed reliever Ian Thomas joined Gwinnett from Double-A Mississippi to replace Marimon on the Triple-A roster. Thomas pitched 2.1 innings with nothing more than one hit allowed Tuesday vs. Norfolk.
The Atlanta Braves extended outfielder Joe Benson a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training camp on Thursday, and he wasted little time to take advantage of the opportunity.
Benson, 27, had spent the entire spring in minor league camp yet played in nine big league games as a reserve. He received the non-roster invite after hitting a solo home run Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, and then had the game-winning hit Thursday to beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
But his ninth-inning single to left field to drive in center fielder Eric Young, Jr. was far from the only act from his standout performance. Benson played left field and had three other singles and finished the day 4-for-5 with a run scored, an RBI and a strikeout. His spring batting average now stands at .412 (7-for-17) with a home run, three runs scored and three RBI as he bids for a spot on the Braves’ Opening Day roster.
Other possible Gwinnett Braves position players’ stats from Thursday vs. Baltimore:
Todd Cunningham (RF), 1-for-1, RBI.
Pedro Ciriaco (3B), 1-for-1.
The Orioles scored four of their five runs off of potential G-Braves right-handed starter Chien-Ming Wang (BS, 1), who entered the game as a reliever in the sixth inning.
Baltimore pushed across one run in the sixth and added three in the seventh, including a two-run, pinch-hit home run by right fielder Travis Snider. Wang lasted 1 1/3 innings with four runs allowed (three earned) on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Also, G-Braves’ right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino has been suspended for 80 games for using performance-enhancing drugs. The Braves had optioned him Monday to Gwinnett.
The Braves and Orioles will meet for the second of three games to finish their Grapefruit League schedules at 6:05 p.m. Friday in Sarasota, Fla. They will then return to Champion Stadium for a 3:05 p.m. contest Saturday.
Atlanta opens its regular season schedule at 4:10 p.m. Monday against the Miami Marlins in Miami. Gwinnett’s Opening Night game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Thursday against the Durham Bulls at Coolray Field.
Potential Gwinnett Braves outfielder Joe Benson slugged his first home run of Spring Training for the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday in a 9-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Benson drove the second pitch he saw from the Phillies’ Opening Day starter Cole Hamels over the right field fence in the second inning for Atlanta’s first run of the game in Clearwater, Fla.
Although he is not on the Braves’ 40-man roster nor a non-roster invitee, Benson has played in nine Major League games this spring, including each of the last five. He finished Wednesday’s game 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Overall, he has batted .250 (3-for-12) with the home run, two runs scored, two runs batted in and three walks against four strikeouts in Braves Spring Training.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Wednesday against Philadelphia:
Todd Cunningham (RF), 1-for-3, BB.
Pedro Ciriaco (LF-3B), 1-for-3, R.
Jesus Flores (C), 1-for-2, BB.
Joey Terdoslavich (LF), 0-for-1, K.
A pair of potential G-Braves relievers covered the final two innings against the Phillies. Right-hander Aaron Kurcz threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up two unearned runs on one hit and one walk with three strikeouts and two wild pitches. Fellow righty John Cornely struck out two batters after he took over for Kurcz in the eighth, although Philadelphia left fielder Russ Canzler reached base on a fielder error by Terdoslavich that allowed third baseman Andres Blanco to score the Phillies’ final run of the game.
The Braves will wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule with three games against the Baltimore Orioles. The first contest is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
A member of the 2014 Gwinnett Braves outfield and an outfielder who could join him this year contributed to the Atlanta Braves’ offense Tuesday in an 8-5 loss to the Houston Astros at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Right fielder Todd Cunningham, the G-Braves’ leader in hits a year ago, entered the game in the fifth inning as a pinch runner for left fielder Kelly Johnson and scored two batters later on a single by third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Cunningham’s run gave the Braves a 5-3 lead, and possible 2015 Gwinnett outfielder Joe Benson took over in center field the following inning. Benson struck out in the sixth but picked up his second hit of Spring Training (eight at-bats) with two outs in the eighth.
Cunningham also grounded out in the seventh and walked in the ninth. He is batting .317 (13-for-41) for the spring with two doubles, six runs scored, five runs batted in and two stolen bases.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Tuesday vs. the Astros:
Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-1, K.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1, K.
Houston stormed back to the lead in the sixth inning with three runs off of potential G-Braves right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff. He walked the first two batters of the inning before he gave up a three-run home run to center fielder Colby Rasmus. Cunniff (BS, 1; L, 0-1) struck out catcher Hank Conger and gave up two more hits before he caught left fielder Jonathan Villar looking to end his only inning of work.
Atlanta also announced Tuesday it has outrighted outfielder Zoilo Almonte to Gwinnett. Almonte cleared waivers, but he can elect free agency because he has been outrighted previously. The move leaves the Braves with 35 active players in Major League camp.
The Braves will face the National League East rival Philadelphia Phillies at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., before they finish their Spring Training schedule with three consecutive games against the Baltimore Orioles.
Possible Gwinnett Braves right-handed starter Mike Foltynewicz made what could have been his final bid for a spot in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation Monday in a 4-2 Braves win over the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla.
Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, the second batter Foltynewicz faced, put Detroit ahead 1-0 with a single that followed leadoff hitter Anthony Gose’s single and steal of second base. Foltynewicz gave up one hit in each of the next two innings but held the Tigers scoreless until left fielder Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run over the right-field fence with one out in the fourth.
Foltynewicz struck out the next batter, catcher Alex Avila, to finish his outing with 3 2/3 innings pitched and two runs allowed on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He did not factor in the decision.
Offensively, potential G-Braves outfielder Todd Cunningham batted in the leadoff spot and went 3-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Possible Gwinnett infielder Pedro Ciriaco and catcher Jesus Flores both flew out to center field in their lone at-bats in the ninth inning.
Members of the 2014 G-Braves, catcher Christian Bethancourt and infielder/outfielder Phil Gosselin, helped produce half of the Braves’ runs against Detroit. Bethancourt tied the game 2-2 with a solo home run in the seventh inning. Gosselin drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a single to right field.
Possible G-Braves outfielder Joe Benson tacked on Atlanta’s final run with a sacrifice fly in his only at-bat to score Alberto Callaspo. Benson and Cunningham were also both thrown out trying to steal second base.
The Braves finish March with a 6:05 p.m. game Tuesday against the Houston Astros at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The teams played to 2-2 ties in both of their first two meetings before the Braves topped Houston 14-10 in their most recent match-up March 23.
A potential Gwinnett Braves utilityman has been perhaps the hottest hitters for the Atlanta Braves in Spring Training camp for the past week, and he helped lead the Braves Saturday to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at three runs apiece while spending time defensively in center and left field during the contest in Dunedin, Fla. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games while batting .526 (10-for-19) with a pair of runs scored, a double, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base. Among qualifiers, Ciriaco leads the team with a .380 batting average (19-for-50) for the spring.
The Braves dropped their second game of the weekend 4-2 Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Saturday against Toronto:
Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-2, R.
Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-2.
Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, R, BB.
Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.
Cedric Hunter entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in left field but did not receive an at-bat.
A pair of possible G-Braves right-handed relievers also combined to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Brandon Cunniff (H, 2) breezed through the eighth inning with nothing more than a walk allowed. Juan Jaime (H, 4) retired one batter but also gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth.
The Braves played most of their expected starters at their home Spring Training complex against the Pirates. Right fielder Todd Cunningham and left fielder Benson were the only two players likely to man the outfield for Gwinnett to get an at-bat. Cunningham walked and scored in the eighth, and Benson flew out to center field in the following at-bat.
Right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn (L, 1-1) was the only possible G-Braves pitcher to take the mound against Pittsburgh. He pitched the ninth but gave up the deciding two runs on two hits, including a two-run homer by second baseman Jong Ho Kang, with one strikeout.
Atlanta reassigned Kohn to minor league camp Monday and optioned fellow right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino to Gwinnett. Those moves leave the Braves with 36 active players in Major League camp.
The Braves will travel to face the Detroit Tigers for the fifth and final time this spring at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Lakeland, Fla. The teams have split their first four meetings, two of which were split-squad contests for Atlanta.
A pair of possible Gwinnett Braves infielders led the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2, seven-inning win Friday over the Boston Red Sox at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Shortstop Pedro Ciriaco drove in Atlanta’s first three runs with a two-out double in the second inning after he singled the previous inning as the Braves’ first hitter of a game shortened because of rain. Ciriaco finished the game 2-for-4 with a strikeout. He is hitting .370 (17-for-46) in Spring Training and is tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 15.
Kelly Johnson, who is in competition for one of the final spots on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, tacked on Atlanta’s final run with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Johnson entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base in the top half of the inning and played the seventh at first base.
Meanwhile, Phil Gosselin, who led the 2014 G-Braves with a .344 batting average (130-for-378), went 2-for-3 with a run scored. He started the game in center field and moved to third base in the seventh.
Potential G-Braves outfielders Mycal Jones and Jose Constanza came in as defensive replacements in the seventh inning at center field and left field, respectively. Neither received an at-bat.
The Braves used only two pitchers in the game. Possible G-Braves right-handed reliever John Cornely (S, 2) got the final out of the sixth inning and retired both batters he faced in the seventh before the umpires halted play because of rain.
Former G-Braves right-handed pitcher and Atlanta’s Opening Day starter Julio Teheran (W, 2-1) pitched the first 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. He also walked four batters and gave up five hits, including a two-run home run by center fielder Mookie Betts in the fourth inning.
Atlanta also announced Friday it has optioned left-handed pitcher Manny Banuelos, right-handed pitcher Williams Perez and outfielder Eury Perez to Gwinnett to begin the season, which leaves the Braves with 40 active players in their Spring Training camp.
The Braves will travel to face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. Saturday in Dunedin, Fla., before they return to their home complex to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1:05 p.m. Sunday at Champion Stadium. Atlanta lost to the Blue Jays 10-5 March 15 at Champion Stadium and beat the Pirates 7-5 Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.
Potential Gwinnett Braves right-handed pitcher Aaron Kurcz threw only one pitch Thursday but got his first win of Spring Training.
Kurcz (1-1) got Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli to ground out to end the eighth inning with runners on first and third base and the game tied 5-5. The Atlanta Braves struck for two runs, including a run-scoring groundout by possible G-Braves catcher Jesus Flores, in the ninth inning and held on for a 7-5 victory in Bradenton, Fla.
Possible G-Braves infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson also drove in one of the Braves’ five first-inning runs with a groundout that drove in third baseman Alberto Callaspo.
Flores finished the game 1-for-2, while Johnson ended the game 1-for-4.
Other potential Gwinnett position players’ stats from Thursday against Pittsburgh:
Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-1, K.
Phil Gosselin (2B), 0-for-1.
Also, catcher John Buck, who could have played for Gwinnett if he did not make Atlanta’s Major League roster out of Spring Training, announced his retirement Thursday after an 11-year Major League career with seven different teams. He had signed with the Braves as a minor league free agent Jan. 26 and was a non-roster invitee to Atlanta’s Major League Spring Training camp.
The Braves will return to their home Spring Training complex to take on the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. Friday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Atlanta beat the Red Sox 11-3 March 17 in their only other 2015 Grapefruit League meeting.