Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Fred McGriff visits Gwinnett as part of new position with Braves

Former Atlanta Braves' first baseman Fred McGriff throws a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves' game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides.

Former Atlanta Braves’ first baseman Fred McGriff throws a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides.

Former Atlanta Braves first baseman Fred McGriff stopped by Coolray Field for the first time during the Gwinnett Braves’ final homestand before the All-Star Break to offer his insights and knowledge to the next wave of potential Braves’ stars.

“We’ve got some good players here, some young, some a little older,” said McGriffl, who threw a ceremonial first pitch before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 against the Norfolk Tides. “It’s cool. You’ve got good coaches here.”

The man who held the first base position in Atlanta from 1993-97 returned to the organization this season as a special assistant to baseball operations. He attended Major League Spring Training and has focused on professional scouting during the season.

He said it was also his first chance to see and work with players such as center fielder Mallex Smith, second baseman Jose Peraza and right-handed starter Mike Foltynewicz, who has sinced been recalled to Atlanta for the second time this season.

“This is my first year with the Braves’ organization so I’m just trying to learn all of the different players,” he said.

So far, McGriff said he has been impressed with the number of highly talented players in the system, particularly on the pitching side of the game.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who throw real hard,” he said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting the guys to get some experience, let them work their way through the minors and learn how to pitch so once they finally get up to the big leagues they can stay up in the big leagues.”

McGriff hit 493 home runs during his 19-year career in the Major Leagues that stretched from 1986-2004 with the Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

In his new job, he said he was involved in the June free agent draft process after he spent early portions of the season scouting high school and college players, including a stop at the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, AL. He said he has also been introduced to the analytical side of the game.

“To see it from a scout’s standpoint and see what they do and everything, how they put in their scouting reports and their lingo, it’s a different lingo,” McGriff said.

He has combined those lessons with his experiences from more than two decades in the game to try to help the current generation of young players make the most of their opportunities in the sport.

“If I can help one guy, if I can say something to one kid that helps them get to the big leagues, then it’s all worth it,” McGriff said.

McGriff laughs with Atlanta Braves Senior Advisor to Player Development Lee Elia (left) and Gwinnett Braves hitting coach John Moses before the G-Braves' game on July 7 vs. the Norfolk Tides.

McGriff laughs with Atlanta Braves Senior Advisor to Player Development Lee Elia (left) and Gwinnett Braves hitting coach John Moses before the G-Braves’ game on July 7 vs. the Norfolk Tides.

-JM

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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