Results tagged ‘ David Carpenter ’
As the Atlanta Braves continue to build their Major League roster for 2016, the club is also making acquisitions for all levels of their minor league system. From December through the start of Spring Training, the G-Blog will highlight some of the players that could be bound for Triple-A Gwinnett.
Updates will be made as new players are acquired and confirmed by either the Braves.com transaction page or the Baseball America Minor League Free Agent Tracker. Please note that the official Gwinnett Braves 2016 Roster will not be announced until early April, and any roster projections are my opinion only.
This post was last updated on January 11.
Aaron Blair (RHP) – acquired by the Braves from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three-player return for RHP Shelby Miller and LHP Gabe Speier on December 9. Arizona’s first-round pick (36th overall) in 2013 out of Marshall University, the 23-year-old Blair is coming off a dominant 2015 season. He went 13-5 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 26 games (25 starts) between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno. Following midseason All-Star honors in the Southern League, he made his Triple-A debut and posted a solid 3.16 ERA in 13 games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Shortstop Dansby Swanson is clearly the top prospect acquired in the Miller trade, but Blair is closer to making a Major League impact. As of December 15, he’s rated the Braves’ No. 4 prospect according to MLB.com.
Reid Brignac (INF) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 5. The soon-to-be 30-year-old Brignac spent 2015 in the Miami Marlins system, batting .268/.348/.375 with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 93 games at Triple-A New Orleans. No stranger to the International League, Brignac played for Durham from 2008-09 and 2011-12 (and was a Triple-A All-Star in ’08 and ’09) and Lehigh Valley in 2014. He has played 356 career Major League games with the Tampa Bay Rays (2008-12), Colorado Rockies (2013), New York Yankees (2013), Philadelphia Phillies (2014) and Marlins (2015), batting .219/.266/.310 with 12 homers and 83 RBIs. Brignac is also a versatile defender with the ability to play second base, third base, shortstop and left field.
David Carpenter (RHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 21. Not to be confused with 2015 G-Braves’ RHP David Carpenter, who at last check is still a free agent, this is the David Carpenter who went 10-5 with a 2.63 ERA in 121 games for Atlanta from 2013-14 before being dealt to the New York Yankees in the trade that netted LHP Manny Banuelos on January 1, 2015. Carpenter had a 4.82 ERA in 22 outings with the Yankees before being sent to the Washington Nationals on June 11, where he finished up the season with a 1.50 ERA in eight appearances. He received an invite to Major League Spring Training and will contend for a return to the Atlanta bullpen.
Chase d’Arnaud (INF) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 5. The older brother of New York Mets’ catcher Travis d’Arnaud, Chase was the fourth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008. He signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason and spent most of the year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, batting .268/.317/.354 with five homers, 77 runs scored, 35 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 120 games. He has appeared in 75 Major League games with both the Pirates (2011-12, 2014) and Phillies (2015), but 48 of those games came in his rookie season. Much like Brignac, d’Arnaud is capable at second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield.
Joel De La Cruz (RHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 20. The 26-year-old Dominican Republic native joins Atlanta after six years in the New York Yankees’ system. De La Cruz has spent parts of the last two seasons in Triple-A with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 3-5 with a 4.52 ERA in 17 games (12 starts) in 2014 and an impressive 7-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 15 games (7 starts) in 2015. A strong stint in Gwinnett could earn him his first big-league call-up in 2016.
Nate Freiman (1B) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on December 14. Originally drafted by San Diego in the eighth round in 2009, the 6-foot, 8-inch Freiman was a power prospect with the Padres before breaking into the Majors with Oakland in 2013 and 2014. He’s a career .285/.356/.469 hitter with 91 home runs and 475 RBIs in 644 Minor League games, including time in Triple-A with Sacramento in 2014 and Nashville in 2015. Claimed off waivers by Oakland from Houston in 2013, Freiman batted .256/.309/.408 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 116 games with the Athletics from 2013-14. He batted just .220 with four homers and 31 RBIs in 79 games with Nashville last season, however, and was released on December 13. The G-Braves lacked a true first baseman for much of 2015, using utility-men Sean Kazmar and Barrett Kleinknecht in the role before Joey Terdoslavich healed and Jordan Lennerton was signed. With Terdoslavich gone to Baltimore, the right-handed-hitting Freiman could be Gwinnett’s first baseman in 2016.
David Holmberg (LHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on December 3. The second-round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 2009, Holmberg has been a part of two Major League trades since, moving to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010 and the Cincinnati Reds in 2013. He went 3-6 with a 6.17 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) with Cincinnati over the past two seasons, but spent the majority of his time in Triple-A Louisville, going 2-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 18 starts in 2014 and 7-7 with a 4.34 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) in 2015. Still only 24 years old, Holmberg has plenty of upside and could get a long look as a starter in Gwinnett.
Casey Kelly (RHP) – acquired by the Braves from the San Diego Padres as part of the two-player return for C Christian Bethancourt on December 10. Boston’s first-round pick (30th overall) in 2008, Kelly was an MLB All-Star Futures Game selection in 2009 when he went 7-5 with a 2.08 ERA in 17 starts between Class-A Greenville and Advanced-A Salem. He wasn’t with the Red Sox for long, however, as he was traded to the Padres as part of a deal for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in December 2010. Kelly reached the big leagues with the Padres in 2012, but posted a 6.21 ERA in six starts and didn’t return to the Majors until 2015. Last year, he went 2-10 with a 5.16 ERA in 31 games (17 starts) between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, as well as 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in three games (2 starts) with San Diego. A change of scenery could help Kelly bounce back in 2016.
Ian Krol (LHP) – acquired by the Braves from the Detroit Tigers as part of the two-player return for OF Cameron Maybin on November 20. The 24-year-old Krol has already accumulated 110 Major League appearances with the Washington Nationals (2013) and Tigers (2014-15), going 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA and one save in those outings. Last season in Detroit, he went 2-3 with a 5.79 ERA in 33 relief outings. The high ERA, as well as a 5.5 BB/9.0 IP ratio may explain why he spent an additional 28 games with Triple-A Toledo, where he was 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA. Trading a player of Maybin’s caliber to get Krol means the Braves believe he can help the Major League club immediately, but he’ll still have to compete with Andrew McKirahan and Matt Marksberry for a left-handed relief spot alongside Rule-5 selection Evan Rutckyj.
Ethan Martin (RHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 26. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ first-round pick (15th overall) in 2008 out of Stephens County School in Toccoa, GA, Martin moved to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 as part of a trade for outfielder Shane Victorino. He made his Major League debut a year later, going 2-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 15 games (8 starts) for the Phillies. Martin was a staple of the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley as well in 2013, going 11-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 21 starts. He transitioned to the IronPigs’ bullpen in 2014 and was 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 29 relief outings, but took an odd step back in 2015 when he made 22 appearances between Advanced-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading. The 26-year-old could land either in Mississippi or Gwinnett in 2016.
Ronnier Mustelier (2B) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 24. Mustelier, a native of Cuba, came to the United States in 2011 and signed with the New York Yankees. He reached as high as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .290/.340/.423 with 45 doubles, 17 home runs, 90 runs scored and 91 RBIs in 186 games across parts of three seasons (2012-14). The Yankees released him in May 2014, and he has played exclusively in foreign leagues since, including stints with Quintana Roo and Laguna of the Mexican League, Culiacan and Mazatlan of the Mexican Pacific Winter League and La Guaira of the Venezuelan Winter League. Though listed as a second baseman, Mustelier has logged more time at third base and the outfield in his affiliated minor league career. If Adonis Garcia sticks in Atlanta, the 31-year-old Mustelier could be a comparable replacement in Gwinnett.
Sean Newcomb (LHP) – acquired by the Braves from the Los Angeles Angels as part of the three-player return for SS Andrelton Simmons and C Jose Briceno on November 12. The Angels’ first-round pick (15th overall) in 2014 out of the University of Hartford, Newcomb is now the top pitching prospect in the Braves’ system according to MLB.com. He rose quickly through three levels last year, going 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA and 168 strikeouts (tied for 2nd in all of MiLB) in 27 starts between Class-A Burlington, Advanced-A Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas. His banner 2015 season also included selection to the MLB All-Star Futures Game. Newcomb will be just 22 years old as of Opening Day and has made only seven starts above Class-A, so he may open 2016 with Mississippi before making his Triple-A debut in Gwinnett.
Jose Ramirez (RHP) – acquired by the Braves from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a PTBNL and cash on December 4. Ramirez pitched in the Majors for both the New York Yankees and the Mariners last year, going 1-0 with a 12.91 ERA in eight relief appearances. The Yankees, who signed him as a 17-year-old in 2007, traded him to Seattle in exchange for Dustin Ackley on July 30. He also spent ample time in Triple-A for both clubs, going 3-0 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 relief outings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in nine appearances for Tacoma. The 25-year-old Ramirez provides Atlanta with bullpen depth and could see action in both the Majors and Triple-A in 2016.
Brandon Snyder (1B) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 17. The first-round pick (13th overall) of the Baltimore Orioles back in 2005, Snyder has played 83 Major League games with the Orioles (2010-11), Texas Rangers (2012) and Boston Red Sox (2013), batting .243/.287/.399 with eight doubles, five home runs and 20 RBIs. He’s also spent parts of six seasons at the Triple-A level, batting .253/.315/.408 with 45 homers and 222 RBIs in 411 games with three teams including Norfolk and Pawtucket of the IL. Snyder opened 2015 with Southern Maryland of the independent Atlantic League before signing back with the Orioles on April 27, but didn’t make it out of Double-A Bowie despite batting .278/.356/.467 with 26 doubles, 11 homers and 52 RBIs in 93 games. At 29 years of age, it’s hard to imagine Snyder returning to Double-A this year.
Alex Torres (LHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on January 7. Best known as the guy who wears the oversized protective piece over his cap, Torres opened 2015 with the New York Mets before being DFA’d and outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas in August. He posted a 3.15 ERA and a .206 BAA in 39 relief appearances at the Major League level, but saw his ERA rise from 1.59 in June to 4.82 in July. At Las Vegas, he finished the year with a 1.17 ERA in 10 relief appearances. Torres, a familiar opponent with the Durham Bulls from 2011-13, is 7-4 with a 2.68 ERA over 152 career MLB appearances with Tampa Bay (2011, 2013), San Diego (2014) and the Mets. If he falls short of impressing Atlanta as a non-roster invitee this spring, he could serve as relief depth at Gwinnett.
Matt Tuiasosopo (OF) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 10. The G-Braves hit a franchise-low 50 home runs in 144 games last season, and the signing of Tuiasosopo could help Gwinnett be a more powerful team in 2016. He homered a career-high 18 times last year with Triple-A Charlotte, batting .230/.344/.447 with 52 RBIs in 103 games. Seattle’s third-round pick in 2004, Tuiasosopo has logged Major League time with the Mariners (2008-10) and Detroit Tigers (2013), batting .207/.290/.356 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 152 games. After playing in 81 games with the Tigers in 2013, he has spent the last two seasons exclusively in the IL with both Buffalo and Charlotte. He’ll get a look from Atlanta as an invitee to Major League Spring Training.
Chris Volstad (RHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on October 11. The Florida Marlins’ first-round pick (16th overall) in 2005, Volstad has compiled a 35-51 record and 4.92 ERA in 131 career Major League games (123 starts) with the Marlins (2008-11), Chicago Cubs (2012), Colorado Rockies (2013) and Pittsburgh Pirates (2015). He spent nearly all of 2015 with Triple-A Indianapolis, going 11-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 27 games (25 starts). Volstad is a non-roster invitee to Major League Spring Training and will contend for a spot with Atlanta, but seems like a great veteran presence for the Gwinnett rotation.
Madison Younginer (RHP) – signed by the Braves as a minor league free agent on November 10. Younginer, Boston’s seventh-round pick in 2009, spent six seasons within the Red Sox’ organization before joining Atlanta this fall. He’s 22-28 with a 4.69 ERA in 149 career minor league games (44 starts) across every level of the Boston system. Last year, he went 8-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 39 relief outings for Double-A Portland, earning selection to the Eastern League All-Star Game. He finished the year with a Triple-A debut in Pawtucket, going 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two outings. Despite his lack of high-level experience, Younginer was invited to Major League Spring Training by the Braves.
Pitching probables (All games start at 6:35 p.m.)
Mon: RHP Victor Mateo (6-6, 2.68 ERA with Double-A Mississippi) vs. RHP Jose Berrios (2-0, 3.52 ERA).
Tues: RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (3-3, 4.02 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Bowden (7-3, 2.27 ERA).
Wed: RHP Kanekoa Texeira (3-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. LHP Taylor Rogers (8-8, 3.65 ERA).
Thurs: RHP Tyrell Jenkins (3-1, 2.03 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Duffey (4-6, 2.72 ERA).
The best stretch of the season for the Gwinnett Braves has launched them into the thick of the International League Wild Card race with 37 games left to play. They begin a four-game series at Coolray Field against the Rochester Red Wings 3.0 games behind the Columbus Clippers for the Wild Card spot and what would be the G-Braves’ first playoff berth since their inaugural season in Gwinnett of 2009. The G-Braves have gone 11-6 since the All-Star break and have won eight of their last nine games, including five of six against the Durham Bulls last week. They remain 7.5 games out of first place in the IL South Division but are 1.5 games behind the Charlotte Knights for second place and 4.5 games ahead of last-place Durham.
Rochester, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, has struggled since the All-Star break. The Red Wings have gone 7-10 to open the second half of the season and trail the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders by 4.0 games for the lead in the IL North. They also sit a half-game behind Gwinnett in the Wild Card race. Rochester’s rough patch included a split of a four-game series with the G-Braves at Frontier Field. Gwinnett won the first two games, but the Red Wings took the final two. That was the first time the clubs had met this season, and this will be their final regular-season series against one another 2015. The G-Braves have not won a season series against the Red Wings since 2012 when they went 5-3. They are 6-14 against Rochester since.
Pitching: Despite roster turnover that has left the G-Braves without any of their original five starting pitchers and with three relievers who started the season with the team, the Gwinnett pitching staff continues to produce at one of the best rates in the league. The team’s 3.03 ERA ranks third in the IL, and G-Braves have held opponents to three runs or fewer in 11 of their 17 games since the All-Star break. The staff has walked the fifth-most batters in the league with 355 and has eighth-most strikeouts with 764, but it has allowed the fifth-fewest home runs in the league with 52 and by far has the fewest wild pitches with 28, seven-fewer that Rochester, which ranks second in that department.
The Red Wings have a team ERA of 3.68 that ranks eighth in the league but have the fewest walks of any team in the league with 300 to go with 787 strikeouts, which are the third-most in the league. Berrios, the Twins’ No. 3-ranked prospect and No. 26 overall according to MLB.com, pitched the first three months of the season for Double-A Chattanooga. He went 8-3 with a 3.08 ERA for the Lookouts before his promotion to Rochester. He got his first two Triple-A victories in his last two starts, including a 7.0 scoreless innings against the G-Braves on July 23 when he allowed four hits and two walks with one strikeout. He has fanned eight or more batters in three of his first five starts for the Red Wings.
Jenkins, who is the Braves’ No. 5 prospect according to MLB.com, is scheduled to finish the series for the G-Braves after he notched his second consecutive win on Saturday against Durham. He struck out eight Bulls’ batters in that game, which is the most he’s had in any of his first five starts since he got called up from Double-A Mississippi on July 8. Mateo will make his Triple-A debut in the opener of the series in his 185th career minor league appearance. He signed with Atlanta as a minor league free agent in November after eight years in the Tampa Bay Rays’ system, including the last two with Double-A Montgomery.
Hitting: The G-Braves homered twice during their three-game road series at Durham but still have the fewest home runs in the league by a wide margin. Their 35 for the season is seven behind the next closest team, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, in that category. They are on pace for a franchise-low 47 on the season, which would also be the fewest of any team in the IL since the 1980 Tidewater Tides. However, Gwinnett is second in the league with 122 stolen bases and three behind the Indianapolis Indians for the lead in that department. The G-Braves also have the fewest walks (256) and strikeouts (548) of any team in the league. Their strikeout total is 104 behind the Norfolk Tides for the next lowest in that category.
Rochester is tied for the third-highest team batting average in the IL with a .262 mark. The club’s 66 home runs rank sixth in the league but its 36 stolen bases are the fewest. The Red Wings have also hit into the second-most double plays, two behind Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in that department. Their 54 attempted stolen bases are by far the fewest in the league, as Norfolk is next-to-last in that category with 66. They sit in the middle of the pack in both walks (10th, 348) and strikeouts (ninth, 728).
The International League named Red Wings’ first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez the IL Batter of the Week from July 26-August 2. He batted .385 with a league-high seven extra-base hits, 22 total bases, six runs scored, an .846 slugging percentage and ran his hitting streak to 10 games. He enters the series against Gwinnett with a league-high 44 extra-base hits and 64 runs scored for the season. He also ranks third in doubles (27) and total bases (176), and he is tied with outfielder Danny Ortiz for the team lead in home runs (12). Second baseman James Beresford also ranks third in the league with a .311 batting average for the season.
G-Bites: The G-Braves lost second baseman and the Atlanta Braves’ top-ranked prospect Jose Peraza in a three-team, 13-player trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30…Right-handed pitcher Williams Perez completed his rehab assignment with Gwinnett and returned to Atlanta on July 31…Right-handed relievers David Carpenter and Ryan Kelly both rejoined the G-Braves that day after a stint with Atlanta…Mateo and infielder Luis Mateo, no relation, joined the team from Double-A Mississippi July 30 and 31, respectively….Atlanta called up relief pitchers Matt Marksberry and Jake Brigham on July 31…Utilityman Joey Terdoslavich begins the series against Rochester on a season-high 12-game hitting streak during which he has batted .364 with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, 11 RBIs and eight runs scored…The G-Braves will complete their longest remaining homestand of the season with three games against the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, from Friday through Sunday at Coolray Field.
Fri: TBA vs. TBA, 7:05 p.m.
Sat: RHP Kanekoa Texeira (1-3, 3.64 ERA) vs. RHP Erik Johnson (8-5, 2.59 ERA), 7:05 p.m.
Sun: RHP Williams Perez (2-1, 1.36 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Penny (5-3, 4.09 ERA), 2:05 p.m.
The Gwinnett Braves welcome the Charlotte Knights, the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, to Coolray Field for the final time this season still in search of their first victory over Charlotte on their home field. The Knights have won each of the first five games the teams have played in Gwinnett and have outscored the G-Braves 24-15 in those contests, although only one of the games was decided by more than a two-run margin. The G-Braves have gone 2-3 against the Knights in Charlotte, including two wins in a three-game series at BB&T Ballpark from July 2-3 that preceded a six-game losing streak.
Gwinnett remains last in the four-team International League South Division, while the Knights sit in second place, 0.5 of a game behind the Norfolk Tides. The G-Braves face their largest deficit in the standings of the season, as they are 8.5 games behind the Tides and 8.0 games back of Charlotte for the Wild Card playoff spot. This is the first time the teams have not played a home-and-home series this season, as the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, will come in for a three-game series from July 27-29.
This will also be the first time Gwinnett has been home since the All-Star break. The G-Braves went 3-5 on a road trip that took them to Syracuse, where they lost three of four games to the Chiefs, and Rochester in a four-game series they split with the IL North-leading Red Wings. Charlotte has won five of its eight games since the break and eight of their last 11, overall, to put them a season-high 14 games above the .500 mark.
Pitching: The G-Braves’ pitching staff has allowed five or more runs four times in its last 15 games and has the fourth-lowest team ERA in the IL at 3.21. The 49 home runs G-Braves’ pitchers have allowed are also tied for the fourth-fewest in the league. Charlotte has a team ERA of 3.53 that ranks seventh in the league and the 70 home runs it has allowed are the fourth-most in the IL. However, the Knights hold an advantage in strikeout-to-walk ratio. They are tied for the third-fewest walks issued with 295 and lead the league with 789 strikeouts, which are 52 more than second-place Durham in that department. Gwinnett pitchers have walked the fourth-most batters in the league with 331 free passes, and their 704 strikeouts rank fifth.
Gwinnett has also used 14 different starting pitchers this season. Perez and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (1-6, 3.49 ERA) are the only pitchers currently in the rotation that also began the season in Gwinnett, although Perez is on a Major League rehab assignment from the Atlanta Braves. He has made two rehab starts since the All-Star break and gone 0-1 with one run allowed in a combined 6.0 innings, including 10 strikeouts and one walk, in those appearances. Saturday’s starter, Texeira, notched his first victory of the season in his last start, his sixth of the season among 11 relief appearances, on Monday, July 20 when he held the Red Wings to three runs on two hits and three walks with two strikeouts in a 6-3 victory.
For Charlotte, Johnson holds the third-lowest ERA in the league among qualified starters with his 2.59 mark. He trails only former Gwinnett left-handed starter Manny Banuelos, who was promoted to Atlanta on July 2, and his Charlotte teammate right-hander Kyle Drabek. Johnson leads the league in strikeouts with 105, but Charlotte left-hander Casey Jarrett holds the top spot on the club in wins with 9, which ties him for the league lead along with Durham lefty Scott Diamond. Johnson also holds the tops spot in the league with a 1.09 WHIP, while Drabek is tied for third with a 1.14 mark.
Hitting: Charlotte holds the fourth-highest team batting average at .260, while the G-Braves come in 10th with a .252 mark. Both teams have plenty of speed, as Gwinnett is second in the league with 107, one more than the Knights, but Charlotte has much more power in its lineup. The Knights have slugged a league-best 94 home runs, and the G-Braves have managed an IL-low 31. That puts Gwinnett on pace for 46 on the season, which would be the lowest of any IL team since the Tidewater Tides, who were a New York Mets’ affiliate at the time, hit 43 in 1980.
The G-Braves also have the fewest walks and strikeouts of any team in the league. They would be the first club since the 2012 Lehigh Valley IronPigs to finish at the bottom of both categories in the same season. Additionally, their league-low .304 on-base percentage would be the lowest in the IL since the Syracuse Chiefs, who were an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays at the time, had a .302 mark in 1988.
Individually, second baseman Jose Peraza, the top-ranked prospect in the Braves’ system, is second in the league with 107 hits and fourth with six triples. He enters the series on a season-high 11-game hitting streak during which he has batted .362 (17-for-47) with two doubles, a triple, three RBIs and seven runs scored. He is batting .292 (107-for-367) for the season with eight doubles, six triples, three home runs, 37 RBIs, 44 runs scored and 25 stolen bases, which ties him for fifth in the IL in that category.
Charlotte second baseman Micah Johnson holds the second-highest batting average among qualified batters in the IL with a .328 mark and has the fifth-highest on-base percentage at .379 to go with the third-highest slugging percentage at .486 in 60 games. Third baseman Matt Davidson is tied for fourth in the league with 15 home runs, outfielder Trayce Thompson has the the fourth-most doubles with 23 and fellow outfielder Jason Coats’ 61 RBIs rank third in the league.
G-Bites: Right-handed reliever Brandon Cunniff rejoined the G-Braves during their most recent road trip but is on the disabled list, and righty reliever David Carpenter is back with the club after his first stint of the season with Atlanta. The Gwinnett bullpen also got back right-hander Jake Brigham from a stint with Atlanta…Righty David Peterson received a promotion to Gwinnett from Double-A Mississippi on July 17 and has yet to allow a run in his first two relief outings while picking up his first Triple-A save in his first appearance on July 18 at Syracuse…Right-handed reliever Vin Mazzaro also joined the team after Atlanta signed him as a minor-league free agent on July 10…Righty reliever Carlos Fisher threw 1.0 scoreless inning in the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 15 in Omaha, NE…Outfielder Todd Cunningham broke free of a 1-for-13 skid to bat .500 (6-for-12) with a home run, three RBIs and four runs scored during the four-game set at Rochester.
Tues: RHP Kanekoa Texeira (0-2, 4.11 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Bowden (6-2, 2.17 ERA), 6:35 p.m.
Wed: LHP Greg Smith (3-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Wright (4-0, 3.07 ERA), 6:35 p.m.
Thurs: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 3.15 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Wilson (3-4, 3.18 ERA), 12:05 p.m.
The Gwinnett Braves finish their final homestand before the All-Star Break with three games against the International South Division-leading Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Gwinnett is back at the .500 mark after it lost four straight games to the Charlotte Knights from Friday through Monday. The final two losses were each by one run, and Charlotte has now taken eight of the 10 games between the clubs so far this season. The G-Braves have fared better against the Tides. They are 6-5 against Norfolk this year despite being outscored 41-31 in those contests. The teams split each of their first three series, and Gwinnett won two of three from June 8-10 at Coolray Field.
Norfolk was shutout by the Durham Bulls in the finale of their three-game series on Monday, but that was the third loss in the Tides’ last 13 games dating back to June 21. That hot streak has propelled them to a 0.5-game lead in the division over Charlotte, 4.0 games ahead of Durham and 6.0 in front of the G-Braves. Norfolk is also the only team in the division without a losing record in any month. The Tides went a combined 33-23 in May and June, and they have gone 24-21 on the road. Gwinnett is an even 22-22 at home this year.
Pitching: The G-Braves hold the IL’s third-lowest team ERA at 3.17, but that is still shy of Norfolk’s league-leading 2.93 mark. Tides’ pitchers have thrown a combined 10 shutouts, which are tied for the most in the league, and their 244 walks are the third-fewest of any IL team. Gwinnett pitchers have issued the fourth-most walks in the league with 285. but they hold an advantage in strikeouts over the Tides, 605-577, and they have posted one fewer shutout than Norfolk with nine on the season. Neither team allows many home runs, as Norfolk’s 38 are tied for the third-fewest and Gwinnett’s 41 are the fifth-fewest.
None of pitchers who comprise the G-Braves’ current starting rotation have thrown enough innings to qualify for the league leaderboard, although Smith’s 2.52 ERA would be the third-lowest if he had enough innings. Norfolk’s Bowden leads that category with his 2.17 ERA to go with a 6-2 record. He edged out former Gwinnett left-handed starter Manny Banuelos for the top spot with 7.0 scoreless innings on July 1 vs. Charlotte. The Atlanta Braves called up Banuelos to make his Major League debut the following night. Norfolk pitchers hold three of the top six spots on the IL individual ERA leaderboard among qualified starters. Left-hander Chris Jones has a 2.59 ERA through 11 starts (19 appearances) that is good for third-lowest, and righty Zach Davies’ 2.70 ERA is the sixth-lowest. In the Tides’ bullpen, right-handed reliever Oliver Drake is third in the league with 14 saves, and righty Cesar Cabral leads the league with 10 holds.
Hitting: The Tides also hold an advantage offensively with a .260 team batting average that ranks fourth in the IL compared to Gwinnett’s .255 mark that puts them ninth in the league. Norfolk has scored five or more runs in half of their 16-game hot stretch, and the club has done so without a lineup that hits a bunch of home runs or steals many bases. The Tides rank 10th in the league with 41 homers and 13th in stolen bases with 33. Gwinnett has by far the fewest home runs in the league. It’s 26 are seven behind the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ for 13th in the league, but the G-Braves are one stolen base behind the Indianapolis Indians for the league lead in that department.
Jose Peraza leads the Gwinnett offense with 90 hits, which tie him for third in the IL in that category. He also is tied for fourth in the league with 22 steals and leads the team with 29 multi-hit efforts. The 21-year-old second baseman has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 8-for-25 (.320) in that stretch to put his season average at .288. Catcher Christian Bethancourt has been the G-Braves’ hottest hitter since Atlanta optioned him on June 15. He has batted .338 in 16 games with Gwinnett and has at least one hit in 13 of those contests to go with one home run, four doubles, seven RBIs, seven runs scored and five stolen bases without being caught.
Norfolk’s catcher Steve Clevenger has also been on fire of late. He has hit safely in seven of his last nine games and has a .337 average in 48 games with the club, although he does not have enough at-bats to qualify in the batting race. A left-handed hitter, Clevenger has pounded right-handed pitchers in the IL at a .387 rate with all three of his home runs, all seven of his doubles and 21 of his 22 RBIs. Lefties have held him to a .179 batting average. He has played four games for Baltimore this season, going 5-for-11 with a double, an RBI and a run scored from May 28 through June 3.
G-Bites: Atlanta traded right-handed reliever Aaron Kurcz on Monday to the Oakland Athletics for International Bonus Slot No. 113. Kurcz had gone 4-3 with a 3.27 ERA and a team-high seven saves in 11 attempts in 31 relief appearances for the G-Braves this season…Gwinnett lost two other members of its bullpen to Major League promotions on Monday when Atlanta called up right-handers Arodys Vizcaino and David Carpenter… Vizcaino made two 1.0-inning appearances for Gwinnett after joining the club on Friday in his return from an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. Carpenter began the season with the G-Braves and led the team’s relief corps with a 0.73 ERA in 27 appearances while holding opponents to a .183 batting average…In their place, the Braves acquired left-hander Mitch Lambson from the Houston Astros for cash considerations and activated righty Peter Moylan from the disabled list…Lambson had most recently been with the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, the Fresno Grizzlies, going 0-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 13 outings. Moylan is 2-0 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 appearances since he joined the team in early June…The G-Braves will finish their schedule before the All-Star break with three road games against Durham from Friday-Sunday.
Atlanta Braves’ reliever David Carpenter made the start for the G-Braves as he began his minor league rehab assignment. In his first start since the age of 16, the right-hander went one inning, facing four batters and striking out one. He threw 22 pitches, 16 for strikes. I checked in with carpenter after the game.
JD: How did you feel about your first game action since June 16?
DC: “I felt good. I was happy to be back out there. I was happy to go out there and compete. It seems like forever for me even though it was just a few days. I was just happy to be back out there and throw the ball.”
JD: How did your elbow/bicep feel?
DC: “Everything was feeling really good. I needed a few days off to work back into things. I was pretty pleased with how everything turned out”
JD: 22 pitches, 16 for strikes. You were sharp and had full command of the zone. How was that? Were you result oriented tonight?
DC: “It’s always a plus. The breaking ball felt really good today. I had good snap on it. The fastball felt really good. There was a lot of life behind it. I left a few up, but that was expected being out for a while.
JD: What was your repertoire tonight? Did you just throw sinker and sliders?
DC:“I went four-seamer and slider. I was trying to work both sides of the plate with the slider and get my fastball over. The last pitch of the day to Danks had a little sink-action, which wasn’t designed but it was nice to have.”
JD: What’s next?
DC: “I’ll come out here to do some long tossing tomorrow and get ready for another outing in Charlotte on Monday. Hopefully if everything goes well, I’ll be activated by Atlanta on Wednesday.”
“Look Good, Feel Good, Play Good” -JD
The Gwinnett Braves (3-0) are off to their best start in franchise history after sweeping a twin bill form the Charlotte Knights (0-3) on Saturday night.
The G-Braves got started early, as Ernesto Mejia capped a four-run first inning with a three-run home run in Game 1. The first baseman was not done, as he homered again to left field, helping the G-Braves win the first game of the twinbill, 6-4.
In Game 2, David Carpenter tossed 3.2 innings of shutout ball, holding down the Knights offense through five innings. The Knights would get on the board on a solo shot by Seth Loman, but it was not enough as the G-Braves prevailed behind strong pitching from Carpenter and Yohan Flande. Sean Kazmar’s two-run single in the second inning proved to be the game-winner, as the G-Braves took Game 2, 2-1.
Today, the Braves finish off their home stand as Tim Corcoran (0-0) makes his season debut against Simon Castro (0-0).
Corcoran is entering his 14th professional season. In 429 MiLB appearances (56 starts), he is 58-52 with a 4.26 ERA. From 2005-2007, the right-hander made 40 appearances (17 starts) for the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 5-9 with a 4.97 ERA in 130.1 innings. Last season, he went 7-4 with a 2.50 ERA with the Delfines of the Mexican League.
His opposition will be Castro. The 6-foot, 5-inch, 230-pound right-hander has been one of the top prospects in the White Sox organization since being traded for Carlos Quentin in 2011. The key acquisition in the Quinton trade has been solid, last season he went a combined 7-5 with 88 strikeouts in 117 innings through three different levels. This will be his sixth career start for the Knights, as he went 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA last season.
The Braves will try and make it four straight today. The lineups are below and Coolray is ready to rock at 2:05 p.m.
Charlotte Knights Starting Lineup
Gwinnett Starting Lineup
Filling out a 25-man MLB roster is always tricky. Most teams try to build within the minor league system, adding a few pieces via free agency or trades. However, Spring Training allows for 40-man extras and non-roster invitees to come in and win over the staff.
This season, the Atlanta Braves roll into camp with 19 non-roster invitees in addition to the 40-man roster. Most of the players have been with the Braves organization for a few years, but there are several new faces trying to make an impression on the organization.
Pitchers David Carpenter and Wirfin Obispo are two of those faces coming to Braves camp for the first time.
Carpenter signed a contract and the off-season and was placed on the 40-man roster. Last season, he split his time with the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays organizations. He made 33 appearances in the Major Leagues, recording a 0-2 record with an 8.07 ERA. The 27-year old right-hander has made over 60 appearances in the Majors and can add depth to the back end of the pen.
Obispo’s resume is not as deep, but he has been around since 2004. The right-hander started his career with the Cincinnati Reds in 2004. After the 2005 season, Obispo spent five years in Japan, playing for the Japanese Central and Pacific Leagues. He returned to the states in 2012, posting a 5-3 mark with 3.00 ERA through two different levels (Double-A Pensacola & Triple-A Louisville).
He will probably be throwing to two new catchers in camp. Luis De La Cruz and Matt Pagnozzi will make their first appearances with the Atlanta Braves. De La Cruz comes from the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Last season, he spent the majority of the season with the High-A Palm Beach Cardinals. He made a brief appearance in Triple-A Memphis, but did most of his damage in the High-A level. In 67 games, he hit .300 with one home run.
Pagnozzi comes to the Braves after spending the majority of his career with the Cardinals organization. He has been a part of four different organizations (Cleveland, Colorado, Pittsburgh and St. Louis), while spending some time in the Major Leagues with the Cardinals, Pirates and Rockies. In 33 MLB games, he has hit .310 with one home run and 13 RBI. Last season, he spent the year with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
On the diamond, Blake DeWitt and Ramiro Pena will compete for a backup spot. DeWitt comes from the Chicago Cubs organization, spending the last two seasons with the Cubs. DeWitt scuffled with the Pirates organization after two stellar seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, the left-handed hitting infielder provides great versatility on the diamond and can be a valuable asset off the bench. In 346 MLB games, DeWitt has recorded a .257 batting average with 21 home runs and 135 RBI.
While DeWitt adds versatility on the corners and second base, Pena can play both middle infield spots and the hot corner. The switch-hitting Pena comes from the New York Yankees, where he spent his whole career. After making great strides in 2010 and 2011, cracking the big league roster, Pena spent all of 2012 with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Finally, Jordan Schafer returns to the Braves for another opportunity to make the MLB roster. After being sent away to Houston in the Michael Bourn deal, Schafer hopes to regain the form that made him one of the most coveted young players in the game. Schafer adds excellent versatility, as he can play all three outfield spots. Last season, he hit .211 with four home runs and 27 stolen bases. Schafer, a G-Brave from 2009 to 2011, will compete with Jose Constanza, Evan Gattis and Reed Johnson for one of the bench spots.
The competition for spots officially begins today, as the Braves started their first full practice at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.
With Spring Training underway, G-Braves baseball is around the corner. Don’t miss your chance to catch the action at Coolray Field, as the future Braves stars of tomorrow start here. The 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, visit Gwinnettbraves.com, facebook.com/GwinnettBraves1 and twitter.com/GwinnettBraves.