Results tagged ‘ Ernesto Mejia ’

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (29-23) at Rochester Red Wings (28-24)

Pitching Probables

Fri: Cody Martin (3-3, 2.89) vs. LHP Kris Johnson (4-2, 2.11)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-5, 3.20) vs. Trevor May (4-3, 3.00)

Sun: Gus Schlosser (3-1, 6.12) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (2-6, 7.51)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Mon: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.06) vs. Alex Meyer (3-1, 3.31)

With both teams trailing their respective division leaders by less than two games, the Gwinnett Braves and the Rochester Red Wings enter a pivotal series for Wild Card supremacy. The G-Braves enter the series with a one game lead on the Rochester Red Wings even though the teams are trending in opposite directions. Rochester is 6-4 in their last ten games, while Gwinnett is 4-6.

Pitching: The Gwinnett Braves will turn the ball to their No.1 and No.2 starters to begin the series. Martin will take the ball in the first game; looking to record his fourth win of the season. Martin is coming off one of his worst outings of the 2014 season, as he gave up five runs (two earned) in 4.0 innings on 5/25 vs. Norfolk. Despite the poor start, Martin has put up some impressive numbers on the season. He is second on the squad in wins and strikeouts (53), while leading the staff with a 2.89 ERA.

Hector Daniel Rodriguez leads the team in wins and strikeouts (57). The southpaw has been excellent in his third stint with the G-Braves. In 10 starts, he has already surpassed his win total from 2013, while accumulating more punch outs than season ago. Rodriguez has been effective around the zone, walking 18 batters in 59.0 innings. Last season, he walked 38 batters in 53.0 innings for the G-Braves.

Right-handers Schlosser and Maya round out the rotation for Gwinnett.

They will be opposed by two of the better hurlers in the Minnesota Twins organization in Kris Johnson and Trevor May. Johnson was an IL All-Star last season with the Indianapolis Indians, and has continued his great work this year. He has won three straight games from 4/24 to 5/25. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 8.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits in the win against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

May is also coming into the series with a three-game winning streak. The righty has posted wins in back-to-back-to-back contests. He has tossed 19.0 innings without allowing an earned run. In his last start, he allowed one unearned run on five hits. During the scoreless streak, he has struck out 15, while walking nine. He is rated the No.8 prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America.

Batting: Despite changes to the lineup, the Gwinnett Braves continue to hit. The G-Braves lead the league in hitting, batting .270 as a squad. They are third in the league in runs scored (248) despite ranking ninth in the league in homers (33).

Phil Gosselin continues to pace the offensive attack. The infielder enters the contest second in the league with a .337 (64-for-190) batting average. He is second in the IL in hits and leads the G-Braves in doubles.

In addition to the consistency of Gosselin, Christian Bethancourt has swung a hot bat in May. The backstop is batting .282 (22-for-78) with nine runs scored, five doubles, one triple, two homers and 17 RBIs. His 17 RBIs during the month of May lead the team.

The Red Wings will counter with the 2013 IL MVP and Rookie of the Year, Chris Colabello. Since being optioned to Rochester, the first baseman is hitting .100 (1-for-10) with one RBI in three games. Last season, he hit .352 (119-for-338) with 24 homers and 76 RBIs for the Red Wings.

G-Notes: Tyler Pastornicky joined the G-Braves on Thursday night and went 2-for-4 in his first appearance since being optioned by the Braves…. Former G-Brave Ernesto Mejia is hitting .457 (21-for-46) with two homers and six RBIs in 11 games for the Seibu Lions…

“Whatever you want to do, If you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” -Maya Angelou

-JD-

Tribute to Big Ern

The Gwinnett Braves parted ways with a valuable member of their franchise on Saturday afternoon. Slugger Ernesto Mejia was relieved of his contract with the Atlanta Braves organization, so he could pursue a career overseas in the Japanese League.

Mejia served as the Gwinnett Braves first baseman for 2+ seasons. In 287 games with the G-Braves, he hit .279 (302-for-1198) with 59 homers and 199 RBI. He scored 143 runs, while swiping 18 bases.

In 2012, he was named IL Rookie of the Year after batting .296 (152-for-514) with 24 homers and 92 RBI. He earned back-to-back IL mid-season All-Star honors in 2012-2013, while leading the league in RBI both seasons.

He leaves the Gwinnett Braves as the single-season home run leader with 28, as he set the mark in 2013. While, also ranking among the G-Braves all-time leaders in homers (59, 1st), doubles (72, 1st), RBI (199. 1st), hits (302, 2nd) and runs (143, 4th).

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During his time with the G-Braves he did more than enough to earn a spot with the big club, but the opportunity never presented itself at the major league level. With the emergence of Freddie Freeman at first base and others viable options on the bench, Mejia was stuck in a bad situation. Despite his lack of opportunity, the Guenare, Venezuela native didn’t get discouraged.

“But I don’t feel stuck. I know I have a lot of talent and work hard. I just happen to be behind a great first baseman and a team with so much talent that I can’t even get a spot on the bench. It’s baseball. You never know what’s going to happen,” he said in an April 26 interview with David Purdum of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Baseball answered his call with a great opportunity to showcase his talent overseas. Mejia will join the Seibu Lions of the Japanese Pacific League. Mejia will try and continue his hot start from 2014, in which he hit .354 (28-for-79) with seven homers and 24 RBI for the G-Braves.

Hopefully Big Ern does great things in the Far East and returns to the states to live out his dream of playing in the big leagues.

Like he said to me a season ago after breaking the G-Braves home run record,

“Me sueño es jugar en las grandes ligas. Pero ahorita tengo que luchar y trabajar duro. Si la oportunidad se presenta voy hacer todo en mi poder para quedarme con el quipo grande, pero si no se presenta voy a continuar a jugar a lo mejor de mi talento.”

“My dream is to play in the big leagues. But, for now I have to keep fighting and work hard. If the opportunity presents itself (at the MLB level) I will do everything in my power to stay with the big team, but if it doesn’t present itself I’m going to do the best I can with my abilities.

Writer’s Note: I covered Big Ern for a little over a season. He was one of the most engaging players in the G-Braves clubhouse, and made the best every opportunity. Ultimately knowing his fate with the Braves franchise, Mejia was never discouraged and went out there and let it fly. I saw him hit over half-a-dozen majestic clouts in his time with Gwinnett, but not a single one more memorable than his record breaker on July 20, 2013 against Brandon Cumpton. After the homer, I recall asking him how it felt to break a G-Braves record.

He humbly answered, “Honestly, I didn’t know. Obviously, I’m very excited. I never expected it. I think it’s a result of all the hard work.”

The work has shown and will continue to show with the Lions. While, Mejia will be missed in the middle of the G-Braves order, you couldn’t be more delighted to for an individual to get a great opportunity like this.

“Use your imagination. Imagine the life you want to live, and live it!” –Jack Ramsey.

-JD-

Joey Terdoslavich Named IL Batter of the Week

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – The International League office has awarded Gwinnett Braves outfielder Joey Terdoslavich with Batter of the Week honors for the period of April 21-27. Terdoslavich is the second G-Brave to win the award this season, joining former Gwinnett first baseman Ernesto Mejia (April 7).

(Karl L Moore)

(Karl L Moore)

Terdoslavich, 25, has been red hot in the past week. He recorded hits in all seven contests from April 21-27, batting .500 (13-for-26) with three doubles, one home run, four RBIs and nine runs scored. The G-Braves went 4-3 in that span.

After batting .235 (12-for-51) through his first 13 games of 2014, Terdoslavich has hit safely in his last eight games, raising his batting average to .317. He currently ranks among IL leaders in runs scored (T-7th, 16), hits (T-9th, 26), total bases (12th, 40) and batting average (15th). Last season, the switch-hitting outfielder was named an IL postseason All-Star after batting .318 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs in 85 games with the G-Braves. His contract was purchased by the Atlanta Braves on July 4, 2013 and he spent the rest of the season with Atlanta.

Terdoslavich and the Gwinnett Braves continue their road trip on Monday night as they play game three of a four-game series against the Toledo Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM. Right-hander Mitch Atkins (1-2, 4.86) will start for the G-Braves, while the Mud Hens will counter with left-hander Robbie Ray (2-2, 1.93). Tony Schiavone will have the play by play call beginning at 6:15 PM on wdun.com, GwinnettBraves.com, TuneIn Radio and the MiLB First Pitch app.

The G-Braves return to Coolray Field on Thursday, May 1 at 6:35 PM against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Tickets for all home games are available for purchase now by calling the Coolray Field Ticket Office at 678-277-0340 and by visiting GwinnettBraves.com.

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (11-6) at Columbus Clippers (6-10)

Tue: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (2-1, 2.40) vs. Trevor Bauer (1-0, 0.75)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Wed: Mitch Atkins (1-2, 5.40) vs. LHP T.J. House (1-1, 2.45)

Thu: TBA vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 7.56)

Fri: RHP Zach Stewart (1-0, 5.06) vs. Josh Tomlin (0-1, 4.00)

The Gwinnett Braves are on a roll, winning seven straight games and taking full possession of first place in the Wild Card standings. With the 6-3 win over the Charlotte Knights on Monday night, the G-Braves tied their franchise record for consecutive wins at seven. Gwinnett has accomplished the feat four times before last night, once in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full this week with the Clippers’ staff. On Tuesday night, they will face the No. 3 prospect in the Indians organization, Bauer. In two starts for the Clippers, Bauer has been outstanding, hurling 12.0 innings of one run ball with 18 strikeouts.

Left-hander T.J. House will be especially tough on Wednesday night. The southpaw comes in with a 1-1 mark and a 2.45 ERA. He has fanned nine in 11.0 innings, while posting a 0.91 WHIP. House made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, hurling 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits in the no-decision.

Bauer has fared the best against the G-Braves in his career, going 0-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts. Tomlin made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, going 5.0 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs in the no-decision.

Gwinnett will counter with Rodriguez, Atkins and Stewart, while they wait for their Thursday starter to be announced.

Rodriguez has been the Braves’ best starter in the month of April. In three starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He has tossed five innings in each of his three starts, while punching out 19 batters.

Stewart will be the only Braves pitcher with previous experience against the Clippers. Last season, the right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Columbus for the Charlotte Knights. This season, Stewart has been solid for the G-Braves, going 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA. In his last start on 4/20, he went a season-high six innings, allowing three runs for his first win of the season.

Batting: The G-Braves are scolding hot at the dish, as they enter the series with a league-high 97 runs. They also own the third-highest batting average in the league (.280).

Phil Gosselin is leading the way with a .404 (19-for-47) batting average. The infielder enters the series with the second highest batting average in the league, behind Gregory Polanco of the Indianapolis Indians.

Ernesto Mejia and Tommy La Stella aren’t too far behind. Mejia is fifth in the league with a .379 (25-for-66) batting average. He has seven homers and 22 RBIs. He is second in the league in dingers and is tied for first in RBI. While, La Stella enters with a .346 (10th in IL) batting average. Since moving to third in the order, La Stella is hitting .375 (12-for-32) with one double and eight RBIs.

Columbus has been in the middle of the pack offensively, but Jesus Aguilar and Jose Ramirez have been standouts. Aguilar is hitting .386 (22-for-57) with five doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs, while Ramirez is hitting .333 (21-for-63) with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. Aguilar is the No.15 prospect in the Cleveland organization according to Baseball America, while Ramirez is the No.9 prospect.

Gwinnett Braves (4-3) vs. Durham Bulls (5-3)

Series probables
Fri: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00)
Sat: Mitch Atkins (0-1, 6.75) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (0-0, 2.25)
Sun: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 5.06) vs. Nathan Karns (0-1, 13.50)

The Gwinnett Braves will welcome the Durham Bulls for a three game set starting on Friday, April 11 at Coolray Field.

Last weekend, the squads met for a four game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They ended up splitting the series, as Durham took game one and four, while the Braves took care of business in game two and three.

Pitching: The home opener will feature two southpaws that shut down the respective opposition last weekend. Rodriguez tossed 5.0 IP, allowing two hits, one run and struck out nine as he recorded the victory on Saturday night; while, Montgomery dominated Sunday’s matinee, tossing 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball in the Bulls 8-1 victory. He allowed three hits, three walks and struck out seven.

Game three will feature Gavin Floyd, as he makes his third rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves. After a shaky first start, Floyd was solid on Tuesday night. He tossed 4.0 innings, scattering three hits, allowing one run and striking out two. He threw 60 pitches, 37 for strikes in the no decision victory by the Braves.

Former Nationals prospect Nathan Karns will get the ball in game three. The right-hander has got off to a slow start, allowing 11 runs in 7.1 innings (13.50 ERA). He has walked ten batters and struck out ten, so he has electric stuff but is hampered with control issues. He will look to get back on track on Sunday afternoon.
The Braves will have to get to the Bulls pitching staff early, as the back end of the bullpen has been tough on opponents. Right-hander Kirby Yates is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has allowed one hit, no runs with four strikeouts in 4.0 innings.

Batting: Ernesto Mejia has headlined the G-Braves offense with five homers and 10 RBIs in seven games, but Phil Gosselin and Tommy La Stella are off to solid starts. Gosselin leads the team with a .500 (10-for-20) batting average with a team-high three doubles. In three games against Durham last weekend, Gosselin went 4-for-11 with three runs scored, one double and one RBI. La Stella has been just as good, batting .308 (4-for-13) with one double and three triples. La Stella has also drawn four walks in five games.

Durham is off to great start offensively, scoring 40 runs in eight games. They have relied on the long ball, slugging eight round trippers this season. Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, Kevin Kiermaier and Jerry Sands have each clubbed two. Sands is off to the best start of the four of them, batting .333 (10-for-30) with six doubles and six RBIs.

Staying Figgy with it: Cole Figueroa is off to another great start for the Durham Bulls… The infielder is batting .463 (6-for-13) with two doubles. In his career, he has batted .356 (42-for-118) with 16 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, one homer and 20 RBIs against the G-Braves. Last season, Figueroa batted .355 (27-for-76) with six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs, while only striking out twice in 18 games against Gwinnett.

 

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (2-2) at Norfolk Tides (1-3)

Mon: Zach Stewart (0-0, 0.00) vs. Suk-min Yoon (0-0, 0.00)

Tues: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 13.50) vs. Mike Wright (0-0, 0.00)

Wed: Cody Martin (0-0, 3.00) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-0, 0.00)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80) vs. Steve Johnson (0-0, 3.00)

The Gwinnett Braves and Norfolk Tides meet for the first time in the 2014 campaign at Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA starting Monday night. The four-game set will conclude the G-Braves current road trip, as they split with Durham to start the season.

Pitching: The G-Braves pitching staff has been touched up for 23 runs (21 ER) in 34.0 IP and are last in the IL with a 5.56 team ERA through the first four games of the season… Daniel Rodriguez had the strongest showing of the weekend. The southpaw went 5.0 innings, allowing one run on two hits, while striking out nine. He recorded his first win of the season and first victory since May 28, 2013. He will get the ball in game four of the series. Last season, he made one start against the Tides, tossing 4.2 innings, scattering three hits and allowing three runs. He was not a part of the decision, as the G-Braves won the contest 5-4 in extra innings on April 15.

(Daniel Rodriguez/ Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

(Daniel Rodriguez/ Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

Despite dropping three games to the Knights, the Tides’ pitching staff has been real strong in 2014. In four games, they have posted a 2.50 ERA, while striking out 43 batters in 36.0 IP.

Yoon and Wright will make their first starts of the 2014 season on Monday and Tuesday. Yoon, 27, is coming over from the Korean League. In 2011, he was named the Korean Baseball Organization MVP after leading the league in wins (17), ERA (2.45) and strikeouts (178).

Wright is coming off of a strong 2013 campaign, as he dominated the Double-A circuit, going 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts for Bowie. On September 2, he was called up to Triple-A Norfolk to make his debut. He delivered seven shutout innings, scattering six hits and striking out two. The former third rounder in the 2011 draft out of the University of East Carolina features a mid-90’s fastball, slider, curve and change-up. Wright enters the season as the No.8 ranked prospect in the Orioles system according to Baseball America.

Gausmann and Johnson will round out the Norfolk rotation for the weekday series. Both right-handers threw in the opening weekend series against Charlotte, but received no decisions. They combined to strike out 10 batters in 7.1 innings.

Batting: Ernesto Mejia is coming off of a huge week with the G-Braves. In four games, he hit .308 (4-for-13) with four homers and seven RBIs. He was named IL Batter of the Week for his outstanding work at the dish. Last season, Mejia hit .347 (25-for-72) with five doubles, eight homers and 16 RBIs in 19 games against the Tides.

Infielder Phil Gosselin also had a solid opening week. The right-handed hitter batted .364 (1-for-11) with one double and one RBI, while playing shortstop and third base. Gosselin fared well against Norfolk in 2013, hitting .275 (14-for-51) with two homers and six RBIs.

Norfolk is off to a slow start offensively, scoring six runs in four games against Charlotte.

Henry Urrutia is batting .143 (2-for-14) with one RBI and two strikeouts. Last season, he hit .316 with two homers and 13 RBIs in 29 games with Norfolk. He was even better against Gwinnett, batting .356 (16-for-46) with two doubles, one triple, one homer and 10 RBIs. He will try and get Norfolk back on track this week.

Tides News: The Orioles have acquired right-hander Preston Guilmet from the Indians in exchange for infielder Torsten Boss. Guilmet was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (0-0) at Durham Bulls (0-0)

Pitching Probables
Thu: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Nathan Karns (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Fri: Ervin Santana (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LHP Enny Romero (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Matt Andriese (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sun: Mitch Atkins (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Pitching: The Gwinnett Braves will open their series against the Durham Bulls with two MLB veterans leading the group. Both Floyd and Santana will be on strict pitch counts, as they work their way back to the Major Leagues. Rodriguez, who missed most of last season with elbow ailments in his throwing arm, will make his first start since June 2nd and Atkins will join the G-Braves after spending 2013 with Double-A Mississippi.

Floyd will try to get the Braves off to a good start in 2014, as he is a perfect 3-0 against the Bulls in his career, but hasn’t pitched in a Triple-A contest in seven years. Rodriguez and Atkins haven’t fared well against the Bulls in their respective careers. Rodriguez gave up seven runs in 0.1 IP in his lose start against the Tampa Bay affiliate, while Atkins is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA in three career starts against Durham.

Nathan Karns will be the opening day starter. The right-hander was a part of the monster trade, which saw the Tampa Bay Rays exchange catcher Jose Lobaton, pitcher Felipe Rivero and outfielder Drew Vettelson for the Washington Nationals’ Karns. The right-hander is a game-changer as he tosses a mid 90’s fastball, hard sinker and a heavy slider. Last season, he struck out 155 batters in 133.0 IP with Double-A Harrisburg.

Karns wasn’t the only one dominating the Double-A circuit. Romero was spectacular in the Southern League, going 11-7 with a 2.76 ERA in 27 starts for the Montgomery Biscuits. He made one start for Triple-A Durham (8IP, 0R, 2K) and one for Tampa Bay (5IP, 0R) to end the season. He will get the start in game two of the series.

Andriese will make his first start in International League as he was a part of the San Diego Padres organization in 2013, while Montgomery will put his 2-3 record with a 5.27 ERA in five career starts against Gwinnett on the line in game four.

Batting: Offense will be showcased in the series, as both teams have potent attacks. The Braves will have two-time RBI champion Ernesto Mejia leading the middle of the order. In 2013, Mejia struggled against the Bulls, hitting .192 (14-for-73) with two homers, eight RBIs and 26 strikeouts. While, Mejia struggled against the Bulls, Jose Constanza thrived at the dish against Durham pitching. The outfielder batted .340 (17-for-50) with two doubles, two RBIs and six stolen bases in 12 contests against the Bulls. Constanza is the lone active G-Brave to hold a batting average over .300 against Durham in 2013.

While, the G-Braves struggled to hit Bulls’ pitching, Cole Figueroa welcomed G-Braves pitching. The infielder hit .355 (27-for-76) with three doubles, two triples, one homer and 14 RBIs in 20 games against Gwinnett in 2013.

He will be joined veterans Wilson Betemit and Vince Belnome around the infield. Betemit is coming off of an injury-riddled 2013 campaign, but in 2012, he hit .261 with 19 doubles, 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 102 games with Baltimore. He will try to find his stroke in 2014 with Durham.

Belnome hasn’t had a problem hitting at the minor league level. He is a lifetime .300 hitter at the MiLB level, clubbing 58 homers and driving in 312 runners. Despite struggling against the G-Braves in 2013 (.151, 12K), he hit .300 and drove in 67 runs while earning an IL All-Star Game nod.

Bull Rushed: The Gwinnett Braves will look to get off to a good start in 2014 against the Durham Bulls, as they went 6-15 against Durham in 2013. Durham’s stranglehold was more apparent at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, as they won nine of ten games at home.

-JD-

Il Preview: Gwinnett Braves

The IL Preview concludes with the Gwinnett Braves. Last season, Gwinnett had a forgettable season, finishing last in the IL with a 60-84 mark. Injuries at the Major League level and constant turnover at the minor league level crippled the Gwinnett roster.

The Braves will be led by new skipper Brian Snitker. The former Atlanta Braves third base coach has managerial experience at the minor league level, coaching over 2,000 games (1140-1145 record). He will have a good group of players leading the charge in 2014.

Pitching: The Braves pitching staff took a big hit with the losses of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy during Spring Training. The losses will trickle down to the minor league level, as two potential G-Braves in David Hale and Gus Schlosser will start in Atlanta.

The G-Braves will start the season with Zach Stewart, Mitch Atkins, Daniel Rodriguez, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya. All five pitchers have pitched at the Triple-A level and come with experience. Atkins has won 33 games between the Pacific Coast League and International League. Last season, he went 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games for Double-A Mississippi.

Martin enters the season with the least amount of experience on the staff, but will be leaned on to built upon his successful 2013 campaign. In 13 games (11 starts), he went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 69.2 IP with the G-Braves.

The bullpen will feature a slew of flamethrowers, as Wirfin Obispo, Mark Lamm, Juan Jaime and Luis Vasquez will be eager to close outs games. Obispo returns to Gwinnett after going 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 54 relief appearances. He recorded nine saves, striking out 70 batters in 63.2 innings.

Infield: Offensively, the diamond will be loaded with a deep-talented group. Ernesto Mejia, who hit a career-high 28 homers in 2013, returns for his third season with the G-Braves. He has led the IL in RBIs two straight seasons.

Tommy La Stella will join him on the right side. The former Coastal Carolina alum is a lifetime .327 minor league hitter. The second baseman made an impression with Atlanta during Spring Training, batting .255 with four doubles and five RBIs. He will get his first taste of Triple-A baseball in 2014.

The Atlanta Braves No.2 prospect according to Baseball America, Christian Bethancourt will get his first taste of Triple-A as well. He hit .277 (99-for-358) with 21 doubles, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 90 games for the M-Braves. He set a club record by reaching base in 40-straight games from June 13 to August 14, batting .338 (54-for-160) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 27 RBI during the streak.

Tyler Greene and Edward Salcedo will fill out the left side. Both players have the ability to drive in runs and steal bases. Salcedo has swiped 80 bags and drove in 211 runners in 471 minor league contests, while Greene has over 150 stolen bases and 373 RBIs in his ten year career.

Outfield: The Gwinnett Braves will be fortunate to feature a major-league like outfield, as Jose Constanza, Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich will be manning one of the three outfield positions. Terdoslavich returns after a banner season with Gwinnett. He was named an International League midseason and postseason All-Star after hitting .318 (102-for-321) with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 85 games. He was named Gwinnett’s Most Valuable player by Atlanta and Gwinnett. He was as selected to represent Team USA in the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but did not participate due to his MLB call-up on 7/4.

Constanza returns for his fourth season with Gwinnett. The longest tenured G-Brave returns for his fourth season with the ball club. Constanza enters the season as the G-Braves all-time hits (306), triples (11) and stolen bases (58) leader. In three seasons, he has tallied a .301 (306-for-1,118) batting average with 19 doubles and 69 RBIs.

Cunningham, the switch-hitting outfielder led the squad in hitting with a .265 (113-for-427) batting average. He tallied 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 38 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 116 games.

Projected Depth Chart:

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

 

-JD-

Scenes from Spring Training 2014

Chris Roughgarden of the Gwinnett Braves Photography Staff was at Champion Stadium on Thursday night to shoot the Atlanta Braves/Washington Nationals night game.  She got some great shots of several 2013 G-Braves, which can be viewed in the slideshow below.  The Braves won the contest, 3-2.

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (51-69) vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (60-60)

Mejia (Cooper)

Mejia (Cooper)

Fri: LHP Yohan Flande (7-6, 4.42) vs. RHP David Buchanan (1-0, 2.57)

Sat: RHP Cody Martin (2-3, 2.96) vs. LHP Greg Smith (6-2, 2.50)

Sun: RHP David Hale (6-6, 2.99) vs. LHP Adam Morgan (1-5, 4.05)

Mon: RHP Omar Poveda (5-7, 3.42) vs. LHP Tom Cochran (3-6, 5.70)

The Gwinnett Braves enter the series coming off back-to-back one-run victories over the Norfolk Tides, while Lehigh Valley has dropped two straight games. The IronPigs have slipped to fourth place in the North Division and sit two games out of the Wild Card lead.

Batters: The G-Braves offense has been held to four runs or less in their last eight games. They have found a way to win three of those games, but runs are at a premium for the Braves… Ernesto Mejia will try to carry the offense. In his last contest, he hit a game-winning home run against the Norfolk Tides. On the season, he has belted 28 dingers, while hitting .243 (95-for-391) with a league-leading 77 RBI. Stefan Gartrell has carried a hot bat the last five days. In four games, he is hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a solo homer.  

Pitchers: In the last six games, the pitching staff has allowed 12 runs (11 earned), while logging 47 innings on the mound. They have posted a 2.11 ERA in that span, allowing 32 hits, 13 walks and striking out 41… Yohan Flande has led the way, winning three straight contests and being named IL Pitcher of the Week last week. In his last three starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA (3ER/23IP), while fanning 15 and issuing one walk. He will try to improve to improve on his 7-6 mark, as he takes the ball in game one.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Batters: The IronPigs lineup features multiple table-setters and one big bopper in Cody Oberdeck. The first baseman leads the team in homers (19), runs (51) , RBI (58) and possesses a .265 (99-for-373) batting average…. Cesar Hernandez is one of the table-setters at the top of the lineup. The No. 15 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America is having a stellar campaign with the IronPigs. In 87 games, he is hitting .310 (104-for-335) with 11 doubles, eight triples, two homers and 31 RBI.

Pitchers: The pride of Georgia State University, David Buchanan, will take the ball in game one of the series. The right-hander made his Triple-A on 8/4, tossing seven innings, scattering six hits, allowing two runs and striking out four en route to his first career Triple-A victory. The Atlanta, GA native will have a large crowd in attendance, as he pitches in his home state for the first time in his career since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brundy’s Back: Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the first time since taking the managerial job with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. He was the first manager in G-Braves history.

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