Results tagged ‘ Freddie Freeman ’

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (66-58) vs. Louisville Bats (60-65)

Pitcher probables

Thurs: RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (4-4, 3.62 ERA) vs. LHP Brandon Finnegan (0-1, 5.79 ERA), 6:35 p.m.

Fri: RHP Kanekoa Texeira (6-3, 3.61 ERA) vs. RHP Michael Lorenzen (3-1, 1.93 ERA), 7:05 p.m.

Sat: RHP Jake Brigham (3-0, 5. 11 ERA) vs. RHP Donn Roach (2-3, 5.20 ERA), 7:05 p.m.

Sun: LHP Greg Smith (6-4, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Smith (3-4, 3.88 ERA), 2:05 p.m.

LHP Greg Smith (Karl Moore)

LHP Greg Smith (Karl Moore)

The Gwinnett Braves return to Coolray Field to begin a four-game series against the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, after a 10-game road trip during which they went 5-5. They remained in second place in the International League Wild Card standings throughout the road trip and sit 3.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers for the lead. The G-Braves are also 6.0 games in back of the Norfolk Tides for first place in the IL South Division. The Clippers and Tides are in the middle of a three-game series at Norfolk. Columbus won the series opener 4-3 on Wednesday.

Louisville hovered around the .500 mark for much of the season and was 57-56 on August 5. However, the Bats have gone 3-9 in their 12 games since to drop to 60-65 and 10 games out of a playoff spot. They were outscored 48-20 in those contests, and the offense has struggled mightily during that stretch. The team has not scored more than four runs in any of those games, and it scored two runs or fewer eight times, including eight of their nine losses. The Bats also suffered three consecutive shutout losses from August 9-11. The first loss was 9-0 on the road to the Durham Bulls, and the final two were 2-0 and 3-0 home defeats to Columbus.

Pitching: The Bats also are tied for the second-highest ERA of any team in the 14-team International League with a 3.97 mark that equals the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Gwinnett, meanwhile, has a 3.19 team ERA that is the fourth-lowest in the league. The G-Braves’ pitching staff has also allowed the second-fewest hits in the IL with 994, which is 11 more than Norfolk for the lead in that category. Both teams rank toward the bottom of the league in strikeouts but in the top half in walks allowed. Gwinnett has the fifth-fewest strikeouts with 864, and Louisville has the second-fewest with 814. The G-Braves have walked 407 batters, which is the fifth-most in the IL, and Bats pitchers have issued 430 to have the fourth-most in that department.

Veterans Texeira and Smith have led the G-Braves’ pitching staff in the second half of the season. Texeira has won a career-high six consecutive starts since July 20 and has a 3.63 ERA (14 ER in 34.2 IP) in that span. The G-Braves have won each of Smith’s five starts since he rejoined the rotation on July 28 from a stint in the bullpen. He has tallied wins in three of those starts with a 1.95 ERA (6 ER in 27.2 IP). His 2.45 ERA (27 ER in 99.1 IP) for the season ranks second in the IL among qualified starters, and his 1.10 WHIP leads the league.

Finnegan, Lousville’s starter for the series opener on Thursday, was acquired by the Reds from the Kansas City Royals on July 26 as part of a four-player trade that sent right-handed starter Johnny Cueto to Kansas City. Finnegan, a 22-year-old, has made four starts for Louisville since the trade. He also appeared in 14 games for the Royals earlier this season, going 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA (8 ER in 24.1 IP). Finnegan made his Major League debut with the Royals on September 6, 2014 after they selected him in the first round (17th overall) of the June free agent draft earlier that season out of Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX). He also pitched in seven postseason games for Kansas City during its run to the World Series a year ago.

Hitting: The Gwinnett offense was dominant in the five victories during the road trip. The G-Braves scored eight or more runs in four of their five wins, but they were held to three runs or fewer in each of their losses. Overall, the G-Braves have a .260 team batting average that ranks fifth in the league but is .001 behind three teams tied for second in that department. Louisville ranks ninth in that category with a .255 average.

Gwinnett is still in the basement of the league home run totals with 43. The G-Braves are on pace to hit 50 this season, which is still fewer than any other IL team has at this point and would be the fewest since the Tidewater Tides hit 43 in 1980. Louisville has the fourth fewest homers with 59. The G-Braves lead the league in stolen bases, however, with 149, which is three in front of the second-place Indianapolis Indians in that category. The Bats have the fifth-fewest steals in the IL with 76.

Center fielder Mallex Smith hit .381 (16-for-42) with six steals and nine runs scored from the leadoff spot during the road trip, but that was just the third-highest average on the team during that stretch. Catcher Christian Bethancourt led the club with a .424 average (14-for 33), and outfielder Cedric Hunter batted .395 (15-for-38). Bethancourt also had six doubles, a home run and seven RBIs during the trip, while Hunter two doubles, a home run and 10 RBIs to push his team-leading total in that category to 64. Hunter also leads the club with 11 homers. Additionally, Smith is 25-for-29 in steal attempts through 50 games with the G-Braves and has 48 stolen bases on the season combined with Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi, where he began the season.

Louisville’s top hitter has been outfielder Brennan Boesch, who boasts a .331 batting average (59-for-178) in 48 games with the Bats, although outfielder Ryan LaMarre leads the team with 88 RBIs and is tied with infielder Yorman Rodriguez for the team lead in home runs with eight. The Bats’ offensive struggles in August have led to a league-low .203 average during the month, and they do not have a batter who has hit better than outfielder Juan Silva’s .244 mark during through the first 17 games of the month.

G-Bites: Infielder Joey Terdoslavich has returned to Gwinnett after his fourth stint with the Atlanta Braves this season to open a spot on the Major League roster for first baseman Freddie Freeman, who completed his rehab assignment with the G-Braves on Tuesday. Freeman batted .375 (3-for-8) with a double, two RBIs, two walks and three strikeouts in two games with Gwinnett…The G-Braves also added three relief pitchers during the road trip, although two had been with the team previously this season. Right-hander Ryan Kelly was optioned from Atlanta on August 13, and fellow righty Brigham was optioned on August 16 when the Braves recalled right-hander Peter Moylan. The Braves also claimed Danny Burawa off of waivers from the New York Yankees on August 14, and he joined the G-Braves’ bullpen on Monday but has yet to make an appearance…Once their four-game set against Louisville is complete, the G-Braves will go back on the road for a three-game series against the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark. They will come back hom on August 27 to start a four-game series vs. Norfolk.

-JM

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (51-50) vs. Durham Bulls (51-51)

Pitching probables (All games start at 6:35 p.m.)

Mon: RHP Tyrell Jenkins (1-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. RHP Bradin Hagens (1-1, 3.38 ERA).

Tues: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-6, 3.49 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Andriese (2-1, 1.84 ERA).

Wed: RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (3-2, 3.61 ERA) vs. LHP Blake Snell (0-1, 2.25 ERA).

Tyrell Jenkins (Taylor Botta)

Tyrell Jenkins (Taylor Botta)

The Gwinnett Braves worked their way out of the cellar in the International League South Division on Sunday when they beat the Charlotte Knights 5-3 and the Durham Bulls lost 11-1 to the Norfolk Tides. That dropped the Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, a half-game behind the G-Braves for last place in the division. Gwinnett has won five of the last seven meetings between the clubs this season and leads the season series 7-6. This is the Bulls’ final visit to Coolray Field this season. After an off day on Thursday, the teams will play three more games at Durham from Friday through Sunday, and they have a two-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park scheduled for August 21 and September 1. The G-Braves have not taken a season series from the Bulls since they went 11-10 in 2012.

The G-Braves ran their post-All-Star break record to 6-5 with the sweep of Charlotte. Durham, meanwhile, has yet to win consecutive games in the second half and gone 4-7 in that span. The Bulls have the lowest team batting average (.229) and second-highest team ERA (4.64) in the IL for July, but they have slugged 27 home runs through 23 games during the month, which trails only Charlotte’s 33 in that category. Gwinnett’s 11 homers in the July are the second-fewest, ahead of only the nine hit by the Indianapolis Indians. The G-Braves’ .244 batting average for July ranks 11th in the league, but they have managed a 12-12 record since July 1 with the help of a 3.49 team ERA that is the fifth-lowest in the 14-team league.

Pitching: A weekend series vs. Charlotte in which the G-Braves did not allow more than three runs in any of the three victories helped lower the club’s ERA to 3.18 for the season, which is the fourth-lowest of any team in the league. Knights’ outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo hit two home runs on Friday, but those were the only long balls Gwinnett pitchers allowed, and the 51 the G-Braves’ pitching staff has combined to give up are tied for the fourth-fewest in the IL. Durham has the third-highest team ERA in the league at 3.97 and its pitchers have given up the most home runs in the IL with 86. The Bulls have struck out the second-most batters in the league with 761 K’s and issued the second-fewest walks (289), and their relievers have combined for 34 saves, which is tied for the league lead in that department. G-Braves’ hurlers have the fifth-most strikeouts with 723 and the fifth-most walks with 335, while the bullpen has 30 saves to tie for fourth in that category.

Foltynewicz has given up seven of the G-Braves’ home runs allowed total this season and is in his third stint with Gwinnett after two promotions to the Major Leagues with the Atlanta Braves. He worked as a starter in Atlanta from May 1 to June 14, going 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA in nine starts, and pitched three times out of the bullpen from July 7-11, going 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA. Four of his 10 starts for the G-Braves have been quality starts, but the team is 3-7 in those games in part because the offense has provided him the fewest runs of support of any pitcher currently in the starting rotation (14 total, 1.40 per game).

Hagens has made four starts (five appearances) for the Bulls this season after he began the year at Double-A Montgomery, where he posted a 4-5 record and 3.86 ERA in 16 outings (eight starts). He stuck out nine Charlotte batters in his most recent start on July 22 and has a 3.75 strikeouts-to-walks ratio (30 strikeouts/8 walks) since his move to the Triple-A level. Andriese has split the season between Durham and Tampa Bay. He has gone 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA and two saves in 12 outings (seven starts) for the Rays in his Major League rookie campaign. He was optioned to Durham most recently on July 8.

Hitting: Barrett Kleinknecht hit his fourth home run of the season with a solo shot in the seventh inning on Sunday, but the G-Braves still sit at the bottom of the IL in that department with 32 homers and trail the next closest team, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, by 10.  They are on pace 46 home runs for the season, which would be the fewest in franchise history and the fewest in the league since the Tidewater Tides hit 43 in 1980. The lowest season home run totals for Richmond/Gwinnett teams is 68 set in 2001 and tied in 2006. However, the G-Braves have used their team speed to steal 114 bases and tie Indianapolis for the lead in that category. That puts Gwinnett on pace for 163 on the season but still well behind the franchise record of 195 set in 1986.

Durham is third in the league with 100 stolen haves but is also second in the IL with 90 home runs despite a team batting average of .244 that is tied for the second-lowest in the league. First baseman J. P. Arencibia has helped the team home run total with a league-high 20. The Bulls do not lay down many sacrifice bunts (14, second-fewest in the IL compared to Gwinnett’s second-highest total of 52), but they draw the third-most walks of any team in the league with 359. The G-Braves have a league-low 241 walks but also the fewest strikeouts with 503. Durham has whiffed a league-leading 863 times.

Jose Peraza’s team-high 13-game hitting streak came to an end when he went 0-for-4 on Sunday, but he is still tied for second in the league in hits with 110. He is also tied for the league-lead in sacrifice bunts (12) and sacrifice flies (seven) to go with the fourth-highest strikeouts-per-plate-appearance ratio of 12.18. Durham outfielder Taylor Motter won the IL Player of the Week award for June 29 to July 6 and has a .303 batting average for the season that ranks seventh in the league among qualified hitters. His 104 hits on the season are the fifth-most in the IL, and he leads the league in extra-base hits with 42.

G-Bites: Infielders Daniel Castro and Adonis Garcia got recalled by Atlanta on Friday. They both left the Gwinnett game in the second inning to join the Braves in St. Louis. Garcia hit his first career Major League home run in the sixth inning on Sunday, a solo shot that provided the deciding run in their 3-2 win over the Cardinals…Atlanta optioned first baseman Joey Terdoslavich on Friday to make room for first baseman Freddie Freeman’s return from the disabled list…Outfielder Cedric Hunter went 5-for-9 two RBIs and four runs scored in the series vs. Charlotte. He has batted .292 with 14 RBIs and 13 runs scored in 22 games in July to raise his season batting average to .272…With a 6.0-inning start on Saturday during which he allowed two runs (one earned), right-hander Kanekoa Texeira completed his fourth consecutive quality start, which is the longest such streak for a G-Braves’ pitcher this season…After the upcoming weekend series at Durham, the G-Braves will return to Coolray Field for a seven-game homestand from August 3-9 that includes four games against the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and three vs. the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.19.15

Left-handed starter Manny Banuelos and right-hander Cody Martin, a pair who could pitch for the Gwinnett Braves in 2015, combined Thursday to hold the Miami Marlins to one run through five innings.

The strong performances from the two candidates for spots on the Atlanta Braves’ pitching staff allowed the club to build a lead and beat Miami 6-3 at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Banuelos gave up one run on three hits with no walks and a strikeout in two innings. Martin (W, 1-0) came in relief and pitched three scoreless innings with three hits allowed and a walk to go with one strikeout.

Other possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats Thursday vs. Miami:

LHP Donnie Veal (H, 1), 1.0 IP.

RHP Aaron Kurcz (H, 1), 1.0 IP, H, BB, K.

RHP John Cornely (S, 1), 1.0 IP.

The Braves also had 14 different position players receive at least one at-bat. First baseman Joey Terdoslavich, who won the 2014 G-Braves’ “Fan Favorite Player” award, drove in the final run of the game with a double to right-center field in the eighth.

He finished 1-for-2 with a strikeout after replacing first baseman Freddie Freeman in the sixth inning. Terdoslavich ranks second on the team with five doubles and is tied for third with six runs batted in.

Joey Terdoslavich led the 2014 G-Braves with 15 home runs and 61 RBI. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Joey Terdoslavich led the 2014 G-Braves with 15 home runs and 61 RBI. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Other potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Thursday against the Marlins:

Phil Gosselin (SS-3B), 1-for-4, R, K.

Jace Peterson (2B), 1-for-1, R, fielding error in the ninth inning.

Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 0-for-2, K.

Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1, K.

Todd Cunningham (LF), 0-for-0, HBP.

The Braves and Marlins will face each other again at 7:05 p.m. Friday, but this time the game will be at the Marlins’ home Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.16.15

Possible 2015 Gwinnett Braves catcher John Buck and outfielder Eury Perez provided all of the offense Monday for the Atlanta Braves in a game against the Houston Astros that ended in a 2-2 tie in Kissimmee, Fla. The two teams also played to a 2-2 tie March 8 in Kissimmee.

Buck, a non-roster invitee the Braves (4-9-2) signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, smashed his first home run of Spring Training to lead off the inning and cut Houston’s lead to 2-1.

Perez followed with a double to right field, and the center fielder scored the tying run later in the inning on a single by first baseman Freddie Freeman. Perez also led off the fifth with a double, although he was thrown out trying to steal third base, and started the seventh with a walk. Buck finished the game 1-for-3 with a strikeout.

Other potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Monday:

Jace Peterson (2B), 0-for-4, 2 K.

Kelly Johnson (3B), 0-for-1, BB.

Phil Gosselin (SS), 0-for-1.

Joey Terdoslavich (1B), 0-for-1.

Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.

Left fielder Todd Cunningham and second baseman Pedro Ciriaco both entered the game as defensive replacements in the seventh inning but did not receive an at-bat.

A parade of five potential G-Braves relievers pitched the final five innings without giving up a run. Each threw exactly one frame, and four of the five did not allow more than one batter to reach base.

RHP Jose Veras, 1.0 IP, BB, WP.

LHP Donnie Veal, 1.0 IP, BB, K.

RHP Michael Kohn, 1.0 IP, H, BB, K.

RHP Arodys Vizcaino, 1.0 IP, H, K.

RHP Aaron Kurcz, 1.0 IP, H, K.

At the midway point of the Braves’ Grapefruit League schedule, Ciriaco, Peterson and Terdoslavich are tied with Freeman for the team lead in hits with eight. Peterson’s .421 batting average (8-for-19) is also the second-highest on the team among players with a minimum of 10 at-bats, behind only catcher A.J. Pierzynski’s .467 mark (7-for-15).

On the pitching side, right-handers Cody Martin and Sugar Ray Marimon are the only Braves’ hurlers with at least four innings pitched who have yet to allow a run. Fellow righties Kohn (3.1 IP) and Brandon Cunniff (3.0 IP) are also pitchers who could be slated to spend time in Gwinnett and have not given up a run.

The Braves will play their second straight away game when they face the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.11.15

Potential members of the 2015 Gwinnett Braves supplied four of six hits Wednesday for the Atlanta Braves, which fell to the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2 at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Joey Terdoslavich took over at first base for Freddie Freeman in the seventh inning and provided the Braves’ first run of the game the following inning with a one-out single to drive in center fielder Eric Young, Jr. Terdoslavich grounded out in his only other at-bat in the ninth inning to end the game.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Wednesday vs. St. Louis:

Jace Peterson (SS), 1-for-3, K.

Jesus Flores (C), 2-for-2.

Todd Cunningham (RF), 0-for-3, K.

Phil Gosselin (2B), 0-for-3, BB.

Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-2.

Mycal Jones (RF), 0-for-1.

Jose Yepez (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-1.

On the mound, the Braves primarily used pitchers who project to start the regular season in the Major Leagues or at lower Minor League levels.

Possible future Gwinnett players accounted for four outs. Right-hander Aaron Kurcz replaced left-handed starter Alex Wood with two outs in the third and struck out the only batter he faced. Lefty Donnie Veal pitched the eighth and gave up a run on a hit and a walk.

The Braves will play their first night game of the Grapefruit League schedule at 7:05 p.m. Thursday when they travel to face the New York Yankees in Tampa, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.10.15

First baseman Freddie Freeman’s three-run, third-inning blast provided all of the Atlanta Braves’ offense Tuesday, and a pair of possible Gwinnett Braves relievers sealed a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Right-hander Jose Veras worked around two hits to post a scoreless eighth inning and earn a hold. Fellow righty Arodys Vizcaino then notched his first save of the spring with a perfect ninth inning. Left-handed pitcher Eric Stults, a candidate for the Braves’ No. 5 starter spot, pitched three innings of relief with one run allowed on four hits with a walk and a strikeout, which also earned him a hold.

Potential G-Braves’ position player stats from Tuesday:

Phil Gosselin (3B), 1-for-3, R, K.

Eury Perez (RF), 1-for-2, BB.

Pedro Ciriaco (SS), 1-for-3, K.

Joey Terdoslavich (LF-1B), 0-for-3, K.

Catcher Jose Yepez and second baseman Jace Peterson entered the game as defensive replacements in the eighth inning and did not receive an at-bat.

The Braves will remain at Champion Stadium to play the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday with a pair of lefties set to oppose one another in their second starts of Spring Training. Alex Wood is scheduled to start for the Braves opposite Marco Gonzales of the Cardinals.

-JM

Game Preview: Gwinnett Braves (8-9) vs. Charlotte Knights (5-12)

The Gwinnett Braves (8-9) took to the road and get back on track, winning two straight over the Charlotte Knights. The G-Braves are back in town today, facing the Knights in a home-road split series, before they hit the road for eight straight games.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is still with the G-Braves rehabbing from an oblique injury. Last night, the left-handed hitting Freeman went 5-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBI in their 6-0 victory over the Knights. He will play first and hit third today, as he hopes to join the Braves roster tomorrow.

However, for today, he will be in the lineup and ready to go for the G-Braves, as they try and make it three straight victories. The Braves enter tonight’s contest in third place in the South Division and one game back of second-place Norfolk.

Sean Gilmartin (1-0) will take the ball for the G-Braves. So far, so good for Gilmartin, as he possesses a 1-0 mark with a 1.69 ERA. In his last start, he went seven Innings, allowing one unearned run and struck out won. He did not factor in the decision, as the bullpen blew a two-run lead in the ninth. This will be his second start against the Knights, as he pitched the opener on 4/5. He went five innings, allowing one run on six hits, while striking out four.

Gilmartin looks for his second Triple-A win and second straight quality start of the season.

The Knights enter the contest seven games back of Durham and on a four game losing streak. The team has struggled both offensively and on the mound. The hitters are 10th in the league in batting with a .238 batting average and are third to last in homers (9). On the mound, the Knights possess the third highest ERA in the league at 4.99.

Andre Rienzo (1-1) makes his fourth start of the season. He is 1-1 with a 7.16 ERA. In his lone start against the G-Braves, he went five innings, allowing four runs. He was credited with the loss.

The matchup is set and the lineups are below.

Charlotte
Durango 8
Sanchez 6
Anderson 7
Bell DH
Loman 3
Tolleson 5
Short 9
Anderson 2
Garcia 1
Rienzo 1

Gwinnett Constanza 7
Pastornicky 4
Freeman 3
Mejia DH
Terdoslavich 9
Cunningham 8
Leonard 5
Pagnozzi 2
Kazmar 6
Gilmartin 1

-Jd-

All Things Five

Anniversary MarkHard to believe, but the 2013 International League season (and our home opener at Coolray Field) is just 85 days away!  With April 4 quickly approaching, we’re starting to lift the curtain on some of the things you can expect to see for the upcoming season of Gwinnett Braves Baseball.

The first major announcement occured this morning with the launch of the Fifth Season campaign and logo (pictured left).  Celebrations of the anniversary season include a new alumni Bobblehead Series and brand new 5-Pack Plans.  The series of five bobbleheads features G-Braves who have gone on to stardom in Atlanta, including Brandon Beachy, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel and Kris Medlen.  Conveniently, you can purchase tickets to all five bobblehead giveaway nights in the Bobblehead Pack, one of the four 5-Pack Plans that were rolled out in today’s announcement.

The 5-Packs also include a Fireworks Pack (all five dates are Friday Fireworks nights), a Best 5 Games Pack (our most popular games including Opening Night on April 4 and July 4) and a Silver Sluggers Pack (five day games).  Reinforcing the five theme, each 5-Pack starts at just $50.  You can get more details and buy online as well by visiting gwinnettbraves.com/5pack.

To add to the excitement of Season Five, gwinnettbraves.com is hosting a look back at some of the great players that have played for the G-Braves in the team’s first four seasons.  Expect to read up on guys like Barbaro Canizares (this week’s feature), Matt YoungTodd Redmond and Mauro Gomez in addition to the likes of Freeman, Kimbrel and others.  A new “5th Season Friday” feature will debut each Friday through the end of March. 

Is that enough fives for you yet?  Me neither.  As if the baseball gods had a hand in it, the G-Blog was announced as the 55th most visited ProBlog on the MLBlogs Network for the past year.  Fifth place would have been more fitting, but it’s an honor to finish near the middle of the Top 100 in our first year.  You can check out the entire list over at mlblogs.mlblogs.com.

Give yourself a high-5 for reading this post and head over to gwinnettbraves.com for more on the 2013 season!

-DL

Ernesto Mejia Named IL Rookie of the Year

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Gwinnett Braves first baseman Ernesto Mejia has been named the International League Rookie of the Year as well as the Postseason All-Star first baseman for the 2012 season, announced on Tuesday, August 28 by the league office. Mejia is the third-straight G-Brave to win the award for the IL’s top rookie, joining first baseman Freddie Freeman (2010) and pitcher Julio Teheran (2011).

Mejia, 26, established himself as one of the premier hitters for power and average in the IL this season. Entering play on Tuesday, the Guanare, Venezuela native ranked first in the circuit in RBI (91), hits (148) and total bases (253), second in slugging percentage (.517) and at-bats (489), tied for second in home runs (24), third in extra-base hits (56), fourth in OPS (.871), fifth in runs scored (72) and tied for sixth in both doubles (31) and games played (126). His season accolades include the IL’s Batter of the Week award on May 21 and his first Triple-A All-Star Game selection.

Mejia’s numbers are not only among the league’s best, they are also challenging Gwinnett Braves’ franchise records. Mejia’s 91 RBIs are tied alongside Stefan Gartrell (2011) for the most in one season since the team’s arrival to Lawrenceville in 2009. He’s currently one home run shy of tying Gartrell’s record of 25 blasts, also set in 2011. His 148 hits are six away from matching Mauro Gomez’s 2011 record, while his 31 doubles are four away from Freeman’s record of 35 set in 2010.

For the rest of the International League’s 2012 Postseason awards, visit ilbaseball.com.

Mejia and the rest of the Gwinnett Braves continue the final homestand of the 2012 season on Tuesday, August 28 against the Pawtucket Red Sox. The game time, originally scheduled for 7:05 PM, has been moved to 2:05 PM as a result of rain expected from Hurricane Isaac. The radio broadcast will air on WDUN 550 AM / 102.9 FM in Gainesville, Georgia, while the television broadcast will air on CSS.

Please note that game times for all remaining Gwinnett Braves home games, including Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday, August 30, may change due to Hurricane Isaac. Check in at gwinnettbraves.com for updated information on game times. For tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340.

By: Tony Piraro & Dave Lezotte

Video: Former G-Braves Flourishing in Atlanta

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Craig Kimbrel

The best closer in baseball title belongs to the former Gwinnett Braves farmhand Craig Kimbrel. This season with the Braves, the right-hander has recorded 30 saves (2nd in MLB) alongside an insane 1.35 ERA and 0.65 WHIP. He has struck out an impressive 67 batters in just 40.0 innings of work, while we has walked just 10 hitters all season.

The days of playing at Coolray Field on a regular basis are long gone for Kimbrel. The right-hander consistently registers between 97-99 mph on the radar gun, as is quickly becoming one of the most respected relievers in all of baseball. This former Gwinnett Brave is creating a path to greatness.

Freddie Freeman

Forever connected will Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman be in the minds of Braves fans. They both came up to Atlanta together after stellar Gwinnett career’s, and both set the league on fire upon their emergences. Freeman just lost the National League Rookie of the Year voting to his teammate, but was happy for Kimbrel nevertheless.

This season the first baseman is coming into his own, hitting .270 with 13 home runs, 61 RBI and 22 doubles with Atlanta. Not only is his offense on the rise, but his defense has never been better. Freeman, when on the field, has been one of the more consistent Braves this season. With time, he will grow into one of the most feared hitters in baseball.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Jason Heyward

The Braves prized product is finally producing in the way the Braves imagined when they drafted the 22-year old. This season Heyward has taken the next step in his career, further enhancing his growth in the game. Heyward is batting .270 with 15 home runs, 49 RBI, 18 doubles and 15 stolen bases alongside fantastic defense in right field.

He has become a full-time player in 2012, starting almost every game against left-handers as well. There is no question the future is still indeed very bright for Heyward, as he continues to scratch the surface of his immense talent.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Mike Minor

Most fans probably assumed that the fourth name would be Tommy Hanson, however Mike Minor has been far more impressive at certain points this year. The southpaw had a rough start to 2012, but he has resurrected his season as he surges to the finish. The lefty is churning out quality starts as if they were going out of style. Minor has worked 6.0 innings or more in each of his last four starts, including striking out nine while he walked none in his sixth win this season during his last start against the Phillies.

The left-hander has trimmed his ERA to a respectable 5.17, alongside a 6-7 record with 98 strikeouts in 113.0 innings of work, yielding 42 free passes. The future ace of the Atlanta Braves rotation? Possibly. He could surprise you as most of these former G-Braves standouts have already done with early success in their young MLB careers.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

By: Tony Piraro

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