Results tagged ‘ GCL Braves ’

Atlanta Braves Minor League Infield Coordinator Spends Weekend with Hector Olivera, G-Braves

Third baseman Hector Olivera played in the first three game of the Gwinnett Braves' four-game series against the Louisville Bats at Coolray Field. (Andrew Snook)

Third baseman Hector Olivera played in the first three game of the Gwinnett Braves’ four-game series against the Louisville Bats at Coolray Field. (Andrew Snook)

Gwinnett Braves’ third baseman Hector Olivera made his debut at Coolray Field during the club’s recent four-game series that they swept from the Louisville Bats, and he had a chance to work with Atlanta Braves’ Minor League Infielder Coordinator Luis Lopez in preparation for the 30-year-old Cuba native’s debut in the Major Leagues.

The Braves acquired Olivera on July 30 from the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team, 13-player trade that sent Major League right-handed pitchers Jim Johnson and Bronson Arroyo, and left-handers Alex Wood and Luis Avilan to the Dodgers along with former No. 1-ranked prospect Jose Peraza.

“He’s a big kid,” Lopez said of the 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pounder. “He’s a guy who might be able to hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Olivera hit two home runs in his first 28 games in America this season, but he was on the disabled list at the time of the trade because of a left hamstring strain he suffered on June 20 while playing for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.

He had batted a combined .348 (24-for-69) in 19 games across three levels of the Dodgers’ organization before the trade. He began a rehab stint with the GCL Braves on August 13 and went 0-for-5 in two games before he moved to Class-A Rome for four, during which he went 1-for-12 with a run scored. Olivera played in three of the G-Braves’ four games against Louisville and went 3-for-12 with a walk and two runs scored.

Olivera batted .250 (3-for-12) with a walk and two runs scored in his first three games with Gwinnett. (Andrew Snook)

Olivera batted .250 (3-for-12) with a walk and two runs scored in his first three games with Gwinnett. (Andrew Snook)

Olivera also played third base in each of those games and spent time working with Lopez, who said he was impressed with what he saw.

“He’s a very intelligent gentleman,” Lopez said. “He listens. When you pay attention and pay attention to details, that will transfer into the game.”

Lopez also worked with Olivera to help instill the core values the Braves’ want to see in their infielders at every level of their organization, he said.

“To be a consistent ballplayer, you have to be able to make routine plays,” Lopez said. “That’s one of the things that we always touch on. You’re are going to make errors on aggressive plays, but you are going to become a good infielder if you make the routine plays.”

Olivera fielded each of the six grounders hit his way and did not commit an error in any the three games he played against Louisville. He has seven errors for the season, including one during his two-game stint with the GCL Braves and three while with Rome.

Lopez said he first met Olivera at the Braves’ Spring Training complex in Florida when he was there to rehab shortly after the trade, and Lopez was pleased to see Olivera appeared to be healthy.

Still, Lopez said he believes Olivera needs some time to get back in the routine of playing games every day because he went more than a month out of action because of the injury.

“I think game reps will allow him to be the guy we want him to be,” Lopez said.


Atlanta Braves Minor League Report (June 2012)

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Atlanta Braves (31-25, 2nd place)

The big league club plays in arguably the toughest division in Major League Baseball, alongside the American League East. However, the Braves are having another solid season and are in line for one of the five playoff spots in the 2012 MLB Playoffs as they trail the Washington Nationals by 2 games in the NL East standings. Atlanta is succeeding with a host of players from their deep minor league system. Everyone knows about the quick ascentions of Craig Kimbrel and Freddie Freeman and a year earlier with Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward, but how about the contributions from former Gwinnett Braves such as; Jose Constanza, J.C. Boscan and Randall Delgado this season? Enough can’t be said for the guys in Gwinnett who’ve already made their presence felt in Atlanta like; Tyler Pastornicky, Jair Jurrjens and Cory Gearrin. The Braves most highy-piblicized promotion this season came from Double-A Mississippi, when the Braves promoted Andrelton Simmons to Atlanta. Since entering the Major League fold, the highly touted shortstop has been brilliant both defensively and offensively. He was one of the top ranked shortstop prospects in minor league baseball and the No. 4 overall prospect in the Braves system according to Baseball America. The Braves are 19-5 this season when Chipper Jones is in the starting line-up, so look for more good times ahead as the living legend is eligible to return from the DL on Friday, amidst his final season in an illustrious Hall-of-Fame career.

Gwinnett Braves (33-27, 2nd place)

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

The G-Braves have been struggling as of late, from both an offensive and pitching standpoint. In their last two games, Gwinnett has allowed 15 runs to their opposition, while the G-Braves offense has accumulated just five hits and two total runs over that span. For the month of May, Gwinnett registered a 15-15 record after securing the best mark in the International League (17-7) in April. The G-Braves are now 1.5 games behind the IL South leading Charlotte Knights after Gwinnett squandered a maximum first place lead in April of 7.0 games. Julio Teheran is the unquestionable ace of the staff and Todd Redmond has been the most consistent starter in 2012. In fact, Redmond was named the IL Pitcher of the Week the same week as teammate Ernesto Mejia was awarded the IL Batter of the Week. You can’t talk about the offense without mentioning the guy who got them going and the G-Braves 2011 MVP, Stefan Gartrell. Gartrell was named the IL Batter of the Week the first week of May after transforming his batting average from .165 on April 29 to .263 a month later on May 29. Luis Durango and Christian Marrero were also instrumental to the G-Braves offense through the month of May. Cory Gearrin has solidified the closer’s role in the bullpen and has six saves on the season. Jaye Chapman, Anthony Varvaro, Jose Lugo and Buddy Carlyle have excelled out of the bullpen this month for Gwinnett.

Mississippi Braves (26-34, 5th place) 

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves has a great deal of star-power, but that has yet to be realized 100-percent with their 10-9 record in the month of May. Mississippi, as a team, does not have a great deal of power or speed, totaling just 18 home runs all season and not one player on the M-Braves has double-digit stolen bases. Mississippi is led by one of the best catching prospects in baseball in the form of Christian Bethancourt. This season, the do-it -all catcher is batting .257 with 29 hits, 10 RBI and 31 total bases. In 43 games with Mississippi this season, Simmons batted .292 with 28 runs scored, 50 hits, nine doubles, two triples, three home runs, 21 RBI, 10 stolen bases and an extraordinary 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio with 20 of each, prior to his promotion. Ian Gac and Evan Gattis supply a majority of the power for this team, as the two have combined for 10 home runs and 41 RBI in 2012. Todd Cunningham is their one-base guy, as he boasts a team-leading .325 batting including his team-high 54 hits and .371 on-base percentage. The former Independent League star Gary Moran has transitioned to affiliated ball brilliantsly this season after coming over from the River City Rascals of the Frontier League. This year, the big righty has a 1-4 record with a 3.00 ERA, alongside 41 strikeouts to just 19 walks in 57.0 innings of work. Zeke Spruill leads the team in wins with five and Mark Lamm is the team -leader in saves with six in eight opportunities.  Don’t forget the Braves first round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, Sean Gilmartin who has 3-5 mark with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts, including 52 stirikeouts and 17 walks in 69.0 innings pitched.

Lynchburg Hillcats (29-28, 1st place)

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Hillcats finished the month of May with a 15-14 record and have secured their first place lead from the first week of the season in April through current day. Lynchburg has always possessed a great deal of the Atlanta Braves top prospects, as this season is no different. In 2011, it was Joey Terdoslavich and Simmons leading the charge, this year it’s Chris Garcia who is tearing the cover off the ball with his .331 batting average alongside 14 doubles, five homers, 31 RBI and 89 total bases. Another future star is Matt Lipka who is hitting .260 in 2012 with 57 total bases and 11 stolen bases this year. Nick Ahmed leads the team in stolen bases with 18 already, and he is one of three Hillcats to have registered 10+ stolen bases thus far. The power threat of Lynchburg is Edward Salcedo who has seven bombs, 24 RBI and a team-high 84 total bases including 13 walks. J.R. Graham (pictured above) is one of the more unheralded starters in the Braves system, as he currently possesses a record of 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 11 starts. Cody Martin has five wins and is one victory away from being the third Hillcat to register six wins this season. Gus Schlosser is 6-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 2012 and has struck out 54 batters in 69.0 innings of work. The closer Juan Jaime is a perfect nine for nine in save opportunities this season for Lynchburg.
Rome Braves (16-43, 7th place)
Photo courtesy of Karl Moore
The Low-A Rome Braves have struggled more than any other team in Atlanta’s system this season with a total of 16 wins, combined through the first two months of the season. A few players have found a way to shine though, from a personal perspective in 2012. William Beckwith who Braves fans got a chance to see in the Braves Future Stars Game at Coolray Field on April 3, is mashing currently for Rome. The big bopper has a .318 batting average with five home runs and 19 RBI alongside 58 total bases. However, it is Kyle Kubitza who is making the biggest splash as he leads the team in total bases (82) with his nine doubles, four triples, seven home runs and 44 singles. Will Skinner is batting .266 with four homers and 17 RBI alongside his .359 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage. Jarrett Miller is currently unbeaten for Rome, with a 2-0 record including his 4.91 ERA. The pitcher to talk about on this team is David Filak who leads the Atlanta Braves organization in strikeouts with 63 in 55.0 inning pitched. Filak is 2-5 with a 4.58 ERA amidst 11 starts for the R-Braves. John Cornely has 36 punchouts in 21 .0 innings pitched thus far, including a 4.15 ERA amidst appearing in 18 games this season.
By: Tony Piraro

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