Results tagged ‘ John Smoltz ’
Atlanta Braves Director of Player Development Dave Trembley spent four days last week at Coolray Field to work with the Gwinnett Braves for the first time this season in his position as the man who helps oversee the Braves’ farm system.
Trembley, who managed the Baltimore Orioles from 2007-10 and was a Houston Astros coach in 2013-14, joined the Braves in October. He offered his observations of the G-Braves’ heralded pitching staff that had four hurlers in MLB.com’s Top 30 prospect rankings of the Atlanta system before the Braves called up right-hander and No. 3 prospect Mike Foltynewicz to make his first Major League start on Friday, May 1.
“The Braves have always been successful because they’ve had a stable of good, young arms who have come through their system, and I think that’s what the Braves are doing now. They’re re-stocking their system with pitching.”
Gwinnett still has the Braves’ No. 2 prospect and their top pitching prospect Matt Wisler, a right-hander the club acquired from the San Diego Padres on April 5 as part of the six-player trade that sent right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Padres.
The G-Braves also feature No. 11 prospect, left-handed starter Manny Banuelos, and right-handed reliever Aaron Kurcz at No. 30.
“You’ve got to have pitching,” Trembley said. “You’ve got to have guys who can give you innings, and that’s been the focal point and starting point. Guys like Foltynewicz give you a guy who you like to think you can pencil in and say ‘Hey, this guy is going to be part of your rotation for a long time.’”
Trembley said he was familiar with how the Braves approached construction of their pitching staffs, as longtime Atlanta pitching coach Leo Mazzone was Baltimore’s pitching coach when Trembley took over the managerial post in 2007.
“I knew very well about (John) Smoltz and (Greg) Maddux,” Trembley said. “We’re in a position now where we’ve acquired some very good young pitchers.”
Atlanta also picked up left-handed starters Ricardo Sanchez and Max Fried in offseason trades. Sanchez, the team’s No. 9 prospect according to MLB.com, came from the Los Angeles Angels in January and started the 2015 season at Class-A Rome. The Braves got Fried from the Padres in a December trade that sent outfielder Justin Upton to San Diego. Fried is ranked as Atlanta’s No. 5 prospect by MLB.com but will miss the entire 2015 season after he underwent “Tommy John” surgery in August.
“The Braves have always been committed to player development and scouting,” Trembley said. “That’s been their trademark going back to the days when (Braves President) John Schuerholz started this (in 1990) with (former manager) Bobby Cox, with (former amateur scouting director) Paul Snyder, with all the guys that have been there for a long time. … There’s a nucleus of people who have been here for an awful long time, and they’ve done it by developing pitching.”
Trembley said he sees many similarities in how the Braves are building their pitching depth with talent at the Triple-A level in Gwinnett.
“What I like here is we have some youth in the starting rotation,” he said. “We have some really up-and-coming, young arms that are here that are learning that in order to be successful in the Major Leagues you have to refine and develop their secondary pitches. I think (Banuelos, Wisler and right-hander Williams Perez) are doing that, and they have very good mentors in (guys like Chien-Ming) Wang.”
“I see this staff learning how to pitch, making the adjustments to pitch at this level and to be in Atlanta,” he said.
Major League legend John Smoltz stopped by Coolray Field on Friday, May 25 to sign his book Starting and Closing, then threw out the first pitch of the game between the Gwinnett Braves and Rochester Red Wings.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience for all those involved as over 7,000 thrilled fans crossed through the gates in Lawrenceville. I was able to sit down and chat with Smoltz once all the commotion settled down and his book signing concluded. Here is what he had to say in part 2 of our 3-part interview…
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
The main focus of his book, Starting and Closing:
“A competitive balance is what we all strive for, but more importantly I played with and seen so many great athletes literally have exactly what I’m talking about in the book. The fear of failure and the not ability to get out of their comfort zone. They have been given a measure of talent and yet the fear of failing has caused them to not be as good as they can be,” said Smoltz. “I also wanted to talk to the business world, teachers, you name it, whatever field…to dare to be great to get outside your comfort zone you have to experience some tension and that tension is going to cause you to either walk away from what you’re doing or move forward towards it (your goals). I’m trying to get people to understand how they can move toward it.”
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
The place where his competitive balance derived from:
“I don’t care what it is, I don’t care what arm angle. I was willing to use something immediately and failure could happen and that wasn’t going to stop me from going right out and becoming better,” said Smoltz. “My dad was very competitive. I always believe you should be your best no matter what the issue’s are. I didn’t care if it was a pick-up game. I didn’t care if I was by myself throwing a baseball against a wall, I was always putting myself in a position to be successful.”
On Coolray Field:
“I wish this place (Coolray Field) was here when I was rehabbing. Golly, would that have saved a lot of heartache,” said Smoltz. “I feel in a small way, Elvis has come back. Wherever you go, you have that many people fired up to get a book signed. Their moment of waiting an hour to get a book signed is unreal.”
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
On the Atlanta Braves of the 1990’s & their 1995 World Series team:
“My generation of people that grew up watching us, that are having kids now, need to explain to them what we did,” said Smoltz. “It’s unique to see that. It’s either the older people that loved, lived, died and breathed baseball or it’s the newer generation that’s having kids explaining, ‘that guy was pretty good…Maddux and Glavine.’ So it’s good. It’s neat.”
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
The Atlanta Braves right-hander was one of the greatest pitchers in his era amidst the 20th and 21st century. Smoltz is the only player in Major League history to record a 50-save and 20-win season respectively. The living legend won 24 games in 1996 as a starting pitcher and saved 55 games as a closer in 2002.
John Smoltz defies the word retirement, as he remains possibly busier after baseball than during. The Atlanta legend stopped by Coolray Field on Friday, May 25 to sign his book Starting and Closing, amidst his nationwide book signing tour. Then, the Atlanta Braves honored him by retiring his No. 29 at Turner Field on Friday, June 8 before the Braves opposed the Toronto Blue Jays in front of a packed house. Not to mention, Smoltz also squeezes in a broadcast for TBS every Sunday. He obviously didn’t get the memo on the meaning of retirement.
By: Tony Piraro
Major League legend John Smoltz stopped by Coolray Field Friday night to sign his book Starting and Closing, then I had the extreme pleasure of meeting the man afterward. All in all, it was a wonderful experience for all those involved as over 7,000 thrilled fans crossed through the gates in Lawrenceville. I was able to sit down and chat with Smoltz once all the commotion settled down and his book signing concluded. Here is what he had to say in part 1 of our 3-part interview…
The entire book signing process and interaction with the fans:
“This has been my eighth one (book signing appearance) so far, but this is by far, hands down, double anything that I’ve done in my other cities,” said Smoltz. “We went to Nashville which was great, Birmingham, Roanoke, New York, St. Louis….This was cool, plus I’d never been out here which is something I was embarrassed to say because of my schedule. Getting out here to see this place (Coolray Field) was great. Hopefully, days down the road I can watch games here and enjoy what you never get to enjoy when you’re in the mix of doing what you’re doing (playing Major League Baseball).”
Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease
The experience of writing a book:
“The experience was a pretty cool one. If the book never got published, to see the hands of life and how it all unfolded and the different paths people take, it was pretty cool,” Smoltz said. “I never thought I would do a book. I never dreamt about doing a book. There was no desire to a do a book, until I realized the timing and the message that I could literally get out there was for so many more people than just baseball (fans).”
Realizing when you wanted to write the book:
“It wasn’t until about six months ago, whatever it took to put the book together, we literally did it in that timeframe. I met Don Yaegar,” said Smoltz. “I always heard great things about him. I had been prompted and told to do a book but I said ‘no way.’ Then, finally it happened.”
The driving force behind wanting to do the book, Starting and Closing:
“I felt compelled in this day and age. Look, I’ve always wanted to fight for what’s right. I believe in being competitive,” Smoltz said. “The things that have happened in this sport are a small example of the things I’m talking about (in the book). A competitive balance is what we all strive for, but more importantly I played with and seen so many great athletes literally have exactly what I’m talking about in the book. The fear of failure and the not ability to get out of their comfort zone. They have been given a measure of talent and yet the fear of failing has caused them to not be as good as they can be. I also wanted to talk to the business world, teachers, you name it, whatever field…to dare to be great to get outside your comfort zone you have to experience some tension and that tension is going to cause you to either walk away from what you’re doing or move forward towards it (your goals). I’m trying to get people to understand how they can move toward it.”
Speaking about what drove him more during his playing career, the fear of failing or his competitive nature:
“I was never afraid to fail. That was the No. 1, that’s me. I don’t care what it is, I don’t care what arm angle. I was willing to use something immediately and failure could happen and that wasn’t going to stop me from going right out and becoming better,” said Smoltz. “My competitive drive that was instilled in me at a young age, I don’t know how…My dad was very competitive and I just always believed I always wanted to win. I always believe you should be your best no matter what the issue’s are, no matter what the circumstances are, but it seems like people always believe there has to be something at stake personally, financially, whatever. I didn’t care if it was a pick-up game. I didn’t care if I was by myself throwing a baseball against a wall, I was always putting myself in a position to be successful.”
When in the middle of answering the previous question, Smoltz had his back to the playing field. The game was going on between the G-Braves and Rochester Red Wings as we talked. All of a sudden, in the middle of discussing his competitive nature, there was a crack of the bat in the background….John Smoltz paused from his thought and muttered without hesitation, “that ball’s gone.” Indeed it was a home run off the bat of G-Braves third baseman Joey Terdoslavich as the former Atlanta legend called, thus illustrating what a special and unique human being John Smoltz is. By the way, he still has it.
Be sure to check out the G-Blog in the coming days for part 2 and 3 of our interview from Coolray Field on Friday night.
By: Tony Piraro
Photo courtesy of Karl Moore
The first place Gwinnett Braves (27-20) are coming off a 3-5 record on their latest road trip and began their 10-game homestand with a loss to Rochester on Thursday night. The Red Wings now lead the season series 3-2. However, first place is the most important aspect of the equation and the G-Braves have a two and a half game lead over the Charlotte Knights.
The G-Brvaes are in a stretch of nine games in their next nine days from Coolray Field. With 98 games left in the regular season, Gwinnett is indeed approaching the “dog days of summer” in good position.
Yohan Flande pitched brilliantly on Thursday night, working seven innings of one-run ball en route to the no decision. However, the southpaw has unfortunately not won a ballgame since April 14, as he has been stuck on one win since.
Ernesto Mejia extended his hit-streak to 12 games on Thursday, which is a season-high for any G-Brave hitter. The last Gwinnett Brave to record a hit-streak of 12 games was Tyler Pastornicky during his 2011 campaign with the G-Braves.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess
The G-Braves offense has been struggling most of this season, but they are showing signs of getting out of the slump recently. The signs however, have been showcased inconsistently which touches a trend around baseball….pitchers are dominating. The bats have yet to wake up across professional baseball, so it may take Gwinnett a bit longer to find their rhythm. Thursday night the G-Braves collected eight hits in total, but Josh Wilson and Luis Durango accounted for six of the eight hits.
Gwinnett is boasting both International League Players of the Week for the past week. Pitcher Todd Redmond received the IL Pitcher of the Week award, while Ernesto Mejia walked away with the IL Batter of the Week. Both join teammate Stefan Gartrell as this years G-Braves recipients of the award this season. All three will be looking to shoulder the load as Gwinnett looks to start another impressive streak at home from Coolray Field.
Rochester Red Wings (20-26, 6th IL North) vs Gwinnett (27-20, 1st IL South)
The Red Wings are in town for a four-game set as they continue their stretch of eight straight games against one another. The two teams split their four-game set in Rochester just days ago, before Rochester upended Gwinnett 3-1 on Thursday.
Friday, May 25 Starting Line-up from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia:
G-Braves right-hander Eric Junge (3-4, 3.64) will oppose Rochester southpaw Matt Maloney (0-0, 0.00) in a game that is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. John Smoltz is in the house Friday as he will be signing his book Starting and Closing. The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
Rochester Red Wings Batting Order:
1) Tsuyoshi Nishioka, DH
2) Pedro Florimon, SS
3) Wilkin Ramirez, LF
4) Danny Valencia, 3B
5) Sean Burroughs, 1B
6) Matt Carson, RF
7) Clete Thomas, CF
8) Michael Hollimon, 2B
9) J.R. Towles, C
G-Braves Batting Order
1) Luis Durango, CF
2) Jose Constanza, LF
3) Stefan Gartrell, DH
4) Ernesto Mejia, 1B
5) Joey Terdoslavich, 3B
6) Felix Pie, RF
7) Josh Wilson, SS
8) J.C. Boscan, C
9) Lance Zawadski, 2B
By: Tony Piraro
The former Atlanta Braves legend John Smoltz will be appearing at Coolray Field on Friday, May 25 to autograph his book, Starting and Closing. The future Hall-of-Famer will be signing his book only, until game time and then he will be throwing out the first pitch of the game between the Gwinnett Braves and Rochester Red Wings scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Smoltz will be signing his book in the picnic area along the first base line at Coolray Field.
John Smoltz was one of the greatest pitchers of his era amidst the 20th and 21st century. He is the only player in Major League history to record a 50-save and 20-win season respectively. The right-hander won 24 games in 1996 as a starting pitcher and saved 55 games as a closer in 2002. He was truly a man who not only broke records, but he created new ones. His storied career is chronicled in-depthly in his new book, Starting and Closing.
The book chronicles Smoltz’s final season in a major league uniform, capping a legendary career that included fourteen years as part of one of the most dominant starting rotations in baseball, a Cy Young Award, and a World Series title-all while battling and overcoming “career-ending” injuries. At age 41, Smoltz was making yet another unlikely comeback from his fifth surgery. Recounting the story of a season that tested his perseverance and deepened his faith, Smoltz flashes back to watershed moments in the skeptic-defying journey from being one of the best starting pitchers of all time, to closer, to starter again.
Be sure to be at the ballpark early to catch a glimpse of the living legend or grab a copy of Starting and Closing for John Smoltz to sign. Either way, it is Country Music Night and Fantastic Friday Fireworks as well, making tonight one unforgettable evening. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. sharp from Coolray Field.
Tickets for May 25 and all other Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com for more information.
By: Tony Piraro