Results tagged ‘ Juan Jaime ’

G-Braves Hot Stove: La Stella Traded for Vizcaino

The Atlanta Braves traded one former G-Brave for another yesterday, sending infielder Tommy La Stella and an international bonus pool slot (No. 4) to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-hander Arodys Vizcaino and three international bonus pool slots (No. 2, No. 3, No. 4).

Time for a G-Braves-centric look at the trade:

La Stella entered 2014 with plenty of hype, having earned the Braves’ “Best Hitter for Average” and “Best Strike Zone Discipline” distinctions from Baseball America.  Though he didn’t display much power in his Triple-A debut, he was as-advertised for Gwinnett, batting .293 with a .384 on-base percentage in 47 games.  He ranked among International League leaders in lowest TPA/SO ratio (2nd, 1 SO/14.21 TPA), walks (T-8th, 25) and on-base percentage (10th) as of May 28, and Atlanta rewarded him with his first Major League call-up.

A few more of La Stella’s Gwinnett highlights:

  • He reached base safely in 21 consecutive games from April 10 to May 2, batting .325 (27-for-83) with one double and 14 RBIs.  It was the longest on-base streak by a G-Brave in 2014.
  • In 23 games at Coolray Field, he batted .346 (27-for-78) with two doubles and eight RBIs.
  • In his final game with Gwinnett on May 27 at Pawtucket, he belted his first career Triple-A home run, a two-run shot off RHP Matt Barnes.

La Stella started hot in the Majors, batting .411 with nine multi-hit games over his first 16 contests.  He leveled off, however, batting .251 with 16 doubles, one home run and 31 RBIs in 93 total games with the Braves.  By season’s end, he saw decreased playing time with the emergence of fellow former G-Brave Phil Gosselin.

In sending La Stella to the Cubs, the Braves have helped clear up their second base log-jam.  Gosselin is a good bet to be the Braves’ starting second baseman next April, but he may only be a placeholder for Jose Peraza.  The Braves’ top prospect and 2014 Minor League Player of the Year, Peraza batted .339 with a .364 on-base percentage and 60 stolen bases between two levels last season, but hasn’t yet played above Double-A.  He could follow the same path as La Stella, starting the year in a Gwinnett uniform before earning a Major League call-up during the season.  Second base sets up to be an intriguing spot for the G-Braves in 2015, as Gosselin, Peraza or Tyler Pastornicky could see time at the position.

Yesterday’s trade also brings the hard-throwing Vizcaino back to the Braves organization.  Before Tommy John surgery in 2012 and a trade to the Cubs that July, he was included with Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado as the next wave of prospect pitchers bound for Atlanta.  The Coolray Field faithful saw him briefly during the pitching-rich 2011 season, when he went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA, no walks and eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings with Gwinnett.  Vizcaino made his Major League debut with Atlanta that same season, going 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA, nine walks and 17 strikeouts in 17 games, 17.1 innings.

Vizcaino had a comeback year in 2014, as he went 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA, 18 walks and 42 strikeouts over 41.0 innings in the Cubs’ minor league system.  His September call-up to Chicago produced a 5.40 ERA in five outings, 5.0 innings.

Arodys Vizcaino went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six relief outings with Gwinnett in 2011.

Arodys Vizcaino went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in six relief outings with Gwinnett in 2011. (Gwinnett Braves)

Though Vizcaino logged most of his appearances at Triple-A Iowa, he was certainly acquired to compete for a bullpen spot with Atlanta this Spring.  His addition also provides competition for another flame-throwing former G-Brave, right-hander Juan Jaime.  Jaime and his upper-90′s fastball have been impressive in both Gwinnett and Atlanta, but he’ll have to improve his control and limit his walks (45 in 53.1 combined innings) to stick in the Majors.

This deal in the long run seems to be more about the international bonus pool slots and the minor league depth the Braves can build with them, but it also helps Atlanta bolster their pitching staff while clearing up the picture at second base.

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (30-26) vs. Columbus Clippers (26-31)

Pitching Probables

Tue: Zach Stewart (3-2, 4.03) vs. Gabriel Arias (0-2, 5.73)

Wed: Cody Martin (3-4, 3.36) vs. Danny Salazar (0-3, 7.11)

Thomas (Lofton)

Thomas (Lofton)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-6, 3.38) vs. Tyler Cloyd (2-3, 4.91)

Fri: Gus Schlosser (3-2, 4.94) vs. Kyle Davies (2-3, 3.40)

The Gwinnett Braves open up an eight-game homestand at Coolray Field beginning Tuesday, June 3 against the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Gwinnett enters the contest one game out of first place in the Wild Card standings, while Columbus is 5.5 games back of the front-running Rochester Red Wings in the Wild Card race.

Pitching: Columbus enters the series with one of the better pitching staffs in the league, ranking sixth in the IL with a 3.75 ERA. The Clippers have lost left-hander T.J. House and right-hander Trevor Bauer to Cleveland, but still have a bevy of arms to rely on. Danny Salazar is off to a slow start in 2014, but features electric stuff. The right-hander has a mid-90’s fastball, hard slider and a change-up. In 12.2 innings with the Clippers, he has struck out 15 batters.

While Salazar works out his kinks in hopes to return to the Major Leagues, the Clippers will rely heavily on the bullpen during the series. With Mark Lowe and Vinnie Pestano in the back end of the pen’, the Clippers have MLB talent and experience to close out games. Lowe is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and is 8-for-9 in save opportunities, while Pestano is 1-3 with a 2.41 ERA.

Gwinnett will counter with a talented bullpen of their own, as Juan Jaime, Ian Thomas and Atahualpa Severino are ready to close out games for the G-Braves. Jaime enters the series with a 1-0 mark and 3.10 ERA in 21 games. The right-hander is a perfect 10-for-10 in save chances, while striking out 32 in 20.1 innings.

Thomas returns from Atlanta after serving another short stint with the Braves. The lefty has dominated the Triple-A circuit, going 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 5.0 innings. He has fanned eight batters, while only allowing one hit. Thomas is working out his slider in Triple-A, which can prove to be an asset once he gets it going.

The addition of Thomas hasn’t slowed Severino, as the southpaw entered the series with a team-leading six holds. He is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 games. Severino has struck out 32 batters in 24.0 innings.

Batting: Gwinnett’s offense was cooled off on their current road trip, scoring 24 runs in eight games and was shutout twice. However, Gwinnett still has the No.2 offense in the IL. Phil Gosselin continues to pace the attack, batting .324 (66-for-204) with 14 doubles, two triples, one homer and 13 RBIs. Gosselin is tied for the team lead in runs (28), doubles and triples.

Tyler Pastornicky has taken his demotion from Atlanta in stride. In four games since being sent down, the infielder is batting .471 (8-for-17) with two runs scored and one double. Last season, Pastornicky hit .292 (84-for-288) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 28 RBIs in 74 games with Gwinnett.

Columbus will rely on Roberto Perez to lead the offensive attack. The backstop is having a great season, batting .321 (27-for-84) with four doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs. He leads the team in batting, homers and is second in RBIs.

He will look to carry the offense that lost Jesus Aguilar to an early season promotion.

“Excuses are the nails that built the house of failure.” –Jenna Wyatt-

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (25-19) vs. Norfolk Tides (17-28)

Thu: Gus Schlosser (1-1, 5.84) vs. Mike Wright (1-2, 4.46)Fri: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.13) vs. LHP T.J. McFarland (0-1, 3.75)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Sat: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.24) vs. Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 5.30)

Sun: Cody Martin (3-2, 2.76) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 2.90)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Norfolk Tides will meet for the sixth time this season, and their series matchup of the 2014 campaign. In their previous five meetings, the G-Braves took four of five from their South division counterparts. The G-Braves hold an 8.5 game lead over the Tides in the South Division

Pitching: Norfolk will enter the series with the 13th rated staff in the IL, as they own an ERA of 4.77, which is slightly lower than the Louisville Bats (4.88). Despite owning one of the worst ERA’s in the league, the Tides highly-touted prospect Kevin Gausman has been solid in the rotation. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 31.0 innings. He has struck out 32 batters, while walking 15. He has battled command issues for the first time in his career. Entering the 2014 season, he had walked 15 batters in 97 minor league innings. He will try to turn things around in the series finale.

The G-Braves will counter with five right-handers during the weekend series. Martin has been the best of the group, sporting a 3-2 record with a 2.76 ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts and opponents are hitting .200 against the righty. In the month of May, he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Since missing to the rotation after an early season relief appearance, Martin is 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA, striking out 48 in 46.0 innings.

The staff will look to turn over leads to closer Juan Jaime. In 17 games, he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and is 9-for-9 in save chances. He is third in the IL in saves, while his 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings ranked second among G-Braves relievers. Atahualpa Severino leads all G-Braves relievers with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

Batting: With Jose Constanza sidelined by a groin injury, Derrick Mitchell has taken over as one of the regulars in the outfield. The G-Braves haven’t missed a beat, as the right-handed hitting Mitchell has been on fire of late. After batting .143 (6-for-42) with one RBI through his first 22 games, Mitchell is batting .429 (12-for-28) with three homers, eight runs and eight RBIs in last ten games spanning from 5/9 through 5/20. He currently has a seven-game winning streak.

In addition to the hot bat of Mitchell, Todd Cunningham is swinging a hot-stick of late. In 31 contests from late-April to mid-May, Cunningham is batting .344 (42-for-122) with 10 doubles, two homers and 20 RBIs. He is batting .338 (26-for-77) with five doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs during the month of May. Cunningham ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.302, 13th), hits (52, 2nd), RBI (25, T-7th), total bases (69, T-9th) and doubles (11, T-9th).

For Norfolk, everything starts and ends with Quinton Berry. The speedy outfielder is off to a great start, batting .309 (30-for-97) with six doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He has seven bags and is 5-for-7 in his last two games with a homer and one RBI.

After hitting .176 (15-for-85) during the month of April, Brett Wallace is starting to swing a hot bat in May. The first baseman is hitting .373 (25-for-67) with three doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. All of his homers have come in the month of May, while raising his season average to .263 (40-for-152) on the season.

Tides Wash: After taking 14 of 21 last season from the G-Braves, the Tides are off to a slow start against Gwinnett going 1-4 in their first five contests.

 

-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-

Spring Training Report 3.5.14

The Atlanta Braves are off to a slow start in their Grapefruit League campaign (1-6-1), but several non-roster players are making key contributions and earning extended playing time on the field.  

On Tuesday afternoon, Phil Gosselin keyed the Braves’ 8-4 victory over the Washington Nationals, as his bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the eighth gave the Braves a 7-4 lead. He scored the final run on sacrifice fly by Edward Salcedo, leading the Braves to their first win of the spring.

Gosselin, who played in four games with the Atlanta Braves in 2013 (.333, 2R), is tied for third on the team with three RBI in five Grapefruit League games.  

While, Gosselin is holding his own in the first week of action, Tommy La Stella is opening eyes all around camp. The Braves’ farmhand leads the squad with seven hits and is batting .412 (7-for-17) through six Grapefruit League contests. Despite never playing above Double-A, La Stella is thriving at the dish with a consistent line drive approach and plate discipline, seeing four walks in 21 plate appearances.  He has benefitted from Tyler Pastornicky’s knee injury, as he has been one of the primary back-ups in his absence.

Infielder Tyler Greene is showing his value around the diamond, playing third base for the Braves even though he is a shortstop by trait. Greene has played six Spring Training games at third, but has only played third in 41 out of 973 professional games. The position change hasn’t affected his bat, as he is hitting .273 (3-for-11) with two runs and a stolen base.

Gosselin (KarlLMoore)

Gosselin (KarlLMoore)

Matt Lipka, another former shortstop, is also faring well this spring. The former supplemental 1st rounder out of McKinney High School in Texas, is batting .333 (4-for-12) with three runs scored, four RBI and one stolen base. He is holding his own in his first taste of big league camp.

Unlike Lipka, catchers Matt Kennelly and Steven Lerud have been around big league camp a while. The veterans have played well, recording two hits and an RBI each.

On the bump, Gus Schlosser’s bid to make the opening day roster continues. The side-winder has made two appearances, hurling 3.0 scoreless innings and limiting opponents to a .100 (1-for-10) batting average against him.  He has recorded one strikeout and has allowed a free pass. His 0.67 WHIP is tied for second on the team with Juan Jaime and behind Freddy Garcia, who hasn’t allowed a base runner in 5.0 innings.

Southpaw Ian Thomas has battled control issues, allowing two walks in 2.0 Innings, but he hasn’t allowed a run and recorded three strikeouts. The Braves need for another left-handed arm in the bullpen makes him a strong candidate for the MLB roster.

The Braves continue their Grapefruit League schedule today, as they play the Philadelphia Phillies at 1:00 p.m. in Clearwater, FL. The game will be televised on the MLB Network.

While Braves action is in full gear, be sure to keep up with the Gwinnett Braves as their home opener is April 11th at 7:05 p.mm as they play host to the IL Champion Durham Bulls.

-JD-

Braves Cut, G-Braves Add Former First Rounder

Cory Rasmus finished second in saves with the M-Braves in 2012. (Brian Byrd)

Cory Rasmus finished second in saves with the M-Braves in 2012. (Brian Byrd)

On Tuesday afternoon, following their Spring Training game with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves made 10 cuts to their Spring Training roster. With the World Baseball Classic slowing and minor league camp breaking into exhibition games, the Braves cut their roster to 48.

There was one move that directly correlates with the Gwinnett Braves, pitcher Cory Rasmus was assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett. The former first round pick (36th overall) of the 2006 First-Year Player Amateur Draft out Phenix, AL, was the first player to be assigned to the G-Braves roster this season.

Rasmus, the younger brother of Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, has been with the Atlanta Braves organization for seven years. The once highly-touted prospect endured a season-ending injury in 2007, which has slowed his career. However, after struggling as a starting pitcher from 2009-2011, Rasmus was moved to the bullpen last season with Double-A Mississippi and had his best season yet.

In 50 games, he posted a 3-5 record with a 3.68 ERA and seven saves. His strikeout rate was promising, as he fanned 62 in 58.2 innings. He will look to continue his climb to the big leagues as formidable back end guy.

G-Braves Bites:

The Braves also cut the following players, right-handed pitchers Juan Jaime and Aaron Northcraft were optioned to Double-A Mississippi.

While, Pitchers Ryan Buchter (LH), Yohan Flande (LH) and Gus Schlosser (RH), catchers Luis De La Cruz, Braeden Schlehuber and Jose Yepez and infielder Joe Leonard were re-assigned to minor league camp.

Buchter, Flande and Yepez all spent time with the G-Braves in 2012.

With 21 days left before the season opener against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field on April 4, there will be more additions to the G-Braves roster in the next few weeks. For more information on all that is G-Braves baseball, check out the website at gwinnettbraves.com or follow us on twitter @gwinnettbraves.

-JD

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