Results tagged ‘ Leslie Watts ’

Trade: Braves Deal Chapman, Vizcaino to Cubs

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs have announced that the two clubs have completed a four-player trade, as of Monday, July 30. The Braves acquire left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm, outfielder Reed Johnson and cash considerationsfrom the Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitchers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Vizcaino, 21, appeared in 17 career Major League games, and in 2011 went 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA. He has the No. 1 arm in the organization and was ranked the Braves No. 2 overall prospect after successful Tommy John surgery this season, according to Baseball America.  The right-hander possesses a 19-15 record alongside a 2.91 ERA over four minor league seasons with Atlanta. Over his career, Vizcaino has struck out an impressive 279 hitters in 268.2 innings of work. He was acquired by the Braves originally, alongside Melky Cabrera through a trade with the New York Yankees that involved Javier Vazquez in December of 2009.

Given Vizcaino’s track record, he is going to be a special player. However, the loss of Chapman creates a void within the organization as Chappy was not only a unique talent, but a special person more importantly. The right-handed reliever was one of the nicest and classiest people you will come across in this game. The Alabama alum would do anything for anyone, and that included any player appearances or opportunities to give back to the fans, community or kids.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

Chapman was not only a solid piece to the G-Braves bullpen, alongside one of the best change-up’s in the organization, but he is a great person that will be dearly missed. Players with Chapman’s talent come around here and again, but a player with his attitude doesn’t exist in today’s game. The righty owns a career record of 17-22 with a 3.95 ERA, as he was signed by Atlanta after the Braves originally drafted him in the 16th round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

The 30-year old Maholm is 9-6 this season with a 3.74 ERA in 120.1 innings of work for Chicago. He has made 21 appearances this year, 20 for starts. He is currently 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA over his last seven starts with the Cubs, retaining a 7-0 record in those games. The southpaw owns a career Major League record of 62-79 with a 4.30 ERA in just over eight professional seasons. Maholm was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2003 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State University.  He is signed through the 2012 season with a club option for 2013.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Look to Stop Losing Skid at 10 Straight

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

The Gwinnett Braves have gone from first place to last place in the International League South Division in a matter of days. For the first 55 days of the season, the G-Braves were in first place and at times had the best record in the league. On June 26, those same G-Braves are now tied for last place with the Durham Bulls with 37 wins and 42 losses.

Gwinnett is not only currently on a 10-game losing skid, but the G-Braves have dropped 22 of their last 27 contests. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games and the last time they won a game was three series’ ago against the Columbus Clippers. Gwinnett was then swept by Indianapolis at Coolray Field, then they were swept by Syracuse in New York and now the G-Braves make their way to the Empire State with a four-game series set against the Yankees affiliate.

Tuesday will begin the final four games of Gwinnett’s current eight-game road trip. After the conclusion of the last game on Friday, the G-Braves will head back to Georgia for some much-needed home cooking. Gwinnett will host seven of their next nine games at home, with a break in the middle for a home-and-home series with the first place Charlotte Knights of the IL South.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

The Gwinnett Braves (37-42) move to Rochester, New York tonight for a four-game series against the Empire State Yankees. The G-Braves will have right-hander Todd Redmond (6-3, 3.40) on the mound, as he opposes the Yankees right-hander D.J. Mitchell (5-4, 5.74). The first game of the series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. first pitch at Frontier Field on Tuesday evening. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play by play.

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

Mejia Leading the Way for Struggling Gwinnett

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

Ernesto Mejia is leading the way for the Gwinnett Braves this season, even as his team is entrapped currently in a 10-game losing skid, including dropping 22 of their last 27 contests. The first baseman has not let his team’s peeks and valley’s dictate the success of his season. For the 2012 season, Mejia would qualify for the Triple Crown of the G-Braves as he leads his team in the three major offensive categories; batting average (.312), home runs (15), RBI (53).

Last season while playing for the Double-A Mississippi Braves of the Southern League, Mejia burst onto the professional baseball landscape with an impressive .297 batting average, alongside 37 doubles, 26 home runs and 99 RBI. At 26 years old, the Venezuelan first baseman is just beginning to scratch the surface amidst his first season of Triple-A baseball.

Currently, Mejia is ranked fifth for first baseman in the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game voting. The game, which Mejia would like to attend, will be broadcast live on the MLB Network between the International League and Pacific Coast League on Tuesday, July 10 in Buffalo, New York.

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

When asked if he should represent his team at the 2012 All-Star Game in Buffalo, the humble G-Brave superstar raved about his teammates, who he believes are just as deserving of a nod.

“Julio Teheran is doing well, very well just like last year. He has more experience this year and I think he should be one of those all-stars,” said Mejia. “Jordan Parraz was having a good year, but he is hurt right now, so he may have to wait a little more. Gartrell has a lot of RBI and home runs and has been helping the team a lot. Durango has a lot of stolen bases, he is leading the league (in stolen bases) so he deserves it too. We have a lot of good players.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Indeed a majority of Mejia’s teammates are worthy of all-star consideration, but nobody moreso than the man himself.

“We’re having a great season this year as a team. I’m doing good right now too and I’m working hard. It’s every players dream to go to the all-star game and I hope I can make it. I would go of course,” Mejia said. “I’m excited because it’s my first year in Triple-A. It would be awesome. This year I feel like I have more experience. Last year in Double-A I had a good season and winter ball, too.”

A great deal of Mejia’s success this season is attributed to the Braves and gettting in better shape, not only during the off-season, but more importantly during the season. Mejia has worked tirelessly to make sure his body will not wear down as the season moves along. Therefore, the manchild is working and preparing for the first time in his career, during the season.

“Last year, I didn’t workout a lot during the season because it made me tired. But this year, I’m working with Matt (Parvis) in the gym and I think that is what’s keeping me healthy and stronger,” said Mejia.

Even Mejia’s teammate and close personal friend Christian Marrero couldn’t help but speak highly of the man.

“Since the beginning of the year to now, he looks a lot better hitting wise. He’s making adjustments and helping the team out a lot. He’s having great at-bats and almost every at-bat is unbelievable,” said Marrero. “He gets the job done. Mejia and Gartrell have put the team on their backs.”

Photo corurtesy of Leslie Watts

No matter what the question may be to the success of Ernesto Mejia, the answer is that the man is a dedicated hardworker. His effort is measured through his consistent play on the field and the admiration of his teammates off the field, making him different from other stars of the game. Mejia gets it and it’s only a matter of time before Atlanta gets him in a big league uniform.

By: Tony Piraro

The John Smoltz Interview (Part 2)

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

G-Braves Swept by Indianapolis, 4-2

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. – A two-out, two-run double by Indianapolis right fielder Brandon Boggs led the Indians to a 4-2 win and a series sweep over the Gwinnett Braves on Thursday afternoon at Coolray Field. Todd Redmond made the start for Gwinnett after being optioned to the club from Atlanta earlier in the day and suffered the loss with four earned runs over 6.0 innings.

Ruben Gotay led the G-Braves with a 2-for-4 effort including a game-tying two-run home run, his first of the season, in the fourth inning. However, Boggs snapped the 2-2 tie two innings later, lofting a double just inside the right-field line to plate Starling Marte and Jeff Larish for the game-winning runs.

The G-Braves (37-38), losers of 18 of their last 23 games, drop under the .500 mark for the first time since the club was 2-3 on April 9. Gwinnett falls to a season-worst 5.5 games behind Charlotte for first place in the International League South Division. The Knights (42-32) play Columbus at 7:15 PM Thursday night.

Brian Friday started the offense for Indianapolis, leading off the third inning with a double. After he was advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by his pitcher Rudy Owens, Friday was then driven home on a Gorkys Hernandez groundout to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead. That lead grew to 2-0 an inning later as Marte and Larish laced back-to-back doubles to produce a run.

Ernesto Mejia doubled to lead off the fourth inning for Gwinnett, his second of two hits on the day. Following a Stefan Gartrell strikeout, Gotay followed with a two-run shot down the left field line that just made it over the fence in fair territory. The game-tying blast was Gotay’s first home run since August 7, 2011 with Gwinnett against Charlotte.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

Redmond (L, 6-5) couldn’t keep the game tied, however. The right-hander allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and struck out nine in his first outing since a four-day stint with the Atlanta Braves. He threw 104 pitches, 66 for strikes over 6.0 innings. RelieversCory Gearrin and Dusty Hughes worked the rest of the game for Gwinnett, combining to allow a hit while striking out four over 3.0 scoreless innings.

Owens (W, 6-2) was very efficient for the Indians, using just 89 pitches to get through 6.0 innings of two-run baseball. The left-hander allowed those two runs on six hits and struck out four, while walking just one hitter en route to the victory. Evan Meek and Bryan Morris each worked scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth innings. Closer Tim Wood (S, 8) shut the door in the ninth inning for the Indians as he struck out one and yielded one hit in his scoreless inning.

Gotay (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs) and Mejia (2-for-5, double, run) had the only multi-hit games for the G-Braves. Boggs finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for the Indians.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

The Gwinnett Braves get back on the road for an eight-game road trip that will begin on Friday night at Syracuse, first pitch against the Chiefs at Alliance Bank Stadium scheduled for 7:00 PM. The G-Braves are expected to start left-hander Yohan Flande (3-5, 3.95), while the Chiefs will counter with right-hander Tanner Roark (3-9, 5.74). The game will be broadcast on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM in Gainesville, GA with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit for more information.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Doubleheader Postponed Until Friday

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

The Gwinnett Braves were scheduled to play a doubleheader in their first game back at Coolray Field after their most recent 10-game road trip that saw them register a record of 3-7. However, the Columbus Clippers’ flight arrangements failed, thus forcing the teams to cancel the second game of the double-dip for Thursday night. Now, the game has been rescheduled for Friday with the G-Braves and Clippers set for a twinbill that will begin at 5:05 p.m. for the first pitch of the first game. The second game of the doubleheader is scheduled to start approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Friday is Planes, Trains and Automobiles Night so come out and enjoy our transportation theme night including various prize drawings from gas cards to Marta passes! We will be sure to have plenty of clips from your favorite Steve Martin and John Candy movie. And of course, don’t forget that every Friday is Fox 5 Friday Fireworks. Stick around after the game for another spectacular post-game fireworks display, courtesy of WAGA Fox 5 Atlanta!

The G-Braves will send Jair Jurrjens to the hill on Thursday in place of the right-hander who was originally scheduled to pitch in the first game of the doubleheader, Todd Redmond. Regardless, Redmond (5-4, 3.52) will take to the mound in the first game of the doubleheader against Columbus on Friday instead.

Replacing, Julio Teheran, the originally scheduled Game No. 2 starter, will be Eric Junge (3-6, 4.54) who will take the mound in the second game of the double-dip. For the time being, Teheran and Junge have swapped positions in the Gwinnett starting rotation.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

Therefore, Thursday will be the first game of the G-Braves nine-game homestand, which is set to begin at approximately 7:50 p.m. The second and third game of the Clippers series is scheduled for Friday night, while the final two games of the season against Columbus are set for Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday’s special first pitch, which is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

By: Tony Piraro

G-Braves Start 9-Game Homestand Thursday

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

The Gwinnett Braves (35-31)) begin a stretch of nine games in their next eight days, starting on Thursday night with a doubleheader against the Columbus Clippers (30-35) from Coolray Field. The G-Braves will play five games against the Clippers to conclude their season-series, as Columbus currently has the upper hand with a 2-1 season lead. Then the IL West leading Indianapolis Indians (38-27) will visit Lawrenceville for their first of two, four-game series’ against Gwinnett this season.

Gwinnett has lost 10 of their last 13 contests, including recording a 3-7 mark on their present 10-game road trip. Not only have the G-Braves been losing lately, but they have lost ground on their once-familiar first place lead in the IL South. With the G-Braves recent skid and Charlotte’s tremendous hot-streak, Gwinnett now finds themselves 3.5 games out of first place in the standings after once leading the division by 7.0 games, nearly a month ago.

Returning to Gwinnett after a cup of coffee in Atlanta are three main G-Brave contributors; Jose Constanza, J.C. Boscan and Julio Teheran. All three will return to action at Coolray Field when the G-Braves get back from their off day on Wednesday.

In their last 10 games, only two G-Braves are batting over .300, the obvious catalyst of the team Ernesto Mejia and one of the newer additions Lance Zawadzki. The seocond baaseman and hero of the “Memorial Day Miracle” is batting .321 with nine hits, five runs scored, five RBI and two home runs. Mejia continues his torrid pace as he is batting .324 with 11 hits, six runs scored, six RBI and four home runs in his last 10 games. The G-Braves slugger is also currently in fifth place for first basemen for the 2012 All-Star Game voting.

The road trip didn’t have many hightlights for Gwinnett pitching, however Anthony Varvaro and Jaye Chapman continue to emerge as reliable arms out of the bullpen. Varvaro has incredibly registered nine strikeouts in his last 3.2 innings of work, while Chapman has struck out seven through his previous 6.0 innings of one-run work. Both should be highly considered for 2012 All-Star bids. If you’re going to vote, don’t forget about starters Julio Teheran, Todd Redmond and Yohan Flande.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Gwinnett right-hander Todd Redmond (5-4, 3.52) will oppose the Clippers right-hander Corey Kluber (4-6, 4.14) in the first game of the doubleheader, first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m. at Coolray Field on Thursday. The second game of the double-dip will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Listen to the broadcast on WDUN AM 550 in Gainesville, Georgia with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.

Join us for our second annual eating contest for Dudes vs. Foods Night on Thursday. Only the bravest fans will dare to tackle the Super Knucksie! Participants will be chosen at the game. Thursday is also “$3 Thursday” so start the weekend right with $3 food and drink specials all game long presented by Dave FM. New for 2012, all general admission berm seating is also $3 on Thursdays!

Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit for more information.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

By: Tony Piraro

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

Julio Teheran Throws First Career Complete Game

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

The No. 2 prospect in minor league baseball, Julio Teheran threw his first career complete game on Sunday against the Charlotte Knights. The right-hander was in the zone, as he threw 107 pitches and yielded just one run en route to the nine-inning complete game victory. With the win, Teheran moved his record to 5-2 on the season with a stellar 3.15 ERA, as he seeks his second straight Triple-A All-Star Game appearance in 2012.

Teheran was a non-drafted free agent that was signed by the Atlanta Braves during the 2007 Major League off-season. He started with one stint in Rookie ball with Danville and then was promoted in 2009 to Rome, where he pitched 37.2 innings for Atlanta’s Single-A affiliate. After showcasing his raw ability in Rome, his next stop was Myrtle Beach in the summer of 2010. Teheran began to dominate hitters with the Pelicans, as his 2.98 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 63.1 innings of work spoke volumes across professional baseball.

Finally, last season with Gwinnett the 21-year-old righty entered stardom as he was awarded the International League’s Pitcher of the Year and 2011 IL Rookie of the Year, alongside an all-star bid. However, the young right-hander was unable to attend the 2011 Triple-A All-Star Game because he was also named to the MLB Future Star’s Game. Teheran was remarkable with the G-Braves last season to the tune of a 15-3 record and 2.55 ERA in 144.2 innings pitched. Truly, the next step for this youngster is the only one left to take…to Atlanta.

“I made the all-star team last season but was unable to go because of the Future Star’s Game, which was a good experience for me. I keep working hard and I hope to make it (2012 All-Star Team) this year,” said Teheran.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

Sunday’s victory against the Charlotte Knights was a huge indication of how far the Colombian has traveled, literally. Through his first few seasons in minor league baseball, Teheran was predominantly unknown. However, once he started getting a name for himself, the Braves limited his innings because he is their newest prized possession.

Regardless, after two career-high starts of eight innings, Teheran blew the doors off that mark as he finished what he started on June 3, in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The right-hander allowed just one run on seven hits and stuck out six without yielding a walk all afternoon.

It was indeed Teheran’s finest hour as a professional pitcher, but look for more to come from a young man with so much upside and room to improve. Julio Teheran is scheduled to make his next start against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Friday night from Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA. Make sure you take notice of this kid every opportunity you get, because his time in Gwinnett is only momentary.

By: Tony Piraro

Medlen Set To Start For Gwinnett Saturday

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

The opener of a four-game home-and-home series between the top two teams in the International League South Division went to second-place Charlotte on Friday night at Coolray Field. The Knights put up 10 runs on the strength of three home runs to defeat the South-leading Gwinnett Braves, 10-3. Charlotte’s win trimmed the G-Braves’ lead in the division to 1.5 games.

Starter Jair Jurrjens (L, 3-3) surrendered 10 runs, six earned, on 12 hits in a losing effort. Former IL MVP Dan Johnson blasted solo home runs off Jurrjens in the third and fifth innings, and Hector Gimenez homered as well in the fifth against the G-Braves’ right-hander.

The G-Braves jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Tyler Pastornicky singled in his first plate appearance with Gwinnett, took second on a single by Stefan Gartrell, stole third and scored on an RBI single by Felix Pie.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

Charlotte Knights (31-25, 2nd IL South) vs Gwinnett (32-23, 1st IL South) 

The Atlanta Braves want to turn Kris Medlen into a starting pitcher, so they have reassigned the big leaguer to Triple-A Gwinnett to stretch him out. The right-hander has been with the Braves since the 2009 season as a middle reliever and an occasional spot-starter. In fact, during the 2010 season Medlen started 14 games for Atlanta and registered a 6-2 record with a 3.68 ERA. The Braves are hoping that the righty can continue that success over the course of an entire Major League season.

This season with the Atlanta Braves, Medlen is 1-1 with a 3.49 ERA amidst 28.1 innings of work. The righty has surrendered 11 runs on 27 hits while he has struck out 17 batters while walking just seven. Since it’s just his first start the G-Braves will be very cautious with him. Medlen is predicted to throw either four innings or 60 pitches, whichever happens first.

Saturday, June 2 Starting Line-up from Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia:

The International League South-leading Gwinnett Braves (32-23) conclude their 10-game homestand on Saturday in the series finale against the Charlotte Knights (31-25). Right-hander Kris Medlen (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start since being optioned to Gwinnett by Atlanta. He’ll be opposed by Charlotte right-hander Terry Doyle (4-3, 3.05). First pitch at Coolray Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM. The game will be broadcast on radio on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling play-by-play.

The first 2,000 fans attending Saturday night’s game will receive a Chopper Coin Bank presented by Delta Community Credit Union. Chopper and the G-Braves will also celebrate a belated “Groundhogs Day” at Coolray Field. Tickets for all Gwinnett Braves home games are on sale now at the Coolray Field Box Office. Call (678) 277-0340 or visit for more information.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Charlotte Knights Batting Order:

1) Greg Golson – CF

2) Drew Garcia – 2B

3) Dan Johnson – DH

4) Brent Morel – 3B

5) Jordan Danks – RF

6) Josh Phegley – C

7) Jim Gallagher – 1B

8) Justin Green – LF

9) Ozzie Martinez – SS

G-Braves Batting Order

1) Luis Durango – CF

2) Tyler Pastornicky – SS

3) Stefan Gartrell – DH

4) Ernesto Mejia – 1B

5) Felix Pie – RF

6) Joey Terdoslavich – 3B

7) Collin DeLome – LF

8) Jose Yepez – C

9) Lance Zawadzki – 2B

By: Tony Piraro