Results tagged ‘ Mississippi Braves ’

Spring Training Report- Non Roster Invitees, Pitchers

The Atlanta Braves are ready to open up Spring Training camp on Thursday, February 13.  While, the majority of the 40-man roster returns from a season ago, the roster did take some hits this off season, losing Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm and Brian McCann to free agency. However, the Braves are locked and loaded to compete for their second straight East Division crown and their third straight postseason berth.

The Braves will enter camp with 62 players, inviting 22 non-roster players to join the fold in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Many of the players will get their first taste of big league camp, while others will compete for a chance at the 25-man roster. Arms are always at a premium, so we will go over all the hurlers that will report to the Disney complex on Thursday.  The Braves invited 11 non-roster pitchers, left-handers Ian Thomas, Daniel Rodriguez, Atahualpa Severino and right-handers Lay Batista, J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, Mark Lamm, Cody Martin, Yunesky Maya, Gus Schlosser and Shae Simmons.

Martin (Moore)

Martin (Moore)

Among the 11 invited, two have big league experience as Severino and Maya spent some time with the Washington Nationals. In 2009, Maya fled Cuba and signed with the Nationals. However, the 32-year old right-hander didn’t live up to the four-year, six-million dollar deal that he signed with Washington, going 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA in 16 games (10 starts) for the Nationals over the last four years. He will compete for a bullpen spot along with former teammate Severino, but they could end up with Triple-A Gwinnett.

Former Los Angeles Angels’ farmhand Lay Batista is the only other non-roster invitee that did not start his career in the Braves system. Batista reached Double-A last year, going 5-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 122.2 IP. He has relief experience, but primarily started the last two seasons.  He will likely start in Double-A Mississippi, but he will get a long look at big league camp.

The rest of the invitees have been with the Braves since they began their professional careers. Left-handers Ian Thomas and Daniel Rodriguez are interesting prospects, as the Braves’ bullpen enters camp with one lefty reliever. While, Jonny Venters recovers from “Tommy John” surgery, the Braves will look for another southpaw to emerge during Spring Training. Thomas had a strong showing in 2013, going 7-8 with a 2.76 ERA in 104.1 IP. He struck out 123 batters while walking 37. Rodriguez’ numbers did not resemble Thomas’, but he has been in big league camp two straight seasons and starred in Triple-A Gwinnett last year before an injury shutdown his 2013 campaign.

Rodriguez was not the only one that was shut down with an injury in 2013, as Graham had to miss the second half of the season with a shoulder injury. Graham made a name for himself during last Spring Training, tossing in 9.0 IP, allowing six hits, striking out five and recording two saves. He was sent down to Double-A Mississippi, landing on the DL in May.

With Graham’s absences on the M-Braves roster, Schlosser, Lamm and Martin, had a chance to shine for the Braves Double-A affiliate. Schlosser had the most impressive resume, going 7-6 with a 2.39 ERA in 25 starts, but he was the only one of the three that was not promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. Lamm and Martin got their first taste of the International League circuit. Lamm went 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA, while Martin went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA for the G-Braves.

Finally, the last two players that will get a look during big league camp will be Simmons and Hursh. Simmons dominated Class-A Rome, recording a club-record 24 saves, surpassing former record holder Sung Ki Jung of the inaugural 2003 club. While, last season first round pick Hursh will get his first taste of the big leagues during Spring Training. Hursh lived up to the billing last year, going 1-1 with a 0.67 ERA in 27.0 IP for Class-A Rome. The former Cowboy has an impressive upside, but he is likely heading to Double-A Mississippi to continue his development.

The 11 pitchers that are heading to big league camp will get a long look during Spring Training, but it is likely that all players will start the season in one of the Braves Minor League systems.

Tomorrow we will go over the 11 position players that have been invited to big league camp.

-JD-

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

Simmons Promoted to Atlanta, Pastornicky Demoted to Gwinnett

 

The future is now according to the Atlanta Braves most recent move. The Braves shortstop of the future Andrelton Simmons has been promoted to the Atlanta Braves from Double-A Mississippi as he’ll skip an appearance in Triple-A Gwinnett. With the promotion, the Braves rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky has been reassigned to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he played his 2011 season. Also, the G-Braves middle infielder Greg Paiml has been sent down to Double-A Mississippi to fill Simmons’ void at shortstop….The shortstop roulette shuffle continues within the Atlanta Braves organization.

Simmons is widely considered the best fielding shortstop in minor league baseball, and some scouts say he is already a better fielder than half of the shortstops at the Major League level. He reminds a lot of people of Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Last season, Simmons won the Carolina League batting title in Single-A Lynchburg with a .311 batting average, forcing scouts to think of him as an all-around player. 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 in Double-A.

 

Pastornicky, 22, made his Major League debut this season with the Braves as part of their Opening Day roster. The Bradenton, FL native hit .248 with six doubles, a triple, a home run, 12 RBIs and two stolen bases in 45 games with Atlanta.

Originally a fifth-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008, Pastornicky was acquired via trade by Atlanta in July of 2010. He made his Triple-A debut with Gwinnett last season, hitting .365 with two doubles, a home run, nine RBIs and seven stolen bases in 27 games.

Paiml, 27, hit .212 with four doubles, seven RBIs and two stolen bases in 29 games for the G-Braves. The Tuscaloosa, AL native was acquired by the Braves from the Chicago White Sox in March and was in his first Triple-A season.

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

By: Tony Piraro

Atlanta Braves Minor League Report (May 2012)

By: Tony Piraro

Currently, the Atlanta Braves organization is impressing at nearly every level throughout their minor league system. Two leagues are set to get underway in the middle of June, therefore the Danville Braves (Rookie) and Gulf Coast League Braves (Rookie) have yet to begin their respective seasons. As for the rest of the Braves affiliates, life is good, especially after the top prospects got the rare opportunity to play the Atlanta Braves in the April 3 Inaugural Exhibition Game hosted at Coolray Field.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Atlanta Braves (16-11, 2nd place)

The big club has been playing some outstanding baseball since a rough start to begin the season. Chipper Jones has returned from the DL and is playing at his usual, high-level. Speaking of returning injured players, Tim Hudson has made two starts for Atlanta after spending some time in Rome and Gwinnett. All in all, the former G-Braves stars have begun to take over the Atlanta ballclub, such as: Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, Tyler Pastornicky and Craig Kimbrel. The Braves only trail the upstart Bryce Harper-led Washington Nationals by two games in the NL East standings, but I can see that changing as quickly as the Nats luck has been changing of late.

Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease

Gwinnett Braves (18-9, 1st place)

With the best record in the International League (18-9) the G-Braves are focused on being consistent. Gwinnett currently has the No. 1 ranked pitching staff in the IL with a team ERA of 2.78 and their hitting is starting to heat up, especially Stefan Gartrell (pictured above). The G-Braves outfielder/designated hitter has been a monster as of late, crushing a home run in each of his last three games including six total hits during that span. Gartrell is now batting .209 with four homers and 14 RBI, which is saying a lot considering he was batting .165 before the G-Braves 8-game road trip last week.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Mississippi Braves (10-19, 5th place) 
The leader of the M-Braves team is obviously shortstop Andrelton Simmons who nearly made the Braves out of camp. The top shortstop prospect is currently hitting a team-high .319 for Mississippi and also leads the team in stolen bases (6) as he continues to flash his above-average glove. Ian Gac is the offensive power for the M-Braves as he leads the team in home runs (3) and RBI (15) this year. Four pitchers are tied for the team-lead in wins with two and closer Mark Lamm has three saves. David Hale leads the team in strikeouts with 25 already. The top catching prospect in the system Christian Bethancourt is having a nice season behind the plate, as well as, batting .288 on offense.
Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease
Lynchburg Hillcats (14-12, 1st place)
One of the most talented affiliates of the Atlanta Braves organization is located in Lynchburg. Most of the Braves top ranked prospects throughout the system are stationed with the High-A team in Virginia. Tommy LaStella leads the offensive charge with a .325 batting average and Nick Ahmed is the resident thief with his eight stolen bases already. Four pitchers on the staff are tied for the team-lead with three wins and hard-thrower Cory Martin is leading the team with 35 strikeouts.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts
Rome Braves (6-21, 7th place)
The only team in the Braves organization that has been struggling since the start of the season. Currently, Rome is trailing first place by 13.5 games as they battle in the South Atlanta League. Rafael Briceno is leading the team with two wins, while closer Jean Carlos Gil has a team-leading two saves. David Filak leads the Braves organization with 39 strikeouts in 2012, and also commands a dominant 1.88 ERA. Kyle Kubitza is the main power source for Rome with his team-leading four home runs and 13 RBI.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess
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