Results tagged ‘ Sean Kazmar ’

Spring Training Weekend Wrap-Up 3.28-29.15

A potential Gwinnett Braves utilityman has been perhaps the hottest hitters for the Atlanta Braves in Spring Training camp for the past week, and he helped lead the Braves Saturday to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Pedro Ciriaco went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at three runs apiece while spending time defensively in center and left field during the contest in Dunedin, Fla. He has hit safely in six of his last seven games while batting .526 (10-for-19) with a pair of runs scored, a double, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base. Among qualifiers, Ciriaco leads the team with a .380 batting average (19-for-50) for the spring.

Utilityman Pedro Ciriaco's 19 hits during Atlanta Braves Spring Training camp are the second-most on the team. (Photo by Karl Moore)

Infielder/outfielder Pedro Ciriaco’s 19 hits during Atlanta Braves Spring Training camp are the second-most on the team. (Photo by Karl Moore)

The Braves dropped their second game of the weekend 4-2 Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Saturday against Toronto:

Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-2, R.

Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-2.

Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, R, BB.

Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.

Cedric Hunter entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement in left field but did not receive an at-bat.

A pair of possible G-Braves right-handed relievers also combined to throw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays. Brandon Cunniff (H, 2) breezed through the eighth inning with nothing more than a walk allowed. Juan Jaime (H, 4) retired one batter but also gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth.

The Braves played most of their expected starters at their home Spring Training complex against the Pirates. Right fielder Todd Cunningham and left fielder Benson were the only two players likely to man the outfield for Gwinnett to get an at-bat. Cunningham walked and scored in the eighth, and Benson flew out to center field in the following at-bat.

Right-handed pitcher Michael Kohn (L, 1-1) was the only possible G-Braves pitcher to take the mound against Pittsburgh. He pitched the ninth but gave up the deciding two runs on two hits, including a two-run homer by second baseman Jong Ho Kang, with one strikeout.

Atlanta reassigned Kohn to minor league camp Monday and optioned fellow right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino to Gwinnett. Those moves leave the Braves with 36 active players in Major League camp.

The Braves will travel to face the Detroit Tigers for the fifth and final time this spring at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Lakeland, Fla. The teams have split their first four meetings, two of which were split-squad contests for Atlanta.

-JM

Spring Training Weekend Wrap-Up 3.20-22.15

A parade of pitchers who could man the mound at Coolray Field in 2015 helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a weekend of four games in which they allowed an average of fewer than three runs per contest. The Braves split the weekend slate and are 8-12 in Grapefruit League play.

Six of seven potential Gwinnett Braves relievers who worked Saturday and Sunday did not allow a run. All seven combined for a 1.08 ERA (1 ER in 8.1 IP) with two saves and two holds. Right-hander Williams Perez (BS, 1; L, 0-1) was the only likely G-Brave pitcher to work Friday. He gave up the final four runs on seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts in a 5-1 loss to the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.

Atlanta played a pair of split-squad games Saturday. One Braves squad beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 in a home contest at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and the other portion of the team lost 1-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter.

Possible G-Braves pitchers’ stats vs. Washington:

RHP Michael Kohn (H, 2), 1.0 IP, H, BB.

RHP Juan Jaime (H, 2), 1.0 IP.

RHP Brandon Cunniff (S, 1), 2.0 IP, 2 BB, 2 K.

Potential G-Braves pitchers’ numbers against St. Louis:

RHP Arodys Vizcaino,1.1 IP, H, BB.

RHP Sugar Ray Marimon, 2.0 IP, 2 H, HBP.

RHP Aaron Kurcz (L, 0-1) 0.0 IP, 2 H, ER, BB.

Left-handed reliever Donnie Veal was the only potential G-Braves hurler to pitch Sunday in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium. He got his first save of Spring Training with a scoreless ninth inning during which he walked a hitter and struck out two others.

Infielder Pedro Ciriaco led possible G-Braves hitters by going 3-for-6 in two starts, including 2-for-3 against Detroit with three runs batted in. He also picked up a single and a walk as the leadoff hitter and starting shortstop vs. the Nationals.

Possible G-Braves' infielder Pedro Ciriaco had a big weekend at the plate for Atlanta. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Possible G-Braves’ infielder Pedro Ciriaco had a big weekend at the plate for Atlanta. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Friday against Miami:

Eury Perez (CF), 1-for-4, K.

Jesus Flores (C), 1-for-4.

Phil Gosselin (3B), 1-for-2.

Jace Peterson (2B), 0-for-3, BB, K.

John Buck (1B), 0-for-1.

Joey Terdoslavich (pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.

Infielder Sean Kazmar took over at shortstop in the eighth inning but did not receive an at-bat.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ lines Saturday against the Nationals:

Todd Cunningham (CF), 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, K, outfield assist in the third inning on a play when Mike Carp was out trying to reach second base.

Jose Constanza (RF-LF), 1-for-3, R, SB.

Seth Loman (1B), 0-for-4, K.

Cedric Hunter (RF), 1-for-1, R, RBI.

Barrett Kleinknecht (3B), 0-for-1.

Corban Joseph (2B), 0-for-1.

Catcher Steve Rodriguez entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning but did not receive an at-bat.

Potential G-Braves position players’ stats vs. St. Louis:

Peterson (2B), 2-for-3, K.

Buck (C-1B), 2-for-3.

Gosselin (LF-3B-1B), 0-for-4, K.

Terdoslavich (RF-1B), 0-for-2, BB.

Joe Benson (LF-CF), 0-for-1, BB, threw out Rafael Ortega at home plate from center field in the sixth inning.

Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.

Perez (pinch hit), 0-for-1, K.

Kazmar (SS), 0-for-1.

Other possible G-Braves position players’ stats against Detroit:

Perez (RF-CF), 1-for-5, K.

Cunningham (CF), 1-for-3, R, SB.

Constanza (LF), 1-for-1, R, SB.

Gosselin (2B), 0-for-1, RBI, BB, K.

Benson (LF-CF-RF), 0-for-1, BB, K.

Joseph (2B), 0-for-1.

Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.

Loman (1B), 0-for-1.

Hunter (pinch hit), 0-for-1.

Flores entered the game at catcher as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning but did not receive an at-bat.

The Braves will face the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m. Monday in Kissimmee, Fla.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.18.15

Right-handed starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz made his his third and longest start of Spring Training on Wednesday vs. the New York Yankees. He is a contender for an Atlanta Braves’ rotation spot but could also start the season with the Gwinnett Braves,

Foltynewicz (L, 0-2) held New York in check, allowing a run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts through 2 2/3 innings. The Yankees then went to work on the Atlanta bullpen to build toward a 12-5 victory over the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

New York scored 11 runs in the next five innings against five Braves relievers, although seven of the runs came against left-hander James Russell and righty Jose Veras, pitchers who are likely to remain on Atlanta’s roster to begin the season rather than move to Gwinnett.

Potential G-Braves relievers’ stats from Wednesday vs. the Yankees:

RHP Arodys Vizcaino, 1.1 IP, H, 3 ER, 3 BB, K.

Right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino could be a key member of the Gwinnett Braves' bullpen in 2015. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Right-handed reliever Arodys Vizcaino could be a key member of the Gwinnett Braves’ bullpen in 2015. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

RHP Michael Kohn, 1.0 IP, H, ER, 2 BB, K, WP.

RHP Justin Jackson, 1.0 IP, H, BB.

RHP Jake Brigham, 0.1 IP.

Possible G-Braves position players’ stats from Wednesday:

Eury Perez (CF), 1-for-5, 3 K.

Jace Peterson (2B), 1-for-4, K.

Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-3, R, 2 K.

Phil Gosselin (SS), 1-for-2.

Sean Kazmar (2B), 0-for-1.

Joey Terdoslavich (1B), 0-for-1, RBI, K, sacrifice fly in seventh inning.

Todd Cunningham (LF), 0-for-0, BB.

Pedro Ciriaco (3B), 0-for-1.

Right fielder Mycal Jones entered the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement but did not receive an at-bat.

Left-handed starter Manny Banuelos will get his second start at 1:05 p.m. Thursday against the Miami Marlins at Champion Stadium as he vies for a Braves rotation spot. Miami plans to send right-hander Tom Koehler to the mound.

-JM

Spring Training Report 3.9.15

A handful of pitchers that could see time with the Gwinnett Braves this season combined Monday to limit the Washington Nationals to a single tally in a 2-1 victory for the Atlanta Braves in Viera, Fla.

Starters competing for the final rotation spot, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and righty Chien-Ming Wang, each threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits each. Rodriguez (1-0) struck out two batters and earned the victory, while Wang picked up his first hold of the spring after he walked two and struck out one.

Other potential G-Braves pitchers’ stats from Monday:

RHP Michael Kohn (H, 1) 1.0 IP, K.

RHP Jake Brigham (S, 1), 1.0 IP, 2 H, ER, BB, 2 K.

Potential G-Braves position players’ stats from Monday:

Joey Terdoslavich (LF-1B), 1-for-1.

Jose Peraza (2B), 0-for-4.

John Buck (DH), 0-for-4, 3 K.

Jesus Flores (C), 0-for-1.

Infielder Sean Kazmar entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base, and outfielder Cedric Hunter entered in left field in the ninth inning. Neither player received an at-bat.

Before the game, the Braves optioned left-handed pitcher Ian Thomas and infielder Elmer Reyes to Gwinnett. They also re-assigned right-handed pitcher Matt Capps, infielder Johan Camargo, and catchers Yenier Bello and Tanner Murphy to Minor League camp. That leaves 60 active players in the Braves’ Major League camp.

The Braves will host the New York Mets for a game at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Right-hander and Opening Day starter Julio Teheran will start on the mound for the Braves. The Mets will send righty Bartolo Colon to the mound.

-JM

Spring Training Weekend Wrap-up 3.7-8.15

The Atlanta Braves finished a weekend that included three games in two days with a unique outcome, even for Spring Training.

Nine Braves pitchers combined to no-hit the Houston Astros through 10 innings Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla., including three hurlers who could find themselves on the Gwinnett Braves’ roster in 2015. Houston still pushed across two runs in the seventh when right-hander Mauricio Cabrera walked two and hit a batter to begin the inning before consecutive groundouts gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.

A pair of potential G-Braves tied the game at 2-2 in the eighth. Outfielder Joey Terdoslavich led off the inning with a double and scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly by outfielder Todd Cunningham. The game ended after 10 innings with the scored tied at two.

Potential G-Braves pitchers’ Sunday stats:

RHP Cody Martin, 2.0 IP, 2 BB, 3 K.

RHP Brandon Cunniff (H, 1), 1.0 IP.

LHP Ian Thomas (H, 2), 1.0 IP, 3 BB, K.

Potential G-Braves position players’ Sunday stats:

Terdoslavich (1B), 1-for-2, 2B, R.

Cunningham (RF), 0-for-3, RBI.

Jace Peterson (SS), 2-for-4, R.

Phil Gosselin (2B), 0-for-4.

Cedric Hunter (LF), 0-for-3, BB.

Pedro Ciriaco (3B), 0-for-4, 2 K.

Eury Perez (CF), 2-for-3.

Jose Peraza (2B), 0-for-1.

Yenier Bello (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-0, BB.

Braeden Schlehuber (C), 0-for-0, BB.

The Braves lost a pair of split-squad games Saturday. The New York Mets defeated Atlanta 3-1 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and the Detroit Tigers topped the Braves 12-6 at Atlanta’s Spring Training home, Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Despite the losses, the Braves got their first look at right-handed pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, who they acquired during the offseason in a trade with the Astros that sent Evan Gattis to Houston.

Foltynewicz gave up a leadoff double to Wilmer Flores in the second followed by a run-scoring single by Michael Conforto that put New York ahead 1-0. Otherwise, Foltynewicz gave up two other hits and walked two with one strikeout in 1 2/3 innings.

Other potential G-Braves pitchers vs. New York:

RHP Aaron Kurcz, 0.1 IP, K.

LHP Manny Banuelos (L, 0-1), 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (ER).

RHP Jose Veras, 1.0 IP, 2 BB, K.

RHP Matt Capps, 1.0 IP, 2 H.

RHP Sugar Ray Marimon, 2.0 IP, H, BB, K.

Possible G-Braves position players vs. New York:

Peraza (SS-2B), 0-for-4, 2 K.

Sean Kazmar (3B), 1-for-1.

Matt Kennelly (C), 0-for-1.

Perez (LF), 1-for-3, R.

Jesus Flores (DH, pinch hit), 0-for-1.

Six players who could suit up for Gwinnett started in the field against Detroit, and potential G-Braves accounted for eight of the team’s nine hits.

Peterson (2B), 0-for-3, BB, 2 K.

Gosselin (3B), 0-for-2, BB.

Terdoslavich (1B), 2-for-3, 2 2B, 2 R, K.

Mycal Jones (LF), 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI.

Cunningham (CF), 2-for-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB.

Hunter (RF), 0-for-3, BB.

John Buck (C), 1-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI, BB.

Ciriaco (3B), 1-for-2, R.

Schlehuber (C), 0-for-1.

Corban Joseph (DH), 0-for-2, R, K.

Potential G-Braves pitchers vs. Detroit:

RHP Williams Perez, 1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, K.

LHP Donnie Veal, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K.

RHP Todd Coffey, 1.0 IP, H, 2 K.

The Braves will travel to Viera, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. game Monday against the Washington Nationals. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will start for Atlanta against fellow lefty Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals.

-JM

G-Braves Hot Stove: 2014-2015 Transaction Tracker

Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed on November 12.  (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves)

Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed with Atlanta on November 12. (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves)

As the Hot Stove season continues, here’s an overview of Atlanta Braves’ transactions that could directly affect the Gwinnett Braves roster in 2015.  Moves that pertain to the Major League club only are not included.  All information has been obtained through the Braves.com Transaction Report and Baseball America Minor League Free Agent Tracker.  Please note that the official Gwinnett Braves 2015 Roster will not be announced until early April, and all roster projections are my opinion only.

This post was last updated on February 10.


Acquired via trade:

  • Arodys Vizcaino (RHP) – acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Tommy La Stella on November 16.  As mentioned in a previous post, the hard-throwing Vizcaino is back in the Braves’ organization after two-plus seasons with the Cubs.  He rebounded from 2012 Tommy John surgery to go 1-1 with a 3.51 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 41.0 minor league innings last year, some of that time spent with Triple-A Iowa.  The 24-year-old also pitched out of the Major League bullpen in September, going 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in five relief appearances with the Cubs.  Vizcaino is on the Braves’ 40-man roster and will compete for a bullpen spot this spring, but his limited MLB resume could land him in Gwinnett.
  • Tyrell Jenkins (RHP) – acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals along with Shelby Miller for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden on November 17.  The Cardinals’ 50th pick in the first round of the 2010 June draft is now one of the top pitching prospects in the Braves’ organization.  Jenkins, 22, put up solid numbers with Advanced-A Palm Beach in 2014, going 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts.  He was also impressive in Arizona Fall League action, going 2-2 with a 2.22 ERA in six starts with the Peoria Javelinas.  He’s slated to make his Double-A debut with Mississippi in 2015, but he could be a candidate for a late-season promotion to Triple-A.
  • Aaron Kurcz (RHP) – acquired from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Anthony Varvaro and cash considerations on December 17.  Kurcz, 24, was a teammate of Bryce Harper at the College of Southern Nevada when the Chicago Cubs selected him in the 10th round of the 2010 June draft.  The Cubs then sent him to Boston in March 2012 as part of the compensation package for hiring Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations.  Kurcz made his debut at Double-A Portland in 2012, going 3-4 with a 3.04 ERA, four saves and 72 strikeouts in 50.1 innings over 29 relief outings.  Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery on his right elbow forced him to miss August and all of the 2013 campaign.  He came back strong with Portland in 2014, going 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA, three saves and 54 strikeouts in 42.0 innings over 34 outings.  Kurcz held opponents to a .204 batting average and didn’t allow a single home run last year.  With plenty of late-inning experience at the Double-A level, he should fill a similar role with Gwinnett in 2015.
  • Jace Peterson (2B) – acquired from the San Diego Padres along with left-hander Max Fried, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith in exchange for Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft on December 19.  The 24-year-old Peterson is the only player the Braves received in the J-Up blockbuster that has played above Advanced-A.  San Diego’s first round pick in 2011 out of McNeese State University, Peterson reached the Majors for the first time in 2014, batting .113 with a pair of stolen bases in 58 plate appearances.  The rest of his season was split between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso, where he combined to hit .307 with 24 doubles, six triples, three homers, 46 RBIs and 16 stolen bases in 86 games.  Atlanta signed veteran infielder Alberto Callaspo to be the likely stop-gap second baseman until Jose Peraza is ready, but Peterson could contend for that role with a good Spring Training performance.  If he doesn’t make the big club, he could be in the crowded Gwinnett infield mix.
  • Manny Banuelos (LHP) – acquired from the New York Yankees in exchange for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve on January 1.  Like Kurcz and Fried, Banuelos is another promising prospect set back by recent Tommy John surgery.  The 23-year-old Mexico native was rated the No. 4 prospect in the Yankees’ system by Baseball America prior to the 2011 season.  He made his Triple-A debut that year with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA in seven starts.  On August 29, 2011, he one-hit the Pawtucket Red Sox over 7.0 scoreless innings, striking out six.  Banuelos returned to Scranton to open 2012, but made just six starts before suffering the left elbow injury in May.  After missing all of 2013 while rehabbing, the southpaw made his return in 2014.  Over 26 appearances between Advanced-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Scranton, he went 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 76.2 innings.  His final four starts came in the International League, where he went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 15.0 innings for the RailRiders.  Banuelos has yet to make his Major League debut, but is currently a factor in the Braves’ search for a No. 5 starter.  If he doesn’t win the spot, he’ll likely start in Gwinnett.
  • Michael Foltynewicz (RHP) – acquired from the Houston Astros along with right-hander Andrew Thurman and third baseman Rio Ruiz in exchange for Evan Gattis and James Hoyt on January 14.  Foltynewicz, Houston’s first round pick in 2010, jumps to the head of the class when it comes to Braves’ prospect pitchers.  The 23-year-old made both his Triple-A and Major League debuts in 2014, going 7-7 with a 5.08 ERA in 21 games with Oklahoma City and 0-1 with a 5.30 ERA in 16 games with the Astros.  A power pitcher who has reportedly touched triple digits with his fastball, Foltynewicz will look to improve his control and cut down his ERA in his first season with the Braves.  He could immediately challenge for a Major League bullpen spot this spring, but Atlanta may choose to develop him as a starter in Gwinnett.

Claimed off Waivers:

  • Eury Perez (OF) – claimed off waivers from the New York Yankees on January 23.  The 24-year-old Perez is a top-of-the-order Triple-A hitter that has speed and can play all three outfield spots.  He has had brief call-ups with the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees over the past three seasons, but has been primarily plying his trade in Triple-A Syracuse.  Over 193 games with the Chiefs since 2012, Perez batted a combined .310 with 38 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs, 49 RBIs and 63 stolen bases.  With G-Braves’ all-time hits leader Jose Constanza out of options, Perez could be the guy to take over his table-setting role in Gwinnett.  (EDIT: Constanza, DFA’d on January 28, cleared waivers and was assigned back to Gwinnett on February 5.)

Acquired via Rule 5 Draft:

  • Daniel Winkler (RHP) – selected from the Colorado Rockies in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 11.  Normally, a Major League Rule 5 selection must spend the entire season on his new club’s 25-man roster or be offered back to his old team, but Winkler is an interesting exception.  He is coming off Tommy John surgery performed last June, meaning the Braves can keep him on the Major League disabled list while he rehabs.  Atlanta will likely assign him to minor league rehab outings (potentially with Gwinnett) early in the season, but will have to call him up to the active roster for 90 days to retain him past 2015.  Winkler went 13-7 with a 2.98 ERA and a MiLB-best 175 strikeouts in 2013, then went 5-2 with a 1.41 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 12 starts with Double-A Tulsa last year.
  • Steve Rodriguez (C) – selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Double-A roster in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft on December 11.  Rodriguez, 24, was Arizona’s 15th round pick in the 2011 June draft out of UCLA.  In four seasons in the D-Backs’ system, he batted .225 with 30 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 56 RBIs in 158 games.  He made his Double-A debut with Mobile last year, batting .267 with nine doubles and 11 RBIs in 39 games.  While he didn’t do much with the bat in 2014, he did throw out 50% (19-of-38) of attempting base-stealers in 38 errorless games with the BayBears.  Rodriguez hopes to ride his defense to a Triple-A debut in 2015.

Re-Signed with Braves:

  • Sean Kazmar (INF) – signed to a minor league contract on November 12.  Kazmar, 30, has been a versatile defender and steady bat for the G-Braves for the past two seasons.  After batting .228 in 95 games with Gwinnett in 2013, he posted the highest batting average of his career in 2014, a .297 mark in 67 games.  His production was halted by a left hand fracture suffered in late May, but Kazmar returned in July and batted .299 in 27 games in August.  He capped his season by earning the Gwinnett Braves “Most Competitive Player Award” for 2014.  Expect to see Kazmar at Coolray Field once again in 2015, backing up at second base, third base and shortstop.


Minor League Free Agents:

  • Pedro Ciriaco (2B) – signed to a minor league contract on October 13.  Ciriaco, 29, is a well-traveled Major League infielder, having logged time with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2010-11), Boston Red Sox (2012-13), San Diego Padres (2013) and Kansas City Royals (2013-14).  In 188 career big league games, he has batted .270 with 24 doubles, six triples, four home runs, 36 RBIs and 31 stolen bases.  Despite that experience, Ciriaco played primarily with Triple-A Omaha in 2014, batting .302 and posting a .766 OPS in 62 games.  He brings postseason success with him to Gwinnett after batting .342 in nine playoff games for the Triple-A National Champion Omaha Storm Chasers last year.
  • Sugar Ray Marimon (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 4.  The Braves are just the second organization for Marimon, who spent his previous eight seasons in the minors with the Kansas City Royals.  The 26-year-old made his long awaited Triple-A debut in 2014, going 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 83.1 innings for Omaha.  Like Ciriaco, he was an important September piece for the Triple-A National Champion Storm Chasers, going 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his two playoff starts.  Marimon is just 27-46 with a 4.14 ERA in 137 career outings (121 starts) in the minors, but may benefit from a fresh start with the Braves.  He should be a strong candidate for the Gwinnett rotation.
  • Greg Smith (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 4.  The veteran southpaw has pitched for seven different organizations prior to joining the Braves, including Arizona (2005-07), Oakland (2008), Colorado (2009-10), New York Yankees (2011), Boston (2011), Los Angeles Angels (2012) and Philadelphia (2013-14).  He has seen time on the Triple-A roster for all seven of those clubs.  Smith’s standout year was 2008, when he made 32 Major League starts for Oakland and went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA and 111 strikeouts in 190.1 innings.  G-Braves fans will more likely remember him as a staple of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ rotation, where he went 9-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) a year ago.  Consider Smith a challenger for a Gwinnett rotation spot.
  • Francisco Rondon (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 7.  Rondon, 26, has spent all nine of his minor league seasons in the New York Yankees system, going 29-18 with a 3.61 ERA, seven saves and 431 strikeouts in 436.0 innings.  After tastes of Triple-A in 2012 and 2013, he finally caught on with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a longer stretch in 2014, going 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA over 12 relief outings.  The Santo Domingo, D.R. native could be a relief option in Gwinnett or Double-A Mississippi next year.
  • Donnie Veal (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on November 10.  As mentioned in a previous post, the 30-year-old Veal will compete for an Atlanta bullpen spot this spring, but could spend ample time with Gwinnett in 2015.  In 100 Major League outings with the Pittsburgh Pirates (2009) and Chicago White Sox (2012-14), he’s 3-3 with a 4.87 ERA, one save and 70 strikeouts in 64.2 innings.  He spent the majority of 2014 with Triple-A Charlotte, going 4-5 with a 5.94 ERA in 37 relief outings.
  • Chien-Ming Wang (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on November 10.  Also mentioned in a previous post, the 34-year-old Wang is the most notable addition to the Gwinnett pitching staff thus far.  Seven years and several injuries removed from his consecutive 19-win seasons with the New York Yankees in 2006 and 2007, Wang is now considered a Triple-A workhorse.  He led the International League with 28 starts in 2014, going 13-8 with a 4.12 ERA between the Louisville Bats and the Charlotte Knights.  His strikeout ratio was low (73 SO in 172.2 IP), but his groundout/flyout ratio was an impressive 1.78.  Wang should headline the Gwinnett rotation in 2015.
  • Victor Mateo (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 13.  Mateo, 25, joins the Braves after spending his first eight minor league seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.  He hasn’t yet reached the Triple-A level, but is coming off back-to-back solid seasons as a starter for Double-A Montgomery.  In 2013, he went 7-9 with a 3.93 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 153.1 innings for the Biscuits.  Last season, he matched a career high with 12 wins, going 12-11 with a 3.90 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 166.0 innings.  Mateo appears poised to advance to Triple-A for the first time in 2015, but a glut of experienced starters in Gwinnett could mean a trip to Mississippi.
  • Corban Joseph (1B) – signed to a minor league contract on November 19.  The New York Yankees’ fourth round selection in the 2008 June draft, Joseph spent seven seasons with the club before being released on August 27.  He made his Triple-A debut in 2012 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .266 with 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and an .840 OPS.  His 2013 season was highlighted by his Major League debut with the Yankees — a two-game stint as the 26th man during a doubleheader on May 13 — but also included a torn labrum injury in his right shoulder that required surgery in June.  He returned to Triple-A in 2014 and hit .268 with four homers and 28 RBIs in 70 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Joseph, 26, could be a potent left-handed bat for the G-Braves as he seeks to play a full season for the first time since 2012.

  • Jake Brigham (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  Brigham, 26, has experienced a lot in eight minor league seasons prior to joining the Braves.  Originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round in 2006, Brigham underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and missed all of 2008.  He returned from the injury in 2009 and reached as high as Double-A Frisco in 2012, going 5-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 21 starts.  The Rangers traded him to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catcher Geovany Soto at the 2012 trade deadline, but got him back from the Cubs via trade the following November.  Brigham made his Triple-A debut with Round Rock in 2013, going 5-5 with a 4.51 ERA in 26 games (18 starts).  The Rangers didn’t re-sign him after 2013, and he moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  Last year at Triple-A Indianapolis, he went 3-5 with a 4.29 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 92.1 innings over 18 games (14 starts).  Brigham profiles to be in Gwinnett, but a definite fit isn’t clear.
  • Travis Mattair (1B) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  The 25-year-old Mattair has yet to play above Double-A, but is an intriguing prospect that could be ready for the next level.  Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the 2007 June draft, Mattair was selected during the Triple-A phase of the 2012 Rule 5 Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.  In two seasons with the Reds’ Double-A affiliate in Pensacola, he combined to hit .240 with 42 doubles, 26 home runs and 126 RBIs in 263 games.  He also struck out 239 times in that span, a rate he’ll have to cut down in order to proceed to Triple-A.  Mattair could be headed for Gwinnett, but is more likely to be in Mississippi.
  • Jairo Heredia (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on November 20.  Another former Pinstripes prospect, Heredia joins the Braves after seven seasons in the New York Yankees’ system.  The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native was rated the Yankees’ No. 12 prospect by Baseball America back in 2009.  He spent most of 2014 with Double-A Trenton, going 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 71.1 innings over 26 games (10 starts).  Heredia also pitched five times for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, going 1-0 with a 7.53 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 14.1 innings in five games (1 start).  He likely starts out in Double-A Mississippi in 2015.
  • K.D. Kang (OF) – signed to a minor league contract on November 21.  Though born in South Korea, the 26-year-old Kang has ties to Gwinnett County.  He attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, GA, the same school that produced former Braves outfielder and current Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Jeff Francoeur.  The Tampa Bay Rays drafted Kang in the 15th round in 2006, and he spent seven seasons in their minor league system before signing with Baltimore for 2014.  The left-handed hitter has batted .269 with 150 doubles, 38 triples, 68 home runs, 307 RBIs and 37 stolen bases in 726 minor league games, stats reflecting decent power and speed.  He has yet to reach the Triple-A level, however, spending nearly all of his time with Double-A affiliates the past four seasons.  Last year, Kang batted .282 with 22 doubles, three triples, 12 homers and 37 RBIs in 100 games with Bowie of the Orioles’ system.  He looks poised to make his Triple-A debut in Gwinnett sometime in 2015.
  • Michael Kohn (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract and invited to Spring Training on December 4.  Like Veal, Kohn is a reliever with quality Major League experience that the Braves will take a long look at this spring.  Over parts of four seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, he combined to go 5-6 with a 3.67 ERA, two saves and 107 strikeouts in 110.1 innings.  In 2014, Kohn made 25 big league appearances, going 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA.  He’s also a veteran of four Triple-A seasons with Salt Lake, where he went 5-6 with a 3.62 ERA in 110 relief outings.  The Camden, SC native could end up a G-Brave, but certainly has the ability to pitch for Atlanta as needed.
  • Joe Benson (OF) – signed to a minor league contract on January 7.  The Minnesota Twins’ second round pick in 2006, Benson was regarded by Baseball America as the Twins’ No. 2 prospect in 2008.  He spent seven seasons with the Twins, making a 21-game Major League debut back in 2011 (.239, 17-for-71, 2 RBI, 2 SB).  Benson has not since returned to the Majors in stints with the Texas Rangers and Miami Marlins, and he spent most of 2014 with Miami’s Double-A affiliate in Jacksonville (.264, 10 HR, 62 RBI in 124 games).  Though he’s logged 861 minor league games — including 70 games with Triple-A Rochester from 2012 to 2013 — he’s still just 26 years old and has upside.  Time will tell how he fits into a Gwinnett outfield that could return Todd Cunningham, Edward Salcedo and Joey Terdoslavich.
  • Leyson Septimo (LHP) – signed to a minor league contract on January 7.  The continued search for left-handed relief depth led to the 29-year-old Septimo, who pitched for Southern Maryland of the independent Atlantic League last season (0-0, 14.85 ERA in 8 games).  Septimo was originally signed as an outfielder by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2003 and began his conversion to the mound in 2008.  The Chicago White Sox claimed him off waivers in June 2011, and he spent most of 2012 and 2013 working out of the Triple-A Charlotte bullpen.  He went 2-1 with a paltry 1.31 ERA in 24 outings for the Knights in 2012, but followed up with a 2-1 record and 4.42 ERA in 28 games in 2013.  Septimo does have big league experience, 21 appearances with the White Sox in 2012 when he went 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 14.1 innings.  If Septimo regains his 2012 form, he could be another sleeper Independent League find for the Braves on the order of Carlos Fisher last season.
  • David Carpenter (RHP) – signed to a minor league contract on January 17.  The OTHER David Carpenter joins the Braves after six seasons with the Los Angeles Angels.  The Angels’ ninth round pick in 2009, Carpenter has spent parts of the last three seasons with Triple-A Salt Lake.  In 60 games with the Bees, he combined to go 7-2 with a 5.58 ERA, six saves and 67 strikeouts in 80.2 innings.  After posting a 9.48 ERA in 24 outings with Salt Lake in 2013, he dropped his ERA down to 3.34 in 21 games last season.  Carpenter has logged 30 appearances in the Majors with Los Angeles, but 28 of those came back in 2012 when he went 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA.  He is likely to spend some time in Gwinnett next season.
  • John Buck (C) – signed to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training on January 25.  The well-traveled Buck has played for Kansas City, Toronto, Florida/Miami, New York (NL), Pittsburgh, Seattle and Los Angeles (AL) over an 11-year Major League career.  In 1,090 big league games, he has combined to bat .234 with 134 home runs an 491 RBIs.  Back in 2010, he was an American League All-Star with the Blue Jays thanks to career highs in batting average (.281), homers (20) and RBIs (66).  The 34-year-old did spend 33 games with Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels’ system last year, and could end up in the same role within the Braves’ system — veteran catcher providing depth in Gwinnett.
  • Jesus Flores (C) – signed to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training on January 26.  Flores is another seasoned catcher added with depth in mind.  He spent five years with the Washington Nationals from 2007-12, batting .241 with 23 homers and 127 RBIs in 311 games.  Last season, he made the move to the Kansas City Royals’ system, but played in just 40 games with Triple-A Omaha before being released on July 23.  Flores is one of eight catchers the Braves extended non-roster invites to, but he and Buck stand as the most Major League ready backstops of the group.

Notable 2014 G-Braves that have gone elsewhere, or are currently free agents:

  • Mitch Atkins (RHP) – signed with the Texas Rangers.
  • Pedro Beato (RHP) – currently a free agent.
  • Brandon Boggs (OF) – currently a free agent.
  • Ryan Buchter (LHP) – signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Terry Doyle (RHP) – signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • James Hoyt (RHP) – traded to the Houston Astros.
  • Tommy La Stella (2B) – traded to the Chicago Cubs.
  • Steve Lerud (C) – signed with the Washington Nationals.
  • Ozzie Martinez (INF) – signed with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Donnie Murphy (INF) – currently a free agent.
  • Aaron Northcraft (RHP) – traded to the San Diego Padres.
  • Daniel Rodriguez (LHP) – traded to the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Edward Salcedo (OF/3B) – traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Gus Schlosser (RHP) – traded to the Colorado Rockies.
  • Chasen Shreve (LHP) – traded to the New York Yankees.
  • Atahualpa Severino (LHP) – signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Zach Stewart (RHP) – signed with the Los Angeles Angels.

Please check back for further updates as the offseason continues, and remember to follow @GBravesMedia for baseball-related G-Braves news.

-DL

Spring Training Report- Familiar Faces, New Places

With every offseason comes a changing of the guard. When the Gwinnett Braves take the field in 2014, the roster will carry a couple of familiar faces, while the majority of it will be composed of minor league free agents and Double-A standouts.

The G-Braves roster will be determined at a later date, but for now we will take a look at the former G-Braves that have moved on to different organizations. In the offseason, 11 former G-Braves declared for free agency, pitchers Joe Beimel, Joe Bisenius, Juan Cedeno, Pat Egan, Yohan Flande and Omar Poveda, infielders Alden Carrithers and Sean Kazmar, and outfielders Brandon Boggs, Stefan Gartrell, Greg Golson.

While, Bisenius, Cedeno, Kazmar, Boggs and Gartrell look to catch on with a team once Spring Training starts, the rest of the crew will be reporting to a new location in 2014.

Flande(Moore)

Flande(Moore)

Beimel will report to Peoria, AZ as a non-roster invitee of the Seattle Mariners. The lefty pitched well for the G-Braves, going 1-2 with 4.36 ERA in 33.0 IP. Beimel got off to a slow start as he was coming off of “Tommy John” surgery, but finished strong in August, posting a 3.60 ERA in 15.0 IP with 13 strikeouts.

Fellow southpaw Flande will also head to the Cactus League, but he will head to Tucson, AZ as a member of the Colorado Rockies. Flande spent three seasons with the Braves organization, posting a 23-26 mark with a 4.13 ERA in 416.0 IP for the G-Braves. Last season, he won a team-high nine games. He is second in G-Braves All-Time history in wins, losses, innings pitched, strikeouts (302) and starts (65).

Righties Egan and Poveda will be pitching in the Central Division. Egan will report to Goodyear, AZ with the Cincinnati Reds, while Poveda joins the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, AZ. Egan bounced around from Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett. He finished the season with the M-Braves after going 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA with Gwinnett. Poveda enjoyed his best season at the Triple-A level, going 6-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 27 games (25 starts). He was named the Gwinnett Braves Pitcher of the Year at the end of the season. He will be a non-roster invitee for the White Sox and compete for a spot on the rotation.

Carrithers and Golson will report to Phoenix, AZ, Carrithers as a member of the Oakland A’s and Golson with the Milwaukee Brewers. Last season, the left-handed batter, hit .299 (75-for-251) with 14 doubles, one triple, three homers and 19 RBI in 90 games for the G-Braves, while the outfielder batted .462 (6-for-13) in seven games for Gwinnett.  

With former G-Braves reporting to camp and the start of the Spring Training season less than 10 days away, baseball season is approaching. Be the first to join the action as the G-Braves open the 2014 season on Friday, April 11th at 7:05 p.m. against the South Division Champion Durham Bulls at Coolray Field.

Braves Notes:

Infielder Mat Gamel was released by the Braves after suffering another set back to his injured knee. The Braves will head to camp with 61 players as they begin team workouts today.

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (38-53) vs. Norfolk Tides (48-42)

Bisenius (Karl Moore)

Bisenius (Karl Moore)

Mon, July 8: RHP Joe Bisenius (2-1, 5.87) vs. LHP Jake Pettit (3-1, 2.37)
Tue, July 9: TBA vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 4.38)
Wed, July 10: RHP Cody Martin (2-1, 1.38) vs. TBA
Thu, July 11: RHP Kameron Loe (3-2, 2.97) vs. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-4, 5.14)

The Gwinnett Braves are off to a slow start in their current homestand, dropping three of their first four games. Despite holding the No.1 offense in the International League, the Durham Bulls, to one run during their two-game series, the G-Braves only came away with one victory.

Batters: With Ernesto Mejia sidelined with a sore hamstring, the G-Braves have had to rely on others to take care of the offensive load… However, the Braves have scored five runs in their last five games, while being shut out three times… Luis Nunez has been the best hitter during that span, hitting .267 (4-for-15) with one run… Sean Kazmar and Jose Yepez have driven in two apiece during that span…

Pitchers: After getting routed 13-0 on Wednesday night at Norfolk, the pitching staff has been sharp during their current homestand. They have allowed nine runs, eight earned in 36 innings, while scattering 31 hits… Kameron Loe is the only pitcher to collect a victory during this homestand. On 7/7, he tossed five innings of scoreless ball, scattering three hits and striking out two. His night was washed away, as a 51-minute rain delay impeded his chances from returning to the game… Mark Lamm made his Triple-A debut on Saturday, recording two innings of shutout ball and picking up a hold…

G-Bites: Since being optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett on Friday, Cory Gearrin has not appeared in a game.

Norfolk Tides lead the Wild Card race, ahead of the streaking Rochester Red Wings (47-45), by 2.0 games and sit 7.5 games behind the front-running Durham Bulls (56-35) in the South Division.

Batters: Jason Pridie is having a great season, hitting .300 (91-for-303) with 21 doubles, three triples, 11 homers and 43 RBI. He has tormented G-Braves’ pitching, hitting .326 (14-for-43) with four doubles, one triple, one homer and nine RBI…L.J. Hoes has been even better, the fleet-footed outfielder is batting .353 (12-for-34) with one double, one homer and six RBI against Gwinnett in 2013.

Pitchers: Triple-A All Star and former G-Brave, Jairo Asencio is having a fantastic season in 2013. In 33 games, he is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA, converting 19 of 24 save opportunities. In five games against the G-Braves this season, he is 0-0 with four saves, while striking out six and allowing one run… Game two will feature former G-Brave and Atlanta Braves hurler, Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens has made a few starts for the Baltimore Orioles, but has spent most of the season with the Tides. In 15 starts, he is 5-6 with a 4.38 ERA.

Off-Shore: The Tides have dominated the G-Braves in 2013, posting an 8-2 record against their South Division foes.

-Jd-

Pillar’s Career Night Leads Bisons Past Braves

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – On a night when Joey Terdoslavich was announced to the 15th Annual SiriusXM Futures Game, Buffalo outfielder Kevin Pillar stole the show, going 4-for-5 with four doubles and two runs scored to lead the Bisons (40-38) to a 4-3 victory over the Gwinnett Braves (35-46) on Wednesday night.

The G-Braves got off to a great start, taking advantage of three errors and coming up with clutch hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Todd Cunningham singled, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Phil Gosselin and scored on a grounder by Terdoslavich for the game’s first run.  Terdoslavich reached on an error by first baseman Luis Jimenez and Ernesto Mejia reached on an error by third baseman Mauro Gomez, putting runners on first and second with one out. Stefan Gartrell and Joe Leonard each picked up RBI singles to make it 3-0.

Jimenez cut into the lead with a solo homer in the top of the fourth.  His 14th home run of the season snapped a 13.1-inning scoreless streak by Gwinnett starting pitcher David Hale

In the fifth, the Bisons would tie up.  Sean Ochinko drew a one out walk and advanced to third on a double by Pillar. They both came around to score on a two-run double by Ryan Goins, making it 3-3.  Goins attempted to stretch the double into a triple, but was thrown out at third as Terdoslavich recorded his team-leading eighth outfield assist.

Hale exited after 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out six.  After turning in his third quality start of the season, he turned a tie game over to the bullpen.

However, the bullpen had some trouble in the eighth, as the Bisons took the lead in the top of the frame.  Pillar connected for his fourth double of the game to lead off the inning, becoming the first Buffalo player in the modern era to record four doubles in a game.  He would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch by Wirfin Obispo (L, 1-3). The right-hander’s errant pitch snapped a 14-outing, 17.2-inning scoreless streak, the longest by a Gwinnett pitcher this season.

Thad Weber (W, 3-1) was impressive for the Bisons in the victory.  After allowing the three runs in the first inning, he went on to face the minimum in his last six innings of baseball, allowing one hit and striking out three in the process.  He went 7.0 innings with three runs, one earned on four hits.  Joel Carreno (H, 3) and Brad Lincoln finished off the G-Braves, tossing two scoreless innings to end the game. Lincoln (S, 3) picked up the save, stranding a pair of baserunners in the ninth.

The Gwinnett offense was held to five singles on the night.  Terdoslavich, Cunningham, Gartrell, Leonard and Sean Kazmar each had one hit.

Pillar led the Buffalo offense with his four hits.  In two games against the G-Braves, he is 5-for-9 with five doubles.

The Gwinnett Braves continue their four game series with the Buffalo Bisons on Thursday night at 6:05 PM. G-Braves right-hander Joe Bisenius (1-0, 4.76) will face off against Bisons right-hander Chad Jenkins (0-3, 11.37). Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.  First pitch is 6:05 PM.

Thursday is another “$3 Thursday” at Coolray Field.  Enjoy $3 food and beverage specials all game long.  All Lawn Seats are also just $3.  To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.

Inside the Numbers

Last night in the third inning of the contest between the Rochester Red Wings and Gwinnett Braves, Stefan Gartrell connected for his second home run of the season off of Vance Worley. The homer was his 47th in a G-Braves uniform, All-Time Career leader, and it catapulted the Braves over the Red Wings 11-3 Thursday night.

The G-Braves are no stranger to the long ball, clubbing 48 dingers on the season. However, there is a huge discrepancy in homers hit off of right-handed and left-handeed pitchers. In 62 contests, the Braves have homered 44 times against right handed pitchers, while collecting four against southpaws. The power outage against lefties is overwhelming. The Braves have hit lefties well, recording a .254 (103-for-406) batting average, while hitting .264 (430-for-1631) against right-handers. There is not a big gap in the average, but a huge margin in power remains. If you balance the numbers in percentages, 10% (44-for-430) of the Braves hits against right-handers have been homers, while 3% (4-for-103) of their hits against southpaws have been dingers.

Luckily for the Braves, they faced a right-hander last night. However, tonight they will go up against Red Wings’ lefty Andrew Albers (3-2, 3.53) at 7:05 PM.

Below is the lineup that will match up against the lefty:
Cunningham 8
Pastornicky 4
Terdoslavich 9
Mejia 3
Boggs 7
Gartrell DH
Leonard 5
Yepez 2
Kazmar 6
Flande 1

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