Results tagged ‘ Todd Cunningham ’

Il Preview: Gwinnett Braves

The IL Preview concludes with the Gwinnett Braves. Last season, Gwinnett had a forgettable season, finishing last in the IL with a 60-84 mark. Injuries at the Major League level and constant turnover at the minor league level crippled the Gwinnett roster.

The Braves will be led by new skipper Brian Snitker. The former Atlanta Braves third base coach has managerial experience at the minor league level, coaching over 2,000 games (1140-1145 record). He will have a good group of players leading the charge in 2014.

Pitching: The Braves pitching staff took a big hit with the losses of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy during Spring Training. The losses will trickle down to the minor league level, as two potential G-Braves in David Hale and Gus Schlosser will start in Atlanta.

The G-Braves will start the season with Zach Stewart, Mitch Atkins, Daniel Rodriguez, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya. All five pitchers have pitched at the Triple-A level and come with experience. Atkins has won 33 games between the Pacific Coast League and International League. Last season, he went 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 17 games for Double-A Mississippi.

Martin enters the season with the least amount of experience on the staff, but will be leaned on to built upon his successful 2013 campaign. In 13 games (11 starts), he went 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 69.2 IP with the G-Braves.

The bullpen will feature a slew of flamethrowers, as Wirfin Obispo, Mark Lamm, Juan Jaime and Luis Vasquez will be eager to close outs games. Obispo returns to Gwinnett after going 2-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 54 relief appearances. He recorded nine saves, striking out 70 batters in 63.2 innings.

Infield: Offensively, the diamond will be loaded with a deep-talented group. Ernesto Mejia, who hit a career-high 28 homers in 2013, returns for his third season with the G-Braves. He has led the IL in RBIs two straight seasons.

Tommy La Stella will join him on the right side. The former Coastal Carolina alum is a lifetime .327 minor league hitter. The second baseman made an impression with Atlanta during Spring Training, batting .255 with four doubles and five RBIs. He will get his first taste of Triple-A baseball in 2014.

The Atlanta Braves No.2 prospect according to Baseball America, Christian Bethancourt will get his first taste of Triple-A as well. He hit .277 (99-for-358) with 21 doubles, 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 90 games for the M-Braves. He set a club record by reaching base in 40-straight games from June 13 to August 14, batting .338 (54-for-160) with 12 doubles, 10 homers and 27 RBI during the streak.

Tyler Greene and Edward Salcedo will fill out the left side. Both players have the ability to drive in runs and steal bases. Salcedo has swiped 80 bags and drove in 211 runners in 471 minor league contests, while Greene has over 150 stolen bases and 373 RBIs in his ten year career.

Outfield: The Gwinnett Braves will be fortunate to feature a major-league like outfield, as Jose Constanza, Todd Cunningham and Joey Terdoslavich will be manning one of the three outfield positions. Terdoslavich returns after a banner season with Gwinnett. He was named an International League midseason and postseason All-Star after hitting .318 (102-for-321) with 24 doubles, 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 85 games. He was named Gwinnett’s Most Valuable player by Atlanta and Gwinnett. He was as selected to represent Team USA in the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, but did not participate due to his MLB call-up on 7/4.

Constanza returns for his fourth season with Gwinnett. The longest tenured G-Brave returns for his fourth season with the ball club. Constanza enters the season as the G-Braves all-time hits (306), triples (11) and stolen bases (58) leader. In three seasons, he has tallied a .301 (306-for-1,118) batting average with 19 doubles and 69 RBIs.

Cunningham, the switch-hitting outfielder led the squad in hitting with a .265 (113-for-427) batting average. He tallied 13 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 38 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 116 games.

Projected Depth Chart:

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

(Depth chart is not official, based on projections.)

 

-JD-

Spring Training Q&A with Todd Cunningham

Much like David Hale, outfielder Todd Cunningham has seen quite a shift in his expectations this spring.  A year ago, he entered Major League camp as the reigning Atlanta Braves Minor League Player of the Year, an award that earned him a spot as a non-roster invitee.  He played in 22 Grapefruit League games before ultimately opening the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went on to hit .265 with 60 runs scored an 20 stolen bases.  This spring, Cunningham is a member of the 40-man roster with a taste of the Majors under his belt (he hit .250 in eight games for Atlanta last year), vying for a return trip to Turner Field.  Gwinnett Braves Media Relations Manager Dave Lezotte caught up with him today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Todd Cunningham (center) has hit .250 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games for the Atlanta Braves thus far this spring. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

Todd Cunningham (center) has hit .250 with a home run and three RBIs in eight games for the Atlanta Braves thus far this spring. (Photo by Chris Roughgarden)

DL:  Last year, you were a non-roster invitee to Braves Spring Training.  This year, you’re on the 40-man roster.  How does this spring compare to last year?

TC: Every year, you’re just trying to get ready for Spring Training.  Wherever you settle in the lineup or whatever team you end up on, it kind of works itself out.  It’s all about getting ready for the season and being ready to go for game one.

DL: You’re competing for a roster spot with Atlanta, going up against some former Gwinnett teammates like Jose Constanza and Joey Terdoslavich.  What’s that competition like?

TC: We all get along so well, there’s no bad blood among us.  It’s all about the competition.  We go out and we play hard, all of us enjoy the game of baseball.  We have that connection, that bond, regardless of what happens.  It’s all about going out there and playing hard.

DL: Obviously you still root for those guys when they’re at the plate.

TC: Yeah, they’re your teammates.  You’ve come up with them and played with them, so you want everyone to do well.

DL: Last year with Gwinnett, you hit two home runs all year.  In your third game this spring, you homered.  What was it like showing some power in a Major League Spring Training game?

TC: It feels good.  Hopefully that works itself into my swing; it’s something that I’ve tried to incorporate a little bit.  Hopefully that shows up throughout the whole season.

DL: As a G-Brave in 2013, you were the everyday centerfielder.  This spring, you’ve been playing a lot of left field.  Are you still working towards being in center, or is it left field now?

TC: The whole goal is to be able to play as many (positions) as possible.  You start looking at the levels above you, the big league level and who they have, and there’s a lot of contracts out there.  For me and my position, trying to find a way to get in there, you have to be able to play more than one.  The more positions I can play, the better, but obviously the longer I can stay in the middle of the field, the better, too.

DL: Is there different preparation involved for playing the corner outfield spots as opposed to center?

TC: Balls just don’t stay true on the corners, you get all the slices and hooks and top-spin.  It’s a lot about first-step reads.

DL: Last season with Gwinnett, you hit .265 and stole 20 bases.  Is there an area of your game that you’re working on improving for this year?

TC: Just being able to drive the ball consistently.  I’d kind of go through stretches last year where I’d get behind some balls.  To be able to do it throughout the whole year, would obviously improve (my) game.

DL: Last year, you got the opportunity to make your Major League debut with the Braves.  It was a limited stint, but certainly an eye-opening experience for you.  How important is that experience for you heading into this season?

TC: It’s great.  It put me in position to come in as a roster invitee. It was just a really cool experience, to kind of get (my) feet wet.  Especially when we were on that 14-game winning streak, it was a lot of fun to be in that atmosphere.

DL: Brian Snitker is the manager in Gwinnett this year.  You got a chance to work with him at the Major League level last season, what are your thoughts on Snit?

TC: I’m excited to have his experience transferred down to the Triple-A level.  He’s been around the game for a long time, so I’m sure there are things that everyone can pick up from him.

DL: The Gwinnett roster obviously will take shape once the Atlanta roster works itself out, but there should be a veteran presence on the club this year.   I know you guys aren’t thinking about Triple-A just yet, but what’s your early feeling about the Gwinnett club?

TC: The whole goal, like I said, is to get to the big leagues, but also be ready for game one.  I think everyone is going to be on the same page there and be ready in case the opportunity presents itself to be in Atlanta.  As far as how the Triple-A team is going to shape up, I think it’s going to be a lot of guys all with the same goal in mind, which is really cool when you get that many guys on the same page.  It should be an exciting year, wherever I end up.

DL: If you do end up back in Gwinnett at some point this season, how do you handle that?

TC: Just the same as I’ve always handled it.  It’s baseball, I’m trying to get better, I have things that I’m working on.  Keep the big picture in mind, trying to get back to Atlanta, and just keep working.

Scenes from Spring Training 2014

Chris Roughgarden of the Gwinnett Braves Photography Staff was at Champion Stadium on Thursday night to shoot the Atlanta Braves/Washington Nationals night game.  She got some great shots of several 2013 G-Braves, which can be viewed in the slideshow below.  The Braves won the contest, 3-2.

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (45-61) vs. Charlotte Knights (48-58)

Hale (Makensie Cooper)

Hale (Makensie Cooper)

Fri, July 26: RHP David Hale (4-5, 3.03) vs. RHP Zach Stewart (5-10, 4.91)
Sat, July 27: RHP Omar Poveda (5-6, 3.30) vs. LHP Charlie Leesman (2-1, 3.62)
Sun, July 28: RHP Joe Bisenius (3-3, 5.83) vs. TBA
Mon, July 29: TBA vs. RHP Jason Berken (8-9, 3.85)

Gwinnett dropped their last two at Durham, losing the road-home series three games to one. Charlotte is on a roll of late, winning their last three games and taking sole possession of third place in the South Division.

Batters: Since rejoining the G-Braves, Tyler Pastornicky has hit in four straight games. In his last four games, he is hitting .462 (6-for-13) with one run scored and two RBI. On the season, he is batting .317 (78-for-246) with 13 doubles, two triples, four homers and 27 RBI for Gwinnett… Todd Cunningham returned from a minor hip flexor strain on fire. In three games, he is hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a double and three runs scored. He has been a sparkplug, taking over the leadoff spot since returning to the lineup. In 20 games as the leadoff hitter, he is batting .280 (21-for-75) with two doubles, one triple and two RBI.

Pitchers: David Hale will get the ball in the opener. In his last seven starts, he is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA (5 ER/40.1 IP) and a 1.16 WHIP. Hale won his first career Triple-A contest against the Charlotte Knights on 4/6, tossing five innings of two-run ball. Omar Poveda continues to have solid starts for the G-Braves. In his last contest, he went six innings, allowing seven hits and two runs in a 2-1 loss to Indianapolis. Poveda leads the squad with 13 quality starts.

Charlotte Knights
Batters: Charlotte has had a rough time against the G-Braves, posting a .251 (98-for-390) batting average, while striking out 105 times… Steve Tolleson leads the team in hitting, batting .292 (83-for-284) with six homers and 43 RBI. However, the infielder has struggled against the G-Braves, posting a .238 (10-for-42) batting average… Mike McDade fared well against the Braves in their two game series three weeks ago. In two games, he went 3-for-7 with two walks. On the season, he is hitting .257 (82-for-319) with eight homers and 42 RBI.

Pitchers: Zach Stewart is having a tough season. Originally the opening day starter for the Knights, the right-handed hurler has posted a 5-10 record with a 4.91 ERA. The long ball has been one of his problems, as he has issued 13 in 20 starts… Charlie Leesman suffered a huge setback last season, tearing his ACL in an International League playoff game; however, he has come back strong in 2013. In 11 starts for the Knights, he is 2-1 with 3.62 ERA. He has struck out 54 in 59.2 innings, while walking 25 batters. Last season he was 12-10 with a 2.45 ERA.

Knight Tales: Charlotte enters play 7.5 games back of the Wild card spot. They will need a big weekend against the G-Braves, as they have lost eight of 12 against Gwinnett.

Terdoslavich, G-Braves Walk Off, 8-7

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – After recording a season-high four hits on Friday night, Joey Terdoslavich followed up on Saturday by recording his first two-homer game since April 18, 2011.  His walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth sent the Coolray Field crowd of 9,284 home happy as the Gwinnett Braves (33-44) came back for a 9-8 win over the Syracuse Chiefs (28-45).  The G-Braves have now won five-straight games.

The G-Braves won despite a shaky performance from starter Omar Poveda. The right-hander allowed a season high five runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings. However, the offense had his back as they pounded out 12 hits and scored nine runs.

Both teams got on the board early, scoring a run in the first.  Syracuse used a lead-off double by Will Rhymes, a sacrifice bunt by Danny Espinosa and an RBI groundout by Corey Brown to take a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, Gwinnett took advantage of a throwing error by catcher Brian Jeroloman to push across their first run.

The Chiefs didn’t stop there, scoring one run in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead. In the third inning, Tyler Moore walked and scored on an RBI double by Chris Rahl. In the bottom of the fourth, Danny Espinosa smacked a two-run double down the left field line, scoring Jeroloman and Rhymes to make it 4-1.  Zach Walters capped the scoring, lacing his 17th homer of the season over the right field fence, extending the lead to 5-1.

Syracuse starter Ryan Tatusko stifled the G-Braves through four innings, as he held the offense to four hits and no earned runs.  However, Gwinnett exploded for six runs off of the right-hander in the bottom of the fifth.  Poveda led off with a single and Jose Constanza followed with a single, putting runners on first and second with no outs.  After a fielder’s choice, Terdoslavich hit his 16th homer of the season over the right field fence.  The dinger cut the deficit to 5-4.  Back-to-back walks to Ernesto Mejia and Alden Carriters set up a two out RBI opportunity for Jose Yepez. The backstop delivered with a two-run double to left, making it 6-5.  Luis Nunez added to lead with an RBI double of his own, extending the lead to 7-5. 

In the ninth, Moore walked to lead off and was followed by a Rahl single.  After Walters showed bunt on the first pitch, he took the next offering from Cory Rasmus (W, 3-1) over the right field fence, giving the Chiefs an 8-7 lead.

For Rasmus, it was his first blown save in eight chances.  However, Chiefs closer Michael Broadway (L, 1-1) didn’t fare any better.  He gave up a leadoff single to Todd Cunningham after a nine pitch at bat, which saw Cunningham battle back from a 0-2 count. The key hit would set the stage for Terdoslavich, who drove Broadway’s first offering out to deep right-center.

Terdoslavich finished the night with a team-high three hits and five RBI, while Constanza, Cunningham and Nunez picked up two hits each.

Walters led the Chiefs, going 2-for-5 with two homers and four RBI.

The Gwinnett Braves return to action Sunday afternoon as they host the Syracuse Chiefs for doubleheader starting at 2:05 PM. Braves right-hander Cody Martin (1-0, 0.00) will get the ball in game one, while Kameron Loe (2-1, 4.19) will toe the rubber in game two. Syracuse will throw left-hander Danny Rosenbaum (5-3, 3.76) in game one and right-hander Tanner Roark (3-3, 4.07) in game two. Listen to the games on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play.  Game one of the doubleheader will also be televised on CSS.

The first 2,000 fans in attendance on Sunday will receive a Fifth Anniversary Logo Drawstring Bag courtesy of Dave & Buster’s.  “Family Sunday” also includes Pre-Game Catch in the Outfield prior to game one and the Post-Game Kids Base Run following game two.  To purchase tickets, call the Coolray Field Box Office at (678) 277-0340 or visit gwinnettbraves.com.

 

-Jd-

G-Braves Double Up Syracuse, 8-4

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – In a season that has seen Joey Terdoslavich do just about everything at the plate, he crossed another feat off his list on Friday night, collecting a season-high four hits to lead the Gwinnett Braves (32-44) to an 8-4 win over the Syracuse Chiefs (28-44). The G-Braves extended their winning streak to four games in front of a Coolray Field crowd of 5,837.

Terdoslavich went a perfect 4-for-4 on the night, scoring three runs and driving in one to back the solid performance by right-hander Joe Bisenius (W, 1-0). Bisenius, signed to a minor league contract by Atlanta out of the independent American Association and assigned to Gwinnett earlier in the day, tossed 5.2 innings with four runs allowed, three earned, on eight hits. The right-hander walked two and struck out six.

The G-Braves took some of the pressure off of Bisenius early, taking advantage of an error to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After a single by Jose Constanza and fielder’s choice groundout by Todd Cunningham, Terdoslavich singled to right, sending Cunningham to third. Chiefs’ right fielder Chris Rahl misplayed the ball for a fielding error, allowing Cunningham to score.

Gwinnett added another run in the third. Terdoslavich doubled and scored on an error by third baseman Will Rhymes, pushing the lead to 2-0.

The Chiefs came roaring back, scoring a run in the fourth and fifth innings to knot it up. In the fourth, Rahl hit his sixth home run of the season, cutting the lead to 2-1. In the fifth, Brian Jeroloman singled and scored on a double by Corey Brown, making it 2-2.

With the score tied, the G-Braves scored four runs in the bottom half of the fifth off of Syracuse starter Yunesky Maya (L, 2-5). Terdoslavich singled with two outs and came around to score on Ernesto Mejia’s home run to left, his team-leading 18th blast of the season. Gwinnett increased the lead to 6-2 on a two-run single by Matt Pagnozzi.

Syracuse didn’t go away easy, scoring two runs in the top of the sixth. Rahl doubled to start the inning and Zach Walters reached base on error by Constanza, putting runners on second and third with no outs. Carlos Rivero followed with an RBI single and Jeroloman drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly, cutting the lead to 6-4.

However, that would be as close as the Chiefs would get as Gwinnett tacked on two runs late and the bullpen shut it down.

Joe Beimel, Wirfin Obispo and Pat Egan combined to throw 3.1 innings of hitless baseball to secure the victory. Obispo extended his team-beset scoreless streak to 17.1 innings as he tossed two solid frames of relief. Egan closed down a non-save ninth inning, pitching a perfect frame with two strikeouts.

In addition to Terdoslavich’s four-hit night, Alden Carrithers added a 3-for-4 game including a run scored. Seven of the eight Gwinnett position players picked up at least one hit on the night.

Rahl paced the Chiefs, going 3-for-4 with the home run, two runs scored and an RBI.

The Gwinnett Braves take on the Syracuse Chiefs in game two of the four-game series on Saturday night at Coolray Field, first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. Right-hander Omar Poveda (5-4, 3.08) will start for the G-Braves, while right-hander Ryan Tatusko (1-2, 3.08) makes the start for the Chiefs. Listen to the game on WDUN 550 AM and 102.9 FM with Tony Schiavone calling the play-by-play. The game will also be televised on CSS.

-JD-

Draft Day, G-Braves Draft Classed

It’s every amateur player’s dream to hear your name called on draft day. Tonight at 7: 05 ET, young baseball players from all over the country will have a new uniform to sport, as they will selected by a major league baseball team in the 2013 First Year Player Amateur Draft.

As we wait in anticipation of the MLB First Year Player Draft, we will take a look at all the Gwinnett Braves that have been drafted in the past.

First off, the Braves roster has seen 17 players called on draft day; six of those players were originally drafted by the Braves. Sean Gilmartin out of Florida State University was the highest draft choice, selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2011 draft, while, Cory Rasmus was picked in the supplemental first round (38th overall) out of Columbus, GA in 2006. Right-Hander David Hale was a third round pick in 2009 out of Princeton University.

With the bevy of talent in the rotation, the G-Braves benefited offensively from the 2010 draft.  Todd Cunningham (2nd round) out Jacksonville State University, Joe Leonard (3rd round )out of Pittsburgh University and Joey Terdoslavich (6th round) out of Long Beach State University were all a part of the 2010 class.

The rest of the non-international players were drafted by other clubs. The highest pick of the 11 remaining players was outfielder Brandon Boggs, selected in the fourth round of the 2004 draft out of Georgia Tech by the Texas Rangers. The 2004 class produced infielders Sean Kazmar (5th round by the San Diego Padres out of College of Southern Nevada) and Paul Janish (5th round by the Cincinnati Reds out of Rice University) as well.

The following two seasons would have produced two players apiece. However, in 2005, Cole McCurry was selected in the 31st round out Surry Community College (NC) by the Atlanta Braves, but elected not to sign. The other southpaw picked in 2005 was Ryan Buchter, 33rd round by the Washington Nationals out of Highland Regional Park H.S. (NJ).

In 2006, outfielder Stefan Gartrell went in the 31st round out University of San Francisco to the Chicago White Sox, while Pat Egan went in the 36th round to the Baltimore Orioles out of Quinnipiac College.

In 2008, Tyler Pastornicky heard his name called, as the Toronto Blue Jays picked him in the fifth round out of The Pendleton School (FL). Alden Carrithers was also selected in that draft, going in the 15th round to the Detroit Tigers out of UCLA.

The rest of the G-Braves did not have a partner in their draft class, as Joe Beimel (18th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Duquesne University), Matt Pagnozzi (8th round by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Central Arizona College) and McCurry (43rd round by the Baltimore Orioles out of Tennessee Wesleyan College) all came out solo.

G-Braves take on Rochester tonight, Thursday, June 6 at 6:05 PM.

-JD-

McCann Rehabs, Braves Continue Slide

The Gwinnett Braves returned to Coolray Field, but couldn’t get back on track, dropping their fifth straight game.

The Braves outhit the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 7-to-5, but could not come up with the timely hits, going 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Brian McCann, in his first rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves, punched the only run in with an RBI single in the eighth inning. After a two-out double by Todd Cunningham, McCann delivered with his first hit of the night.

In six rehab games, through Single-A Rome and Triple-A Gwinnett, he is hitting .333 with three homers and eight RBI. The six-time All-Star is not worried about his hitting, but looking to regain full strength in surgically repaired shoulder.

“The last thing I’m worried about is my hitting,” said McCann to Barrett Sallee in his post-game interview for MLB.com. “I feel great swinging the bat. I’m ready to go.”

His bat is not the only thing MLB ready, as he called a great game for the first six innings of the night. Entering the seventh inning, starter Sean Gilmartin was tossing a no-hitter. However, the left-hander surrendered a leadoff single to Melky Mesa and everything went south from there. He would be tagged for three runs in 6.2 innings of ball, suffering the loss.

Joey Terdoslavich had another big night, going 3-for4 and raising his average to the .333 mark. He leads the team in hitting, hits (37), doubles (13) and total bases (64).

The Braves will turn the page from last night’s loss, sending Yohan Flande (1-1, 4.43 ERA) to the mound tonight. The southpaw has been solid as a starter, posting a 1-1 record with a 3.14 ERA in 2013. He will face Graham Stoneburner (1-1, 3.00 ERA). The right-hander is 14th round draft pick out of Clemson University. He features a fastball, change up and a slider. In 2011, Baseball America ranked him the No. 17 prospect in the Yankees organization.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

-JD-

Series Preview: Braves (4-0) at Bulls (3-1)

Probable Pitching Matchups:
Monday: RHP Omar Poveda (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 0.00)
Tuesday: LHP Sean Gilmartin (1-0, 1.80) vs. LHP Alex Torres (0-0, 0.00)
Wednesday: RHP David Hale (1-0, 3.60) vs. RHP Chris Archer (1-0, 1.80)

About the G-Braves:
The Gwinnett Braves are off to their best start in franchise history after sweeping the Charlotte Knights this weekend. The G-Braves came out of the gates hot, utilizing strong pitching and timely hitting to fend off the Knights. The staff allowed nine earned runs through 36 innings, while the hitters combined to hit .277 (31-for-112) with four home runs and 17 RBI.

Hitters: Tyler Pastornicky is 11th in the IL in hitting (.429) and is tied for ninth in hits (9). Last season, he hit .268 (41-for-153) with one home run and 20 RBI in 38 Triple-A Games. The infielder hit his only Triple-A home run against the Durham Bulls last year…. Jordan Parraz and Ernesto Mejia enter the weekday series tied for fourth in home runs (2). In 2012, Mejia hit 24 home runs… Catcher Jose Yepez led all returning G-Braves with a .340 (16-for-47) batting average against Durham in 2012…

Pitchers: The bullpen has been spot on in the early season, locking down four saves in four opportunities. The braves remain without a consistent closer, so four different players have tallied a save… Last season, Yohan Flande led all returning G-Braves with a 2-1 record and 1.78 ERA against the Bulls. He struck out 19 in five appearances (25.1 IP) against Durham.

Cheat Sheet: The G-Braves won the season series in 2012, 11-10 and lead the all-time series 44-41… The G-Braves roster carries four top prospects in the Atlanta Braves organization according to Baseball America, Sean Gilmartin (No.4), Todd Cunningham (No. 12), David Hale (No. 16) and Joe Terdoslavich (No. 19)… 2012 IL Champion Jose Constanza is off to slow start, hitting .100 (1-for-10) with four punch outs…

About the Bulls:
Durham is off to a solid start as well, winning three of their first four. The Bulls have done with strong pitching. Through four games, they lead the league in ERA (2.16) and runs allowed (8).

Hitters: Heralded prospect Wil Myers is off to a solid start, hitting .333 (4-for-12) with two doubles and three RBI… However, he is second on the team in strikeouts (4)… Former No.1 overall draft pick, Tim Beckham returns for another season with the Bulls. He is off to slow start, hitting .143 (2-for-14) with a team-high six strikeouts… The Bulls have been limited to one home run in four games, Brandon Guyer is the only player that has gone deep.

Pitchers: Chris Archer dazzled in his season debut, tossing five innings of one-run ball and striking out five. He is scheduled to throw game two of the series. Last year, he went 2-1 with a 5.74 ERA against the G-Braves… Jake Odorizzi makes his season debut on Monday night. Last season, he went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA for the Omaha Storm Chasers. He was one of the prospects traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Tampa Rays for Wade Davis and James Shields.

Bull Clips: The Bulls feature a prospect-heavy roster according to Baseball America. Seven of the top 30 Tampa Bay prospects wear a Bulls jersey, Myers (No.1), Archer (No.2), Hak-Ju Lee (No.4), Odorizzi (No.5), Alex Colome (No.6), Beckham (No. 10) and Mike Montgomery (No.15)…

Did You Know: The G-Braves went the whole 2012 season without a multi-homer game at Coolray Field. However, in the opening series, the G-Braves have had two players accomplish the feat, Mejia on Saturday and Parraz on Sunday.

-Jd-

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