Results tagged ‘ Tommy La Stella ’

G-Braves Hot Stove: La Stella Traded for Vizcaino

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

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

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

A few more of La Stella’s Gwinnett highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-DL

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (31-29) vs. Rochester Red Wings (35-26)

Pitching Probables

Sat: Jordan Walden (0-1, 27.00) vs. Alex Meyer (3-2, 3.65)

Sun: Zach Stewart (3-3, 4.07) vs. LHP Logan Darnell (1-3, 2.58)

Mon: Cody Martin (3-5, 3.82) vs. LHP Kris Johnson (6-2, 2.44)

Tue: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-6, 3.67) vs. Trevor May (5-4, 2.80)

Terdoslavich (Dave Skillen)

Terdoslavich (Dave Skillen)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Rochester Red Wings meet up for the second time in less than a week on Saturday, June 7. The Red Wings took three of four in Rochester, NY last week. Since meeting, the teams are going in opposite directions. The G-Braves have lost three of ten, while Rochester has won seven of ten.

Pitching: Jordan Walden will make his second rehab appearance with the G-Braves on Saturday. The right-hander went .2 innings, allowing two runs on one hit Thursday night. He struck out the side, but a wild pitch on the third strike to the third hitter allowed him to reach, setting the stage for a two-run homer by Elliot Johnson.

Right-hander Stewart and Martin will follow, while left-handed Rodriguez will throw the finale. Both Martin and Rodriguez will look to ride the ship, as they have lost three straight games.

Rochester will counter with the best staff in the IL. Highly-touted right hander Meyer and May will through the opener and the finale, while Johnson will take game three.

May was named IL Pitcher of the week after going 2-0 with 0.00 ERA in 12.0 innings of baseball. May has now won four straight starts overall and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 26 innings of work. After tossing 5.0 innings of a comfortable 10‐5 Red Wings victory over Syracuse on Memorial Day, May returned to the hill Saturday evening to face Gwinnett. May gave his club 7.0 more scoreless innings against the Braves, walking two and striking out four on the way to a 6‐1 Rochester triumph. Mayʹs ERA has dropped to 2.62, the 7th‐best mark in the League this season. Opposing hitters have posted a mere .196 average against him (2nd in the IL).

While May has been on fire, Johnson has been the Red Wings most consistent hurler. The lefty is on a five game winning streak, spanning from 4/24 to 6/4. In the month of May, Johnson went 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in five starts. He has struck out 54 batters in 59.0 innings.

Batting: The G-Braves offense has sputtered of late. In the last week, they have gone from the top batting team to the No.5. The losses of La Stella (promotion) and Todd Cunningham (injury) have slowed the offense. Christian Bethancourt is swinging a hot bat of late. The catcher has a five-game winning streak. During the streak, he is batting .388 with two runs scored and two doubles.

Gosselin continues to be the most consistent bat in the G-Braves lineup. The infielder recorded three hits on Friday night. He has 23 multi-hit games on the season. He is batting .327 (70-for-214) with 15 doubles, two triples, one homer and 14 RBIs in 53 games.

After starting the season batting .100 with one RBI through the first four games, Colabello has recorded seven RBIs in his last three games. The 2013 IL MVP and Rookie of the Year is hitting .171 with one homer and 10 RBIs in 10 games with the Red Wings.

While Colabello finds his stroke, the Red Wings will rely on the hot bat of Deibinson Romero. The third baseman is batting .305 (57-for-187) with 13 doubles, one triple, four homers and 24 RBIs in 55 games with Rochester.

G-Bites:Third baseman Joe Leonard has been promoted to Gwinnett from Double-A Mississippi and outfielder Andy Simunic was signed as a free agent and assigned to Gwinnett on Friday. The two new additions replace outfielder Cunningham, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 4 with a left thumb sprain, and outfielder Derrick Mitchell, who was transferred to Double-A Mississippi.

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (15-14) vs. Buffalo Bisons (17-10)

Pitching Probables

Mon: TBA vs. TBA

Tue: TBA vs. Liam Hendriks (4-0, 1.26)

Wed: Cody Martin (2-2, 3.64) vs. LHP Sean Nolin (2-0, 1.55)

Tommy La Stella (KarlLMoore)

Tommy La Stella (KarlLMoore)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 2.73) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (0-0, 4.86)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Buffalo Bisons open up a four-game set on Monday night. Gwinnett enters the game only four games back of the front-running Durham Bulls in the South Division standings despite losing four straight games. While, the Buffalo Bisons are leading the North Division and are currently on a six-game winning streak.

Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full, as they will face No.1 staff in the International League. Entering today, Buffalo leads the league with a 2.91 ERA. They have logged 244.0 innings, striking out 228 and walking 102. Hendriks, who is second in the league in wins and third in ERA, will take the ball in game two. The former Minnesota Twins’ farmhand has been dominant since moving to the rotation. In four turns, he is 3-0 with 1.46 ERA, striking out 23 batters in 24.1 innings.

Nolin, the game three starter, has been just as impressive. The southpaw is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in five turns this year. Last season, in 21 starts across three levels, he combined to go 9-5 with a 3.54 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 111.2 innings.

On the other side, Gwinnett enters the contest ranked 11th in ERA. They are the only team in the IL with an ERA over 4.00 and a winning mark.

Martin and Rodriguez have been solid for the G-Braves. Both lost in their last turn of the rotation, but have .500 records and sub-4.00 ERAs.

Despite owning a 3-3 record, Rodriguez has been special all season. The southpaw leads the team in wins, innings (33.0), ERA and is second in strikeouts (31).

Offense: The G-Braves are starting to miss Ernesto Mejia more and more. In the last eight games, the G-Braves have homered once and scored 36 runs, while dropping five of eight.

Joey Terdoslavich has been red hot in the absence of Mejia. He currently has a 14-game hitting streak and leads the team with a .333 (36-for-108) batting average. He has eight doubles, two homer and 10 RBIs on the season.

Despite snapping his 21-game on base streak on Saturday night, Tommy La Stella continues to rake. The lefty is batting .313 (31-for-99) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBI and is third in hits.

Buffalo will counter with the IL Batter of the Week, Kevin Pillar. Last week, he led the IL with a .444 batting average, 12 hits and nine RBI, leading Buffalo to a perfect 6-0 record. In 26 games, he is batting .275 (30-for-109) with nine doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs.

In addition to Pillar, the G-Braves will have to deal with Dan Johnson. The former IL MVP, is batting .309 (29-for-94) with a team-leading five homers and 20 RBIs. He has more homers than the whole team combined as he enters play on Monday.

Bison Tracks: Last season, the G-Braves took five of eight from the Bisons, but split the series at Coolray Field.

Quote of the Day: “Every dream you ever have can’t be reached without action.”

-JD-

Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (11-14) at Gwinnett Braves (15-10)

Martin (Taylor Botta)

Martin (Taylor Botta)

Probables Pitchers

Thu: Zach Stewart (1-1, 4.98) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (0-2, 3.97)

Fri: Cody Martin (2-1, 2.66) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (1-0, 4.09)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-2, 2.67) vs. David Buchanan (3-0, 3.45)

Sun: Mitch Atkins (1-3, 5.01) vs. LHP Greg Smith (2-0, 1.82)

The Gwinnett Braves return home after a solid 4-4 road trip, while the Lehigh Valley IronPigs begin their eight-game swing with a four-game set at Coolray Field. Gwinnett enters the game with a one game lead in the Wild Card lead and two games behind the Durham Bulls in the South division. Lehigh Valley is tied for fifth in the North division and is four games behind the front-running Pawtucket Red Sox.

Pitching: Lehigh Valley comes into the contest with a team ERA of 3.80 through 25 games. The duo of Buchanan and Smith has led the IronPigs rotation. Buchanan leads the league with six starts and his tied for second in wins. He has fanned 19 batters in 28.2 innings. He will get the ball in game three.

Smith has been even better. The southpaw is a perfect 2-0 with a 1.82 ERA. He has recorded three quality starts in four attempts. On April 17, he tossed a complete game shutout against the Syracuse Chiefs. He is one three pitchers in the IL to toss a complete game shutout. He has 18 punch outs in 24.2 innings.

Gwinnett will counter with Stewart, Martin, Rodriguez and Atkins.

Martin has been sensational in his last three starts. The righty has gone 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA over his last three. On April 26, he fanned a season-high ten batters at Toledo. In 23.2 innings, he has recorded 33 punch outs. He will get the ball in game two.

Rodriguez will pitch game three. Through five starts, Rodriguez has recorded three wins, tying his mark from 2013. He has been solid, striking out 28 batters in 27.0 innings. He is coming off of his strongest outing of the season on April 27, as he tossed 7.0 scoreless innings at Toledo.

Batting: The Braves have had to live life without Ernesto Mejia since being released on Saturday to pursue other opportunities. In his absence, Joey Terdoslavich has carried the load. The switch-hitting outfielder has been on a tear of late, recording a hit in his last ten games. On Monday morning, the IL named him the Batter of the Week after posting a .500 average with one homer and three RBIs from 4/21-4/27. On the season, he is batting .330 (30-for-91) with two homers and 10 RBIs.

Tommy La Stella continues to impress in his first season of Triple-A ball. The infielder is hitting .310 (27-for-87) with two doubles and 15 RBIs. He leads the team in RBIs. In 99 plate appearances, the lefty has fanned six times.

Lehigh Valley is off to a slow start at the plate, posting a team batting average of .235 through 25 games. Highly-touted prospect Maikel Franco is having a nightmarish start to the season. The third baseman is hitting .172 (15-for-87) with one homer and seven RBIs. The No.1 prospect in the Phillies organization according to Baseball America has fanned 18 times and has committed two errors on the field.

Bacon Bites: Former G-Braves manager Dave Brundage returns to Coolray Field for the second time in his career as an opposing manager. Last season he took three of four from Gwinnett.

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (11-6) at Columbus Clippers (6-10)

Tue: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (2-1, 2.40) vs. Trevor Bauer (1-0, 0.75)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Daniel Rodriguez (Photo Credit KarlLMoore)

Wed: Mitch Atkins (1-2, 5.40) vs. LHP T.J. House (1-1, 2.45)

Thu: TBA vs. RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 7.56)

Fri: RHP Zach Stewart (1-0, 5.06) vs. Josh Tomlin (0-1, 4.00)

The Gwinnett Braves are on a roll, winning seven straight games and taking full possession of first place in the Wild Card standings. With the 6-3 win over the Charlotte Knights on Monday night, the G-Braves tied their franchise record for consecutive wins at seven. Gwinnett has accomplished the feat four times before last night, once in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Pitching: Gwinnett will have their hands full this week with the Clippers’ staff. On Tuesday night, they will face the No. 3 prospect in the Indians organization, Bauer. In two starts for the Clippers, Bauer has been outstanding, hurling 12.0 innings of one run ball with 18 strikeouts.

Left-hander T.J. House will be especially tough on Wednesday night. The southpaw comes in with a 1-1 mark and a 2.45 ERA. He has fanned nine in 11.0 innings, while posting a 0.91 WHIP. House made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, hurling 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits in the no-decision.

Bauer has fared the best against the G-Braves in his career, going 0-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts. Tomlin made one start against Gwinnett in 2013, going 5.0 innings, allowing seven hits, three runs in the no-decision.

Gwinnett will counter with Rodriguez, Atkins and Stewart, while they wait for their Thursday starter to be announced.

Rodriguez has been the Braves’ best starter in the month of April. In three starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He has tossed five innings in each of his three starts, while punching out 19 batters.

Stewart will be the only Braves pitcher with previous experience against the Clippers. Last season, the right-hander went 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts against Columbus for the Charlotte Knights. This season, Stewart has been solid for the G-Braves, going 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA. In his last start on 4/20, he went a season-high six innings, allowing three runs for his first win of the season.

Batting: The G-Braves are scolding hot at the dish, as they enter the series with a league-high 97 runs. They also own the third-highest batting average in the league (.280).

Phil Gosselin is leading the way with a .404 (19-for-47) batting average. The infielder enters the series with the second highest batting average in the league, behind Gregory Polanco of the Indianapolis Indians.

Ernesto Mejia and Tommy La Stella aren’t too far behind. Mejia is fifth in the league with a .379 (25-for-66) batting average. He has seven homers and 22 RBIs. He is second in the league in dingers and is tied for first in RBI. While, La Stella enters with a .346 (10th in IL) batting average. Since moving to third in the order, La Stella is hitting .375 (12-for-32) with one double and eight RBIs.

Columbus has been in the middle of the pack offensively, but Jesus Aguilar and Jose Ramirez have been standouts. Aguilar is hitting .386 (22-for-57) with five doubles, five homers and 13 RBIs, while Ramirez is hitting .333 (21-for-63) with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs. Aguilar is the No.15 prospect in the Cleveland organization according to Baseball America, while Ramirez is the No.9 prospect.

Gwinnett Braves (4-3) vs. Durham Bulls (5-3)

Series probables
Fri: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80) vs. LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00)
Sat: Mitch Atkins (0-1, 6.75) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (0-0, 2.25)
Sun: Gavin Floyd (0-0, 5.06) vs. Nathan Karns (0-1, 13.50)

The Gwinnett Braves will welcome the Durham Bulls for a three game set starting on Friday, April 11 at Coolray Field.

Last weekend, the squads met for a four game set at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. They ended up splitting the series, as Durham took game one and four, while the Braves took care of business in game two and three.

Pitching: The home opener will feature two southpaws that shut down the respective opposition last weekend. Rodriguez tossed 5.0 IP, allowing two hits, one run and struck out nine as he recorded the victory on Saturday night; while, Montgomery dominated Sunday’s matinee, tossing 5.0 innings of scoreless baseball in the Bulls 8-1 victory. He allowed three hits, three walks and struck out seven.

Game three will feature Gavin Floyd, as he makes his third rehab start with the Gwinnett Braves. After a shaky first start, Floyd was solid on Tuesday night. He tossed 4.0 innings, scattering three hits, allowing one run and striking out two. He threw 60 pitches, 37 for strikes in the no decision victory by the Braves.

Former Nationals prospect Nathan Karns will get the ball in game three. The right-hander has got off to a slow start, allowing 11 runs in 7.1 innings (13.50 ERA). He has walked ten batters and struck out ten, so he has electric stuff but is hampered with control issues. He will look to get back on track on Sunday afternoon.
The Braves will have to get to the Bulls pitching staff early, as the back end of the bullpen has been tough on opponents. Right-hander Kirby Yates is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities and has allowed one hit, no runs with four strikeouts in 4.0 innings.

Batting: Ernesto Mejia has headlined the G-Braves offense with five homers and 10 RBIs in seven games, but Phil Gosselin and Tommy La Stella are off to solid starts. Gosselin leads the team with a .500 (10-for-20) batting average with a team-high three doubles. In three games against Durham last weekend, Gosselin went 4-for-11 with three runs scored, one double and one RBI. La Stella has been just as good, batting .308 (4-for-13) with one double and three triples. La Stella has also drawn four walks in five games.

Durham is off to great start offensively, scoring 40 runs in eight games. They have relied on the long ball, slugging eight round trippers this season. Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, Kevin Kiermaier and Jerry Sands have each clubbed two. Sands is off to the best start of the four of them, batting .333 (10-for-30) with six doubles and six RBIs.

Staying Figgy with it: Cole Figueroa is off to another great start for the Durham Bulls… The infielder is batting .463 (6-for-13) with two doubles. In his career, he has batted .356 (42-for-118) with 16 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, one homer and 20 RBIs against the G-Braves. Last season, Figueroa batted .355 (27-for-76) with six extra-base hits and 14 RBIs, while only striking out twice in 18 games against Gwinnett.

 

-JD-

Il Preview: Gwinnett Braves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Projected Depth Chart:

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

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

 

-JD-

Spring Training Report 3.5.14

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

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

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

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

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

Gosselin (KarlLMoore)

Gosselin (KarlLMoore)

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

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

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

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

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

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

-JD-

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