Results tagged ‘ Yunesky Maya ’

Series Preview: Syracuse Chiefs (52-36) at Gwinnett Braves (42-47)

Pitching Probables

Sun: LHP Aaron Laffey (10-4, 2.93) vs. LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-10, 4.79)

Mon: Josh Roenicke (3-4, 5.09) vs. Yunesky Maya (3-2, 2.60)

Brandon Boggs (KarlLMoore)

Brandon Boggs (KarlLMoore)

Tue: Taylor Hill (9-2, 1.90) vs. Gus Schlosser (4-4, 4.33)

Wed: A.J. Cole (0-0, 2.53) vs. Aaron Northcraft (0-0, 6.10)

The Gwinnett Braves welcome the best team in the International League, the Syracuse Chiefs, for a four-game series starting on Sunday, July 6. Syracuse owns a 2.5 game lead on the Rochester Red Wings atop the IL North, while the G-Braves trail the Durham Bulls by 5.0 games in the IL South.

Pitching: Syracuse owns the second-best ERA in the IL with a 3.37. The staff has thrown a league-high 12 shutouts. Anchoring the staff is MLB veteran Aaron Laffey. The southpaw is 10-4 with a 2.93 ERA. He has won five straight games. In the month of June, he went 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA. He struck out 20 batters in 39.0 innings and he will face the G-Braves in game one of the series.

Laffey has been sharp of late, but Hill has dominated the IL all season. The righty leads the league in ERA and is second to Laffey in wins. He was elected to the All Star game on Wednesday and will likely start the mid-summer classic for the IL. He will pitch game three.

The G-Braves will counter with Rodriguez, Maya, Schlosser and Northcraft.

Wednesday’s game will feature two of the top prospects in the organization. Cole, who was recently called up from Double-A, will make his third start of the season. In 10.2 innings, he has fanned seven, while allowing three earned runs.

On the other hand, Northcraft will make his fourth start of the season. The right-hander had his best start of the season last time out. He went six innings, allowing two runs-one earned- on five hits on July 4 against the Durham Bulls.

Northcraft is No. 27 ranked prospect in the Braves system according to Baseball America, while Cole is the No.2 prospect in the Nationals organization.

Batting: All things start and end with Phil Gosselin. The infielder is having a banner season, hitting .317 with 21 doubles, three triples, four homers and 24 RBI. After hitting over .300 in his first three months of the season, IL All Star is off to a slow start in July. He is hitting .176 (3-for-17) with one double, one homer and three RBI.

Brandon Boggs enters the series with a ten-game hitting streak. He is batting .259 (38-for-147) with nine doubles, one triple, six homers and 18 RBI. In five July games, he is hitting .313 (5-for-16) with two RBI.

Syracuse will counter with two of the best hitters in the league, Steven Souza and Brandon Laird. Souza is leading the league in hitting with a .350 batting average. He has 13 homers and 51 RBI. He ranks among the league leaders in many offensive categories.

In addition to Souza, the Chiefs will have Laird in the middle of the lineup. The younger brother of Gerald Laird, is hitting .311 (85-for-273) with eight homers and 47 RBI. He is sixth in the league in hitting and ranks eighth in RBI.

-JD-

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (37-39) vs. Toledo Mud Hens (37-41)

Pitching Probables

Tue: Aaron Northcraft (0-0, 0.00) vs. LHP Duane Below (6-1, 3.94)

Wed: Cody Martin (4-6, 3.17) vs. LHP Kyle Lobstein (4-7, 3.62)

Thu: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-8, 4.55) vs. Drew VarHagen (3-7, 4.07)

Fri: Yunesky Maya (3-1, 2.39) vs. LHP Robbie Ray (4-3, 3.08)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Toledo Mud Hens open a four game series on Tuesday, June 24 at 6:35 PM at Coolray Field. Both teams enter the series playing right at .500 baseball. Gwinnett is 4-6 in their last ten games, while Toledo is 5-5.

Pitching: Toledo will run three lefties against the Braves this week. Duane Below has the best record, winning a team-high six games and sporting a 3.94 ERA in 14 starts. He is on a three game winning streak, tossing three straight quality starts from June 8 through June 19. In the month of June, he is 3-0 with a 4.21 ERA.

Below has more wins, but Ray is the most promising lefty of the three. Ray was traded along with Steven Lombardozzi and Ian Krol for Doug Fister in the offseason. The lefty has enjoyed his time in the Detroit system, as he was called up on May 6 and made four appearances for the Tigers. He went 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. With the Mud Hens, Ray is 4-3 with a 3.08 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. Prior to the start of the season, Ray was ranked the 5th-best prospect in the Washington Nationals organization. He will take the ball in the finale.

The Braves will counter with three right-handers and one southpaw. Aaron Northcraft will make his Triple-A debut on Tuesday night. The right-hander went 7-3 with a 2.88 ERA (21 ER in 65.2 IP) over 13 appearances, 12 starts for the M-Braves. In five starts during the month of May, he went 4-1 with 1.98 ERA (6 ER in 27.1 IP). His success in the first half of the season earned him a Southern League All-Star Game roster spot.

While, Northcraft makes his debut on Tuesday, Maya will hope to continue his recent success on Friday night. Maya has turned six straight quality starts. In the month of June, he is 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA in five starts.

Batting: The G-Braves offense has sputtered during the month of June, batting a combined .254 with 64 runs scored in 22 games. The power has also been in short supply, clubbing seven total homers during the month. Ernesto Mejia, who left the team in early May, still leads the team with eight homers on the season.

With most of the position players around the diamond struggling, the catchers have held it together for the Braves. Christian Bethancourt enters playing batting .314 (22-for-70) with three doubles, one homer and seven RBIs for the Braves, while Steve Lerud is hitting .450 (9-for-20) with two doubles and one triple.

Toledo will counter with Ezequiel Carrera. The outfielder is hitting .305 (73-for-239) with 10 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 25 RBIs. He leads team in hitting, while his 32 stolen bases lead the IL.

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (35-37) vs. Louisville Bats (38-36)

Pitching Probables

Fri: Cody Martin (4-6, 3.42) vs. Brett Marshall (0-2, 16.20)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-8, 4.83) vs. Chien Ming Wang (7-5, 3.57)

Christian Bethancourt (Chris Roughgarden)

Christian Bethancourt (Chris Roughgarden)

Sun: Gus Schlosser (3-3, 4.84) vs. LHP David Holmberg (0-4, 7.39)

Mon: Yunesky Maya (3-1, 2.22) vs. Josh Smith (8-1, 3.83)

Gwinnett and Louisville start a four-game series on Friday, June 20 at 7:05 PM at Coolray Field. This will be their second meeting of the season, as the Bats took three of four from the G-Braves last week. Both squads are going in opposite directions, as the G-Braves are 3-7 in their last ten, while the Bats are 7-3 in their last ten games. Louisville is two games up on Gwinnett in the Wild Card standings.

Pitching: Louisville enters the series with the worst ERA in the IL, sporting a 4.85 ERA in 74 contests. However, they have some reliable arms that they will turn to in the series. Chien Ming Wang will take the ball in game two of the series. The former New York Yankee hurler is having a great season with the Bats. He is second on the team in wins, starts and ERA, while leading the squad in innings pitched with 88.1. In his last start against the Gwinnett Braves on June 14, the right-hander tossed 7.1 scoreless en route to his seventh win of the season.

He wasn’t alone in twirling a gem against the G-Braves, as Josh Smith went 7.0 innings of two-run baseball to beat the Braves on June 12. Smith enters the series with the team lead in wins and strikeouts (69). He will pitch the finale.

The G-Braves will try to battle the starting rotation in hopes to avoid Jumbo Diaz in the backend of the bullpen. Standing 6-foot, 4-inches tall and weighing 315 pounds, the right-hander is a big load, but is also the most dependable arm in the pen. In 44 games with the Bats in 2013, he went 3-4 with a 1.66 ERA and 13 of 14 in save chances. He has continued his dominance in 2014, going 2-2 with 18 saves in 30 games.

Gwinnett will counter with Martin, Rodriguez, Schlosser and Maya. Maya has been the G-Braves best hurler this season. On June 17, Maya pitched 6.2 scoreless and allowing five hits to extend his active scoreless streak to 15.1 innings dating back to June 7.  He walked two and struck out five in his win over Indianapolis. The right-hander leads the team in ERA and is third in wins.

Batting: Christian Bethancourt and Ozzie Martinez have been the G-Braves most productive hitters in the last ten games. Bethancourt is batting .379 (11-for-29) with one homer and four RBIs in his last seven games, while Martinez is batting .394 (13-for-33) with four runs scored and three RBIs in his last ten games.

While the Braves have scuffled offensively in the last ten games, the Bats offense is taking off. In their last ten games, the Bats have scored 49 runs and hit .297 as a team.

Ruben Gotay and Tucker Barnhart have paced the attack. Gotay is hitting .324 (12-for-37) with one homer and three RBIs over his last ten games, while Barnhart is batting .435 (10-for-23) with two RBIs in his last seven games. Barnhart is 8-for-11 in his last three games.

G-Bites: In the last two days, the Atlanta Braves have recalled Juan Jaime and Ryan Buchter, while the G-Braves added James Hoyt from Mississippi. Hoyt, 27, went 2-2 with a 1.21 ERA (4 ER in 29.2 IP) and six saves in 27 relief appearances for the Mississippi Braves this season. As of his promotion, he led the team in saves, appearances and ERA. Hoyt was signed by the Atlanta Braves organization on November 15, 2012 after spending part of two seasons with three different independent league teams. The Boise, ID native spent his college career at Centenary College (LA).

Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” – Bob Feller

-JD-

 

 

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (33-31) at Louisville Bats (32-34)

Pitching Probables

Wed: Gus Schlosser (3-2, 4.66) vs. LHP David Holmberg (0-4, 10.50)

Thu: Yunesky Maya (2-1, 2.79) vs. Josh Smith (6-1, 3.77)

Fri: LHP Alex Wood (0-0, 0.00) vs. Jair Jurrjens (1-1, 4.91)

Sat: Cody Martin (4-5, 3.58) vs. Chien-Ming Wang (6-5, 3.89)

 

The Gwinnett Braves will hit the road and beginning an eight-game road trip with a four-game set against the Louisville Bats at Louisville Slugger Stadium. Gwinnett is coming off a 3-5 homestand, while Louisville returns home after a 4-4 road trip. Louisville enters the series two games behind Gwinnett in the wild card standings.

Martin (Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

Martin (Photo credit: Chris Roughgarden)

Pitching: Alex Wood will make his season debut with Gwinnett on Friday night. The left-hander went 5-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 18 games, seven starts with Atlanta this season.  The Braves’ second round pick in 2012 out of the University of Georgia, Wood is 8-9 with a 3.26 ERA over 49 career Major League games with Atlanta, including 18 starts.

Wood will be thrown in the middle of three right-handers Schlosser, Maya and Martin. Martin was dominant in his last start, going 6.2 innings in the win over the Rochester Red Wings on Monday night. The Dos Palos, CA native struck out five and allowed one earned run in the contest, snapping his three game losing streak.

The G-Braves will go up against the worst pitching staff in the IL, as the Bats enter the series dead last in the IL in ERA (4.91). Louisville has allowed 355 runs (14th in the IL) and has walked 255 batters (13th).

Josh Smith has been there best pitcher all season. The right-hander is 6-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 71.2 innings. He started the season 6-0, but has struggled in the month of June. In two games during the month, he is 0-0 with a 7.27 ERA in 8.2 innings. He would look to return to his April form (4-0, 2.45 ERA) on Thursday night.

Former G-Braves’ hurler Jair Jurrjens will take the ball on Friday night. In his final season with the G-Braves, Jurrjens went 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 starts for Gwinnett. He struck out 39 batters in 72.1 innings. He will be making his third start of the season on Friday.

Batting: The G-Braves are lead by Christian Bethancourt. The right-handed hitter is batting .262 (48-for-183) with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 28 RBIs in 50 games with the G-Braves. In ten games during the month of June, he is hitting .353 (12-for-34) with three doubles and five RBIs. He leads the G-Braves in hitting, hits (12) and doubles during the month. After going 0-for-1 on June 1 at Rochester, Bethancourt has rattled off a nine-game hitting streak from June 2 through June 10.

The model of consistency for the Gwinnett Braves in 2014 has been Phil Gosselin. The infielder has batted .326 (75-for-230) with 16 doubles, three triples, one homer and 16 RBIs. He leads the team in hitting, doubles and triples.

Louisville will rely on Ruben Gotay on offense. In 61 games with the Bats, he is hitting .267 (64-for-240) with 13 doubles, one triple and 42 RBIs.

In addition to Gotay, Neftali Soto will look to provide another quality bat for the Bats. With injuries at the big league level Soto began the season with Cincinnati Reds. However, after a slow start he was optioned to Louisville on May 24. Since joining the Bats’, he is batting .322 (19-for-59) with one homer and five RBIs.

““It’s forgiveness that makes us what we are. Without forgiveness, our species would’ve annihilated itself in endless retributions. Without forgiveness, there would be no history. Without that hope, there would be no art, for every work of art is in some way an act of forgiveness.” Gregory David Roberts

-JD-

 

 

 

 

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (29-23) at Rochester Red Wings (28-24)

Pitching Probables

Fri: Cody Martin (3-3, 2.89) vs. LHP Kris Johnson (4-2, 2.11)

Sat: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (4-5, 3.20) vs. Trevor May (4-3, 3.00)

Sun: Gus Schlosser (3-1, 6.12) vs. LHP Scott Diamond (2-6, 7.51)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Phil Gosselin (Photo Credit: KarlLMoore)

Mon: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.06) vs. Alex Meyer (3-1, 3.31)

With both teams trailing their respective division leaders by less than two games, the Gwinnett Braves and the Rochester Red Wings enter a pivotal series for Wild Card supremacy. The G-Braves enter the series with a one game lead on the Rochester Red Wings even though the teams are trending in opposite directions. Rochester is 6-4 in their last ten games, while Gwinnett is 4-6.

Pitching: The Gwinnett Braves will turn the ball to their No.1 and No.2 starters to begin the series. Martin will take the ball in the first game; looking to record his fourth win of the season. Martin is coming off one of his worst outings of the 2014 season, as he gave up five runs (two earned) in 4.0 innings on 5/25 vs. Norfolk. Despite the poor start, Martin has put up some impressive numbers on the season. He is second on the squad in wins and strikeouts (53), while leading the staff with a 2.89 ERA.

Hector Daniel Rodriguez leads the team in wins and strikeouts (57). The southpaw has been excellent in his third stint with the G-Braves. In 10 starts, he has already surpassed his win total from 2013, while accumulating more punch outs than season ago. Rodriguez has been effective around the zone, walking 18 batters in 59.0 innings. Last season, he walked 38 batters in 53.0 innings for the G-Braves.

Right-handers Schlosser and Maya round out the rotation for Gwinnett.

They will be opposed by two of the better hurlers in the Minnesota Twins organization in Kris Johnson and Trevor May. Johnson was an IL All-Star last season with the Indianapolis Indians, and has continued his great work this year. He has won three straight games from 4/24 to 5/25. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 8.0 innings, allowing two runs on four hits in the win against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

May is also coming into the series with a three-game winning streak. The righty has posted wins in back-to-back-to-back contests. He has tossed 19.0 innings without allowing an earned run. In his last start, he allowed one unearned run on five hits. During the scoreless streak, he has struck out 15, while walking nine. He is rated the No.8 prospect in the Minnesota Twins organization by Baseball America.

Batting: Despite changes to the lineup, the Gwinnett Braves continue to hit. The G-Braves lead the league in hitting, batting .270 as a squad. They are third in the league in runs scored (248) despite ranking ninth in the league in homers (33).

Phil Gosselin continues to pace the offensive attack. The infielder enters the contest second in the league with a .337 (64-for-190) batting average. He is second in the IL in hits and leads the G-Braves in doubles.

In addition to the consistency of Gosselin, Christian Bethancourt has swung a hot bat in May. The backstop is batting .282 (22-for-78) with nine runs scored, five doubles, one triple, two homers and 17 RBIs. His 17 RBIs during the month of May lead the team.

The Red Wings will counter with the 2013 IL MVP and Rookie of the Year, Chris Colabello. Since being optioned to Rochester, the first baseman is hitting .100 (1-for-10) with one RBI in three games. Last season, he hit .352 (119-for-338) with 24 homers and 76 RBIs for the Red Wings.

G-Notes: Tyler Pastornicky joined the G-Braves on Thursday night and went 2-for-4 in his first appearance since being optioned by the Braves…. Former G-Brave Ernesto Mejia is hitting .457 (21-for-46) with two homers and six RBIs in 11 games for the Seibu Lions…

“Whatever you want to do, If you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.” -Maya Angelou

-JD-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (25-19) vs. Norfolk Tides (17-28)

Thu: Gus Schlosser (1-1, 5.84) vs. Mike Wright (1-2, 4.46)Fri: Yunesky Maya (1-0, 3.13) vs. LHP T.J. McFarland (0-1, 3.75)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Sat: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.24) vs. Eddie Gamboa (2-4, 5.30)

Sun: Cody Martin (3-2, 2.76) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 2.90)

The Gwinnett Braves and the Norfolk Tides will meet for the sixth time this season, and their series matchup of the 2014 campaign. In their previous five meetings, the G-Braves took four of five from their South division counterparts. The G-Braves hold an 8.5 game lead over the Tides in the South Division

Pitching: Norfolk will enter the series with the 13th rated staff in the IL, as they own an ERA of 4.77, which is slightly lower than the Louisville Bats (4.88). Despite owning one of the worst ERA’s in the league, the Tides highly-touted prospect Kevin Gausman has been solid in the rotation. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 31.0 innings. He has struck out 32 batters, while walking 15. He has battled command issues for the first time in his career. Entering the 2014 season, he had walked 15 batters in 97 minor league innings. He will try to turn things around in the series finale.

The G-Braves will counter with five right-handers during the weekend series. Martin has been the best of the group, sporting a 3-2 record with a 2.76 ERA. He leads the league in strikeouts and opponents are hitting .200 against the righty. In the month of May, he is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. Since missing to the rotation after an early season relief appearance, Martin is 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA, striking out 48 in 46.0 innings.

The staff will look to turn over leads to closer Juan Jaime. In 17 games, he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and is 9-for-9 in save chances. He is third in the IL in saves, while his 25 strikeouts in 16.1 innings ranked second among G-Braves relievers. Atahualpa Severino leads all G-Braves relievers with 29 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

Batting: With Jose Constanza sidelined by a groin injury, Derrick Mitchell has taken over as one of the regulars in the outfield. The G-Braves haven’t missed a beat, as the right-handed hitting Mitchell has been on fire of late. After batting .143 (6-for-42) with one RBI through his first 22 games, Mitchell is batting .429 (12-for-28) with three homers, eight runs and eight RBIs in last ten games spanning from 5/9 through 5/20. He currently has a seven-game winning streak.

In addition to the hot bat of Mitchell, Todd Cunningham is swinging a hot-stick of late. In 31 contests from late-April to mid-May, Cunningham is batting .344 (42-for-122) with 10 doubles, two homers and 20 RBIs. He is batting .338 (26-for-77) with five doubles, one homer and 12 RBIs during the month of May. Cunningham ranks among the league leaders in batting average (.302, 13th), hits (52, 2nd), RBI (25, T-7th), total bases (69, T-9th) and doubles (11, T-9th).

For Norfolk, everything starts and ends with Quinton Berry. The speedy outfielder is off to a great start, batting .309 (30-for-97) with six doubles, two homers and seven RBIs. He has seven bags and is 5-for-7 in his last two games with a homer and one RBI.

After hitting .176 (15-for-85) during the month of April, Brett Wallace is starting to swing a hot bat in May. The first baseman is hitting .373 (25-for-67) with three doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs. All of his homers have come in the month of May, while raising his season average to .263 (40-for-152) on the season.

Tides Wash: After taking 14 of 21 last season from the G-Braves, the Tides are off to a slow start against Gwinnett going 1-4 in their first five contests.

 

-Jd-

Series Preview: Gwinnett Braves (20-17) at Buffalo Bisons (21-14)

Pitching Probables

Tues: LHP Daniel Rodriguez (3-3, 3.08) vs. LHP Sean Nolin (2-1, 2.34)

Wed: Gus Schlosser (0-1, 9.82) vs. LHP Ricky Romero (0-1, 6.00)

Thu: Yunesky Maya (0-0, 2.55) vs. Kyle Drabek (3-2, 4.04)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Maya (Chris Roughgarden)

Fri: Zach Stewart (2-2, 4.65) vs. Liam Hendriks (5-0, 1.51)

The Gwinnett Braves and Buffalo Bisons will matchup for the final time this season at Coca-Cola Field from May 13 through May 16. Last weekend, the G-Braves took three of four from the Bisons at Coolray Field. Buffalo enters the contest seven games above .500 and in first place of the IL North, while Gwinnett is one game back of the Durham Bulls in the IL South. G-Braves have lost two straight games, while the Bisons have a three-game win streak.

Pitching: Buffalo enters the series with a league-best 3.09 ERA, allowing a league-low 123 runs (107 ER) in 35 games. Gwinnett is at the bottom of the ERA standings, holding a 4.30 ERA (12th in IL) in 37 games.

Buffalo will lean on Nolin and Hendriks to anchor the staff during the series. Nolin will make his second start of the season against Gwinnett. On 5/8, Nolin recorded the loss against the G-Braves, allowing four runs on 12 hits in 5.2 innings. Nolin was tough for the first five frames, as he tossed five scoreless before being chased in the sixth. On the season, Nolin is 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 34.2 innings.

Hendriks fared a lot better against the G-Braves in his start last week, as he went 7.0 innings, allowing seven hits and one unearned run on 5/6. He did not factor in the decision as Gwinnett scored two in the eighth to clip the Bisons on Tuesday night. Hendriks enters the series leading the league in wins and is second in ERA (1.51). He will pitch the finale on Friday night.

Schlosser will pitch in game two for the G-Braves. Since he was optioned to Gwinnett, the right-hander has been roughed up for eight runs in 7.1 innings. He has allowed four home runs, while striking out seven. Right-handed batters are hitting .333 (6-for-18) with five extra-base hits (two doubles & three homers) against him. In his last start, he tossed a season-high 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on four hits and struck out a season-high five.

Maya will enter Thursday’s contest with the best ERA on the G-Braves. He will make his fourth start of the season since taking over for Mitch Atkins on 4/17. In three starts, he is 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He has scattered 13 hits, allowing three earned runs and recording three strikeouts.

Batting: G-Braves enter the series with the best-hitting team in the IL, hitting .275 (354-for-1286) as a team. Despite connecting for 24 homers (10th in the IL), the G-Braves have scored 180 runs (2nd in the IL).

Phil Gosselin continues to pace the squad with a .333 (43-for-129) average. He is second on the team with ten doubles and leads the squad with two triples. He is working on a five-game hitting streak, batting .400 (8-for-20) with four runs scores, three doubles and two RBIs during that span.

Despite snapping his eight-game hitting streak in a pinch-hit appearance Monday afternoon, Todd Cunningham enters the series red hot. In 12 May games, he is batting .373 (19-for-51) with nine runs scored, four doubles, one homer and six RBIs. He is perfect 3-for-3 in stolen base chances.

Buffalo’s lineup has a little bit of everything to offer. Dan Johnson provides the power in the middle of the order (.306 BA, 7 HR, 28 RBI), while Kevin Pillar adds speed and versatility at the top of the order. In 34 games, Pillar is hitting .305 with 13 doubles, three triples, one homer, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases. Pillar leads the team in doubles, triples and is second in RBIs and stolen bases. In four games at Coolray Field last week, Pillar went 6-for-14 with one double, one triple and three RBIs.

South Invasion: Buffalo enters tonight’s contest with an 8-4 record against the South Division in 2014. Three of those losses came to the Braves last week at Coolray Field.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and want most.” -Abraham Lincoln

-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- Non Roster Invitees, Pitchers

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

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

Martin (Moore)

Martin (Moore)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-JD-

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