It has not been a pretty year for the Braves’ minor league system. Three of the four full-season squads are well below .500, with high-A Lynchburg as the only team above .500. Unfortunately, age cannot be used as a silver lining, since all the teams are at or above league average age. The deep system of a few years ago has been flushed out, with Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, and other high-level prospects moving on to the majors. Hopefully, this is just a natural down time after a good run.
AAA – Gwinnett – International League – 52-64 (4th of 4)
4.23 R/G (9th of 14), 4.97 RA/G (Last)
As you can see, run prevention has been the biggest problem for Gwinnett this season. Julio Teheran and Jair Jurrjens have both posted ERAs above 5.00 at the level, and Cory Gearrin (1.27) is the only pitcher with at least 40 IP who has an ERA below 3.00. The defense has also hurt them, with the team allowing a higher percentage of earned runs than league average. Ernesto Mejia has put up a .309/.365/.548 line over 457 PA. Outfielders Jose Constanza, Felix Pie, and Stefan Gartrell have also amassed above-average offensive outputs.
AA – Mississippi – Southern League – 48-64 (5th of 5)
4.1 R/G (8th of 10), 4.35 RA/G (6th of 10)
Another last place team, Mississippi has shown more balance but is underperforming their Pythagorean record by five games. Andrelton Simmons excelled here before moving straight to Atlanta, while Joey Terdoslavich has had a nice run since his demotion from Gwinnett. Evan Gattis keeps crushing the ball, while Christian Bethancourt can’t hit his way out of a wet paper bag. Sean Gilmartin and Zeke Spruill have been alright on the mound, with Spruill allowing 15 unearned runs so far, somewhat expected of a groundball pitcher who doesn’t strike out many.
A+ – Lynchburg – Carolina League – 60-53 (1st of 4)
4.4 R/G (4th of 8), 4.15 RA/G (2nd of 8 )
Despite a record just above .500, Lynchburg has a comfortable lead in a weak division. SS Nick Ahmed has had a nice season, posting a balanced offensive approach to go along with 33 steals. Older players, such as Chris Garcia and Tommy La Stella, have also put up good seasons, while 20-year-old Edward Salcedo is struggling to keep his OBP above .300. Gus Schlosser (pictured above), Cody Martin, and J.R. Graham have all been great in the rotation, with Graham getting the call up to Mississippi last month.
A – Rome – South Atlantic League – 47-67 (7th of 7)
4.05 R/G (13th of 14), 5.41 RA/G (12th of 14)
Amazingly, Rome has actually been lucky this year, outperforming their Pythagorean record by five games. William Beckwith is the only hitter excelling this year, while 19-year-old Brandon Drury has hit the skids again, posting a sub .600 OPS. None of the eight pitchers with at least 50 IP have an ERA under 4.00, not good to see from one of the oldest staffs in the league.