It has been pretty exciting over the past couple of weeks as teams starting fielding their rookie league squads so that we could get a first look at the new draftees. Some of them are already making some splashes, as we’ll see. But unfortunately, reality is hitting harder than some of the bats this week, as you can guess from our graphic above: the pitching at the upper levels of the minors is taken a big hit – prompting the Braves to make some almost desperate moves to keep things going.
The Mississippi Braves now have no less than six players on the disabled list… ALL pitchers. An addition one worthy of mention is Cristhian Martinez, who is on the roster for rehab purposes. We don’t have a lot information on his progress, but he has now made two AA appearances: Tuesday and Friday of last week. The first didn’t go so well (1 inning, 2 runs allowed). The second much better – 1 inning, no hits, 1 BB, 1K.
Meanwhile at Gwinnett, two of their starters are on the DL… and that not counting Brandon Beachy, who is still not ready to start throwing again following a rehab setback on June 13. That has forced the organization to hire Joe Bisenius, a 31-year-old journeyman with all of 6.2 innings of major league experience – last in 2010. He‘s been with the Phillies, Nationals, and White Sox organizations before toiling in the Mexican League over the past two years.
Kinda Breaking News… the Rome Braves are going to have some fun over the next couple of days… and I can’t resist throwing in this graphic, tweeted from pitcher Zach Jadofsky.
Yes, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has just been cleared to play rehab games… and he will begin with the Charleston River Dogs, which is the next opponent on the schedule of the Class A Rome Braves (beginning tonight). That hasn’t escaped the notice of either Zach or of teammate Lucas Sims via twitter. But if the rotation schedule holds from last week, the starters will be Williams Perez and Mauricio Cabrera.
My advice? Go get ‘em, boys. and have fun playing in front of a full stadium!
So with that as our backdrop: let’s see who impressed this week on the farm.
At Gwinnett, Cody Martin continues to impress. In his third AAA start, he did actually allow a couple of runs… but via a homer, allowing a scant 3 hits over seven innings. In 21 AAA innings (3 starts), he is 2-0, 1.29 ERA, 11 hits allowed, 3 earned, 24K, 5bb. Nice job.
Yohan Flande has been reassigned to Mississippi, but helped out the Gwinnett team once more with an outing of nearly six innings, giving up just 2 earned. Those two pitching performances were the bright spots in a 2-4 week for the AAA team… however, Flande then went to Pearl and got shelled for 5 earned – not quite making 5 innings there. So even that bright spot one is tainted a bit.
- Joey Terdoslavich continued his torrid pace. 7-for-21 on the week with a homer to nudge his average to .325.
- Jose Constanza added five points to his average (now .265) with a 2-for-4 week, including a double.
- Catcher Matt Pagnozzi improved with a 5-for-14 week (2 doubles) to climb to a .206 average.
Other than that… it was definitely a rough week for the Lawrenceville offense.
Hitters first… after a 2-5 week for the AA team from Pearl.
- 2B Emerson Landoni saw his average dip, but he was still 3 for 10 on the week. He’s still hitting .325.
- Tommy La Stella resumed play after a DL stint of his own: 2 games and 3 AB – didn’t reach, but I still mention this because he’s still sitting at .320 on the year.
- RF Jose Martinez: a 6 for 17 week with a double and homer to get to .300 on the year.
Every time I say ‘Christian Bethancourt can’t hit’, he goes out and hits that week. He was named (along with Joey T . from Gwinnett) to the Futures game coming up in July, and celebrated with a 5-for-16 week – including a double (10th) and homer (4th). Now hitting a respectable .262 on the year. If he can keep that up, then do around .250 in AAA next year, then I’ll be convinced.
The dramatic rise of the week belongs to 1B Barret Kleinknecht: 18 ABs, 8 hits, 3 doubles and a homer, plus 2 walks. Average went from .229 to .255!
I’ll keep track of 3B Edward Salcedo since he’s still thought of highly: but two more errors on the week brings his total to 17 for the year. A 4-17 week at the plate lowered his average slightly to .272 (still very good). He added a double as part of that.
Alas, Robby Hefflinger has started 0-for-8 as a AA player… not to worry: this will come. Was leading the Carolina League with 21 dingers (next closest was 14) at the time of his call-up.
Pitching… not so good, but then I’ve already talked about the health issues. Had to dig deep here, but the relief corps performed admirably!
- Mitch Atkins: a 7 inning start yielding 2 hits and striking out 7. Excellent!
- James Hoyt: 3 outings of 3 total innings. 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, nothing else. Excellent job of ‘restoring order’.
- Andrew Russell likewise threw 4 total innings, 3 hits and 3 K’s.
- Mark Lamm: 2 innings, 1 hit allowed. Period.
- Chasen Shreve (good TV detective name!): 2 outings for 2 innings, 3 K, nothing else.
- Ryne Harper went 2.1 innings: 1 hit, 3K.
One week after I suggested Juan Jaime for an Atlanta bullpen role… he had a rough week with two nearly identical lines:
- Outing 1: 1.2 innings, 2 earned runs, 2 hits, 3K, 1BB, 1 wild pitch.
- Outing 2: 1.2 innings, 2 earned runs, 1 hit, 2K, 1BB, 1 wild pitch
Well, at least there are trade targets available for the bullpen.
An ugly 1-5 week for Lynchburg, though with some rest time as one game was postponed (Saturday) as well as the make-up game that was to be part of a double-header on Sunday.
- CF Matt Lipka boosted his average 6 points (.287) with an 8 for 22 week, with a double and triple included. His hitting is definitely coming around.
- RF David Rohm and SS Elmer Reyes maintained consistency with season batting averages of .295, and .289 respectively. Reyes lost 7 points and Rohm 2 this week, but they’ve still been hitting well for the year and are worthy of that mention. These three guys (with Lipka) will have to step it up, and their big offensive threat (Robby Hefflinger) is now up a level at AA.
- John Cornely scored his second save with a 4 out 4 K outing.
- Brandon Cunniff, 1ip, 2 K. 2ip, 1 hit, 1K
- Matt Chaffee, 2.1, 1 hit, 5 K
- Billy Bullock, 1 ip, 2K
- Wilson Rivera, 2 ip, 1h, 1bb, 3k
- Nate Hyatt, 1ip, 1bb, 1k
- Ronan Pacheo, 1ip, 1bb, 1k
Navery Moore. Oh my. His combined line for the week… 9 innings pitched. 20 runs (18 earned), 23 hits, 3 bb, 8K. Ouch.
The Class A Rome Braves also struggled this week (so glad the Atlanta Braves had a good weekend!): another 2-5 record. Their problem wasn’t starting pitching – it was offense and the bullpen leading to the losses.
Kyle Wren: I’m going to give the GM’s son a paragraph of his own. After hitting .409 for Danvile during his first week as a pro, he was immediately promoted… and then kept raking. After 4 games back in Georgia, he went 6 for 15 (3 doubles) with an RBI and a steal. He struck out only once and walked twice. That yields a slash line of .400/.471/.600/.1.071. I guess it can’t last, but big props to him for coming out of the gate swinging!
Other hitting this week (well, there wasn’t a lot):
- SS Eric Garcia. Just 2 for 3 this week, but he’s now up to .317 in 25 games.
- 2B Ronald Luna raised his avg. 10 points with a 5-for-13 outing, adding 2 doubles in the process.
- 2B Ross Heffley doubled his ABs and tripled his hits, going 4 for 15. Now hitting .200 at Rome.
The Pitching… starters first:
- Williams Perez: decent start spoiled by others… 5 ip, 1 earned, 7K
- Mauricio Cabrera: excellent start. 7ip, just 2 hits allowed, 1bb, 8K.
- Lucas Sims got banged around in his first outing (4.1 innings, 3 runs 2 earned, 5 hits with 1BB/7K). He then came back with a nice 6 inning stint: 1 hit, 2 runs (1 earned). 4 walks and 5K. His season ERA is now 2.83.
- Wes Parsons did very well: 0 runs allowed in 6 innings; 3 hits, 1 bb, and 9K. Excellent!
- Former Rule 5 pick Robert Fish got some action: 1.2 ip, 2 K… but then spoiled Cabrera’s outing by giving up 3ER in 1 inning the next time out.
- Shae Simmons, 2 ip, 5K, 1 hit. That’ll work.
- Zach Jadofsky: 4ip, 3 hits, 2K. Yielded one earned run to take the loss on Sunday in 1.2 innings. 3 hits, 1K. Still a solid-looking week for him.
- Eric Pfisterer: 3 innigs, 2 hits and and earned run with 4K
- Alex Wilson: 1 inning, 2 K
This team – with the higher draft picks – is now 3-7 after a 3-1 start…. yeah: lost six straight after a 1-6 week.
- 3B Victor Caratini is still hitting: 6-for-21 this week. It’s not the .400 he hit the previous week, but .286 is still pretty good: that puts him at .333 overall.
- Justin Black brought his average up a bunch by going 6 for 20. He’s now at .258
- Mikey Reynolds had a homer (his 2nd) as part of a 4-16 week.
- Seth Moranda is really the only other guy hitting right now… but a 3-for-12 dropped his average to .333.
- Otherwise… small sample sizes abound: it’ll be another month or so before we can really see how these guys are doing.
Pitching: a lot of short outings, but that’s by design.
- Jorge Montenegro. Best start of week. 5 innings, 2 hits, 4K with 3 walks.
- Matt Kimbrel. Control is an issue. First outing was okay (3 walks in 2.1 innings), but got 3 Ks and gave up one hit. Second outing not so much: 3 hits, and 3 earned runs with 2 walks.
- Steve Janas. First outing okay. 2 ip, 3 hits, 2bb, 3 Ks. Managed to got out of it without giving up a run. Started a game late in the week, and got shelled for 3 earned in under 3 innings. He wasn’t the only one that day.
- Brandon Rohde was another of the pitching victims in that game Janas started. His earlier outing of the week was good enough: 2.0 ip, 1 hit, 1 unearned run, 2 K. The next one? 5 earned in one inning.
- Michael Swanner, 2 ip, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1K, 1 earned run in 2 outings.
- Matt Marksberry. 2 innings, 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 2 K.
- Richie Tate. 2 innings, 1 hit, nothing else.
- Andrew Waszak stopped the bleeding on Sunday with 3 innings of no run, no hit relief. 2bb, 2K.
Counting last Monday’s wild 12-15 loss in 14 innings (in which the Braves got SEVEN runs in the botton of the ninth just to tie it up!), the GCL Braves had a weird week: 1-3 with two extra-inning games and 2 rainouts. So yes – the Atlanta Braves were the only team in the organization with a winning record for the week. Ugh.
Pitching… I don’t know that I even want to look at this, but…
- Jeremy Fitzgerald. 3 innings, 2 bb, 6K, 3 hits in three outings. Well done!
- Jonathan Holmes, 1 inning, 1k.
- Props to Abraham Espinosa… threw 4.2 innings to keep the team in that 15-12 loss until finally yielding 3 runs (only 1 earned) in the 14th inning. 3 total hits allowed, 2bb, 2K.
- Rony Bautista. 5 innings, 1 hit allowed, 8k. Yes!
- Feilpe Gonzalez. 3 inning save with 1 hit, 1 bb, 5 K. Excellent.
- Daniel Cordero. 4 innings, 1 hit, 1bb, 3K. Another fine start.
- Tyler Brosius. 1 ip, 1 K. Nothing else.
- Steven Schils. 1 ip, 1K. Nothing else.
The Position Players…
- DH Victor Reyes was hitting .429 last week. Now it’s merely .400. Slacker. OPS is 1.084.
- Likewise CF Cody Livesay ‘slipped’ to .368 from .385, and Reed Harper went from .375 to .368.
- 3B Mike Dodig repeated a 3-for-11 week; still hitting .273.
It’s early yet, but that’s essentially the offense for the moment (save for 2B Luis Monasterio, who didn’t play this past week).
Topics: Christian Bethancourt, Cody Martin, Danville Braves, Edward Salcedo, GCL Braves, Gwinnett Braves, Joey Terdoslavich, Juan Jaime, Kyle Wren, Lucas Sims, Lynchburg Hillcats, Mississippi Braves, Robby Hefflinger, Rome Braves, Victor Caratini