Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: AFL All-Stars and some bad news

 While Alabama was pounding on LSU, the Braves had 2 of their best prospects showcased in the All-Star game of the Arizona Fall League.

Before we get to the All-Stars, there’s something of a terrible annual ritual that I want to discuss… and it’s happened yet again… it’s about prospects, though none involved this weekend belong to the Atlanta Braves.

A report out of the Dominican city of Boca Chica is that three Reds prospects were involved in a car accident on Saturday morning.

Pitcher Pairo Capellan was killed.  Pitcher Raul Hernandez is in critical condition.  Outfielder Emilio Garcia is stable.

For reasons that completely escape me, it’s the Dominican players that do this to themselves – year in and year out.  Happily – so far as I’m aware – Braves’ prospects have managed to avoid reports like this.

It was nearly 2 years ago when I last broached this subject – and then I found 6 baseball youngsters in just 2 years that had killed themselves on DR roads.

I inquired about this topic with a Dominican resident late late year.  While we don’t know the particulars of this latest incident, his take was that this is an epidemic about money, athletes, alcohol, speed, and young age.  And what’s even more shocking is that while most of these baseball-related wrecks are single-car incidents, you might guess that the drivers aren’t the only victims.

That businessman’s view was that all too often, innocent bystanders are impacted by these wrecks, too – wrecks you never hear about.  Money is the vehicle by which these kids are getting away with their road sins… once a family is paid off for their losses, nothing more is heard of the matter.

Well… at least until the next time when the driver takes himself out – and sometimes with his passengers.

But this continues to a bad problem for baseball – and MLB truly needs to put incentives in place to combat this problem… not just for the sport, but also for the victims we don’t know about.


AFL All-Stars

Playing for the Peoria Javalinas in the Arizona Fall League, outfielder Cristian Pache and pitcher Kyle Muller were named to Saturday night’s all-star contest taking place in Surprise, AZ as members of the host ‘West’ team.

Pache started in center field and hit 5th in the order, but by the accounts on the MLB Network, you might not have even noticed, though that wasn’t exactly his fault.

Pache grounded out up the middle on a 3-1 pitch in the 2nd inning against Astros prospect Forrest Whitley… while the commentators continued their lavish praised of Vlad Guerrero Jr. – I’m not sure I even heard Pache’s name mentioned.

Yeah – Guerrero is baseball’s top prospect, no doubt, but there’s a lot of other really good talent on the field, too, guys.

At least he was acknowledged for catching a routine fly to deep center in the 4th… camped under the ball well in advance of its arrival.  On the defensive side, he had mostly routine chances, save for a single that dropped in front of him after a long run to try and get to it (was playing deep).

Pache’s 2nd AB (with a name mention!) resulted in a first pitch grounded sharply through the SS-3B hole for a single.  He moved to second on a high-bouncing grounder to 3rd, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored easily on a single.  That gave the West a 3-1 lead after the 4th – and made for a 1 for 2 night (with the run scored).

In the dugout, he was easy to find with a pseudo-blonde head of wavy/curly hair and a personality that looked like he’d fit in very well with players like Albies and Acuna.


Kyle Muller got the 5th innings for the West and started with a bang – striking out Carter Kieboom on 3 pitches.

On a full count (plus an extra foul ball), Daz Cameron barely drew a walk.  2 weakish singles drove in a run, but then a flyout to Pache and a called strikeout ended the inning, with Muller preserving a 3-2 lead.

He looked sharp, and even the walk was not a display of poor command: over his 25 pitches, there were 17 strikes thrown.

Muller’s line:  1 IP, 2 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts.

Subsequent West Division pitchers gave up 4 more runs, but the day was done for both Braves’ players.

The standout player of the night was probably Austin Listi of the Phillies… a homer and 4 RBI will do that.  His power gave a lead to the East Division All-Stars 6-5 that they lost in the bottom of the 9th… mostly thanks to a triple by Pache’s replacement – Buddy Reed.

Final score:  West wins 7-6 in walk-off fashion.  Nice showcase for the players.

Next: AFL All-Star preview

Meanwhile our Braves’ reps acquitted themselves well.