June 04, 2011

Around the Minor Leagues

I don’t like to read too much into stats until Memorial Day—it’s only a quarter of the season, but it is a large enough sample size to see how guys are going. So let’s forget about the Braves struggling offensive stats and turn our attention to the Braves of the future; the minor leaguers…

Gwinnett

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mauro Gomez is killing the ball! He continues to lead the G-Braves offense hitting .328/.367/.570 10HR 36RBI and is begging for a chance to show his power in the big leagues. I’ve mentioned Jose Constanza‘s name before too, and with good reason – he’s hitting .312/.357/.357 12SB. He is the table setter, something that the Braves could use after Schafer took a ball off his eye. Finally, Stefan Gartrell is putting up solid offensive numbers with .290/.329/.548 8HR 28RBI. He plays mostly in RF, so I don’t see much of a future there for him, but he may be a guy that can fill in for a week or two if someone gets hurt.

Of course, we can’t talk about G-Braves pitching without mentioning Julio Teheran. He is the ace of the staff (when he’s not pitching for the big club) and has put up very impressive numbers going 4-1 2.86 ERA 41K 49.2IP 1.19WHIP. Juan Abreu, who we saw a lot in Spring Training, is pitching very well out of the bullpen at 2-0 2.19 ERA 31K 24.2IP. Rodrigo Lopez actually had the best numbers before he was traded to the Cubs this week, so here’s a shout out to him for giving the G-Braves a solid 2 months.

Mississippi

When the Braves traded Yunel Escobar to the Blue Jays they got a very talented guy in Alex Gonzalez to play shortstop. They may have their shortstop of the future in Tyler Pastornicky, who was also included in that deal. Pastornicky is tearing up AA pitching at a clip of .301/.346/.449 5HR 28RBI 9SB. His infield partner, 3B Donnell Linares is also having a good year at the plate hitting .297/.353/.445 4HR 33 RBI. Though he isn’t thought of as a highly ranked prospect, Linares has continued to put up solid offensive numbers over the last few seasons.

The M-Braves pitching staff may be the best in all of the minor leagues. It features Paul Clemens (4-1 2.08 ERA 53K 60.1IP), Randall Delgado (4-3 3.77 ERA 54K 59 IP), J.J. Hoover (2-3 2.27 ERA 44K 47 IP), Brett Oberholtzer (struggling recently at 3-4 4.13 ERA 56K 61.1 IP) and Arodys Vizcaino (2-2 2.45 ERA 37K 40.1IP 1.02WHIP at Lynchburg), who was just called up. I wish MiLB.tv showed more M-Braves games because I would love to see these guys pitch!

Lynchburg

The first year for the Hillcats as a Braves affiliate isn’t going so well. The wins haven’t been there, but a few players have really showed off their skills. Andrelton Simmons is in a groove, batting .309/.357/.370 20 RBI 8 SB. With his great defensive skills, Simmons may be high on the Braves’ Top Prospect list if he can keep on hitting like this. Along with Simmons, 1B Joe Terdoslavich is tearing the cover off the ball batting .279/.332/.558 11HR 31 RBI—not too shabby for A-ball.

There isn’t much to highlight when it comes to the pitching numbers. With Vizcaino no longer on the club, the lone bright spot has been Chris Masters. The 11th-round pick is 3-2 3.00 ERA 49K 51IP so far.

Rome

The R-Braves haven’t fared so well in the win column either, though they have had some guys with good starts. Jakob Dalfonso has been the guy, hitting .308/.360/.478 7 HR 22 RBI, but he is the DH—last I checked the Braves don’t need one of those and 1B is locked up. Edward Salcedo has really improved offensively this season at .268/.356/.410 5HR 22RBI 9 SB. I know it’s not what we expect of him, but I really think this is the year we see the guys the scouts did. He has moved to 3B and has been a work in progress there, to say the least, with 21 errors so far. Yikes!

Caleb Brewer has led the pitching staff going 2-2 2.97 ERA 47K 60.1IP 1.17WHIP. The 22-year old Georgian has always had good stuff in my mind and I’m happy to see him start off so well. I expect to see him climb to advanced A very soon. Ryan Weber has been the guy out of the bullpen in Rome. Weber, who won’t turn 21 until August, has been lights out so far at 1-0 2.60 ERA 25K 27.2 IP 0.94WHIP.

*****

Obscure Brave of the Week: Trey Hodges.

Hodges was a pitcher for the Braves from 2002-03. He was drafted in the 17th round of the 2000 Draft out of Louisiana State University. He was sold to the Hanshin Tigers on 2004 but left Japan the next year to kick around the minors for a few years with the Braves, Twins, and finally the Rangers. He last played in 2009 for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Independent Atlantic League. His older brother Kevin was also a big leaguer for the Royals and Mariners.

I first saw Hodges pitch at a Class-A Rookie level for the then Braves affiliate Jamestown Jammers of the New York Penn League. The only thing I remember from that game was he has really, really blonde hair and he signed his autograph with LSU below it.

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3 Responses to “Around the Minor Leagues”

  1. 1
    Anne Says:

    GBrave Juan Abreu certainly impressed me this past Friday night. Nice blog!

  2. 2
    Paul Says:

    Good to see the shortstops on the farm doing well. With Alex Gonzalez’ contract up at the end of the year, it will be an interesting thing to follow going forward. You didn’t mention Matt Lipka, 1st round pick from 2010, .249/.284/.588 on the year, i guess Simmons has surpassed him as the better prospect.

  3. 3
    BRAVEinNY (Matt) Says:

    Anne- Thanks a lot! Abreu has great stuff, he just has to be able to control it everytime out.

    Paul- I am expecting a higher average from Lipka, since he is definitely not a power threat. I love the 11 SB so far though!

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