Results tagged ‘ Atlanta Braves ’

Braves camp extras

We’re off and running with our Top 20 lists. And I’m back with my second Spring Training extras blog post, this time on the Braves (You can still feel free to check out my Mets extras at your leisure).

Here are the Braves extras. First, feel free to read the Spring Training report and peruse their Top 20. I’ve also included the video piece from camp here.

OK? Let’s start with a few more comments from Braves’ 2013 first-rounder Jason Hursh. Hursh had Tommy John surgery in college, so I asked him if, in retrospect, having to sit around and wait post-surgery, had some value.

Hursh: Definitely. I can always go back and remember watching guys and not being able to play, and let that fuel my fire. If I’m in the weight room, I go back to the days when I couldn’t do anything, lift a weight, it was all rehab. I use that to fuel my fire and work harder.

Then we talked about his repertoire and working as  a pro to mix his pitches more. The question was basically about how much he’s realized that he can’t just get away with his fastball only like he could at times in college.

Hursh: That’s one of the biggest things for me, getting into pro ball. Getting those secondary pitches down, the changeup, the curveball, whether it’s a cutter, working on all that to try and find what I’m most comfortable with. That’s what I’m really going to focus on here, just developing my changeup and my curveball and see if this year, it all clicks and we can get going a little bit.

What have you been able to glean from the big league arms here? Have you been able to pick their brains at all?

Hursh: Here and there, a little bit. Not so much pick their brains, but just observe from the side what they do in their bullpens, when they throw these pitches, how they work on this and that. I think from that aspect, it’s been really good to see how they go about their business.

Between your brief taste of professional ball and being here, what’s been the biggest surprise about pro ball you didn’t realize that you’re quickly gaining an understanding for?

Hursh: Just keeping the ball down and hitting your spots. In college, I could get away with it a little bit. Here, especially in big league camp, they’ll let you know if you didn’t execute a pitch to your spot. That was probably the biggest thing. All of your mistakes, they’ll let you know.

You’re a guy who lives down in the zone anyway, right? If you’re up, you’re going to get hit?

Hursh: Exactly. I know I’m on if I’m getting that sink to the fastball. That’s when I have my best days, for sure.

I also spent time talking to Braves assistant general manager John Coppolella. Much of that conversation is reflected in the Spring Training report, so there’s no need to get into too much more detail there.  But I did want to pass along the names of two very young recent international signees the Braves are very excited to get going this year.

Both are from Curacao.  Ozhaino Albies (signed for $350,000) and Kevin Josephina ($300,000) are both shortstops. They both looked very good at instructs last fall. They obviously have a long way to go, but sometimes players that young — both are 17 — can show a lot of progress quickly, just because of natural physical maturation.

Finally, here’s One More Guy from the Braves system:

Matt Lipka, OF: The Braves’ top pick in 2010, he’s dealt with adversity, he’s dealt with injury (hamstring tear), he’s dealt with a position switch (shortstop to outfield). His speed is still very much an exciting tool. He was healthy for all of 2013, a good first step. He’ll be just 22 for the 2014 season, so there’s time yet here. The bat does need to develop, but if it does, he could still be the top-of-the-lineup type catalyst  the Braves envisioned when they took him.

Who’s Next: The LHP list

Tuesday, it was time to launch our rankings of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects in the game. And, as promised, I wanted to post the next group of lefties to keep an eye on, as we continue to move toward the “big reveal” of the Top 100 list on Jan. 29.

So, without further ado, here are lefties No. 11-15:

Sean Gilmartin, Braves — Advanced college lefty made it to Triple-A in his first full season of pro ball.

Casey Crosby, Tigers — He’s had two healthy seasons in a row. Now it’s time for him to produce. Could have future as a reliever.

John Lamb, Royals — Before Tommy John surgery, he was one of the better southpaws in the Minors. All signs point to him reclaiming that status in 2013.

Robbie Erlin, Padres — The undersized lefty the Padres got in the Mike Adams trade missed time with elbow tendinitis, but continues to get people out with command and competitiveness.

Daniel Norris, Blue Jays — He had a rough pro debut, but the 2011 second-rounder has plenty of time to fulfill his enormous potential.

Who’s Next: The RHP list

Prospect ranking season is upon us. It started on Monday with our 2013 Top 10 right-handed pitching prospects list. Each day, we’ll be revealing another Top 10 by position list, until we’re ready to unveil this year’s Top 100 on Jan. 29 (Top 50 show on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET). Here’s the schedule:

Tuesday: Left-handed pitchers
Wednesday: Catchers
Thursday: Third basemen
Friday: Shortstops
Saturday: Second basemen
Sunday: First basemen
Monday: Outfielders

You may have noticed a new twitter handle introduced – @mlbpipeline — that we’re using to announce these lists. You may also have noticed that there have been some technical difficulties with it. We’re hoping those will be resolved soon and that can be THE place to find out about prospect info from us on Twitter. So keep trying if you were trying to follow and couldn’t.

In the past, when the Team Top 20 lists have launched (Week of Feb. 4, for those curious), I’ve posted something I called OMG — One More Guy. That, basically, is who would potentially be No. 21 on the list. I thought I should do something similar for the position lists, especially when seeing reaction from some about who is/isn’t on the list.

With that in mind, here are the RHP who would be 11-15, if we were to go that deep:

Julio Teheran, Braves — Star has faded a bit, but still very young and ready for another shot.

Carlos Martinez, Cardinals — Sometimes known as “Little Pedro,” he has electric stuff in smaller pitching frame

Kyle Zimmer, Royals — 2012 first-rounder could move very quickly through the KC system

Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays — There are those who think he has the most upside among all those young Jays pitchers (current and former)

Kevin Gausman, Orioles — LSU star who went No. 4 overall in last June’s Draft, should join Dylan Bundy in Baltimore in the near future

I’ll be back soon with Who’s Next for the lefties….

AFL Report: Royals

Since last we spoke, we’ve missed two team reports:

Here’s the Royals report, focusing on Whit Merrifield.

The video report hones in on Orlando Calixte and Brian Fletcher.

And here’s the Padres report, which features top prospect Rymer Liriano.

Their video report talks about Liriano, Cory Spangenberg and Nate Freiman.

 

Quick Star of the Day from Friday, again an in-person account, though the choices from the Surprise-Phoenix game are somewhat limited.

But I’ll mention the opposing shortstops. The Braves’ Nick Ahmed had just one hit, but it was a home run. The UConn product, Rising Stars participant and the Braves’ No. 10 prospect,  is hitting .326 this fall after a solid first full season in the Carolina League. But the Star goes to the other shortstop, the one for Surprise. Luis Sardinas is No. 7 on the Rangers’ Top 20. Just 19, Sardinas had a fine full-season debut, hitting .291 with 32 steals in the South Atlantic League. In the AFL, he’s hitting .364 in 33 at-bats. He went 3-for-4 on Friday and continues to impress scouts. Doesn’t seem fair, for a system that already has Elvis Andrus in the big leagues and Jurickson Profar knocking on the door soon, does it?

 

AFL Star of the Day, Vol. 4 and 5

Hey all –

We’ll cover two days with one post, as long as there aren’t any objections.

First, for Friday’s action:

I’m declaring it a draw, an all-UConn day. There was shortstop Nick Ahmed of the Braves. The 2011 second round pick out of UConn went 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and four RBIs. He’s gone 5-for-9 in two AFL games to date after a solid first full season in the Carolina League that saw him steal 40 bases.

Then there’s the Astros’ George Springer. A 2011 first-round pick (No. 11 overall) also drove in four runs with a homer and a triple, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Springer was  a California League All-Star, putting up some big numbers, albeit in Lancaster (22 HR, 28 SB, .557 SLG). He earned a promotion up to Double-A, where he struggled a bit.

Ahmed, in case you were curious, is No. 10 on the Braves’ Top 20 Prospects list. Springer is No. 3 on the Astros’ Top 20 and No. 48 overall.

Now on to Saturday’s action:

 

It’s tempting to go with Mike Zunino of the Mariners. After all, how often does a catcher hit two triples in one game. But the real Start of the Day has to be Brock Kjeldgaard of the Brewers. The outfielder hit two homers and drove in three runs.  Kjeldgaard clearly has some pop — he hit 24 homers in 2011 — but took a step back in 2012. Could he be righting the ship in Arizona? He’s 4-for-7 with three homers and 4 RBIs in two games.

 

OMG: Atlanta Braves

Only two more of these to go…

Take a look at the Braves’ Top 10 prospects. Now, here’s OMG (One More Guy) from their system:

Edward Salcedo, 3B: With a renewed commitment to finding players internationally, Salcedo was a big acquisition in 2010 out of the Dominican Republic, getting the largest bonus the club has ever given to an international signing.

Edward Salcedo is playing third for the Rome Braves.

After 74 at-bats in the Dominican Summer League, the Braves pushed Salcedo, sending him all the way to full-season Rome. It was clearly too much, too soon as he hit .197/.239/.295 in 54 games there, striking out 56 times in 193 at-bats. He also made 28 errors as a shortstop.

But there’s still a lot to like about the 19-year-old infielder. He’s got terrific bat speed that should generate plenty of power in the future. Despite the high error total, he actually has strong defensive tools, particularly his arm. Signed as a shortstop, there’s been a question about whether he could stay there.

That point might be moot as he’s playing on the same team (Rome Braves again) with 2010 draftee Matt Lipka. Lipka’s playing shortstop and Salcedo has moved over to third. That might be the best place for him as he fills out. If his bat progresses as hoped, he’ll hit enough for the position, too.

All sorts of goodies

Greetings all —

Finally crawled out from under the avalanche that was the Top 50 prospects list. Hope everyone is enjoying it so far. If you haven’t seen it, by all means, go and check it out now. We’re revealing 10 per day and have gotten down to No. 21, so only the top 20 remain. I always enjoy doing it, but man, I’m always glad when I’m done with it.

There are two ways people can get involved. They can send in their own top 10 — and we’ll put together a fan top prospect list based on those. Email that to: Top10Prospects@gmail.com. You can also email me comments, complaints, smart remarks. Honestly, it’s why I do the list in the first place, to elicit response. So respond at will.

On to other things…

B3 friend and colleague Lisa Winston has been an interviewin’ fool over on Got MiLB? Her “Beyond the Box Score: Getting to Know…” series is taking off. Since last I mentioned, there are three more players who you can get to know with these in-depth, off-beat interviews:

Read ‘em all, you’ll be better for it.

Whaddaya folks think about the Javy Vazquez trade? Gotmilby (that’s Lisa) and I were talking about it and both of us first thought the Braves gave up too much. We saw Tyler Flowers hit in the AFL and color us impressed. Even if he can’t catch — and the guess here is that the Braves think he can’t — that’s a big bat to give up for a mediocre starting pitcher and Boone Logan, isn’t it? Unless they felt he was incapable of handling any position at all, I was a bit surprised to see Flowers in the deal. Now, the AFL is indeed a small sample size, so we shouldn’t go too crazy over what he did there.

The other guys aren’t bad, either. Granted, Brent Lillibridge seemed to take a step back in 2008, but I think he still could be a utility guy in the future. Jon Gilmore is just getting started and has a ton of power potential as a third baseman. Santos Rodriguez isn’t known to most, having only played in the Gulf Coast League in the U.S., but he’s the kind of arm that years from now could end up being the key component in the deal. I don’t care what the level is, 45 K in 29 IP makes you take notice. So does the .155 batting average against, not to mention the 6-foot-5, 180-pound frame and age (20).

Thus ends the Jake Peavy drama in Atlanta, huh? Truth be told, I’d rather give a rotation spot to Tommy Hanson on Opening Day than have Javy Vazquez, but those decisions aren’t up to me. 
 

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