With the surplus of arms the Atlanta Braves have in the minors, it is no surprise that both members chosen to represent the Braves in the futures game are pitchers. Mike Minor was the Braves first round selection last year and Julio Teheran was one of the top international prospects when he was signed in 2007.
Some questioned Minor’s overall talent and projectability when he was drafted. Many saw him as a third starter with limited strike out ability. The southpaw has changed his perception for the better this season, as he has struck out 101 batters in 80 innings at double-A Mississippi. Expected to be a control pitcher, his strikeout total is as surprising as his walk total. His 33 walks are not an impressive number, but if he continues to strike batters out at this pace it becomes more acceptable. Minor will pitch for Team USA.
Minor’s stats: 2-6, 4.16 ERA, 80 IP, 101 K, 33 BB, 1.23 WHIP
Julio Teheran is seriously coming into his own as a 19-year-old. Coming off of a season in which his ERA was 3.65 in 14 starts, he has pitched to a 1.26 ERA in 13 so far this season between low-A Rome and high-A Myrtle Beach. Teheran has been absolutely dominant this year, striking out 10.8 batters per nine, and 11.3 in his six outings at Myrtle Beach. His 7.00 K/BB ratio is unfathomable and by the end of the year there is a very good chance of him being a top-10 prospect in all of baseball. Teheran will pitch for the International Team.
Teheran’s stats: 5-3, 1.26 ERA, 78.1 IP, 94 K, 17 BB, 0.90 WHIP
If you haven’t seen Minor or Teheran pitch live or on video yet, be sure to catch them on the futures game live on July 7 at 6 pm EST.
The rosters for both teams can be found here.
Tags: Julio Teheran, Mike Minor
Posted in General, Minor Leagues | 2 Comments »
Tommy Hanson took to the hill for his second start for the Gwinnett Braves last night to try to follow up his 4-1/3 inning, 10 strikeout performance in the season opener. Once again, the 6-foot-6 future phenom looked sharp. Through 5-2/3 innings last night against the Durham Bulls, Hanson produced a three hit, seven strikeout performance while only allowing one earned run, his first of the season.
Unfortunately, that earned run was the difference-maker in the game as the G-Braves offense fell flat and, for the second night in a row, failed to produce a run. Looks like offense struggles run a little deeper than just the big league squad at times. Hanson’s sporting an 0-1 record now, after two solid outings, but Braves fans shouldn’t be concerned. In 10 innings of work this season, the right-hander has struck out 17 and only given up 6 hits with an ERA of 0.90. He’ll be just fine.
Look for Hanson to take the mound for the Gwinnett Braves in their home opener at the new stadium this Friday night against the Norfolk Tides.
Tags: Gwinnett Braves, Tommy Hanson
Posted in Minor Leagues | 3 Comments »
In some breaking news reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves will be or already have demoted OF Jeff Francoeur to AA Mississippi. The reason for the demotion will be for Francoeur to work with former coach and mentor, Phillip Wellman. The Braves will apparently promote Jason Perry (not Brandon Jones?) to replace Francoeur.
This is quite the shame for Francoeur that his star has fallen this far. Perhaps he can get things figured out at the minor league level and come back up swinging in a week or two. Now being seven games out of the NL East lead, this should be a very scary sign for Braves fans.
Posted in Minor Leagues, Roster Moves | 9 Comments »
We all know where the Braves would be if they did not manage to get a guy like Jair Jurrjens, as a rookie he’s quickly become our number two starter. Jurrjens is 7-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 90 innings pitched. His 66 strikeouts leads the team, but, like Hudson, Jurrjens is more of a ground ball pitcher than a strikeout guy. Could he become a Brandon Webb type pitcher? Maybe with time, this is still his rookie season. Hudson will remain our ace and in the future I see Jurrjens and Reyes as our number two guys.
Jurrjens gets the ball tonight in Toronto and former Braves and manager who beat us in the ’92 World Series Cito Gaston. He’ll be pitching against Dustin McGowan, who’s 6-5 with a 4.21 ERA. Despite the fairly average stats, McGowan has been nearly unbeatable at home. At the Rogers Center (formerly the Sky Dome), McGowan is 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA with a .242 batting average against (.299 on the road) and just one homer allowed against six on the road in 11 more innings.
Jurrjens pitched six innings last time out against Seattle, allowing zero earned runs. Unfortunately, in that start the defense let the guy down and had three errors in the first inning that led to three unearned runs. The Braves ended up winning the game on Brian McCann’s clumsy single with the bases loaded.
But enough of Jurrjens, remember the other guy we got in the trade for Renteria? Gorkys Hernandez was selected to play on the world team in the upcoming Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. The minor leaguer is hitting .320 with five triples and four homers. He also has seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Hernandez and the rest of the minor league world stars will play against the US Olympic Trials team (including Georgia Tech’s Derek Dietrich at short).
I also wanted to address some of the possible trades the Braves are looking through and looking for. According to Jayson Stark and his Rumblings article, the Braves are no longer in the market for pitching. Instead, and understandably so, the Braves are looking for some outfield power.
Names that came up through the article were Raul Ibanez, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Ibanez a little less so maybe. He is hitting .277 with just nine homers, but does have 47 RBIs and would definitely be an upgrade over current outfielders offensively (at least until Kotsay gets back). It probably will not take a whole lot to get Ibanez since he is in the last year of a (very affordable) contract and is playing on the worst team in baseball. I’m thinking maybe a low A level prospect or two B prospects, something the Braves may be willing to part with.
The other problem? Teams still don’t know exactly how long the Pirates are going to hold out until selling mode. Both Jason Bay and Xavier Nady have been awesome for the Pirates this year. Bay is hitting .287 with 15 home runs and 41 RBIs, but still can’t hit offspeed pitches the way he can fastballs. He’s also a little bit less affordable at $6 million dollars (obviously about half if the Braves get him in the middle).
Nady, on the other hand, is making only $3 million, hitting .314 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs (he led the NL in RBIs for much of the first two months). Plus he’s a right fielder, so putting him in left would give us three strong outfield arms (with Kotsay in center). The catch? He’s been hurt, he sat out a while with an ankle injury earlier this year and has recently been benched with a shoulder injury. Teams might stay away from that, but there’s no reason the Braves won’t consider it if they can get him for a lower price than he would have been if healthy. Of course, we all know how that worked out with the Dotel trade last year (Davies stats: 3-0, 3.12 ERA in five starts, still walks a lot of guys though but he’s coming around).
I also wanted to talk about some of Dan’s comments in an earlier trade thread. I think it’s a great idea to go out there and get a backup catcher. We have a guy, Clint Sammons (former UGA catcher) who is projected to be a guy with great baseball IQ and can be a prototypical backup catcher with solid defense. Sammons is hitting .245 in 204 at-bats through June 26. There is also a possibility that we would go after a guy like Rod Barajas and Gregg Zaun, but what’s the likelihood that they’re going to part with a catcher that has managed their pitching staff fairly well (3 in AL in ERA and lead the AL in innings pitched).
Lillibridge has had 11 at-bats so chances are if we get another hitter, he goes back down. Norton has been clutch off the bench, it’s the fact that he has to play every day that’s kind of exposed him. He’s a great pinch hitter and spot starter, but not an everyday guy.
As far as other names. According to David O’Brien at the AJC, I’m pretty sure we won’t see Randy Winn in a Braves uniform. Winn is hitting .302 with five home runs and 32 RBIs. But Winn is aging a little bit and at $8 million, his price tag is a little high, he just wouldn’t be a good fit for the Braves. Same with most of the pitching names going around the rumor mills. Erik Bedard especially, he’s talented but not motivated in any way. He’s got ace type stuff, but his attitude makes it impossible for him to be an ace and we all know how well that would end in Atlanta.
Obviously as the trade deadline approaches we’ll hear more and more names. I certainly hope we can get a guy from Pittsburgh. I know it’s a little callous, but Pittsburg typically makes bad trades and I think we would be able to get a good major league pitcher for a lot less than we would have to give Seattle for Ibanez (although with their dysfunction it might be a tie).
Tags: Gorkeys Hernandez, Renteria Trade, Trade Rumors
Posted in Minor Leagues, Speculation | 5 Comments »
While on his rehab assignment in double A ball, Mark Kotsay got to see something pretty special—a no hitter. Tommy Hanson threw the Mississippi Braves’ first no-hitter and struck out 14 in what became a career night for the young prospect. Hanson pitched the gem against the Birmingham Barons—the Chicago White Sox’s double A affiliate.
Hanson saw some trouble in the first inning when he had the bases loaded after a walk, a hit batsman and another walk. Hanson got the next hitter to pop out and saw calm seas after that. Hanson allowed just one base runner after the first inning, that coming on a walk. Hanson struck out the side in the second inning, fifth inning and again in the seventh for nine of his 14 total strikeouts.
Mark Kotsay and prospect Jordan Schafer helped in the effort with their offense. Kotsay had two hits and scored a run, while Shafer’s bases-loaded triple drove in three more.
Obviously, Hanson’s no hitter was the story of the evening. Hanson (4-3, 4.32 ERA) went 3-1 with a 0.90 ERA in seven games in A-ball at
Hanson is a guy that could be a trading chip for the Braves this year or next year. With the rotation set up the way it is, it looks solid from
There’s still about a month left till the trade deadline, so we’ll see how Hanson’s no hitter affects his trade value.
Tags: Jordan Schafer, Mark Kotsay, Tommy Hanson
Posted in General, Minor Leagues | 9 Comments »
Is anyone as skeptical and/or curious about the allegations and subsequent silence surrounding the Jordan Schafer situation as I am? Whereas I’d normally ridicule or chastise for such behavior, something about this whole thing doesn’t leave me feeling confident about the accusations. For the first, and possibly last, time, I’m going to defend Jordan Schafer, especially since, at this point in time, he doesn’t have a chance to do so.
So what happened? I don’t know, but here are a few possibilities:
Scenario 1: Schafer used HGH. So did Roger Clemens, apparently. However, HGH was not illegal at the time Clemens used it. When did Schafer allegedly use HGH? Schafer could have used HGH like Clemens; when it wasn’t illegal. It was outlawed in 2005. Schafer was 18 in 2005. He could have used it then, got huge, and it comes out now. That’s scenario 1.
Scenario 2: Schafer never used HGH. Rumors are nasty things. I spent a week in high school in the principal’s office for something I never did but someone claimed they saw me do – in a locker room nonetheless. Subsequent monitorings made me look suspicious and guilty, but only because people were looking for something in particular, and oftentimes suddenly normal actions seem extremely unusual. Same thing for Schafer. He was being monitored all through spring training apparently. Maybe growing suspicion just made him seem guilty at the time – and allegations were blown out of proportion.
Scenario 3: He did it, he knew, and now he’s covering his ass. I’m not really thinking this is a valid speculation though, because who would be stupid enough to go ahead and do that after watching the struggles Roger Clemens has gone through day after day recently? I’ve met Jordan Schafer and he doesn’t seem to be that naive.
So where are we? We wait. Will we forgive him regardless? We can only hope that the Braves community will accept whatever comes of this – and if the allegations prove to be innacurate, then my greatest hope is that he does not lose the credibility and hype that he has worked so hard for. If the truth ends up hurting us all, then hopefully someone down the road will learn from Schafer learning the hard way.
For now, I’m standing by Schafer for the following reasons:
1. Schafer’s father wants to speak out so badly, but is waiting on his son. Seems that something that needs to be said is not out in the open yet. I anticipate that revelation.
2. If he used it pre-2005, I have absolutely NO issue with it.
3. Not all allegations end up being true. There has got to be more to this than meets the eye.
4. Tom Glavine said that being a great player is about being respected as much for your character as for your stats and numbers. I think that Schafer has had the spotlight on him a lot recently, and was making an effort to be one of those venerated, respected players before moving into the bigs. He had the spotlight on him, was turning heads, making people smile, and impressing everyone who interviewed him. Would he go out of his way NOW to ruin everything he’d worked for? Absolutely not.
5. He’s offered up far too many samples, has failed to test positive for what he’s being accused for taking, and is obviously very disgrunted about this whole situation.
6. The Braves haven’t thrown him under the bus yet. He’s going to Orlando to keep training with other minor league players who aren’t playing official games. If it were as intense and serious as everyone was making it out to be, the Braves would have cut and run. They haven’t, and show no signs of doing so.
So, for now, I will stand by Schafer. And I’m one of the harder ones to get to take sides.
Tags: Allegations, HGH, Jordan Schafer
Posted in General, Minor Leagues, Speculation | 7 Comments »
With the recent buzz around international prospects (namely 17 year-old Julio Teheran), we figured we’d post some of what we could find. Notable players like Edgar Renteria have been acquired from Colombian leagues, and if he’s any indication, it certainly won’t be a bad call to keep up the recruiting. There are currently 47 Colombian players in the US major/minor systems (as well as 16 from the Dominican Republic, and 12 from Venezuela), so it seems that some of this recruiting is worth the effort. However, since 1972, there have only been seven players to make it to the majors, the rest staying in the minors and other feeder leagues. According to El Heraldo de Colombia, there are five major prospects in Colombia with Teheran making the biggest waves.
It seems that every bit of information out there says the same thing about this guy.
Full Name: Julio Teheran Pinto
Age: 17 (DOB: Jan 27, 1991)
Signed: 2007 with the Braves for $800,000 (highest ever for a Colombian)
He was recruited by five different organizations, and threw a 92 mph fastball in try-outs. Typically he averages about 94 mph. Baseball is in his blood; apparently his uncle, Miguel Teheran was a stand-out player (and is a current talent scout in Colombia – for the Braves, might I add). He’s tall and thin, 6’2.4″, 189 pounds. Growing up, he was called “the Horse” because of his size, force, and conviction. He has a consistent curve ball and sinker, and his other pitches are at least average. He’s a Curt Schilling and John Smoltz admirer, and according to sources will be playing AA ball in 2008. Many hope that in three years he will continue in the footsteps of Emiliano Fruit, the first Colombian pitcher in the Major Leagues.
Venezuelan Daniel Mavarez (Barranquilla pitching coach) says Teheran’s the best he’s ever seen for his age in Latin America. For the past two years, the Yankees, BoSox, Mets, Cardinals, and Tigers have been eyeing him, and are rumored to have even offered more money for him than the Braves laid out. Why did he land in Atlanta? Well, we can apparently thank Uncle Miguel for that one, too – and maybe a bit to Edgar Renteria for having a brother who has been linked to Teheran in Columbian league play, and for being a “magnificent” mentor to young Julio when he came to visit Atlanta. We’ll definitely let you know more as we find it out, because we’re just as interested as the next guy.
The other prospects include Jair Fernandez, Ronald Ramirez, Donovan Solano, and Martin Vega, all of whom are currently playing in single A clubs for the Mariners, Astros, Cardinals, and Mariners, respectively. Hopefully we will be able to see some great things out of these international prospects, and we’ll definitely keep our eyes on Teheran for the next few seasons.
Tags: Edgar Renteria, Julio Teheran, Julio Tehran
Posted in Minor Leagues | 9 Comments »
So there’s some feedback coming from the community regarding the Braves’ decision to move their AAA team to Gwinnett. Here are some thoughts coming from different groups of people.
Atlanta: We’re hearing mostly positive feedback from Atlanta – another baseball team in town can’t hurt, right? Another smaller crowd sees no need to add a third team to Georgia – citing attendance issues for the big league team that would be worsened by the presence of another baseball team in the metro area.
Gwinnett: I’m hearing two crowds from Gwinnett Read more »
Posted in Minor Leagues | 7 Comments »
It’s official – the AAA team is moving to Gwinnett after just one year – we’ll have baseball in 2009. The Braves will rent a stadium from the county for $250,000 a year for 30 years beginning next year. Gwinnett County will design and build the stadium without much input from the team.
Image from http://www.gwinnettbraves.com
Posted in General, Minor Leagues | 20 Comments »
The AJC is reporting that the Richmond Braves will be relocating to Gwinnett after the 2010 season. They quote two people familiar with the situation as saying that the top farm team for the Braves will move to the north Atlanta suburb. Apparently their lease expires after the 2010 season.
What are your thoughts on having the AAA squad so close to home? Will it help or hurt attendance at Turner Field? Read more »
Posted in General, Minor Leagues | 13 Comments »