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Braves Prospect Talk, Part Deux


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Starting a new thread with the season now half over. Here is my take on a Top 30 prospects list.

1. Ozhaino Albies, SS - A Rome

2. Hector Olivera, IF - Atlanta (Wood)
3. Lucas Sims, RHP - AA Mississippi
4. Touki Toiussaint, RHP - A Rome (Gosselin)

5. Mallex Smith, OF - AAA Gwinnett (JUpton)
6. Braxton Davidson, OF - A Rome
7. Rio Ruiz, 3B - AA Mississippi (Gattis)
8. Max Fried, LHP - A Rome (injured) (JUpton)
9. Tyrell Jenkins, RHP - AAA Gwinnett (Heyward)
10. Manny Banuelos, LHP - Atlanta (Carpenter)
11. Dustin Peterson, OF - A+ Carolina (JUpton)
12. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP - A Rome (Kubicza)
13. Kolby Allard, LHP - Rk Gulf Coast

14. Zachary Bird, RHP - A+ Carolina (Wood)
15. Jason Hursh, RHP - AA Mississippi
16. Andrew Thurman, RHP - A+ Carolina (Gattis)
17. Max Povse, RHP - A+ Carolina
18. Jose Briceno, C - A+ Carolina (Hale)
19. Shae Simmons, RHP - Atlanta (injured)

20. Rob Whalen, RHP - A+ Carolina (Uribe)
21. Johan Camargo, IF - A+ Carolina

22. John Gant, RHP - AA Mississippi (Uribe)
23. Steve Janas, RHP - AA Mississippi
24. Jordan Edgerton, 3B - A Rome
25. Carlos Salazar, RHP - A+ Carolina
26. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP - AA Mississippi
27. Wes Parsons, RHP - A+ Carolina
28. Lucas Herbert, C - Rk Gulf Coast

29. Mike Soroka, RHP - Rk Danville

30. Juan Yepez, 1B/3B - Rk Danville


Off the list: Mark Foltynewicz, Williams Perez, Matt Wisler (over 50 IP in majors), Christian Bethancourt, Jace Peterson (over 150 ML ABs), Ardoys Vizcaino (service time), Garrett Fulenchek, Cody Martin, Jose Peraza (traded), Dian Toscano (missing in action).

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Serious question: What keeps Sims so high on the list? I know little about him.

Stuff, age, and pedigree.

Stuff: Mid-'90s fastball, potential ++curveball, potential +change-up. Like most pitchers his age, he's still working to command all of his pitches. Last season the Braves made him drop the curveball in order to work on the change-up, which is why his numbers last season doesn't look as great. He has had problems keeping his delivery consistent, but showed good progress before he got injured in a bus crash.

Age: At age 21, he's still one of the youngest players in the Carolina League. He could repeat the level next season and still not really be "behind".

Pedigree: Sims was a big-time prep player when he was drafted #1 by the Braves. Unless he has some significant arm issues or starts not being able to get hitters out at all, he'll probably get the benefit of the doubt. That said, if he struggles again the second half of this season, he'll likely start slipping down people's lists.

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Stuff, age, and pedigree.

Stuff: Mid-'90s fastball, potential ++curveball, potential +change-up. Like most pitchers his age, he's still working to command all of his pitches. Last season the Braves made him drop the curveball in order to work on the change-up, which is why his numbers last season doesn't look as great. He has had problems keeping his delivery consistent, but showed good progress before he got injured in a bus crash.

Age: At age 21, he's still one of the youngest players in the Carolina League. He could repeat the level next season and still not really be "behind".

Pedigree: Sims was a big-time prep player when he was drafted #1 by the Braves. Unless he has some significant arm issues or starts not being able to get hitters out at all, he'll probably get the benefit of the doubt. That said, if he struggles again the second half of this season, he'll likely start slipping down people's lists.

When he was working single innings in summer ball back in HS he was upper 90's. I wonder if they will work him into the pen.

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I think eventually they might if he doesn't pan out at SP, but he's still got at least two years before they'd move him away from there. It's always tough to judge the development of a player, based on numbers, when a club takes away a pitch from their arsenal, especially when the pitch is his best one. At this point his stuff is too good to move out of the rotation.

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AAA Gwinnett -- A ninth-inning rally falls just short for the Braves, who drop their third straight 5-4. The Knights scored four off of emergency starter Brandon Barker (4.1 IP, 4 R, 3 BB, 7 SO), promoted up from Class A Carolina. RHP Aaron Kurcz (2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO) followed and gave up what turned out to be the winning run. 2B Jose Peraza and 1B Sean Kazmar paced the G-Braves with two hits apiece, including a homer for Kazmar. DH Cedric Hunter hit a ninth-inning 2-run homer to pull the Braves within 1 run, but SS Daniel Castro couldn't come through with two outs and a runner on. CF Mallex Smith went 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .216/.241/.294 since his promotion.


AA Mississippi -- Jackson scored early and often against RHP Jason Hursh (3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO) and ran away with a 9-2 win. 3B Rio Ruiz went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, and 2B Levi Hyams went 2-for-3 with a walk. C Matt Kennelly was pressed into pitching duties and retired the side without a run scoring in the ninth.


A Carolina -- The Mudcats were ripped from the water and devoured by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 12-0. RHP Lucas Sims had a tough first game back from being activated from the DL, going 3 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 1 SO. Every Mudcats pitcher appearing in the game gave up at least 1 ER. The 'Cats could only muster up 3 baserunners the entire game.


A Rome -- Rome kept the Braves org from going winless Sunday, beating Charleston 4-2. LHP Oriel Caicedo started and pitched well, going 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 SO. Unfortunately RHP Alec Grosser continued to struggle, taking over in the 7th and walking all 3 batters he faced while only throwing 1 strike. RHP Carlos Salazar continued his good work, going 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO in relief. SS Ozzie Albies got his seemingly customary 2 hits and a walk, running his hitting streak to a season-high 17 games, and also stealing his 25th base of the season.


Rk Danville -- Danville was up 3-0 in the 3rd inning when the game was suspended due to rain. It is scheduled to resume today. RHP Josh Graham was sharp for two innings, giving up 1 hit and striking out 3. LF Leudys Baez had a triple, 2B Jose Morel a 2-run HR, and 1B Carlos Castro a double.


Rk Gulf Coast -- The GCL Braves had the day off yesterday. They are playing the Astros today.

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AAA Gwinnett -- Despite getting outhit 10 to 2, Charlotte completed the three-game sweep of Gwinnett by the score of 2-1. All of the runs scored were via sacrifice fly. RHP Alex White went 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 SO to take the loss. The Braves bullpen of RHP Peter Moylan, LHP Matt Marksberry, and RHP Ryan Kelly went a combined 3.1 IP and didn't allow a hit. CF Mallex Smith went 2-for-5 and scored the Braves only run on Adonis Garcia's sac fly. C Christian Bethancourt and SS Daniel Castro each also recorded two hits, including a double by Bethancourt.


AA Mississippi -- Jackson nipped the M-Braves 2-1 and held them to only 4 hits. RHP Greg Ross worked in-and-out trouble, pitching 7 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 SO. CF Sean Godfrey was the only Brave to get on base twice, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.


A Carolina -- 3B Carlos Franco scored LF Dustin Peterson from first with a game winning double in the ninth, walking off with a 3-2 win. Franco had the only multi-hit game for Carolina, going 2-for-4 with two doubles. C Joseph Odom hit a solo homer in the 4th. Starter Blair Walters went 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 B, 6 SO. RHPs Kyle Kinman and Richie Tate followed up with 2 innings of scoreless relief apiece.


A Rome -- SS Ozzie Albies doubled in the 6th and scored on an error, and LHP Yean Carlos Gil made that meager offense hold up, pitching a complete-game five-hit shutout for the 1-0 Rome win. For Gil, it was his best outing of the season by far. Rome was held to six hits by Charleston pitching, with LF Joseph Daris getting two hits.


Rk Danville -- Danville dropped two games, losing Sunday's suspended game 4-6, then losing the shortened scheduled game 1-2. In Game 1, RHP Dakota Dill allowed 5 runs and only retired two batters. In Game 2, RHP Grayson Jones allowed both Pulaski runs in 2.2 IP, and the Braves were held to 4 hits, 2 of them by RF Jose Morel.


Rk Gulf Coast -- Despite a 10-hit attack, the Braves fell to the Astros 6-4. 1B Juan Yepez paced the offense with 3 hits, including a double. RF Isranel Wilson tripled. Rehabbing RHP Wes Parsons pitched the first three innings, allowing 2 hits and no runs, striking out 4. RHP Alan Rangel allowed most of the damage, going 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 B, 0 SO.

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The Braves did some pitcher shuffling today.

They signed former Cubs farmhand LHP Hunter Cervenka to a minor league contract and assigned him to AAA Gwinnett. The 25YO was a 27th-round pick by Boston in 2008 and was traded to the Cubs organization in 2012. He's had a steady if unremarkable progression through the Cubs system before he was released by the AAA Iowa club after allowing 16 runs in 13 innings pitched in his first taste of AAA.

RHP Jorge Reyes and RHP Brandon Barker, who made emergency starts for Gwinnett last week, were sent back to AA Mississippi and A Carolina respectively. RHP Kanekoa Texeira will make his 4th start of the season for Gwinnett tonight.

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CF Mallex Smith went 2-for-5 and scored the Braves only run on Adonis Garcia's sac fly.

He reminds me of Martin Prado. He's not highly regarded for some reason, but he rakes and rakes and rakes.

(Yes, I know he's struggled at AAA thus far.)

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He reminds me of Martin Prado. He's not highly regarded for some reason, but he rakes and rakes and rakes.

(Yes, I know he's struggled at AAA thus far.)

Not worried about it, he'll adjust. I think the reason he wasn't highly regarded was that his defense was just OK, his OBP was just OK, and no one was sure if he'd be able to hit enough to let him use his speed. He looked to a lot of evaluators like a one-dimensional player. It looks to me that he's advanced in all phases of his game this season.

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AAA Gwinnett -- The Braves were two-hit by Norfolk and lost 4-1. The Braves scored their only run of the game by sacrifice fly, SS Daniel Castro knocking in DH Cedric Hunter. RHP Kanekoa Texeira was pressed into starting service and went 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 5 SO. New arrival LHP Mitch Lambson allowed two runs and two hits in his first 1.1 IP for Gwinnett. Rehabbing LHP Andrew McKirahan allowed two hits but no runs in the ninth.


AA Mississippi -- The Braves jumped ahead of Jackson with a two-run first inning and put them away with a six-run sixth to win 9-1. Starting RHP Victor Mateo was the beneficiary of the offense, and went 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 0 SO. SS Emerson Landoni had a big night, going 3-for-4 with a double, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI. Every Brave hitter had at least one hit in this one, with 1B Matt Kennelly and LF Sean Godfrey contributing two apiece.


A Carolina -- Salem took game one of a 3-game series 7-2. Starting RHP Andrew Waszak wasn't sharp, going 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 2 SO. RHP Sean Furney, promoted again from A Rome, went the rest of the way and went 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 B, 1 SO. RF Connor Lien and LF Dustin Peterson had two hits apiece for the 'Cats.


A Rome -- Defensive miscues by 2B Omar Obregon cost dearly and the Braves lost 3-2, with all 3 runs allowed being unearned. DH Ozzie Albies saw his 18-game hitting streak snapped, but he did walk and score a run. 3B Jordan Edgerton had two of the Braves three hits on the night and knocked in a run. RHP Zach Quintana started and went 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 ER), 3 BB, 6 SO and lowered his season ERA to 2.21.


Rk Danville -- Danville used a 9-hit attack to upend Pulaski 6-4. CF Ray Didder went 2-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base, and LF Leudys Baez homered. RHP Matt Withrow started and was sharp, going 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO. RHP Ryan Clark followed and pitched just as well, going 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO.


Rk Gulf Coast -- Game postponed due to rain.

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RHP Tyrell Jenkins has been promoted to AAA Gwinnett.


Jenkins has had a pretty strong season at AA Mississippi. In 16 starts he's pitched 93 IP, 84 H, 41 R (31 ER), 3 HR, 41 BB, and 59 SO, good for a 3.00 ERA/3.86 FIP. Those 93 IP paces the Southern League, a great sign for a player who had been limited the prior two seasons with shoulder issues.


The only real knock on Jenkins has been his propensity to give up the free pass, but in his last start he did not walk anyone in a 7-inning victory against Jackson.


Jenkins came over to the Braves from the Cardinals along with RHP Shelby Miller in November for OF Jason Heyward.

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Here's the starting rotations at the beginning of the season, and where everyone is now.

AAA
Mike Foltynewicz, ML - BP
Manny Banuelos, ML
Williams Perez, ML - DL
Matt Wisler, ML
Chien-Ming Wang, released
AA
Jason Hursh, AA
Tyrell Jenkins, AAA
Victor Mateo, AA
Jake Brigham, ML - BP
Greg Ross, AA
A+
Yean Carlos Gil, A
Lucas Sims, A+
Andrew Thurman, A+ - DL
Steve Janas, AA
Tyler Brosius, A+ - DL
A
Max Povse, A+
Brandon Barker, A+
Ricardo Sanchez, A
Alec Grosser, A - BP
Chad Sobotka, A
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On a personal note, I'm going to Chattanooga this weekend to see the M-Braves. I was hoping Jenkins would pitch Friday. Nope!

That Chattanooga team is loaded. Have someone on Twitter who keeps talking about that team because he sees them a lot because he lives there. That is the Twins Double-A team.

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RHP Tyrell Jenkins has been promoted to AAA Gwinnett.

Jenkins has had a pretty strong season at AA Mississippi. In 16 starts he's pitched 93 IP, 84 H, 41 R (31 ER), 3 HR, 41 BB, and 59 SO, good for a 3.00 ERA/3.86 FIP. Those 93 IP paces the Southern League, a great sign for a player who had been limited the prior two seasons with shoulder issues.

The only real knock on Jenkins has been his propensity to give up the free pass, but in his last start he did not walk anyone in a 7-inning victory against Jackson.

Jenkins came over to the Braves along with RHP Shelby Miller in November for OF Jason Heyward.

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