For the week the Gwinnett Braves were 1-3, the Mississippi Braves were 3-3, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were 3-4, and the Rome Braves were 3-4, so the hottest Braves affiliate this week was Mississippi, if only because they were able to break even. Now let's see which players are hot, and which are not.
- Robby Hefflinger, Rome 12-23, 2B, HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB - Pitchers around the Sally League are going to be trying to figure out how to get Hefflinger a case of mono again. The massive outfielder missed the first month of the season with the sickness, but he made up for lost time by hating baseballs this week to the tune of a .522 average and 1.289 OPS.
- Willie Cabrera, Mississippi 10-24, 4 DB, HR, 8 RBI, 2 BB - After a so-so season with Mississippi last year, Cabrera got off to a slow start in his return to AA this year, but picked things up this week, clubbing out a .417 average. Half of his hits went for extra bases, giving him a .708 slugging percentage for the week, helping him to a 1.208 OPS in that span.
- Chris Masters, Rome 1-0, 15 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 14 K - Julio Teheran and Scott Diamond each dominated for 1 start this week, but Masters (and the next on the list, Delgado) was able to do it for 2 starts, keeping his ERA, 1.20, and WHIP, 0.67, low for the week. He kept his contact low, allowing just 4.8 hits per 9 innings, walking just 1.2 per 9, and striking out 8.4 per 9.
- Randall Delgado, Myrtle Beach 1-0, 12 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 16 K - Delgado was nearly as good as Masters, allowing just a few more hits per 9, 6.0, a few more walks per 9, 2.25, and giving up a slightly higher ERA, 1.50, and WHIP, 0.92, though he did strike out hitters at a much higher percentage, 12 per 9. Either way, both pitchers had outstanding weeks.
Honorable Mention: Braeden Schlehuber, Rome; Myke Jones, Rome; Julio Teheran, Rome; Paul Clemens, Rome; Samuel Sime, Myrtle Beach; Gerardo Avila, Myrtle Beach; Matt Kennelly, Myrtle Beach; Orlando Mercado, Mississippi; Concepcion Rodriguez, Mississippi; Scott Diamond, Mississippi; Brett Butts, Mississippi; Stephen Marek, Mississippi; Freddie Freeman, Gwinnett; Craig Kimbrel, Gwinnett
- Christian Bethancourt, Rome 0-21, RBI, BB, 4 K - The 18 year old catcher started the year red hot but has gone just as cold, hitless this whole week and his last 6 games and 24 at bats. His average for the season has fallen all the way to .202 and his OPS is a lowly .509. We all know he has a ton of talent, but he's incredibly young and there are going to be growing pains.
- Cory Gearrin, Gwinnett 0-1, 2 appearances, 2.1 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 H, 4 BB - Gearrin has had a good season, and will probably make his Major League debut at some point in the year, but he had a bad week, mostly due to lack of control. His walk rate was insanely high, at 15.5 per 9, helping him toward an equally abysmal 2.58 WHIP. For the season he's striking out 12 batters per 9 innings, but he didn't manage to fan anyone this week, further proof of just how bad things were for him.
- Gerry Rodriguez, Myrtle Beach 5-29, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 9 K - It's hard to believe you could have a 2 homer game and make it to the Not Hot list, but Rodriguez managed to do that with a .172 average for the week. 38% of the outs he made for the week were strikeouts. Despite the boost the homers added to his slugging, still only .414 for the week, his overall OPS was just .614.
- Kyle Rose, Rome 3-19, RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB, 2 CS - Rose was very hot the first few weeks of the season, but he wasn't able to get on much this week, reaching just 5 times in 21 plate appearances. He hasn't slugged much this season, just 2 of his 32 hits this season have gone for extra bases, and that continued this week as his three hits were all singles. He was also caught stealing 2 more times, adding to his league leading total of 14. He's attempted to steal 6 more times than any other player in the league and has been far less successful than any other player as well, with just a 44% success rate. He had a 87% success rate last year and is incredibly fast, so there must be something out of the ordinary doing on. It's hard to believe the catchers in the South Atlantic League are 43% better than the catchers in the Gulf Coast League.
Dishonorable Mention: LV Ware, Rome; David Hale, Rome; Brett Oberholtzer, Myrtle Beach; Jesus Sucre, Myrtle Beach; Yoel Campusano, Myrtle Beach; Ryan Barba, Myrtle Beach; Randy Gress, Myrtle Beach; Cody Johnson, Mississippi; Mauro Gomez, Mississippi; Erik Cordier, Mississippi; Wes Timmons, Gwinnett; Matt Young, Gwinnett; Todd Redmond, Gwinnett
Stock Up - Steve Marek - Many on Talking Chop, including me, thought that Marek was a prime candidate to be taken off the Braves 40 man roster, both in the offseason and during Spring Training, but the Braves showed why they're the ones running the team and we're just the fans. Marek has rewarded the team's faith by opening the season with 13 scoreless innings in 11 appearances. He's collected a win, 4, or a save, 4 in 73% of his games, which is an insanely high amount. His WHIP is a miniscule 0.62 and he's striking out 12.5 per 9 innings, numbers that earned him a promotion to AAA Gwinnett this week. If he's really turned a corner Marek could be a great option out of the Atlanta pen later in the season.
Stock Down - David Hale - It's hard to put a guy's stock down too much when he hasn't even been a professional for a full year, but Hale has not been very good for Rome this season. His ERA has ballooned to 7.99, his WHIP is a very high 2.24 and he's not missing many bats, striking out just 5.3 per 9 innings. He's only 22, but that's too old to be doing poorly at the lowest full season league.