Atlanta Braves Making The Team Meter 2013: Pitchers, Week 3

Alex Wood has some competition - US PRESSWIRE

Talking Chop takes a look at every pitcher in the Atlanta Braves spring training camp, and examines the chance each one of them has at making the club to open the season.

Week three of the Atlanta Braves Making the Team Meter (MTM) begins with the pitchers. Which ones will make the team and which ones are headed back to the minors? Last week's pitchers MTM is here. To begin with we'll assume that there is a group that has already made the team:

Starters: Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor, and Kris Medlen. That leaves one spot available.

Relievers: Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters, Jordan Walden, and Cristhian Martinez. That leaves two spots available.

Avilan looks like a lock for the bullpen at this point, and Gearrin is not too far behind him, but there could still be some competition, and there are still three and a half weeks of spring training baseball left to play -- a lot could change during that time. As O'Flaherty and Walden are both out with bad (sore) backs, there could also be the possibility of additional spots opening up because of injury (but we hope not).

For some of these pitchers, we'll start cutting guys from our MTM watch list, as the team will soon make their first round of cuts and return some of these players to minor league camp.

Player, Position Trend Last Week Roster Status Notes and Comments
Luis Avilan, LHP
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40-Man He keeps doing his thing. I continue to believe that the order in which the relievers line up in spring games after the starter means something, and Avilan has usually been the first or second reliever in the game. To me that says the team views him as one of the seven guys in the bullpen to start the season.
Ryan Buchter, LHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium NRI After getting butchered in his first spring appearance he has had a couple of good outings. Still, he's way down the depth chart, and will probably soon be ticketed for minor league camp. We'll cut him from our watch list.
David Carpenter, RHP
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Nav_down_red_medium 40-Man After giving up a bunch of runs in his first spring appearance, he has settled down to have three scoreless outings with good strikeout numbers. Some say he's not that special of a reliever, and certainly not better than Avilan or Gearrin. He's probably still somewhat of a dark horse to make the team, especially if an extra bullpen spot opens up, and he continues pitching like his has been. After marking his chances down a lot last week, I'll move them back up some this week. My gut tells me he's the kind of reliever that Fredi and Frank like.
Yohan Flande, LHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium NRI He's been giving up a lot of runs, and he's likely to get cut soon and returned to minor league camp. We'll cut him from the MTM.
Cory Gearrin, RHP
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40-Man Here's a neat stat: Gearrin is leading all Braves relievers in strikeouts this spring, with five. He's also displaying improved control with only one walk in four innings. He's easy to root for, and it's been fun watching him grow as a pitcher. He looks ready to take that final step and become an important reliever in the Braves bullpen.
Sean Gilmartin, LHP
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NRI Gilmartin didn't keep up with Teheran in his second outing of the spring, getting tagged for four runs. Teheran hasn't shown any signs of letting the fifth starter job go, so Gilmartin will probably get another start or two in big league camp, then head down to minor league camp.
J.R. Graham, RHP
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Nav_down_red_medium NRI There's buzz about Graham helping out in the bullpen if needed, but he threw two innings in his last outing, and it certainly seems the Braves are stretching him out to return him to the rotation in the minor leagues. If he can make it as a starter he could challenge Gilmartin next season for one of the open spots in the rotation. We'll keep him around for another week on the MTM.
David Hale, RHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium 40-Man Like Graham, the Braves are starting to stretch Hale out in anticipation of returning him to a starting role in the minors. He could emerge this year as an interesting dark horse starting pitching candidate. We'll send him down by cutting him from the MTM.
Dusty Hughes, LHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium NRI Hughes has been pitching okay -- not doing bad, but not turning many heads either. He should be good depth in the minors, much like Buchter. We'll cut him from the MTM.
Juan Jaime, RHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium 40-Man Jaime has shown an impressive fastball this spring, but he's also shown that he's very rough around the edges, and needs more time in the minors to refine his game. He could emerge at any time as a power setup arm out of the bullpen, but for now we'll return him to minor league camp.
Aaron Northcraft, RHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium 40-Man It's hard to get a read on what kind of pitcher Northcraft will be and what kind of future he'll have with the Braves. He's one of those pitchers in the Braves organization who is behind a lot of other guys, but has the talent to emerge as one of the top guys at any time. He'll soon be headed back to minor league camp.
Wirfin Obispo, RHP
Nav_down_red_medium
Nav_down_red_medium NRI After a slight visa delay he's in camp and pitching quite well. He's a guy who could come out of nowhere to make the team. It probably won't happen to open the season, but with a good showing a triple-A he could be a mid-season call-up. We'll keep him around for at least another week on the MTM and see what he does and how the Braves use him.
Cory Rasmus, RHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium 40-Man Rasmus got hit hard in his third spring outing, as his control escaped him. He's made a good impression on the Braves, and that means he'll continue to get chances within the organization. For now though I expect he's ticketed for minor league camp, so we'll cut him from our list.
Daniel Rodriguez, LHP
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NRI I was overly optimistic about this guy. I thought he'd have a chance to compete with Teheran and Gilmartin for the fifth starter job, but it looks like he's just getting his feet wet in US pro ball, and he'll be allowed to continue his development at AAA. I still want to keep him around for another week and see if that changes. I wonder if the Braves view him as more of a reliever than a starter.
Julio Teheran, RHP
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40-Man Two great outings, the last one with a ton of strikeouts and one wind-assisted home run that should have been a fly ball short of the warning track. Julio needs to keep this up. If he does, he might emerge as a very important starter this season -- the kind of pitcher we've been hoping he would be for a couple of years.
Anthony Varvaro, RHP
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40-Man, out of options I've got to keep him at a green arrow. He's done nothing but pitch well every time out -- matching the good work of Avilan and Gearrin. He's making this a very tough three arm'ed bullpen race for the last two bullpen spots. I just realized this week that Varvaro is out of options (really hard to find info on that). This might put him ahead of Gearrin for that final spot.
Alex Wood, LHP
Cut from MTM
Nav_down_red_medium NRI The kid is pitching very well, and impressing a lot of people on the Braves. It won't be too long before he's a fixture in Atlanta, it's only a question of whether it will be in the rotation or the bullpen.

Arrow Key:
Nav_up_green_medium = Chance of making the team is good.
Nav_up_yellow_medium = Chance of making the team is slightly better than 50-50.
Nav_down_yellow_medium = Chance of making the team is slightly worse than 50-50.
Nav_down_red_medium = Chance of making the team is bad.
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