Wood, Elander, And The Hillcats Outfield Lead The Way On The Atlanta Braves Minor League Hot Sheet

Alex Wood tossed 11 shutout innings this week. - CB Wilkins

A roundup of who's hot and who's cold in the Atlanta Braves Minor League organization for the week of April 22 to April 28.

Alex Wood tossed up nothing but goose eggs while Lynchburg's entire outfield was hot while a third of Gwinnett's lineup ran cold.

Who's Hot?

  1. Alex Wood LHP, Mississippi Braves - 2 GS, 1-0, 11 IP, 0 R, 9 H, 3 BB, 14 K - Wood, the Braves 2nd round draft selection last year, has gotten his first full season off to a great start, with a 0.67 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 27 innings over his first 5 starts. On Monday he struck out 8 over 6 shutout innings and followed it up by striking out 6 over 5 shutout innings on Saturday. He's in the middle of a streak of 18.2 shutout innings, a M-Braves record.
  2. David Rohm OF, Lynchburg Hillcats - 9-21, 3 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 4 BB, SB - Rohm's week, in which he put up a .429/.520/.667/1.187 slash line, was highlighted by Thursday's 4 hit, 4 RBI, 3 double game. The 23 year old struggled with injuries all last year with Lynchburg, hitting .238 with a .626 OPS, 19 doubles, 2 homers, and 26 RBI in 281 at bats, but he's healthy and off to a great start this year, leading the league with 9 doubles while hitting .361 with a 1.001 OPS, a homer, and 14 RBI in 72 at bats.
  3. Robby Hefflinger OF, Lynchburg Hillcats - 10-24, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB - The 23 year old Hefflinger hit just .198 with a .602 OPS in 167 at bats with Lynchburg in 2011 and 2012, but he's been a wrecking ball in his third crack at the level, leading the league with 7 homers and 56 total bases while hitting .321 with a 1.022 OPS, 6 doubles, and 16 RBI in 84 at bats. He kept right on going this week, driving in 5 runs while putting up a .417/.440/.833/1.273 slash line.
  4. Josh Elander OF, Rome Braves - 7-20, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB - Elander has been working on converting from catcher to the outfield this season, but the 22 year old hasn't had any trouble adjusting to Low A ball at the plate, hitting .316 with a .872 OPS, 9 doubles, 2 homers, and 16 RBI in 95 at bats. He turned things up a notch this week, putting up a .350/.458/.750/1.208 slash line while driving in 5 runs. The only real knock on his season so far is that he's struck out in 27% of his at bats, which is a bit higher than you'd like to see for an older, more advanced hitter at this level.
  5. Matt Lipka OF, Lynchburg Hillcats - 5-19, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, BB - Lipka was struggling in his return to Lynchburg, hitting .174 with a .524 OPS in his first 69 at bats of the season, but his performance on Thursday will likely be one of the more memorable highlights of the 2013 Atlanta Braves Minor League season, as he hit for the cycle, going 4-5 with a walk and 5 RBI. Overall, his batting average for the week wasn't very impressive at .263, but he slugged .632 for the week, helping his OPS for the week up to .932. His overall numbers, a .210 average and a .652 OPS, are still weak, but hopefully this week was a step in the right direction.

Honorable Mention: Sean Gilmartin, Omar Poveda, Cory Rasmus, Daniel Rodriguez, Jose Constanza, Joey Terdoslavich, David Carpenter, Corey Wimberly, Gwinnett Braves; Erik Hamren, Emerson Landoni, Gus Schlosser, Barrett Kleinknecht, Edward Salcedo, Dan Brewer, Mississippi Braves; Matt Chaffee, James Hoyt, Nate Hyatt, David Peterson, Jarrett Miller, William Beckwith, Kyke Kubitza, Lynchburg Hillcats; David Peterson, Jose Peraza, Mauricio Cabrera, Zach Jadofsky, Carlos Franco, Levi Hyams, Casey Kalenkosky, Rome Braves

Who's Not?

  1. Joe Leonard 3B, Gwinnett Braves - 2-20, 3 BB, 6 K - Leonard has struggled in his first crack at AAA, hitting just .183 with a .461 OPS, 6 RBI, and 15 strikeouts in 60 at bats, and things got a little worse this week, as he hit just .100 with a .317 OPS.
  2. Elmer Reyes SS, Lynchburg Hillcats - 4-23, 2 2B, RBI, 5 K - Reyes slumped horribly this week, hitting just .174 with a .435 OPS. After not striking out in his first 28 at bats, he's struck out 9 times in his last 39 at bats. His overall numbers, aren't that bad, a .284 batting average, a .667 OPS, and 11 RBI in 67 at bats, but he also hasn't taken a walk yet this season after only walking in 4% of his plate appearances last season with Rome.
  3. Todd Cunningham OF, Gwinnett Braves - 4-24, HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, 3 SB - Cunningham has struggled in his first taste of AAA, hitting .216 with a .543 OPS in 88 at bats, and he took a real dip this week, hitting just .167 with a .578 OPS, though he did manage to hit his first homer of the season and double his stolen base total.
  4. Ernesto Mejia 1B, Gwinnett Braves - 3-22, HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB, 9 K, SB - Mejia is leading the International League with 8 homers and is second in the league in RBI and total bases, but he struggled mightily this week, hitting just .136 with a .594 OPS, striking out in 41% of his at bats. Still, every hitter has a few cold streaks, and the 27 year old is still hitting .272 with a 1.001 OPS in 81 at bats overall.
  5. Jeremy Fitgerald RHP, Rome Braves - 1 G, 0.2 IP, 5 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 K - Fitzgerald had a fantastic start to his season, striking out 4 while allowing 3 hits and 1 walk over 4 shutout innings in his first 3 appearances, but his lone appearance this week was a disaster, as he allowed 5 earned runs while only recording 2 outs. This is likely to be nothing more than a blip on the radar for the 22 year old, as he only allowed 6 earned runs in 22 innings all last season.

Dishonorable Mention: Ryan Woolley, Myke Jones, Mississippi Braves; Navery Moore, Mark Pope, Lynchburg Hillcats; Blake Brown, Joey Meneses, Ronan Pacheco, Rome Braves

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