Gwinnett vs Indianapolis 7/18 (Wood's start)

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Ryan Sterritt, and I will be a freshman this fall at Auburn University. I live a stone's throw from Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves, and I consider myself one of the most well-informed Braves fans and stat geeks that I know (personally, so not including you guys). My passion has always been baseball, and after playing for the last 15 years of my life, I now want to learn and be able to analyze baseball with the best of them. All of that being said, please bear with me. This is my first fan post and I am the furthest thing from a journalism major (chemical engineering). There will be no pre-planning and no editing of this post, just a free flow of my take on what I saw.

So, to the game!

In a quick synopsis of the game itself, Gwinnett went up 9-0 after two innings. With only 5 (FIVE!) hits. Walks and errors were abundant, to the point where it looked like Gwinnett was playing against a low-A level team. From then out, the game was rather even and uneventful, finishing 10/7/0 for Gwinnett to 3/7/3 for the Indians. You read that right, we had just as many hits as they did, and scored 7 more runs. I was able to score great seats 3 rows up from the away dugout and even with the plate, for just $18. Gwinnett is an absolutely great ballpark to visit if your in the area (or even if you're in Atlanta, its only 25 minutes away!).

With all the hype surrounding Alex Wood starting, I had to see him tonight. With a rather unimpressive line of 5 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, and 2 H and an unearned run, a lot of people may see it as an "ehhh" kind of night for him. However, we have to remember this was his first start since the double header in Atlanta. So while we may have wanted to see more than 5 IP, 71 pitches, I was actually impressed. He only threw 13 pitches in the first, but it looked like he may have been overthrowing after putting two men on before getting a 6-4-3 double play to end it. From then on, it was smooth sailing, as he struck out 5 in the next four innings and was almost always ahead in the count. It should also be noted that two of his walks were actually HBP low on right handers. The unearned run came on a walk, two past balls, and a sac fly to center. All in all, Wood looked more like a MLB starter on a rehab start, with clearly better stuff and command than any of the other pitchers on the field. Is he better than Medlen, who he is rumored to be replacing? I can't say that definitively, considering he's had only one MLB start. But he will hold his own if and when he gets a few starts this season, and I wouldn't be worried putting him out there for 10 starts or so this year.

Another commenter asked me to keep an eye on the new Gwinnett CF, Brandon Boggs. In a one game view of him, I wasn't blown away, but I do think he COULD be a AAAA type OF at some point in his career. He went 1-3 with a 2B down the LF line, 2BB, and 2K. What did stand out to me was a play he made in CF. On a shot hit deep to right center, he made an on-the-run basket catch with his back turned directly to second base. Not only that, but he then quickly got it in to double up a runner at 1st, who thought Boggs never had a shot at it. That certainly got a big applause from the respectable Gwinnett crowd. I'll keep an eye on Boggs, and I actually hardly knew anything about him before tonight.

The outfielder I WAS impressed with was Stefan Gartrell. I know he isn't a prospect, but he looked like a very polished hitter in AAA. Also just 1-3, he drew two walks and hit a SHOT to left center that I cannot believe stayed in the park. Every at bat throughout the night he seemed to be in command. Just thought I'd throw him in there.

I've heard a lot of talk about Martin, and he pitched the other 4 innings of the game tonight, earning a laughable save. All I can say his, he's pretty far down the totem pole in my eyes. He never looked comfortable, perhaps because of the moonshot homerun he gave up on his first pitch, perhaps because he was relieving and not starting. He was the opposite of Wood to me, I wasn't overwhelmed by his stuff or command. Maybe it was just an off-night, I haven't seen him pitch before, so I'd love to hear more of y'all's opinion on him.

The Indians as a whole looked like they didn't know the all-star break ended today, as the 9-0 score after two innings showed. No reliever threw more than 2.1 innings after Perez's ugly 1.2 inning start, although they did hold the Braves in check for a while. The one guy who made me say "whoa" when I saw him was RP Ryan Reid. He reminded me of Kimbrel in the minors, stout at 5'10" 210 pounds, with an electric fastball. Of course, he has NO idea where its going. It was the kind of command where a low fastball turned into eye-high in the other batter's box. If he finds command like Craig, he could be a legit ML reliever.

So there ya go everyone! If you read the whole thing, thank you, you're feedback would be appreciated. Like I said, this was an absolute free flow of consciousness, with a little help from my scorebook (which may or may not be 100% right). If some of my facts or wrong, or if it isn't completely clear, let me know and I'll try and explain better.

I love you Braves Country!

Ryan Sterritt

1st time fan-poster

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