Minor League Hitter of the Week:
Ernesto Mejía, 1B, Gwinnett: 12/24, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 10 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, .500/.571/.708
Ernesto Mejía absolutely raked this week, reaching base in nearly 60% of his plate appearances while hitting a home run and a couple of doubles. Mejía's bugaboo has long been strikeouts, and this week, he was able to somewhat limit his strikeouts, posting a 17.9% K rate. The first baseman also made the most of his opportunities with runners on base, driving in a healthy ten runs in a six-game span. Mejía's future with Atlanta's big club seems dubious at best, as he's still a severely flawed player. His defensive problems, including his lack of range and mobility, and his propensity to strike out still make him a bench bat at best. He's also unlikely to have many opportunities at the big league level considering the firm grip that Freddie Freeman has on the position. However, it will be interesting to see how the Braves handle the 28-year-old Venezuelan in the future--could he be a trade chip to an AL team in need of a DH or bench bat? Could the Braves decide to use him in a bench role as a power bat from the right side at some point in the future (especially if injuries necessitate a move)? It will be worth watching if Mejía finally gets a big league opportunity or if the Braves decide to move him to a team better suited for a player like Mejía. At any rate, it's fun to watch Mejía display his prodigious power, and below is a video of Mejía teeing off on former Brave Tommy Hanson during yesterday's game.
Minor League Pitcher of the Week:
Cody Martin, SP, Gwinnett: 1 GS, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 9 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.53 WHIP
Most of the organization's two-start pitchers had underwhelming performances this week, so Cody Martin of the G-Braves takes home TC's award as the system's top pitcher this week. Martin took the ball against the Norfolk Tides at CoolRay Field on Tuesday night, and was masterful in his 5.2 innings. Martin, a 24-year-old Gonzaga product and Talking Chop's number 8 prospect, struck out nine Tides and walked only one. Norfolk simply couldn't get anything going against Martin as he allowed only one walk, a single, and a double. Martin's calling card has been his ability to limit walks (although he struggled with this last season) and pound the strike zone, and it's nice to see him strike out a ton of batters in an outing without sacrificing his ability to limit free passes. Atlanta has a wealth of pitching depth, but it's nice to have a guy like Martin at the Braves' disposition if necessary. He isn't an exciting option, but could be a competent back-end option in the future and could log innings for the big club in 2014 if injuries force the Braves to recall a starter from the farm. Below is a clip of Martin recording his ninth K of the game on Tuesday, getting Henry Urrutia to chase and whiff on a high fastball: