Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: 5/12

Shae Simmons. Probably striking some poor soul out. - Tate Nations

Cody Martin and David Bromberg tossed gems for the Braves' affiliates on Monday, and Shae Simmons continued his dominant work out of the 'pen.

Gwinnett Braves: 2 @ Lehigh Valley IronPigs: 4

In the G-Braves' seres finale with the IronPigs in Allentown, another great performance from last week's TC Minor League Pitcher of the Week, Cody Martin, was spoiled by a late-inning relief meltdown. I caught some of Martin's start, and it was the same story as usual. He kept hitters off-balance despite not lighting up the radar gun and got plenty of swings and misses with his slider. Martin kept the IronPigs under wraps, striking out 6 in 6 innings and allowing only 5 base runners and nary an extra base hit. Unfortunately, a rough outing from Wirfin Opisbo marred by control issues gave Lehigh Valley a lead they wouldn't relinquish.  Obispo, a member of Atlanta's 40-man roster, has now walked 10 batters in 15.1 innings of work. The G-Braves offense faced Jonathan Pettibone, who was relieved by Ethan Martin, Phillippe Aumont, Ken Giles, and Justin De Fratus, and couldn't get much going against a bunch of guys with Major League experience. Gosselin stayed hot with another multi-hit game, and demonstrated his defensive utility and versatility by playing left field. Christian Bethancourt stroked his first triple of the season, an opposite field drive that just got past the glove of a diving Steve Susdorf, off of Pettibone.


He's slashing .341/.341/.561 in his past 10 games with 4 doubles, a triple, and a home run. While his offensive game leaves much to be desired (yeah, the whole "no walks" facet of that line is a bit concerning), it's nice to see him shaking off the putrid start he had to the campaign and showing some extra-base pop. Gwinnett begins a four-game midweek set in everyone's favorite travel destination, Buffalo, tonight.

Mississippi Braves: 1 vs. Montgomery Biscuits: 0
Pitching was the name of the game at Trustmark Park last night, as the M-Braves blanked the Biscuits in a pitcher's duel. David Bromberg had an excellent start, pitching six innings of scoreless ball, scattering four singles and striking out six. The journeyman minor leaguer, signed in January 2014 after stints as a member of the Twins and Pirates organizations, has been a quality member of the rotation for the AA affiliate in 2014, posting a 1.59 ERA with 29 strikeouts (and a 2.9:1 BB/K ratio) in six starts. The big lefty is no spring chicken (and not much of a prospect) at 26 years old, but it's nice to see him performing well. James Hoyt, who struck out three batters in two innings of setup work, and Shae Simmons, who picked up the save, were also fantastic out of the bullpen. Simmons has been an absolute monster for the M-Braves this season, posting a minute 1.06 ERA with a 22 strikeouts and only 4 (!!!) walks in 17 innings of work. Simmons' biggest question mark has always been his control, so it's nice to see him limiting his walks so well up to this point. His walk rate last year in Mississippi was 15.9%, and he's slashed it to just north of 5% this season, a fantastic sign. His strikeout rate is slightly lower, at 33%, but that's still a stout number. His future as a potential back-end member of Atlanta's 'pen continues to look brighter and brighter. Mississippi couldn't get much going against Montgomery offensively, but a third inning double by Barrett Kleinknecht, followed by an RBI single by Myke Jones, proved to be enough. Kyle Kubitza continued to be en fuego, rapping a couple of singles and raising his average near the .300 mark.

Unrelated to last night's game, Mississippi's radio voice, Kyle Tait, spoke with Braves VP and assistant GM Bruce Manno last night about the synthesis of traditional scouting and advanced metrics before the game. I can't embed the interview, but it's available here and definitely merits a listen.

Lynchburg Hillcats: 11 @ Carolina Mudcats: 8
  • José Peraza, 2B: 1-6, SB (19), .320
  • Kyle Wren, CF: 2-4, .258
  • David Nick, LF: 2-5, R, HR (1), 2 RBI (4), K, .360
  • Kevin Ahrens, 3B: 1-3, 2 R, RBI (19), BB, .256
  • Will Skinner, RF-CF: 2-5, 2 R, 2B (8), K, OF assist, .228
  • Levi Hyams, 1B: 3-5, 2 R, 2B (4), RBI (15), K, .242
  • Daniel Castro, SS: 1-5, R, 2B (6), 2 RBI (17), .292
  • Eric García, DH: 2-4, 2 R, 2 2B (2), 2 RBI (4), BB, .296
  • Joseph Odom, C: 2-5, R, RBI (6), K, .234
  • Lucas Sims (W): 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 6:3 GO:FO, 4.43 ERA
  • Alex Wilson: 3 IP, 2 H, K, 4:4 GO:FO, 3.71 ERA
There was no lack of offense in Zebulon, NC last night, as the Hillcats took their series opener with Carolina by an 11-7 score. Our own Dan Simpson was at the game, and you can browse through his tweets from last night to get a sense of what was going on. He'll be posting another entry in our "Scouting the System" series later this week to further break down Lucas Sims' start, but I'll briefly go over it. Sims went 5 innings and gave up 4 runs, with his Achilles' heel being the long ball. Sims had trouble locating his off-speed pitches (he eventually abandoned the change and curve and focused on his fastball later in the outing) and gave up a couple of home runs that can largely be attributed to poor location. He got a couple of strikeouts via the curveball, and threw 60 of 90 pitches for strikes. Dan has the velocity breakdown:


Offensively, the Hillcats had their way with Carolina's pitchers. Peraza swiped his Carolina League-leading 19th bag of the season, and is currently sporting a 79% success rate on stolen base attempts. Ideally, you'd like to see that number creep up just a bit, but it certainly isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. Kyle Wren picked up a couple of hits, including a perfectly-executed bunt single, before being removed for Alejandro Piloto in the bottom of the 5th inning. It's unclear why Wren was lifted, but we'll be sure to update you if an injury occurred. Recently-signed outfielder David Nick, a former fourth-round pick by the Diamondbacks, smacked a home run for the Hillcats, and has been a nice offensive addition to the club since being inked last week. Basically, it's a good sign when I list all of Lynchburg's starters' hitting lines in the recap, and that's what happened tonight. The two clubs will go at it again tomorrow night.

Rome Braves: 2 vs. Asheville Tourists: 3
  • Connor Oliver, CF: 2-3, R, SB (4), .333
  • Jacob Schrader, 1B: 2-3, BB, .233
  • Joey Meneses, LF: 1-4, 2 RBI (19), .268
  • Carlos Franco, 3B: 1-4, K, .189
  • Bryan De La Rosa, C: 0-4, 2 K, .111
  • Johan Camargo, SS: 2-4, R, E (10, fielding), .191
  • Yean Carlos Gil: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 K, 5:3 GO:FO, 0.85 ERA
  • Colby Holmes: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, K, 1:0 GO:FO, 3.86 ERA
  • Pete Perez (BS, L): 1.2 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 K, 1:1 GO:FO, 2.70 ERA
In a game in which the team's top two prospects, Victor Reyes and Victor Caratini, sat, Rome dropped a close one to the Asheville Tourists. Yean Carlos Gil pitched well, tossing 5.2 innings of shutout ball without yielding a walk and striking out four. He departed with a 2-0 lead, but Colby Holmes and Pete Pérez struggled out of the bullpen, allowing three runs that ultimately decided the game in favor of the Tourists. A Raimel Tapia single ceded by Pérez with two outs in the top of the 9th inning was the decisive blow, as Rome couldn't muster a rally in the bottom of the frame, going 3 up and 3 down. Rome couldn't get much going offensively, but Connor Oliver, Johan Camargo, and Jacob Schrader all strung together two-hit games. Oliver, a left-handed hitting outfielder who was selected in the 23rd round of last June's amateur draft out of junior college, has been a nice surprise for Rome this year with a .333/.365/.517 line. The 20-year-old made the jump to Rome after an unimpressive debut with the GCL Braves after being signed last season, but has produced offensively thus far at Rome, all while displaying plus speed and solid defense in center field. While he's not a hot prospect or someone with much "buzz" surrounding him, he's been a surprisingly good player and it'll be interesting to see how much of his current success is sustainable as the season goes on and as he advances up the organizational ladder. Rome will wrap up its series at 10:30 AM tomorrow before leaving on a trip to Greensboro and Lakewood.
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