The Braves announced the names of twelve players who will be reassigned to Minor League camp and one player who will be optioned to Gwinnett and departing from Major League camp this morning. There were no real surprises in this first batch of cuts, as only one player on the 40-man roster (right-handed pitcher Aaron Northcraft) was told that he would no longer be a participant in camp with the big club. Take it away, Braves twitter account:
RHP Aaron Northcraft was optioned to Gwinnett (AAA) today.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 14, 2014
LHP Daniel Rodriguez, RHPs J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, Mark Lamm, Cody Martin and Yunesky Maya were re-assigned to minor league camp.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 14, 2014
Catchers Matt Kennelly, Braeden Schlehuber, Jose Yepez, INFs Mark Hamilton, Edward Salcedo and OF Matt Lipka were also re-assigned today.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 14, 2014
As I mentioned, there are no real surprises with the cuts made today. The majority of these players were non-roster invitees who were simply invited to camp to get a taste of big league coaching and at-bats or innings against higher-level competition to give the coaching staff an idea as to their progress and ability. Of all of the players subtracted from big league camp today, none were expected to be in the running for a place on the ultimate 25-man roster as the season begins in Milwaukee on March 31st.
Although none of these cuts were particularly surprising, some of the more notable names that were reassigned include right-handed pitchers J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, and Cody Martin (2nd, 7th, and 8th on Talking Chop's list of the top 25 prospects in the Braves' system), as well as third baseman and point of contention Edward Salcedo, who ranked 12th on Talking Chops' aforementioned list. Outfielder Matt Lipka, the Braves' first round pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft, will also head to minor league camp. His performance during his time with the Braves in Spring Training this year was one of the more encouraging signs that we've seen thus far in the spring, as he put up a respectable .286/.375/.286 line (albeit in a minuscule sample size of 31 plate appearances), and demonstrated his "toolsy" abilities with strong baserunning and play in the outfield.
The Braves now have 49 players remaining at big league camp, and that number figures to steadily dwindle as we count down the days until opening day at Miller Park. There are still plenty of players left to be cut (24, to be exact), so be sure to keep an eye on the next batch of players to face the dreaded meeting with Fredi Gonzalez in his office, which may feature more "interesting" names in terms of those who were expected to contend for a role with the Major League club.
Later this afternoon, the Braves added four more names who will be departing from Major League camp. Left-handed pitchers Carlos Perez and Wirfin Obispo, members of the 40-man roster, were reassigned to Gwinnett. The two other cut players, both reassigned to Minor League camp, were right-handed pitchers Shae Simmons and Lay Batista.