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Atlanta Braves Winter League Recap: 21 players elect free agency

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It was a good week for many Braves prospects, namely Joey Meneses who was fantastic in the Mexican Pacific League. Hector Olivera got his first significant playing time in left field, and Lucas Sims started the Fall Stars game. Free Agency started as well, leading to the possible departure of some popular players

Lucas Sims started the Fall Stars game for the AFL West squad
Lucas Sims started the Fall Stars game for the AFL West squad
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Fall League

RHP Lucas Sims-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
4 G, 0-0, 2.45 ERA, 11 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 11 K


Weekly Recap:
Lucas Sims pitched in 1 game this week and was by all accounts fantastic. He didn't get the start, but pitched 3 hitless innings. The only runner that reached base reached on an error by the shortstop. He struck out 4 in the game and most scouts came away very impressed. Later in the week he started the AFL All Star game, and pitched 2 innings. He allowed 2 runs in that game but also struck out 4 while not walking anyone. He has quickly made strides and now looks to be taking his place as one of the top prospects in the system once again.

RHP Mauricio Cabrera-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
6 G, 0-0, 8.22 ERA, 7.2 IP, 12 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K


Weekly Recap:
Cabrera appeared briefly in one game this week and pitched 2 innings. He did allow one run but it was a very positive outing for Cabrera nonetheless. He struck out 4 batters in his 2 innings of work and only walked one. His first inning was rough as he allowed 2 hits and threw a wild pitch to allow his run to score, but settled down and struck out 3 batters in his second inning while only allowing one walk. While his command is very poor at this stage, he has actually done a pretty good job at keeping the ball in the strike zone. He has throw strikes on 71% of his pitches this fall.

RHP Andrew Thurman-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
5 G, 0-1, 14.14 ERA, 7 IP, 10 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 5 BB, 7 K


Weekly Recap:
Thurman pitched in 2 games this week and showed the same up and down tendencies he has much of this past year. His first inning was a dreadful outing and he allowed 3 runs in 1.2 IP. He was hit hard in that one, so despite striking out 3 batters he allowed 2 home runs. His next outing was much more impressive, a perfect inning of work on Thursday. He struck out 1 in that one, 8 days after his other perfect outing this fall. He just has not missed many bats and has a .345 BAA, though some of that is a small sample size as he has a .363 BABIP against.

RHP Daniel Winkler-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
5 G, 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K


Weekly Recap:
Winkler continued his rehab stint with one game this week. While his stat line was unimpressive it was certainly notable that he pitched his first multi-inning outing since coming back from injury. He struck out 2 batters in his 2 innings and walked one. He was perfect with a strikeout in his first inning but ran into some trouble his second time out. He allowed a single and a walk to start the inning, and the 2 fly outs later a runner came in to score. He struck out the next batter to end the inning and get out with not further damage, and more importantly with no injuries.

C Joseph Odom-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
6 G, .087/.087/.087, 2-23, 0 BB, 1 RBI, 10 K, 0 SB, 1 R, 0 HR


Weekly Recap:
Joseph Odom got one start and did not take advantage of it at all. He went 0-4 on the day and struck out 4 times for the Javelinas. To top it off he had another poor defensive showing behind the plate. He allowed his 3rd passed ball of the season and allowed 3 runners to steal a base without throwing anyone out. Amongst players with more than 20 PA he ranks second in the league in K%, all without drawing any walks so far. It has been a forgettable fall for the 23 year old catcher.

SS Johan Camargo-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
10 G, .237/.293/.263, 9-38, 3 BB, 3 RBI, 5 K, 0 SB, 3 R, 0 HR


Weekly Recap:
Camargo has not had the best of falls, but started to show some signs of life at the plate last week. He only went 3-12, but had a hit in all 3 games he played and walked twice while only striking out once. He also got his first extra base hit of the season when he doubled on Monday. He contributed to a couple of wins for the Javelinas this week all while still being just 21 years old. His strikeout rate is the 8th lowest amongst players with as many plate appearances as he has, and he could be even better with a .273 BABIP.

OF Connor Lien-Peoria Javelinas

Season To Date
13 G, .146/.212/.208, 7-48, 3 BB, 2 RBI, 22 K, 2 SB, 5 R, 1 HR


Weekly Recap:
Connor Lien is quickly digging deeper and deeper into a hole this fall. This week was his worst yet, as he went 0-12 with 8 strikeouts, including a 3 strikeout game and a 4 strikeout game. He walked once in his second game to keep from being shut completely off of the base paths, but that came to nothing as he was stranded at first base. His 42.3% K rate is the worst amongst qualifying hitter, a full 9.5% higher than the next person on the list. He has not done anything at the plate and it's just getting worse.

Venezuelan Winter League

IF/OF Adonis Garcia-Navegantes de Magallanes

Season To Date
3 G, .385/.429/.462, 5-13, 1 BB, 3 RBI, 1 K, 0 SB, 2 R, 0 HR


Weekly Recap:
Garcia made his first appearance this winter, and played very well for the Navegantes. He debuted with a 3-4 performance, and knocked in a run. He had another multi hit game his second go around, and had his first extra base hit of the winter. He went 2-5 with a double and 2 RBIs. He went hitless in his 3rd game, but he couldn't be kept off the basepaths for a whole game. He walked and scored his second run of the season. Adonis seems to be the favorite internal option to start at 3rd base this year with Hector Olivera moving to the outfield, so it will be incredibly interesting to see how he plays this winter.

C Jose Briceno-Navegantes de Magallanes

Season To Date
4 G, .200/.200/.200, 1-5, 0 BB, 0 RBI, 2 K, 0 SB, 0 R, 0 HR
2,4,5,8

Weekly Recap:
Without a doubt the biggest disappointment this minor league season was, for me at least, Jose Briceno. He was a young guy with a great arm and an improving bat, but just never put it together this year. The Maracaibo native took his talents back home, but has not gotten much playing time this year. He has been used primarily as a pinch hitter, but does have a hit in 5 at bats. He did come in as a late inning defensive replacement in first base in one game. He got 3 at bats off of the bench on Wednesday at catcher but unfortunately allowed a passed ball in that one, though he did get a hit.

Mexican Pacific League

OF/1B Joey Meneses-Tomateros de Culiacan

Season To Date
25 G, .281/.340/.393, 25-89, 6 BB, 12 RBI, 19 K, 1 SB, 12 R, 2 HR, 4 2B


Weekly Recap:
Meneses has continued to improve with playing time this winter, and had a very good week for the Tomateros. He appeared in 5 games, and got a hit in 4 of them. His only hitless game was a pinch hit strikeout and he went 6-15 with a double and a home run. He scored 3 runs this week, knocked in 2 more, and also walked a couple of times. He hit .400/.471/.667 on the week. His .281 average is amongst the league leaders. He played at 1B and right field this week, and played the week errorless and recorded an outfield assist.

C Alejandro Flores-Naranjeros de Hermosillo

Season To Date
3 G, .182/.182/.182, 2-11, 0 BB, 0 RBI, 1 K, 0 SB, 0 R, 0 HR


Weekly Recap:
Did not participate in any games this week

P Ryne Harper-Caneros de los Mochis

Season To Date
5 G, 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K


Weekly Recap:
Harper got his first consistent action this week and looked good. He did allow one run on a home run, but was otherwise lock down in his 3 outings. His first 2 outings combined for 1.1 perfect innings and a strikeout. He got his first win in the first game this week, when he came in to record one out. He allowed his first run of the year on Saturday, but also struck out 2 batters. He has yet to allow a wa;k this winter.

Puerto Rican Winter League

C Jonathan Morales-Criollos de Caguas

Season To Date
2 G, .000/.250/.000, 0-3, 1 BB, 0 RBI, 1 K, 0 SB, 0 R


Weekly Recap:
Morales has been sitting on the bench so far, but got his first start on Sunday. He went 0-3 with a walk and a strikeout. He appeared in his first game on Friday as a late inning defensive replacement. He did not record any at bats.

3B Hector Olivera-Criollos de Caguas


Season To Date
7 G, .333/.400/.407, 9-27, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 0 K, 0 SB, 8 R, 0 HR, 2 2B


Weekly Recap:
Hector Olivera had a solid week for the Criollos. His first game was a 2-4 performance with a double. He knocked in a run and scored 2 more in the Criollos 4-1 win. He went 1-3 in his second game of the week, and scored another run in Caguas 4-1 win. He went 1-4 with a walk in the third game of the week and scored a run. That was another win for Caguas, this time 4-2. He went 0-3 in his final game of the week, but did walk once. He was removed early from that game, an extra inning affair, likely to keep him healthy. He was pulled late for a defensive replacement in each of his games, a sign that he may have a long way to go in the outfield. Olivera didn't make any errors on the week.

SS Luis Mateo-Criollos de Caguas

Season To Date
7 G, .214/.214/.214, 6-28, 0 BB, 2 RBI, 6 K, 1 SB, 1 R, 0 HR


Weekly Recap:
Mateo had a tough week going 3-17 with no extra base hits. He started off well with a 1-3 performance with a stolen base, but went 2-14 with 4 strikeouts the rest of the week. He knocked in his first 2 runs of the year and also scored his first run of the winter.

P Kanekoa Texeira-Indios de Mayaguez

Season To Date
2 G, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K


Weekly Recap:
Texeira got his first game action of the winter last week, and pitched in 2 games. His first was a 3 inning relief appearance, which he pitched scorelessly. He allowed 3 hits and no walks while striking out 2. He got his first start on Friday, and pitched 5 innings to earn the win. He only allowed an unearned run on 5 hits and a walk while striking out 3 batters.

Australian Baseball League

OF Keith Curcio-Melbourne Aces

Season To Date
12 G, .245/.283/.265, 12-49, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2 K, 6 SB, 4 R, 0 HR, 1 2B


Weekly Recap:
Keith Curcio had a poor week for Melbourne, and only recorded a hit in one of his 4 games. He started off the week going 0-4 with a walk and an RBI in Melbourne's 6-4 loss. He rebounded to go 2-7 in Melbourne's 5-4 win in 15 innings over Adelaide the next day. He stole 2 bases in that game, and the team stole 9 bases on Adelaide's Connor O'Gorman. He went 0-3 with a sacrifice fly RBI in the next game, a 10-8 loss to Adelaide. He went 0-3 in the second half of the Sunday double header before being pulled in the final inning of a blowout game. While he had a bad week, he still in tied for the league lead in stolen bases with 6.

Weekly MVP: Joey Meneses

Meneses was the only player in the system with a home run this week, and was pretty fantastic for his team all week. Lucas Sims was also a deserving candidate, but Meneses had a standout week for the Tomateros.

Minor League Transactions

We had 3 players that were formerly on this list that declared for free agency this weekend. We have chosen to exclude those players as they are no longer a part of the organization, but they will obviously be brought back on if the re-sign with the Braves. No matter the results of this free agency period, we wish Greg Smith, Emerson Landoni, and Matt Kennelly the best with the rest of their careers.

There were a few more well-known players who declared for free agency over the weekend. The headliner of those is Jake Brigham, who appeared in his the majors for the first time in his career with the Braves. Emerson Landoni also had a breakout season, and hit nearly .300 for Mississippi this year. Decatur native Cedric Hunter also declared, and he seems among the most likely to re-sign. He has a chance to make the Braves bench with a good spring training and they will likely pursue him. International League all star Carlos Fisher also is now a free agent. Tyler Jones had a fantastic season for the Mudcats and Mississippi Braves and looks to be showing the potential to be a future bullpen arm. he is another that the Braves will likely pursue to re-sign. The remainder of the list that has so far declared for free agency is Vin Mazzaro, Victor Mateo, Sean Kazmar, Mycal Jones, Braeden Schlehuber, Jorge Reyes, Andrew Barbosa, Greg Ross, Kevin Ahrens, Carlos Franco, Kanekoa Texeira, Jose Yepez, Blair Walters, and Justin Jackson. None of these players have signed with a team yet and could very well return to the Braves system next season. The Braves also signed a player, infielder Reid Brignac, and assigned him to Gwinnett.