With the opening month of the season coming to a close, the minor league writers of this fine publication decided to name an all star team for the month of April. A highly trained and incredibly intelligent panel of experts (Eric, Gaurav, and the extremely charming and talented multimedia team leader, me) cast votes for the all star team. In the interest of anonymity, the individual ballots will not be posted.
0-2, 1.33 ERA, 27 IP, 21 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 29 K, 0.88 WHIP
Mike Soroka has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the system from the opening game, and strung together 4 outstanding starts in 5 appearances. His miniscule walk rate of 2.8% and his strikeout rate of over 1 per inning is a good sign, and on the field he just looks to be on a different level from the other players. He commands the strike zone and mixes pitches like you would expect to see from a major league veteran, and though he still has to work on consistency in his off speed stuff he flashes a great 3 pitch arsenal. The Braves are typically patient with guys in their first year in full season ball, but Soroka may push them to promote him to Carolina in the second half of the season.
Also Receiving Votes:
Brandon Barker (1)
2-0, 0.78 ERA, 23 IP, 18 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 19 K, 1.00 WHIP
Max Povse (2)
2-1, 1.69 ERA, 26.2 IP, 15 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 23 K, 0.71 WHIP
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 SV, 9.1 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1.18 WHIP
You can't do any better than a 0.00 ERA, which is just what Johnson-Mullins has at the moment. The 13th rounder had an impressive spring that allowed him to skip over Rome, and has defended that aggressive assignment with his pitching in the early going. The lefty has actually been better against RHB, holding them to a .174 BAA, but last year had near mirror splits. He is tied for the system lead in saves, and has the most innings pitched among players with 0 earned runs allowed. He is a big bodied lefty (6'8) out of Shelton State CC, and with his performance in his early career could bolt through the system despite a handful of good left handed options above him.
Also Receiving Votes
Bladimir Matos (1)
0-0, 0.90 ERA, 1 SV, 10 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 13 K, 0.60 WHIP
20 G, .295/.313/.436, 23-78, 5 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 12 K, 0 SB, 17 RBI
Jonathan Morales is shaping up to be the steal of the 2015 draft for the Braves, having already proven he can hit lower minor league pitching. The 25th rounder posted an .889 OPS in his pro debut, and for much of April was hitting well over .300 before a late slide hurt his numbers. Even reports on his questionable defense have been positive, as he has shown improvement in his receiving skills and gets good marks for game calling. He is a bit old at 21 for A ball, but could see a chance to jump a level soon if he continues his performance. Jonathan Morales was a unanimous selection for this team by our voters, and it is not hard to see why given his numbers thus far.
19 G, .271/.346/.357, 19-70, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 BB, 15 K, 1 SB, 1 RBI
Meneses was another of the unanimous selections for this list, and though his numbers will not wow you he has been the best performer among first basemen in the system. He is a very good defensive player and is athletic enough to switch over to outfield when needed. He is currently on a 5 game hitting streak that has seen his batting average go up 45 points, and all 4 of his extra base hits have come in the last half of the month.
19 G, .297/.333/.405, 22-74, 4 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 4 BB, 14 K, 1 SB, 8 RBI
Obregon started his season off with an unimpressive 0-9, but went on a tear after that and compiled a 13 that is the longest by a Braves this season. Though his numbers against left handed pitching are mediocre, he is hitting .308 against righties with 4 of his 6 extra base hits. Small sample size warning, but he has by far the best ISO of his career as well. He's also a sure handed defender at the second base bag and has made an excellent double play pair with Dansby Swanson this season. He figures to get a lot of chances to score runs hitting in the 2 spot in that batting order, and is already leading the team with 11 runs scored.
Also Receiving Votes
Reid Brignac (1)
20 G, .338/.415/.375, 27-80, 3 2B, 0 HR, 11 BB, 11 K, 3 SB, 12 RBI
22 G, .369/.442/.512, 31-84, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 10 BB, 13 K, 2 SB, 7 RBI
The Curacaoan Phenom has answered each and every challenge thrown his way with a resounding "I can" and his aggressive promotion to Mississippi was no exception. He answered the questions surrounding his readiness so thoroughly that he was rewarded with a promotion one month into the season. The youngest player in AA dominated the league with a career high batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS to beat out Dansby Swanson for this spot despite Swanson's great season. Ozzie has shown the defensive prowess and elite bat skills that make him a top prospect, and it could very well be soon that you see him sporting an "A" on his cap.
Also Receiving Votes
Dansby Swanson (1)
21 G, .333/.441/.526, 26-78, 12 2B, 1 HR, 15 BB, 13 K, 7 SB, 15 RBI
22 G, .313/.387/.458, 26-83, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 BB, 25 K, 0 SB, 10 RBI
Perhaps no one in the system asserted himself as well as Rio Ruiz did in the opening weeks, and although his numbers have taken a tumble to a more sustainable level he has still be the best 3rd baseman in the system this year. He showed off improved power with a couple of rocket home runs, plays a solid third base, and has been hitting everything thrown his was this season. He was another aggressive promotion, and he has paid off big time with strides in every offensive category. It's unlikely he sustains his current pace, but he seems to finally be solidifying himself as a future third base option for the Braves.
21 G, .277/.341/.361, 23-83, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 BB, 12 K, 6 SB, 10 RBI
Acuna has not put his best foot forward in his full season debut, but the young and extremely talented center fielder has been a more than solid player at the top of the lineup for Rome. He shows off his incredible tools on an almost nightly basis, seeming to hit everything hard and make every play in the outfield. Acuna's bat speed and foot speed are both as good as it gets, and he has raw power to boot. This year, he took an outside pitch and hit a line drive home run opposite field, not an easy task for any player. The scary thing is that it seems like Acuna is only going to improve this season, and he will be a fixture on these monthly teams and at the tops of prospect lists all season long.
Ray Patrick Didder
21 G, .319/.430/.486, 23-72, 6 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 9 BB, 16 K, 5 SB, 5 RBI
Ray Patrick Didder has been the surprise of the season in the Braves system, and has gone from an unknown and underperforming prospect to one of the best hitters in the system for the first month. He has blazing speed, probably 80 grade, and uses it well on the base paths. He has shown that the ball doesn't even have to get to the wall for him to leg out a triple. Didder has seen a power surge as well in his game, with 9 extra base hits already (career high is 12 last season. 61 games). He went on a 7 game hitting streak in the middle of the month, and has more multi hit games this season than 0 hit games.
22 G, .268/.333/.451, 22-82, 6 2B, 3 HR, 9 BB, 19 K, 0 SB, 14 RBI
Dustin Peterson sits as the system leader in home runs at the end of a month, a good sign after a power outage likely contributed to by the bus crash last season. Peterson started off the first half of the month on a tear, and has been demolishing left handing pitching this year with a 1.051 OPS. His .785 OPS would be a career best by over 100 points, and his isolated power is 44 points above his previous career high. Dustin has played solidly in left field as well, and shows better defensive skills than were expected of him prior to the move. Peterson is among the league leaguers in RBIs, and leads the M-Braves in doubles, home runs, and RBIs.
Also Receiving Votes
Keith Curcio (1)
20 G, .282/.348/.372, 22-78, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 8 BB, 12 K, 4 SB, 10 RBI