What an insane game. The Braves struggled to figure out Steven Matz, but torched Seth Lugo after Matz was inexplicably removed from the game in the seventh. Atlanta led 6-2 entering the ninth, but made nothing easy on themselves as Mark Melancon struggled mightily. Johan Camargo also had an absolutely putrid game all-around and may have played his way out of the starting lineup for good. The Braves did hold on for a 6-4 win, but man did they make it ugly.
Garrett looks back on the Braves 2018 draft class, which featured a wide array of intriguing talents despite the club failing to sign first-round pick Carter Stewart.
Three key names came to Atlanta in a four pick span between the 14th and 17th rounds, and all three rank on or very near Talking Chop’s Top 30 prospects for 2019. Victor Vodnik was probably the player that most excited us coming into the season and he has not given any reason to change that opinion thus far. Outside of a short stint on the injured list his 2019 season has gone off without a flaw, and although limited in his outings he has shown a tremendous potential on the mound. Vodnik has struck out more than a batter per inning pitched this season and over 50 1/3 innings has only allowed one home run. Talking Chop’s midseason Top 30 list had him rated as the top Braves prospect from this most recent draft. Another highly rated player was 15th rounder Greg Cullen, whose season turned from a player showing decent bat to ball skills to one on a pure baseball-hatred tour over the past month. In Cullen’s past 25 games for Rome he has as many strikeouts as he does walks and has slashed .322/.454/.517. Cullen has above average natural hitting ability, and if he can start to show a decent level of power he does have the potential to be a bench bat in the major leagues. The best player for Rome this season, however, has been Cullen and Vodnik’s teammate-17th rounder Justin Dean.
Speaking of 2018 draftees, infielder Greg Cullen is making some noise in Rome this season and has caught the eye of our own Wayne Cavadi.
What was most impressive Saturday in Rome was how Cullen went 4-for-4. Sure, all four hits were singles, but he filled the spray chart. The first hit was a liner hit hard up the gut to the centerfielder. He then worked his pitch and took the ball the other way to left field. In his third at-bat he scorched a single past a diving first baseman, pulling it hard to right field for an RBI. The fourth hit was the one in the tweet above when he lined it so hard he blew a hole in the third baseman’s glove (Author’s note: That is an over-exaggeration to deliver a point, people).
The Orioles are so bad. Their last moment of relevance came when Zack(h) Britton watched from the bullpen while Edwin Encarnacion hit a Ubaldo Jimenez fastball into orbit. Just awful.