Minor League Preview - Monday April 24

Bill Shanks takes a look at the schedule today in the Braves' farm system.

RICHMOND


Richmond moves on to Norfolk to continue their series Monday night starting at 7:05.

Ricardo Rodriguez will make his second start for the Braves against Jason Scobie of the Tides.

The Braves are 5-13 on the season, 7.5 games back of Charlotte in the International League's South Division.

Some statistical notes from Richmond:

* Richmond is last in the International League with only four home runs and next to last with a .229 batting average.

* Jonathan Schuerholz is really struggling with an .098 batting average after a very impressive spring.

* David Kelton, expected to be a major force in the Richmond lineup, is hitting only .208 through the first 18 games.

* James Jurries, who almost made the Atlanta roster after an outstanding spring, is hitting only .235 with one home run and two runs batted in.

* The Richmond pitching has struggled as well, with a league-low 5.53 ERA.

* Phil Stockman has still not given up an earned run this season. He pitched in three games with Mississippi before being promoted to Richmond, where he's also pitched three scoreless games. Stockman has allowed only three hits in thirteen innings, six walks, and 21 strikeouts.


MISSISSIPPI


Mississippi plays game four of its five-game series with Montgomery tonight starting at 8:05 pm ET at Trustmark Park.

Right-hander Ryan Basner, who lasted only one inning in his last start, will get the ball for the Braves. Chuck Tiffany will pitch for the Biscuits.

The Braves are now 7-11 on the season, four games back of Montgomery and Jacksonville in the Southern League's South Division.

Some statistical information about Mississippi:

* Gregor Blanco may not be in Mississippi long. He's repeating AA and doing well, hitting .311 with a .425 OBP.

* Yunel Escobar is struggling with a .231 average.

* Matt Esquivel is struggling with a .210 average and only one home run and eight RBI.

* Onil Joseph was sent down to Myrtle Beach after hitting only .156 in 32 at bats.

* Mississippi's team batting average is .238, sixth (out of ten) in the league, while the team ERA is 3.76, next to last in the Southern League.

* Will Startup continues to pitch great baseball. He has yet to give up an earned run this season. Startup started pitched in one scoreless game with Myrtle Beach before being promoted to Mississippi. Overall, he's 3-0 in six games. He's allowed seven hits in 10.2 innings, two walks, and 17 strikeouts.


MYRTLE BEACH


Myrtle Beach opens up a seven-game homestand tonight at Coastal Federal Field as the Salem Avalanche come to town.

Matt Harrison gets the start for the Pelicans. He's 1-1 on the season with a 3.45 ERA in his first three starts.

The Pelicans are 8-9 on the season, 3.5 games back of Kinston in the Carolina League's Southern Division.

Some statistical information on the Pelicans:

* After a horrid start last season, J.C. Holt is off to a decent start in 2006. Holt is hitting .261, is tied with for the team lead with four doubles, and has five stolen bases.

* Steve Doetsch is off to a horrible start, hitting only .170 in 53 at bats.

* Despite leading the team with nine runs batted in, Diory Hernandez is hitting only .175.

* The concern in the rotation is with Jake Stevens, who is 0-4 with a 11.02 ERA in his first four games. Stevens also has 15 walks. He's repeating this level this season, and his early struggles are bothersome.

* The Peclians' bullpen has been outstanding. Arthur Santos has an ERA of 0.90 in four games. Dan Smith has an ERA of 1.50 in six games. Zach Schreiber has an ERA of 1.69 in five games. And Kelvin Villa has an ERA of 2.51 in four games.


ROME


Rome welcomes second place Columbus to State Mutual Stadium tonight for the start of a four-game series.

Chris Vines makes his fourth start of the season tonight. The right-hander is 0-1 on the season with a 3.71 ERA.

The Braves are 12-3 on the season, 2.5 games up on the Catfish in the Sally League's Southern Division.

Some statistical information about Rome:

* Jamie Romak is tied with Kala Ka'aihue for the team lead with three home runs, but Romak is hitting only .174.

* Quentin Davis is off to a fantastic start, hitting .365, tenth best in the Sally League.

* Elvis Andrus is hitting .250 with 11 RBI in 56 at bats so far this season. He's made five errors at shortstop.

* Ovandy Suero has eight stolen bases, while Davis has six, and Eric Campbell has five. Rome leads the league with 28 stolen bases.

* The team ERA is 2.98, third best in the Sally League.


Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.


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