The Braves have signed three players to help fill out their rookie league rosters. Mike Marbry is a shortstop signed out of UNC Wilmington. He's 6-3, 188 pounds and hit .243 in his senior season. Marbry will be joined on the Gulf Coast League roster by Cesar Reyes, a catcher out of Concordia University of Irvine in California. And former Pitt Panther catcher Jeff Stevens was signed and is on the Danville roster. The six-foot-three catcher will be playing at home; he is originally from Danville.
Gregor Blanco has had to open some eyes in his first 38 games in Triple-A. Blanco was hitting .299 with an OBP of .399. Blanco had similar numbers (.287 avg., .397 obp) in his 66 games in Mississippi. He's also had 22 stolen bases this season but no home runs. Blanco will get strong consideration for the 40-man this winter… Martin Prado continues his push for a full-time big league job next season. The second baseman is hitting a combined .284 this season and is a career .300 hitter in his 1840 minor league at bats. Prado could compete with Willy Aybar and Yunel Escobar next season if Marcus Giles is traded… Lance Cormier pitched a seven-hit shutout Thursday night for his fourth victory with Richmond. If Jason Shiell does not do better in his start Saturday against Cincinnati Cormier might get strong consideration for the next start as the Braves' fifth starter until Kyle Davies is ready to go… With one spot open on the 40-man roster, you wonder if the Braves would add Wayne Franklin in September. The former Giants' and Brewers' lefty has been outstanding this season striking out 52 in 52.1 innings of work in his 34 games. He's also got a 2.24 ERA and only 17 walks.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia since returning from the disabled list: .417 batting average, 5 home runs and 14 RBI. His average is now up to .233… Scouts are saying they like Barbaro Canizares, the Cuban defector that signed prior to this season. He's hitting .301 in 279 at bats. But there is no doubt he's an American League player. He is playing first base, but his defense is not very good… Yunel Escobar is going to get more playing time at second base between now and the end of the season. The Braves want to see how he handles second. It's his third best position, behind short and third, but Escobar told me a few weeks ago there is no doubt he can play second base effectively. The Braves feel that defensively he's above average at short and third and can be more than adequate at second. He will now get his chance to prove whether or not he joins Prado in competition next spring… Okay it's time to give right-hander Zach Schreiber some recognition. He's perhaps been the best reliever in the farm system this season. He's 1-2 overall with a 1.50 ERA in his 34 games between Myrtle Beach (8 games) and Mississippi (26 games). Zach has allowed only 30 hits in 46 innings, but 32 walks and 48 strikeouts. His walk totals have decreased as the season progressed. After walking 20 batters in 22.2 innings in May and June, Schreiber walked only 4 in 7 innings in July. Between his stats and his 93 mph fastball and solid slider, Schreiber could be earning himself an invitation to big league camp next spring… He might be joined by left-hander Francisley Bueno, who is getting raves from opposing teams' scouts. Bueno has only 14 walks and 60 strikeouts in 58.1 innings of work. The Braves hope he'll have a healthy month of August and then get some more work in during the winter. Some scouts believe Bueno could be a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
Pelicans' outfielder Carl Loadenthal leads the Carolina League in hitting by over 35 points with his .346 average. He's having a fantastic season, which includes 18 stolen bases. Loadenthal is not very big, only 5-10, 185 pounds, but the pesky lefty hitter will get everyone's attention if he hangs on and wins the batting title… After hitting .210 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI through May, third baseman Van Pope has been red hot the past two months. In June and July Pope hit .316 with 3 home runs and 26 RBI. He's already matched his power output from last season with the seven home runs…Tough loss for Myrtle Beach last week when Greg Creek was lost for the rest of the season with a broken hand. Even though he hit only .262 with no home runs and 22 RBI, Creek had played all over the diamond for Myrtle Beach. He was replaced on the roster by Ivan Terrazas, who was playing in the Mexican League. The Braves sent him there this spring for him to get consistent playing time, and he performed well. Terrazas hit .338 in Mexico with 13 home runs and 53 RBI in 382 at bats. Terrazas hit .277 in 321 at bats in Rome last season… James Parr has been pitching much better lately. He was 2-1 in July with a 3.45 ERA in five games. The right-hander started out slow, going 2-4 with a 5.25 ERA in his first nine games before injuring his oblique muscle. Since he returned in mid June, Parr has gone 4-2 with a 3.76 ERA in 9 games… And Brad Nelson continues his great comeback from Tommy John Surgery. The Braves' 10th rounder in 2003 started off in Rome and pitched in 10 games. He had 4 saves and a 0.69 ERA, only one walk, and 10 strikeouts. And since he's been in Myrtle Beach he has not allowed a run in his first five games.
Rome's 17-22 record in the second half is not surprising, considering the loss of Isaiah Ka'aihue to Myrtle Beach, Max Ramirez to trade for Bob Wickman, and the injuries that kept shortstop Elvis Andrus and third baseman Eric Campbell out for a few weeks… But Jordan Schafer has tried to pick up the slack. The outfielder has homered in his first two games this month and he's been on a tear since the first of July. After hitting just .214 with 2 home runs and 32 RBI in the first three months of the season, Schafer has hit .320 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI since July 1st to improve his overall average to .248… Jairo Cuevas is getting stronger as the season progresses. He's 3-1 in his last five games with an ERA of 2.49… Lee Hyde is proving to be a solid draft pick so far. After his two innings Thursday, Hyde has now allowed only one earned run in 13.1 innings in his 8 games between Danville and Rome. That's a 0.68 ERA. He's struck out 12 batters as well.
One reason Danville is in first place in the Appalachian League is their offense, with a league-leading .288 batting average – 19 points higher than the second team on that list. Danville has first baseman Larry Williams at .339 (third best in league), centerfielder Willie Cabrera at .329 (fifth best), and shortstop Chase Fontaine at .316. Chase is also fourth in the league with his .416 on base percentage… Paul Bennett, a non-drafted free agent signed right before the season, has been a big surprise. He's hitting .325 and his 10 stolen bases puts him among the league leaders… The pitching has been solid as well. Jamie Richmond is first in the Appalachian League in wins (7), ERA (0.81), and WHIP (0.70)… Mike Broadway, 4-0 on the season, is right behind Richmond in two important categories. He's second in the league with a 1.59 ERA and third in WHIP at 0.94… Danville's save opportunities have been split between David Williams and Kris Medlen. Williams is following up his fine season in the GCL last year (7 saves and a 0.47 ERA) with more good work in Danville. The right-hander has four saves and a 1.88 ERA. He's also struck out 18 in 14.1 innings… Medlen, this year's 10th round pick out of Santa Ana College, has a 0.68 ERA with his four saves, along with 18 strikeouts and only 2 walks in 13.1 innings.
After missing a few weeks with a dislocated left hand, shortstop Cole Miles is off to a solid start in the GCL. Miles is hitting .309 with a home run, 7 RBI, and 9 stolen bases in his first 19 games… The GCL Braves are striking out way too much. Adam Parliament leads the way with 37, followed by Adam Coe (32), Rubi Koko (29), and Cody Johnson (25)… Two of the Braves' high pitching picks from June's draft are off to solid starts. The third round pick Chad Rodgers has a 1.50 ERA in his first seven pro games, while supplemental first rounder Steve Evarts has walked only 6 while striking out 25 in his first eight games. Evarts has a 1.74 ERA.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves' Radio Network. Email Bill at email@example.com.
Minor League Notes
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