Minor League Report - April 16

The Braves Show's Bill Shanks gives an update on the Braves' minor league system.

RICHMOND

Richmond is scheduled to host Louisville tonight at 7:00 pm at the Diamond. The weather could once again be an issue as high winds and cold weather are in the forecast. Kevin Barry is scheduled to start for Richmond. He does not have a record this year but has a 7.36 ERA. Mike Gosling is the scheduled starter for Louisville. The Braves are 4-2 and in first place in the South Division, a game up on Charlotte.

Martin Prado and Yunel Escobar are off to fast starts this season, which is a continuation of their solid spring training appearances. Prado is hitting .458 with 4 RBI and 2 stolen bases, while Escobar is at .375 with 5 RBI and also 2 stolen bases. Outfielder Gregor Blanco is also doing well so far with a .421 batting average and 3 stolen bases.

On the pitching side, Buddy Hernandez is a good story early on in the season. Hernandez has missed the past two seasons with injuries, including last year with Tommy John surgery. Before his injuries Hernandez was lights-out in Richmond, and now that he's back he's doing it again. In his first three games Hernandez has not allowed a run in 5.2 innings, with no walks and 4 strikeouts.


MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi starts a series at West Tennessee tonight starting at 8:05 pm ET. Matt Harrison (1-0, 2.79) is scheduled to go for the Braves against lefty Jason Mackintosh (0-0, 2.25). The Braves are 7-3 on the season, a game back of Birmingham in the Southern League's South Division.

The Braves' offense has been the main story so far this season. Brandon Jones is off to a fast start hitting .415 with 1 home run and 8 RBI. If Jones continues his hot hitting he might become an option if left field continues to be a worry in Atlanta.

J.C. Holt was off to a fantastic start before pulling his hamstring Friday night. Holt will be out for a while, which really puts a damper on his outstanding start. Holt was hitting .394 at the time of his injury. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is proving that his wrist injury last season did cause the lower batting average. ‘Salty' is hitting .333 so far this year with 3 home runs and 7 RBI along with 7 walks in his first 8 games.


MYRTLE BEACH

The Pelicans host Winston-Salem tonight at 7:05 at Coastal Federal Field. Jairo Cuevas (0-1, 6.75) will pitch against Warthogs right-hander Justin Cassel (1-0, 0.00). Myrtle Beach is in first place with a 6-4 record, a game up on Kinston and Winston-Salem in the Carolina League's Southern Division.

Pitching has been the key so far for Myrtle Beach as they have a 2.60 team ERA. Jake Stevens is the best story to this point. Stevens has struggled with consistency the last few years in the Braves' system, but he's allowed only 1 run in 10 innings through his first 2 starts. Dustin Evans, last year's second round pick out of Georgia Southern, has also allowed only 1 run in 10 innings. Evans has walked only 2 while striking out 9 batters.

Myrtle Beach's hitters are slow out of the gate. Elvis Andrus (.257), Clint Sammons (.222), Eric Campbell (.179) and Isaiah Ka'aihue (.111) are all off to rough starts offensively. Outfielder Quentin Davis is the early league leader with 7 stolen bases.


ROME

Rome will play in Greenville tonight starting at 7:05 pm ET. The Braves lost two games to Greenville Sunday and now have a four-game losing streak. Tim Gustafson will pitch tonight for Rome against Chris Jones for Greenville. The Braves are only 1-10 so far this season and are in last place in the Sally League's Southern Division.

Gustafson, with a 1-1 record and a 1.80 ERA, is one of the pitchers off to a solid start for the Braves this season. Deunte Heath, a former University of Tennessee pitcher, has a 1.13 ERA in his first two games. And the Braves have gotten solid bullpen work from Ryne Reynoso (1.93 ERA in 3 games), Joe Johnson (0.00 ERA in 3 games) and Tyler Wilson (0.00 ERA in 2 games).

Jordan Schafer (.302 average with 1 home run) and Jon Mark Owings (.282 average with 2 homers and 6 RBI) are off to solid starts at the plate for the Braves.


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. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, 105.5 the Fan in Macon, and the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.



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