Monday, June 23, 2014

A Random Prospect Sunday Run-Down

My oldest running regular column since starting this blog is Random Prospect Sunday (or Random Prospect of the Day as I once called it despite it only being one day a week). Despite twice leaving this blog behind twice, I have brought back the column each time if only because I love the idea of writing about guys who rarely get much ink outside of game recaps. With that in mind, here is review of the members of the 2012-2013 RPS Club. I meant to do this when I restarted the blog, but one thing led to another and I suck.

2012

Braeden Schlehuber - Catcher - RPS Profile

The native of Utah has filled the role of organizational filler, often in a backup role. He did have a nice season with Lynchburg in 2011 with a .768 OPS and a career-high eight homeruns. After spending 2012 on the shuttle between the 'Burg and Pearl, Mississippi, Schleuber has spent each of the last two seasons in Pearl as both a full-time backup and a part-time starter. I believe he'll be a free agent after the season, but he might stick around on minor league deals, especially if the Braves like his handling of young pitchers.

Luis Avilan - Pitcher - RPS Profile

The first random prospect to make it to the majors, Avilan made his debut with the Braves less than a month after I profiled him and not once did Avilan ever thank me. Avilan's production since getting to the majors has gotten progressively worse each season with him posting well over a hit an inning and nearly as many walks as strikeouts this season. Hopefully, he turns it around as the Braves badly need him to get left-handers out.

Matt Kennelly - Catcher - RPS Profile

Part of a tandem with Schlehuber behind the plate in Mississippi this season, the Australian is in his second run with the Braves after being cut in 2013. After getting time with the Reds system, Kennelly was resigned by the Braves for 2014 and he's hit .307 in Mississippi this year. His more famous brother, Tim, has not played in professional ball this season.

Matt Talley - Pitcher - RPS Profile

Drafted out of The Citadel in 2011, Talley was a left-hander with a possible future in the bullpen. However, he never pitched up to the Braves hopes and only about a week after I profiled him, he appeared in his last game in the organization. Talley tried his luck with the White Sox system, but by the end of 2012, his career was over.

Joe Leonard - Third Base - RPS Profile

The good news is that Leonard is still in the system and still playing a high quality third base. The problem is that he still can't hit worth a lick. The most amazing statistic of his career is that in nearly 500 PA at Gwinnett, Leonard, who is 6'5" and 220 pounds, has yet to hit a homerun. How is that even possible? Leonard's bat will likely get him cut soon.

Ian Marshall - Pitcher - RPS Profile

The righty out of the University of Richmond struggled to stay healthy and/or productive during his two-and-a-half seasons in the Braves organization, throwing a shade under a hundred innings. After 2012, the Braves cut Marshall and he has spent the past two seasons with Southern Maryland in the Atlantic League. He finished fifth last season in wins if that means anything.

2013

Ross Heffley - Second Base - RPS Profile

One of the better stories of this series, Heffley wasn't even headed to college on a scholarship before a dramatic homerun. He maxed out a college run that allowed him to be selected in the 18th round of 2012. He immediately hit at Rome and looked like he could be sleeper prospect for the Braves. 2013...eliminated those dreams. He failed at Lynchburg and couldn't recapture his 2012 success after being demoted to Rome. He was cut ahead of the 2014 season.

Ryan Buchter - Pitcher - RPS Profile

The second player profiled who made it to the majors, Buchter made his major league debut on Friday night and after a scoreless 12th, he got the win following a Braves two-run 13th. I wrote this in his profile: "Lefties will stick around forever, but even they have to throw strikes.  If he can do that more, he has a shot at securing a role in someones bullpen as a LOOGY." Still accurate.

Jose Peraza - Second Base - RPS Profile

I absolutely love Peraza and he's one of a couple real "prospects" that have made it into this series. Peraza was simply wonderful in Lynchburg for the first half of the season, OPSing .820 with 35 steals while learning-on-the-job at second base after being moved from shortstop. He recently was promoted to Mississippi and has continued to hit and swipe bases. I love Tommy La Stella, but Peraza is the future and it appears to be on the way sooner rather than later.

J.R. Graham - Pitcher - RPS Profile

The injured Graham was profiled last July, but he had already missed two months. He would go on to miss the rest of the season with shoulder issues. After getting healthy, Graham started off this year strong, but now sits with an ERA over 4.50. It's sad considering that Graham is really the only other real prospect that has gotten digital ink on this blog. A lot of people still believe Graham will make for a better reliever, though.

William Beckwith - First Base - RPS Profile

Sad. I even used a cool picture with Chipper Jones in the profile I wrote for him. Beckwith was a long-shot before a DUI while playing for the Lynchburg Hillcats killed his career with the Braves. He stuck around for the rest of the season, but never played. He's now playing with Washington in the Frontier League.

Alex Wilson - Pitcher - RPS Profile

The former Wofford product has been a solid reliever since the Braves drafted him in 2012 out of the 15th round. With nearly a strike out an inning and impeccable control, the most impressive stat for Wilson is his career 4.7 K/BB. In a system with lots of wildness from their relievers, the ability to throw strikes out of the pen is unique indeed. His ability to induce groundballs could keep him rolling through the minors as long as he remains productive.

Casey Kalenkosky - First Base - RPS Profile

A first basemen out of Texas State who the Braves picked in the 30th round during 2012, Kalenkosky, or how Ory as he answered to, has seemed to be cut. While I can't find any information on it, he hasn't played this year and I can't find a roster with him on it. The sometimes catcher/once a pitcher had decent pop and a little ability to steal bases, but his .732 OPS appeared to not be good enough to stick around.

Carlos Perez - Pitcher - RPS Profile

This was expected to be the big year for the Dominican left-hander who debuted in 2009. On the 40-man roster, Perez was finally going to get to AA after being stuck at A-ball for parts of four seasons. However, Perez hit the DL with a "viral infection" in mid-April and has remained there. It's unfortunate for the one-time starter with an electric arm and a tough time transitioning potential into performance.

Elmer Reyes - Shortstop - RPS Profile

Tough to classify Reyes as a shortstop because his future is likely at second or better yet, as a utility player. Still, he has logged most of his time at short. Reyes has built on a strong finish with Lynchburg last season to slash .325/.356/.448 with Mississippi. As you can tell, he never walks, but there is some skill there and he could develop into a Martin Prado-like player.

Omar Poveda - Pitcher - RPS Profile

I liked Poveda a lot last year in the same way I was once excited about what Buddy Carlyle could do. Surely, Poveda would have been average at his ultimate best, but he was a long-shot and it's easy to cheer for long-shots. After a solid year with Gwinnett failed to get him to the majors, Poveda went to camp with the White Sox this year and failed to make the roster with them. He's now in the Nationals system pitching some of his worst ball that has landed him on the DL in AA.

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