Sunday, May 24, 2015

Random Prospect Sunday: Jorge Zavala

Some people are just meant to be relievers and Jorge Zavala might be one of those guys. Over the last two years, Zavala has an ERA of about 0.66. I didn't even do the math for that, I just looked at the ERAs of the last two seasons. That's how damn impressive he has been since the beginning of last year.

Zavala was born a couple of months before the 1994 Baseball Strike in Honduras. How unusual is it to see baseball players out of Honduros? According to Baseball-Reference, the only Honduran major league baseball player is Gerald Young, who played between 1987-94. Young was actually raised in California and was a draftee in 1982 so there is that added caveat. Soccer is a much bigger sport in Honduros than baseball, but Zavala bucked the trend and started to throw a baseball with velocity.

Signed before the 2012 season, Zavala was sent to the Dominican Summer League for his first professional action. He started three of the 16 games he pitched in and limited batters to no homers and less than a hit an inning. He also didn't stand out much. A 3.07 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in rookie ball won't attract a lot of attention without big K numbers and again, here Zavala didn't amaze anyone especially compared to Michael Flores, a lefty who would go on to struggle over the next two years. Still, Flores looked intriguing in 2012

Then 19, Zavala moved up to the Gulf Coast League and started another five games to go with eleven total outings. Not much changed as far as Zavala's prospect status. He wasn't bad and you could argue that he was good (his ERA was a bit higher than it probably should have been), but there was just nothing to write home about and say "this guy has something."

Atlanta must have concurred because they kept Zavala at Champion Field in the Gulf Coast League to open last year. They moved him out to the bullpen full-time and Zavala excelled. In 18 games out of the GCL pen, he nailed down seven saves while walking the same exact amount. In 24 innings, he struck out 27. Oh, and he allowed just one run for an ERA of 0.38. He basically had an ERA of Anthony Varvaro. He was moved up the chain to Danville and in 2.1 ING, he matched the one run he surrendered in GCL, but still, he finished the year with a 0.68 ERA in 26.1 innings. Not the greatest sample size, I grant you, but that's greatly impressive. For his efforts, Zavala was named Pitcher of the Year by the Braves organization for the GCL Braves.

Zavala joined Rome to begin the year and has been there outside of a one-game stint in Carolina that coincided with the bus accident that ravaged the Mudcats roster. In ten games in Rome, he has pitched 12.1 ING with 17 K's with an microscopic ERA of 0.73. I'd match his ERA with a Braves player, but according to Baseball-Reference, no Brave has played under that number outside of probably spring training.

So, has Zavala established himself as a real prospect? Probably not yet, but he's getting there. You can't put numbers up like Zavala has done to this point and not start to get noticed even though I haven't read any glowing scouting reports on him. This video is from several years ago and it's the closest I've come in my brief research to getting a handle on his pitching style. In a system full of big pitching prospects both ahead and behind Zavala, it's easy for good performances by the lesser-known pitchers in the system to get lost in the shuffle - especially when they are coming from a reliever - but Zavala is a guy you ought to keep a look out for. Over the last two years, he has been special. That in itself doesn't mean he'll be successful, but there clearly is something here. Let's hope it works out.

Recent Random Prospects
Jordan Edgerton
Felix Marte
Joseph Daris

Friday, May 22, 2015

OOTP: Week 7

Read this link for more information on this series.

Last week was a tough one for the OOTP Braves. They opened the week with 19 wins against nine losses. Seven days later, they added just one notch to their victories while dropping five games, including a series in Washington that was too close to reality for my poor Braves heart. Hopefully this week will look better. In the mean time, let's start a weekly look at the minors with the Gwinnett Braves. Just 13-21 on the year - good for a half-game up on the last-place Charlotte Knights - Gwinnett has been unable to score many runs even as they have swiped 35 bases on the year, led by Jose Peraza's nine steals. He's hitting .321 and Joey Terdoslavich was hitting .343 before an oblique strain sidelined him. He should be ready this week and might force his way to the majors at this rate. The starting staff has been worrisome in Gwinnett. Both top prospects Matt Wisler and Mike Foltynewicz have ERAs over 5.00. Hoping those two turn it around. Atlanta's bullpen has been bad, but Gwinnett's hasn't been much better. Ian Thomas has nailed down five saves and might be in line for a callup next.

With that covered, let's get to OOTP Braves Week in Review.

Recent Results
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4

Injury Report
Josh Outman - General Suckage (Should be ready for a rehab stint in a week)
Kelly Johnson - Shoulder tendinitis (Early June Return?)
Christian Bethancourt - Post-concussion syndrome (Early June Return?)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Jason Grilli - Elbow Inflammation (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

May 15 at Miami
Actual Result - ATL wins 5-3
OOTP Result - ATL wins 11-1

What a nice start to the week! Nick Markakis finished with four hits and Chris Johnson drove in four as the Braves smack the Marlins around. Cody Martin didn't need a lot of support to throw eight solid innings with seven K's, but he'll certainly take it. The Braves were an equal opportunity deliver of pain to Marlins pitchers and scored runs on five of the six Marlins they faced.

May 16 at Miami
Actual Result - ATL wins 5-3
OOTP Result - ATL wins 5-4

Wonder if we can get Mike Redmond fired, too. Actually, the Marlins came into this series a half-game out of first place, held by the Braves. Now they will try to salvage a game. Markakis singled once and doubled twice, driving in four runs. Jace Peterson reached base three times, scoring twice and driving in a run. The effort allowed Mike Minor to improve to 2-1 as he pitched into the eighth before faltering. Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered off Jim Johnson to get the game a run closer, but Johnson still saved his fourth.

May 17 at Miami
Actual Result - ATL wins 6-0
OOTP Result - ATL loses 4-3 (11 ING)

Aww, was hoping for a sweep. Braves led for most of the early part of the game, but the Marlins took a 3-2 lead in the 7th, with the help of Justin Bour who seems to be a thorn in the Braves sides on May 17's. Chris Johnson doubled and scored on an Andrelton Simmons triple in the ninth to tie it up, but in the 11th, the Marlins loaded the bases against Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson before Bour hit a sacrifice fly to plate Martin Prado. Eric Young Jr. and Simmons each had three hits in the loss.

May 18 - IDLE

With my day off, I wanted to look at a trade offer I recently received. The Yankees want to send Brett Gardner my way in exchange for EYJ and Rio Ruiz - the latter certainly the bigger player here. Gardner's off to a .264 start and is a wonderful left fielder along with being a pretty good center fielder. I imagine the Braves front office would consider this trade. Gardner, though, is signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019. I am not anxious to give up Ruiz, but I may continue to negotiate with the Yankees on this one. Ultimately, I'm not too keen with taking on that salary, though, and I am willing to bet the Johns (Hart and Coppella) would agree.

May 19 vs. Tampa Bay
Actual Result - ATL loses 5-3
OOTP Result - ATL wins 2-1 (11 ING)

Two days after dropping an eleven inning affair in walkoff fashion, the Braves win one. Alex Wood was outstanding for the Braves Tuesday night. He worked eight scoreless innings before handing the game off to the pen. MISTAKE! John Jaso doubled and after Jim Johnson retired the next two, he uncorked a wild pitch that tied the game. But in the 11th, as the Marlins had did to the Braves on Sunday, the Braves loaded them with one out and Eric Young Jr. became the walkoff hero with a sacrifice fly, scoring Andrelton Simmons.

May 20 vs. Tampa Bay
Actual Result - ATL wins 2-1
OOTP Result - ATL loses 5-3

Fredi Gonzalez probably stuck with Trevor Cahill too long, but considering the way the pen has performed lately, I can't blame him. Up 3-2 in the 8th, Cahill retired the first two, but a walk and back-to-back singles loaded them for Kevin Kiermaier, who doubled in a pair. A Freddie Freeman error led to an unearned run off Juan Jaime in the ninth. Simmons had three singles to raise his average to .300 while EYJ singled twice.

May 21 vs. Milwaukee
Actual Result - ATL wins 10-1
OOTP Result - ATL loses 5-3

Simmons again had three hits and Jonny Gomes hit a homer in the ninth, but despite the Brewers best effort to blow this, the Braves fall in the opening of a four-game set that will take them through the weekend. This game could have been a lot uglier as Milwaukee banged out 16 hits, including the first ten off Cody Martin, but struggled to post a big run-scoring inning. The Braves stuck around, but ultimately couldn't muster a comeback.

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 5-1
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 3-3

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 20-20 (3.5 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 23-17 (1 game up)

A Look Ahead - Atlanta continues with their homestand and will play three more with the Brewers this weekend before heading west for a ten game road trip that will start Monday in Los Angeles and continue Thursday in San Francisco for a four-game set.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Random Ex-Brave: George Lombard

It was supposed to be a perfect match. George Lombard grew up in Atlanta and went to Lovett School - the same school future Braves draftee Jon Schuerholz went to. When the athletic outfielder fell to the second round in 1994, the Braves jumped in and convinced him to sign with a franchise that had in the World Series in two of the last three years. Lombard routinely ranked among the Top 100 prospects in baseball. Only one problem, though. He just wasn't that good.

Lombard from spring training 1998
Andy Lyons | Getty Images Sport
Born in 1975 to a mother, Posy Lombard, who was an associate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lombard was one of those guys with multiple opportunities to make something big happen with his life. He was a superb running back and had committed to go to Georgia after high school, but the Braves came calling. After signing, the raw outfielder struggled in the Gulf Coast League, hitting a measly .140 in 40 games. But no one was worried about Lombard's future. Sure, he was raw but the tools he had were numerous. Lombard was from an era where the Braves sought toolsy outfielders like Andre King and Mike Kelly over players with a bit more polish but a lower high-end projection.

Lombard moved to short-season A ball in 1995 with the Eugene Emeralds. The Braves dropped their short-season A team in 1999, but Lombard was part of a intriguing prospect-laden squad in '95. Sharing outfield time with Lombard was Roosevelt Brown and at shortstop, there was ultra prospect Glenn Williams. All three Emeralds, plus others like John Rocker, would get to the majors. Lombard stole 35 bases with Eugene before finishing the year with Macon for 49 games. His overall numbers look pedestrian at .233/.324/.330, though he did set a personal high of 51 steals.

He repeated Macon the following year and showed a bit more in terms of his numbers (.730 OPS, 15 HR, 24 SB), though he struck out a ton. Playing for the final version of a Braves-affiliated Durham Bulls in 1997, Lombard improved his average to .264 and OPS'd .805 with 14 long flies and 35 steals. And he struck out a ton. But you can't blame Baseball America for thinking he was a good looking prospect. He was young for the Carolina League, but not only held his own but excelled. And unlike a lot of high K guys in the minors, Lombard took his walks.

Lombard appeared to break out in 1998. Playing for the Greenville Braves, Lombard slashed .308/.410/.543 with 25 2B, 22 HR, and 35 steals in 40 attempts. Can you imagine how excited the Braves were? They had just graduated Andruw Jones into the starting lineup and now had Lombard on his way to the majors while several middle infielders led by Rafael Furcal were developing in the lower minors. Atlanta awarded Lombard with a six game run in the majors to finish his remarkable season. On September 23, Lombard pinch hit for Norm Charlton (Random Ex-Brave profile) in a 9-0 game. On a 2-2 from Rob Stanifer, Lombard connected for his first homer to deep right field at ProPlayer/Dolphins/CrappyBaseballAlignment Field. It was his second hit in his brief six game cameo. Bigger days were on their way.

Or...so we thought. Lombard headed to AAA Richmond for 1999. It was a pivotal season. The Braves had the pending free agent Gerald Williams in left field after Ryan Klesko had been moved to first base. The opening was there for Lombard. Hit at Richmond and LF was his provided everything didn't descend into darkness because of Y2K. But Lombard struggled. He hit just .206, was hurt often and he lost a lot of the spark that made him a big prospect. The Braves moved Klesko to get Reggie Sanders to block Lombard entering 2000 and would add B.J. Surhoff because of Sanders's AtlantaSuckaTude. Lombard did respond in Richmond, though. He hit .276 with 10 HR and 32 steals in 112 games. He also got his most extensive time in the majors with the Braves. 27 games. He mustered four singles in 41 PA.

How much did the Braves think of Lombard at this point? They signed Dave Martinez rather than give Lombard a shot to win a bench job entering 2001. The writing was on the wall. Ultimately, the Martinez signing didn't matter much as Lombard would need surgery on his foot that ultimately limited him to just a baker's dozen amount of games with Richmond.

In 2002, the Braves finally ended the Lombard Experiment by trading him in mid-June to the Tigers for Kris Keller. A rookie, Keller had pitched in one ugly game with the Tigers a couple of weeks before and never pitched in the majors again. He spent the rest of the 2002 in the Richmond pen and was out of professional ball a couple of years later. The Tigers gave Lombard extensive playing time - they did lose 106 games after all - and Lombard hit like you might expect the failed prospect to hit (.241/.300/.373). He did hit five homers and swipe 13 of 15 bases. Interestingly enough, he made his Tigers debut in Atlanta, but went hitless in four trips to the plate over two days. A few weeks later, in a 17-9 wild one at Comiskey Park II, Lombard finished a double short of the cycle. Two weeks later, he finished a triple short of the cycle. He was actually hitting pretty well through 30 games, but OPS'd .518 in his final 42 games.

After failing to make the Tigers roster in 2003, the Rays picked him up on waivers - they did lose 99 games after all. His run there lasted just 13 games before he was back in the International League. He spent 2004-05 in the BoSox system before a 2006 run with the Nats that got him back to the majors for 20 games when rosters expanded. The final hit of his career came on September 24 in Flushing when he singled off Steve Trachsel, who probably took 40 seconds between the first-pitch ball and the second pitch that Lombard sent to left field. There's a guy who needed a clock. Unfortunately for Lombard, he went hitless in 14 PA to finish his major league career after that single.

From 2007 until 2009, Lombard played again for the Nats system plus stops with the Dodgers, Marlins, and Indians organizations. He also played for the Long Island Ducks in 2009 for 50 games. That would close off his career. In 144 games in the majors, Lombard slashed .220/.281/.340 with 8 HR and 23 steals.

Since his career came to a close, he has been a hitting coach, minor league manager, and since 2012, he has been a roving outfield and baserunning instructor.

More Random Ex-Braves
Jason Marquis (2000-03)
Nate McLouth (2009-11)
Roman Colon (2004-05)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Once a Brave, Always a Brave - AL Central

It's another Tuesday which means it's another look around the league at former Braves and how they are doing. The quirky thing about this week's article is twice I have had to edit because of a retirement of a player that was mentioned. I'm going to get this thing posted before more players from this cursed list retire. As usual, this list should not be considered exhaustive as I am sure I am missing players - both ex-farmhands and ex-major leaguers - so if you notice a guy that should be on here, feel free to drop a comment below telling me I'm stupid.

Chicago White Sox
P Jairo Asencio (AAA)...Remember when he was Luis Valdez? He looked like a possible 2010 option before VISA issues held him back. All in all, he pitched in nine forgettable games for the Braves in 2009 and 2010 and has since played for the Indians, Cubs, and O's and spent some time in Korea.

C Tyler Flowers...In 345 games in the majors, Flowers has a .662 OPS. There was a time where we worried about the Braves giving up a good catching prospect for Javier Vazquez.

1B Adam LaRoche...Old Sleepy's getting a lot of work as a DH considering the ChiSox have a pretty good first baseman. He's hit four homers and walked a lot so far. Doesn't seem like that long ago that LaRoche was a Brave, but this marks an half-dozen years.

OF Melky Cabrera...I rarely wish for a player to fail, but when Melky's OPSing .620, I am pretty pleased.

UT Emilio Bonifacio...Boner Face is hitting a robust .222/263/.222 with zero steals so far and the White Sox are paying him $4M. Hard to believe that there were people who wondered what the Braves were thinking letting him go.

Cleveland Indians
P Bruce Chen...Actually, Bruce Chen announced his retirement yesterday after two super ugly starts in Cleveland. Chen pitched in 400 games while playing in eleven different cities. He even pitched in Montreal.

P Gavin Floyd...So much potential for a good story in back-to-back errors derailed by one horrifying elbow injury and now surgery on the same elbow. He'll miss 2015 and it's questionable whether Floyd will ever play in the majors again.

OF Michael Bourn...For all of the crap we gave Melvin Upton Jr., Bourn sucked balls after leaving the Braves so at least we didn't have to watch him excel. In 269 games with the Indians, Bourn has slashed a miserable .257/.315/.354 with 35 steals (or seven fewer than his one full season in Atlanta).

Detroit Tigers
1B Mike Hessman (AAA)...He's now 37 years old and hasn't played in the majors since 2010, but he's still plugging along. He's belted four homers on the season, giving him 421 in his minor league career. He's 63 homers short of the overall minor league number, though he already set the International League record last season.

Kansas City Royals
P Kris Medlen (DL)...Though he hasn't yet thrown a pitch this season, Medlen looks on pace for a return to the mound for live action shortly. The 29 year-old will only add to what is already one of the AL's best teams.

P Benino Pruneda (AA)...There was a time where Pruneda was mentioned as maybe the next great reliever coming through the system after Craig Kimbrel arrived, but arm injuries derailed him. After saving 11 games with a 9.9 K/9 in Mississippi in 2011, Pruneda missed the next two seasons before appearing in 31 games with Lynchburg last year. He was part of the back-to-back no-hitters, but was released before this season and is now in AA after five more games in the Carolina League to begin the year.

C J.C. Boscan (AAA)...Boscan began his career in the Gulf Coast League for the Braves back in 1997. Thirteen years later, he made it to the majors for a game. He walked and scored. Over the next three years, he played in the majors for the Braves and Cubs for 16 more games. He went 7-for-28. He played last season with the Dodgers' AA team and is now with Omaha for the Royals. 19 years in the minors for Boscan.

1B Casey Kotchman (AAA)...It's not Kotchy's fault he was all the Braves could get for two months of Mark Teixeira. Once one of the best prospects in baseball, Kotchy never hit more than 14 homers in a season and last got serious action in the majors with the Indians in 2012.

2B Rafael Furcal (AA)...Furcal is 37 years-old which is making some of us that vividly recall him jumping from A-ball to the majors in the spring of 2000 feel pretty old. He was in the middle of a rehab assignment as he tried to get back to the majors, but decided today that he, like Chen, was ready to call it quits.

2B Omar Infante...A 2010 All-Star when he became the best super utility dude in baseball, Infante has slashed .277/.309/.394 since the Braves traded him for Dan Uggla. Good, but not the .321/.359/.416 numbers that made him an All-Star while playing five positions.

Minnesota Twins
P Blaine Boyer...Not only does he have a kitchen appliance name, he also has a second chance in the majors and so far, so good for Boyer. One of the Baby Braves, arm injuries and bad pitching ended his run in Atlanta early in 2009. He pitched for the Cards, D'Backs, and Mets to pretty poor results before coming back to the game in 2013 with a run in the minors for Omaha where he looked good. He parlayed that into a season with the Padres where he pitched 32 times in the majors. He's appeared in 18 early-season games with the Twins and though his K rate is ugly, he's done a solid job keeping the ball in the park and not walking batters.

P J.R. Graham...Though he depends on groundball outs, Graham has been hurt badly by the homer ball. Three long flies in 14.1 ING is unacceptable. He's been coddled and used largely in garbage time which has allowed him to finish nine of the 12 games he's been called upon to pitch in. So far, so ugly. But things could change.

OF Wilkin Ramirez (AAA)...The Braves picked him up from the Tigers in 2010 and he got a twenty-game look with the big league club in 2011.

OF Jordan Schafer...True story. Had a guy on Twitter last year tell me that the Braves would basically rue the day they let Schafer go. He had a nice little run down the stretch, but sucked before getting hurt this year.

Recently profiled in Once a Brave, Always a Brave...
AL East
Japan and Korea
Independent Leagues

Welcome to the Bigs, Adonis!

It was a depressing development to see that Phil Gosselin, or Goose, was headed to the disabled list with a fractured thumb. Gosselin had gotten off to a pretty good start, hitting .325, with a pair of steals. With the injury to Chris Johnson, Gosselin looked like a good bet to receive a decent amount of playing time. Of course, this being the Braves, when he hit the DL, a lot of us wondered if the Braves would start the Jose Peraza era, but that's not happening right now. Instead, the Braves purchased the contract of Adonis Garcia, which leaves us with one simple question. Who the hell is Adonis Garcia?

Garcia played in the Cuban National Series for seven years until leaving the country in 2011 and playing ball in the Venezuelan Winter League. While there were rumors of a big payday in his future, he simply lacked the profile of a player who might be the kind of game changer teams spent eight figures on. He ultimately received a one year, $400K offer from the Yankees and he joined their minor league system. The then-27 year-old played in both Tampa and Trenton two months later. He both underwhelmed in Tampa and looked intriguing in Trenton after being promoted (.817 OPS).

In 2013, he missed some action early before joining the Gulf Coast League for a six game rehab assignment before joining Scranton over the last couple of months. He slashed .256/.312/.357, taking away any kind of star he had at that point. He did hit well as a 29 year-old the following year, slashing .319/.353/.474 with 20 2B, 3 3B, and 9 HR. He also swiped eleven bases, but wasn't in position to earn a promotion to the majors.

Garcia's chances of sticking with the Yankees became less likely this offseason when the Yankees added Chris Young and Garrett Jones. With other players in the mix at AAA, Garcia was without a job completely and was released at the end of spring training. He didn't remain unemployed long though. Four days later, he joined the Braves and was assigned to Gwinnett. He's gotten off to a great start in the International League and has hit .351 with 11 2B, a homer, and a pair of steals.

While most tweets involving Garcia yesterday called him an infielder, he's actually a utility guy. Over the last two seasons, he's played all three outfield positions plus 37 games at third base. He also has experience at second base. He has enough gap power that if he is able to utilize it, he could be a promising guy off the bench for a few years. Essentially, he's a worthwhile replacement for Gosselin on that front and deserves a look considering how well he's hit in the International League the last two years. It'll be up to him how long he sticks. After all, the fun thing about being a poor team is that everyone has a chance to stick.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Random Prospect Sunday: Jordan Edgerton

The Atlanta Braves are still trying to replace Chipper Jones.

They moved Joey Terdoslavich to third base in hopes he would somehow be a competent third baseman despite being a statue at first base. They brought Juan Francisco on board with dreams of big homer totals, but couldn't live with his .281 OBP as a Brave. Chris Johnson was given a long-term deal despite not having long-term success. Even when a young third baseman looked like he would be ready to contribute, they traded him away (I still am iffy on the Kyle Kubitza trade).

Photo Credit to Gondeee. Visit his blog!
But now, they have a couple of options that could be in Atlanta for good before long. Of course, Rio Ruiz is the front runner. Acquired in the Evan Gattis trade, Ruiz is in AA right now struggling with the bat, but it's difficult to hit when you have a .207 BABIP. He'll be fine. Though, if he wasn't and somehow forgot to hit once he came to Atlanta, there is another option. In Rome, Jordan Edgerton has hit from the moment he joined the system last June and looks like he might be grow into a good prospect. In fact, that 2014 class looks pretty good for a guy (Frank Wren) who didn't care about the farm system (because that totally makes sense).

Born August 30, 1993 in Mount Holly, North Carolina, Edgerton grew up like so many southern kids in the 90's did. He was a Braves fan. But he went undrafted out of high school and he wasn't much of a target by a big school in the ACC or SEC. Instead, he went to the University of North Carolina-Pembroke of the Peach Belt Conference. Yeah, that's a thing, apparently. It's worth mentioning that the mascot for Pembroke is the Braves. As for Edgerton, he hit just .248 as a freshman, but did play in 38 games which shows that Pembroke was counting on him to be a big part of the picture.

In 2013, Edgerton broke out as a sophomore. He flirted with .400 before finishing with a .392 average. He filled out his stats line with 19 2B, a triple, nine homers, and six steals. He didn't walk much, but he rarely struck out (14 walks, 17 K's). His junior campaign saw his average "fall" to .369, but he increased his OBP via a ridiculous 22 BB/9 K rate. He also slugged .608 and stole 13 bases. For his run at Pembroke, Edgerton slashed .352/.398/.545 with 22 HR in 591 AB and 20 steals. It's worth mentioning that Pembroke is a hitter's park, though.

Baseball America ranked Edgerton as the 437th best player in the 2014 draft, but the Braves had Edgerton hit the top of their draft board when their ninth round selection and 283rd overall pick came up. A few weeks later, they settled on a $115,000 bonus and Edgerton reported to Danville for the 2014 season. He had a multiple hit game in his first game and homered in his fourth outing. In his first home game, he doubled three times against Greeneville. His first eleven games included 17 RBI as he hit .439 with a 1.236 OPS. His numbers over the final two months slumped as his OPS during that run was closer to .600. He homered just once over 48 games and showed an obvious preference for hitting southpaws over right-handers.

Nevertheless, he was a guy who attracted some interest last offseason. When Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs was asked about guys from each round who had improved their stock from where it was when they were drafted, Edgerton was mentioned specifically as a guy out of the 9th round who "ATL LOVES the early returns on."

So far this season, that love affair has only continued. In 30 games with Danville, Edgerton has yet to homer, but has hit .342/.379/.436. He's been a bit more aggressive and isn't walking nearly as much as he did last season and his strikeouts are slightly up, but a .815 OPS has a way of making things look a bit better.

The scouting report on Edgerton isn't quite finished because he remains young, but there is some questions if he'll hit for much power. He has a line drive stroke and will make a lot of contact. On the high end, he could be a 35 double, 20 HR type with good on-base numbers to boot. But that's the high end. One thing is for sure is that the Braves love his makeup and there is obvious pluses in his numbers that justify that love. What could possibly derail him? If the lower end looks more probable and he hits 25 doubles with single digit homeruns like the Braves sadly found from Joe Leonard, that could certainly hurt his chances.

A bigger concern in my mind is his defense. While the pre-draft reports didn't put much stock in his high error numbers at Pembroke, so far, he has continued to struggle defensively. In 83 professional games, he has 20 errors. Now, any minor league observation of error totals comes with the caveat that minor league infields aren't nearly as professionally taken care of as major league infields, the guys at first are rarely as adapt at saving their infielders, and minor league defenders often are still learning not to rush every throw. That's all well and good, but for Edgerton to become a real prospect, he has to stay at third because his bat is unlikely to be as intriguing as a left fielder. For what it's worth, Ruiz has twice as many errors well over three times as many games.

But Edgerton still could surpass Ruiz at some point, though it would be a surprise mainly because of how well regarded Ruiz is - I had Ruiz fifth with a B grade before trading Craig Kimbrel brought Matt Wisler aboard. Ruiz is sixth now. Edgerton missed my Top 30, though the graduations of a couple of players could push him into the Midseason Top 30, but he'll still be well below Ruiz. But long term, Edgerton has a profile that could have Edgerton climbing the prospect charts provided he stays at third base.

You can followed Edgerton on Twitter.

Recent Random Prospects
Felix Marte
Joseph Daris
Tyler Jones

Friday, May 15, 2015

Couple of About.com Links

I also operate the Atlanta Braves section of About.com and over the last couple of days, I've added a few columns.

In this on-going series, I looked at the best pitcher many of us will ever see pitch, Greg Maddux. Topics included his upbringing, time in the Cubs system, breakthrough in the majors, his free agency that landed him in Atlanta, and the absurd numbers he posted from there on out. One thing given particular attention to was how close Maddux was to not even being a Brave. Can you imagine the Big Three without Maddux? 

Posted yesterday, I looked at how Nick Markakis has not hit for any power this season. What is the culprit for this loss in performance and should we be surprised?

Remember to bookmark my work at About, along with this blog, or consider adding this blog to your RSS reader. You can also subscribe to the weekly newsletter at About (usually comes out on Sunday). Look for regular updates on Monday and Saturday with musings during the week such as the Markakis one. Thanks for reading!

OOTP: Week 6

Read this link for more information on this series.

The Braves opened May with four wins in six games, pushing their record to 19-9. Clearly, this version is having a better year, but why? The Braves have found a way to plate the second most runs in the NL heading into this week's slate of games. They are doing that basically because of getting a wealth of baserunners pushing runs across rather than getting extra base hits, which they are currently 13th in. They have also utilized their speed with 26 steals in 28 games. Plus, the pitching has been tremendous. The struggles of Trevor Cahill in real life aren't showing up in OOTP. The Braves will open a ten-day, nine-game road trip this week and look to continue their success on the road that has seen them start 9-3 away from Atlanta.

Recent Results
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3

Injury Report Josh Outman - General Suckage (Late-May Return?)
Christian Bethancourt - Post-concussion syndrome (Early June Return?)
Daniel Winkler - Elbow Surgery (June/July Return?)
Shelby Miller - Torn back muscle (August Return?)
Shae Simmons - Elbow Surgery (Lost for Year)

May 8 at Washington 
Actual Result - ATL loses 9-2
OOTP Result - ATL loses 3-0

A bit hard to win when you don't score. Braves managed just four singles in this one in support of Alex Wood, who pitched into the seventh with 9 K's. Brandon Cunniff got Wood out of a bases loaded jam, but gave up a third run to the Nats in the 8th.

May 9 at Washington
Actual Result - ATL loses 8-6
OOTP Result - ATL loses 1-0 (10 ING)

So far, this series in Washington isn't going so hot. Braves finish with five hits, including a Jonny Gomes double, but have no answer for either Gio Gonzalez, nor Aaron Barrett. Cody Martin was excellent and Luis Avilan was solid, too. Jim Johnson worked a quiet ninth, but in the tenth, three consecutive singles ended the game.

May 10 at Washington 
Actual Result - ATL loses 5-4
OOTP Result - ATL loses 8-5

Like the real Braves, the OOTP Braves gets swept right out of Washington. Atlanta never led during the series and Mike Minor's follow-up to his season debut went poorly. Jace Peterson was a bright spot as he doubled twice to drive in two and up his average to .271. Andrelton Simmons also had a pair of singles.

May 11 at Cincinnati 
Actual Result - ATL wins 2-1
OOTP Result - ATL loses 1-0 (11 ING)

The losing streak reaches five and the Braves also lose Kelly Johnson to shoulder tendinitis. Six hits were all the Braves could muster and only a double by Simmons went for extra bases. Jason Grilli also left with an undisclosed injury so hopefully, he won't be lost for significant time. In the meanwhile, KJ was DL'd and because I want to do the Bravesiest thing, Pedro Ciriaco was called up. To his credit, Ciriaco was hitting at Gwinnett to the tune of .306/.327/.531.

May 12 at Cincinnati 
Actual Result - ATL loses 4-3
OOTP Result - ATL loses 3-1

Yikes, will we win again? Despite multi-hit performances from Nick Markakis and Yenier Bello, the Braves only plate one run. Trevor Cahill was solid, but with the way the offense is going, you have to be perfect just to force extra innings. In addition, Jason Grilli's diagnosis came back with miserable results. Elbow inflammation. He'll be back sometime this summer. Things are getting ugly on this road trip. Donnie Veal was called up to replace him. Jim Johnson would likely assume closing duties.

May 13 at Cincinnati 
Actual Result - ATL loses 5-1
OOTP Result - ATL wins 8-5

The six game slide comes to a close as Jace Peterson drives in five runs from the 8 spot with a three hit game. Both Cameron Maybin and Simba scored a trio of runs and Alex Wood got into the act with a two-run double as well. He also pitched into the eighth before faltering. Jim Johnson gave up a hit and struck out one for his third save.

May 14 - IDLE

Weekly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 1-5
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 1-5 (2nd straight perfect match-up)

Yearly Results
Actual Win-Loss Record - 15-19 (4.5 GB)
OOTP Win-Loss Record - 20-14 (0.5 game up)

A Look Ahead - The Braves finish up their road trip with three in Miami. This series has added meaning as the Marlins a half-game out and actually moved past the Braves for a day this week. After the weekend series, the Braves travel back to Atlanta on Monday and open a two-game set against the Rays at the Ted on Tuesday. Finally, on Thursday, the Braves begin a four game home series with the Brewers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Random Ex-Brave: Jason Marquis

In my mind, Jason Marquis and Odalis Perez are connected. Both pitchers were young and full of talent. It looked like either or even both would fill out a rotation that was getting older every year. Odalis had great movement from the left side, Marquis was a bulldog from the right side. But in the end, both would need trades to other organizations to reach their potential - even if it was short-lived. For Odalis, it was a move to L.A. For Marquis, it was a midwest run in St. Louis. Combined, the duo managed a 4.81 ERA with the Braves. In his defense, the only reason it was that low was because of Marquis and his 4.45 ERA as a Brave.
Ezra Shaw | Getty Images Sport
Long before Marquis was on draft boards, he was a kid from New York. Born in Manhasset, part of the New York metropolitan area, Marquis grew up in Staten Island as a son of a teacher. He was naturally a Yankees fan and idolized Don Mattingly. It didn't take long for Marquis to ride baseball to new heights. In 1991, he was a member of the South Shore Little League squad that finished third in Williamsport. On his 13th birthday, Marquis tossed a no-hitter against Team Canada to win the consolation game ahead of the world final.

A growth spurt in high school led to Marquis showing mid-90's velocity. He also had a curveball and a changeup and was a dominating force on the mound against other New York high schools. He pitched his teams to state titles while pitching championship games in Shae and Yankee Stadiums. The New York Daily News said that Marquis was "perhaps the city's best high school player since...Manny Ramirez."

The Braves were overjoyed at the prospect of Marquis being available with the 35th overall selection of the 1996 draft. They had already selected A.J. Zapp with their first pick, which would be an utter bust, and now were looking to make something happened with the pick they gained because of failing to sign Chad Hutchinson. Yeah, the quarterback. After picking Marquis, they had to woo him away from heading to the University of Miami, where he had signed a letter of intent. More than a month later, Marquis agreed to a $600K signing bonus to join the Braves.

Aggressively pushed by a Braves organization touted as ultra capable of developing young pitchers, Marquis's minor league numbers were not impressive. He had plenty of K's and a good enough walk rate, but was touched up for too many hits allowed. Considering he was just 19 years-old when he first tasted the Carolina League in 1998, that should be expected. Marquis has the distinction of being a member of the one-year Danville 97s, who played in the same park as the Danville Braves while the new park in Myrtle Beach was built.

Marquis would need to repeat the Carolina League for a brief six start run in 1999 and the Southern League for eleven starts in 2000, but again, it's important to acknowledge that Marquis was routinely three-or-four years younger than the league he was playing in. The Braves had faith he could handle the load and he even ranked twice in Baseball America's Top 100 prospects in 1999 and 2001 despite underwhelming numbers.

In 2000, Marquis made it to the majors. He appeared in 15 games out of the pen, often as a long relief option for the Braves. He earned from a few "atta boy's" on June 12th when he entered after Kevin Millwood (Ex-Brave Profile) surrendered five runs while recording one out. Marquis stranded a runner and went 4.2 ING while allowing three runs - two earned - to keep the game close. In the 8th, the Braves tied it at 8 a piece. In the 9th, Javy Lopez (Ex-Brave Profile) and Reggie Sanders paired up for back-to-back RBI singles and the Braves came back from an 8-3 deficit to win. Marquis would also vulture a victory on June 23rd for his first win of his career. He entered with a 2-1 lead after replacing another recent Random Ex-Brave, John Burkett. After an one-hit seventh, Marquis met ex-Brave Marquis Grissom and the then-Brewer took an 0-1 pitch from Marquis downtown. In the following frame, the Braves retook the lead.

Marquis lost a battle for the fifth starting gig to Odalis Perez entering 2001, but did win a bullpen spot. He would be useful in that role before replacing John Smoltz, who struggled in his return to the rotation (he would be moved to the pen when he came back). Marquis would stick in the rotation for the rest of the year, though Bobby Cox would often skip him when possible. After struggling at first, Marquis would right the ship and finished with a 3.61 ERA after his first start on June 19 - not far removed from his 3.09 ERA before the move to the rotation. He was especially good in September when he posted a 2.45 ERA, including eight solid frames in his final start of the year. He also holds the honor of taking the mound against the Mets on September 21, the first game in New York after the horrific events of 9/11. Marquis, who lost one of his little league teammates-turned-fire fighter in the Twin Towers, pitched six emotional innings and left with the game tied tied at 1-1. The Braves would push a run across in the 8th, but Mike Piazza hit a two-run shot in the 8th to put the Mets ahead for good. As a Braves fan who hated the Mets back then, I don't think I was alone when I said "good for them." I couldn't be mad that the Mets got the win that night.

Marquis would appear in two games out of the pen during the NLCS loss to the Diamondbacks and was charged with four unearned runs. It would be the only postseason games he pitched for the Braves. Still, he had put himself into position to stay in the rotation heading into 2002. The trade of Odalis Perez to the Dodgers opened up things a bit more for Marquis. He looked good in his first start, but struggled in his next two and missed the next few weeks presumably to injury. Once he returned, his production remained uneven and the emergence of Damian Moss pushed Marquis back a spot as well. On the year, he started all 22 games he appeared in, but posted a 5.04 ERA. The Braves were pretty much done with Marquis at that point. They chose to sign Shane Reynolds to stabilize the bottom of the rotation in 2003, which left Marquis to pitch in the minors and/or mop-up duty for the pen. The Braves seemed to feel that Marquis, like Perez, just didn't fit into what the Braves wanted their pitchers doing.

After the 2003 season, Marquis was packaged with reliever Ray King and prospect Adam Wainwright in a deal to the Cardinals to get J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. The deal would ultimately be remembered for Drew's one season in Atlanta and Waino's ascension to elite status, but Marquis's departure also hurt at first. Dave Duncan, the long-time Cards pitching coach, pushed Marquis to rediscover his sinker and in 2004, he won 15 games with a 3.71 ERA. He even got the start in Game 4 of the World Series. He posted a quality start, but the future Brave Derek Lowe was better and the Red Sox beat the Cards to break the curse. His numbers went down from there and Marquis posted a 6.02 ERA in 2006, yet never lost his stating spot. Twice, he took one for the team (13 ER in 5 ING, 12 ER in 5 ING). I imagine his ERA goes under 6.00 without those stinkers. Despite not appearing in the postseason, Marquis received his only World Series ring when the Cardinals beat the Tigers.

After the year, Marquis stayed in the midwest and signed with the Chicago Cubs for $21M over 3 years. Like his last two years in St. Louis, Marquis was just a guy who took the ball every fifth day and that was about it. In 358.2 ING with the Cubs, he had a 4.81 FIP and a 1.42 WHIP. The Cubs sent him to Colorado before the third year of the deal and he posted possibly his finest year. Pitching half of his games in Coors Field didn't bother Marquis and he finished with a 4.04 ERA and a 4.10 FIP, the second best FIP of his career. He had a remarkable game that June 30th. He allowed just two hits, walked nobody, and induced 17 ground-ball-outs while throwing a shutout on just 86 pitches. Marquis would go to the All-Star Game not as a club representative - Colorado had five All Stars - but as a deserving pitcher. The game was played in St. Louis and he received a big ovation during pregame intros. When Colorado went to the playoffs, Marquis became the first player to play for a playoff team in each of his first ten years and do so while playing for more than two teams.

The Rockies wanted Marquis back, but the Nationals wanted him more and gave the righty $15M to sign for two years. His time in Washington was miserable. He missed time with an elbow injury and made just 13 starts in 2010. Overall, in 33 starts with the Nats, he posted a 4.82 ERA before being traded to the Diamondbacks. He made just three starts with Arizona before a comebacker broke his fibula.

Since then, Marquis has played for one year deals and minor league contracts. He started seven games for the Twins, but struggled badly. He was much better after landing in San Diego after the Twins cut him in 2012 and even threw his fifth career shutout, but another comebacker would end his season. He returned to San Diego in 2013 and was enjoying a good season, aided by the friendly dimensions in San Diego, before tearing his UCL that July. Less than a year later, he signed with the Phillies and continued to rehab, starting nine minor league games before being released.

Last offseason, he signed with the Reds and made the team coming out of spring training. In his first half-dozen starts with the Reds, he's 3-2 with a 5.66 ERA. One of those wins naturally has come in Atlanta where, on May 2, he gave up three runs in 6.2 ING as the Reds rolled 8-4. He probably would have started against the Braves yesterday had a rain-out not pushed his regular schedule back a day.

One of the remarkable things about Marquis has always been his ability at the plate. A real athlete, Marquis has hit .195/.213/.276 during his 15-year career with 5 HR. He also has a steal. It came on May 3, 2004 against Greg Maddux, who had also stole a base off Marquis earlier in the game. Maddux was a little bit more active on the basepaths than Marquis and stole 11-of-14 attempts during his career. But unlike Maddux, Marquis has a Silver Slugger. It came in 2005.

As we look back at Marquis's time with the Braves, it's important to note that while it was disappointing, it was some of his best pitching in one place. His 4.45 ERA with the Braves was better than his ERA with the Cards (4.60). His FIP of 4.74 is better than his time with the Cards, Padres, and Cubs. And while Marquis was never the frontline starter the Braves dreamed he would be, he has stuck around long after the careers of Odalis Perez, Damian Moss, and Jung Bong have ended. He's the right-handed Bruce Chen. He's not the star we hoped he would be, but you can't stop him from pitching. He's going to do it just to spite you.

More Random Ex-Braves
Nate McLouth (2009-11)
Roman Colon (2004-05)
Ray Holbert (1998)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Trade Retrospective: The Jermaine Dye Trade

A few months ago, I took a look back at the trade that sent Jair Jurrjens to the Braves and Edgar Renteria to the Tigers. The idea is that a trade goes beyond just what the guy does in that year or the next. Today, let's take a look back at one of John Schuerholz's more controversial deals.

March 27, 1997
The Atlanta Braves trade P Jaime Walker and OF Jermaine Dye to the Kansas City Royals for 2B Keith Lockhart and OF Michael Tucker.

In the wake of the trade that brought Kenny Lofton to the Braves, Atlanta announced a head-scratcher that sent Jermaine Dye to the Kansas City Royals along with lefty Jaime Walker for a pair of left-handed hitters, Lockhart and Tucker. Dye had arrived in the majors the previous season as the replacement to an injured David Justice. He hit .281/.304/.459 with 12 HR in a shade over 300 plate appearances. It wasn't too surprising considering Dye was a Top 30 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America heading into 1996. When Justice was traded, it looked like the Braves would leave right field open for Dye, but that did not last too long.

When people remember this deal, they hardly ever recall Walker. They might, like me, think "wasn't there a random reliever in the deal, too?" A few months before this trade, Atlanta had picked up the southpaw in the Rule 5 draft from the Astros organization.

As for the package coming to Atlanta, Lockhart was a three year veteran after arriving in the bigs in 1994 with the Padres. He had landed in Kansas City and over two years, had hit .291/.33/.437 in 700 AB. Not too shabby. He even stole eleven bases in 1996, one more base than he would swipe in six long years with the Braves. Tucker was the tenth overall pick of the 1992 draft out of Longwood and had arrived in the majors in 1995. In 170 games and nearly 600 trips to the plate, Tucker was slashing .260/.341/.422. While we bemoan this deal, those looked like pretty good numbers coming back to the Braves.

Lockhart represented an alternative to Mark Lemke and Tony Graffanino while Tucker would be asked to be a primary option against right-handed pitching for the Braves. Tucker would notably pick up the first HR and RBI at Turner Field on April 4, 1997 against the Cubs.

First Level Analysis
Atlanta Kansas City
Lockhart +1.6 WAR Dye +3.6 WAR
Tucker +3.6 WAR Walker -0.5 WAR
First Level: If we look specifically at those traded in this deal, the Braves don't come out of it looking too bad. Lockhart spent six years in Atlanta, though the last two were negative WAR years. Tucker spent just two years in Atlanta, but his first year was a 3 WAR campaign. Again, not too shabby. On the other hand, it took Dye three years until he finally found his bat in Kansas City. He would be traded during his fourth year. Walker lasted two pretty ugly years in Kansas City where he appeared in 56 games and 2 starts. The Royals cut him in 2000. Two years later, he landed in Detroit for several years as a LOOGY.

Second Level Analysis
Atlanta Kansas City
Bret Boone -0.2 WAR Neifi Perez -3.2 WAR
Mike Remlinger +5.0 WAR /
Second Level: This trade is actually looking pretty good now. The Royals essentially found a way to turn Tucker and Lockhart into Perez, who was an utter failure in Kansas City. I'm astonished that the Royals didn't make the playoffs for such a long period. Meanwhile, the Braves packaged Tucker in a trade with Denny Neagle and Rob Bell to get Boone, who sucked, and Remmy, who was superb over a four year run as one of the best relievers in baseball.

Third Level Analysis
Atlanta Kansas City
Wally Joyner +0.2 WAR /
Reggie Sanders +0.2 WAR /
Quilvio Veras +3.8 WAR /
Third Level: Atlanta continues to benefit from the Dye trade. Boone, who Tucker helped acquire, was packaged in a trade with Ryan Klesko to get Joyner, Sanders, and Veras. While this trade ultimately made the Braves look bad as Klesko finally got a chance to show what he could do if he wasn't limited by platoon, it still helps the Braves in the sense of Dye's trade. Joyner and Sanders each spent one year with the Braves and while Sanders was disappointing, he still provided good defense. Veras had a monster first year before an injury set him back. That would repeat itself the following year as well.

Final Analysis: The Atlanta Braves won every level of this trade and ultimately amassed 14.2 WAR while the Royals ended up in the negative (-0.1 WAR). Of course, if you include other trades like the Padres one where Klesko alone accounted for 16.6 WAR as a Padre, that certainly doesn't look good, but that gets away from analyzing the original deal. In those terms, the Braves easily win this trade.

That said, Braves fans may naturally wonder just how good Dye would have been in Atlanta away from the neverending losing effort in KC at the time.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Once a Brave, Always a Brave - AL East

This series serves as an opportunity to see how the former Braves are doing across baseball. I looked at opening day rosters last month, but as we know following the Braves, things can change rapidly from the team that opened the year. With that in mind, let's head to the AL East and see how former Braves are doing. Most of these guys will be major league talents, but some former Braves farmhands will be utilized if I see them. This list is not exhaustive and I may miss a player here and there. Comment if you see one. Stats are accurate entering Monday's games.

Baltimore Orioles
P Pedro Beato (AAA)...It'd be easy to forget Beato played for the Braves last year. He spent just three games in the majors for Atlanta and pitched 4.1 scoreless innings with three walks and three K's. After the season, he returned to the organization he was once a decent prospect in and has looked pretty decent out of the Norfolk pen so far.

IF Paul Janish (AAA)...Janish simply plays in the wrong era. In the late 80's and early 90's when middle infielders were only expected to field, he would stick in the majors. He might not have a long run in one place like Rafael Belliard, but he would have kept getting work in the majors. Janish spent 107 games with the Braves between 2012-13 and received significant time in 2012 as a replacement to the injured Andrelton Simmons. So far this season for Norfolk, Janish has hit .239.

Boston Red Sox
P Zeke Spruill (AAA)...Drafted in the 2008 draft 26 picks ahead of Craig Kimbrel, Spruill was a decent prospect in a system that at the time was full of great pitching prospects when he was traded to the Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton blockbuster. He pitched 12 times, including three starts, for the D'Backs and was traded this offseason to the Sox. After not making the Red Sox, he was optioned to AAA where he has been, for the first time, a reliever.

New York Yankees
P David Carpenter...Traded in the offseason, Carp has struggled so far this year to the tune of a 5.40 ERA. The homer rate is sample size driven, but he hasn't been striking out his traditional amount to this point. Yanks are naturally expecting more.

P Kyle Davies (AAA)...For the first time since 2011, Davies pitched in the majors. For one game. Before being designated for assignment and headed to AAA. His numbers aren't all that pretty so far in the International League and Gwinnett has a win against him so far.

P Chasen Shreve...He spent a game in the minors, but has nine outings in the majors and has looked fairly good even though the Yanks are using him in long relief/mop-up duty to this point. He has struck out 12 in 12.1 ING while posting a 2.19 ERA.

C Brian McCann...In his second year in the Bronx, McCann is hitting a little better, but the now 31 year-old has yet to post the numbers that made him routinely an All-Star. At this point, it seems unlikely he will, either. In his first seven years, McCann slashed .286/.358/.486. Since 2012, that slash looks like .238/.305/.402.

1B Mark Teixeira...If you're like me, you are dealing with Teix's complete lack of a batting average because of how desperate you are for power. Teix has 22 base hits entering Monday. 10 have left the yard, seven are doubles. At least he walks, too. Of course, by the time you read this, there is even money that Teix strained his neck checking out a chick's butt so he's probably headed to the DL.
OF Garrett Jones...It's that time you are reminded that a long, long time ago, Jones was a Braves farmhand. He has had a Ryan Doumit-like beginning to the season.

Tampa Bay Rays
P Scott Diamond (AAA)...Long ago a Rule 5 pick by the Twins, Diamond has been a solid addition for the Durham Bulls this year. Still, that is a fall from starting 58 games for the Twins between 2011-13 with a 4.43 ERA.

Toronto Blue Jays
P Todd Redmond (AAA)...Was it really 2012 the last time Redmond pitched one of his 101 games with Gwinnett? Since being traded for Janish (we've come full circle), Redmond had found a spot on the Jays staff, but younger guys have pushed him back to the minors. After two rough games to open the year in Toronto, he headed across the border to Buffalo to worrisome results so far. This is the point that I remind you that Redmond was once traded for Tyler Yates.

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