Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Guys You Don't Know, vol. 1

With spring training games beginning, random names will pop up in boxscores that might confuse you. Here's a list of some of them from yesterday.

Freiman, 1B, 0-for-1, 2 BB, 1 RS

Who is he? Nate Freiman...I touched on Freiman back in January, though he signed a month before that. Freiman is a absolute hulk of a man (6'8") and was originally drafted out of Duke by the Padres in the 8th round of 2009. A Rule 5 pick by the Astros in December of 2012, Freiman was picked off waivers by the A's in spring training and spent and the A's used him in 80 games during 2013. He didn't show much power (.116), which is surprising for his frame, and didn't do much to retain his position in 2014. Last year, he bottomed out with an atrocious .101 ISO and .279 OBP at AAA, prompting the A's to cut him at the end of the season. Overall, Freiman has posted decent numbers in the minors, but may not have the bat to hang in the majors. He'll get an extended look this spring considering the Braves are limiting Freddie Freeman's time, but Freiman's ticketed for a trip down to Gwinnett where he'll be the primary first baseman.

d'Arnaud, C, LF, 0-for-2

Who is he? Chase D'Arnaud...When I first saw his line, I thought he had moved from catcher to left, but that was not the case. D'Arnaud looked like a decent hitting prospect when the Pirates picked him in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, but he basically plateaued in A-ball with the bat. Since then, he's posted pedestrian numbers offensively and even worse figures in the majors. Last year was his first season outside of Pittsburgh (he made the long trip to Philly) and he remained consistent with the bat at AAA. By consistent, I mean a career .255/.316/.366 run at AAA. He spent a little time in the majors and has picked up 75 games in the bigs over the last four seasons. Overall, again, he's AAA depth.

Tuiasosopo, DH, 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K

Who is he? Matt Tuiasosopo...The Braves have cobbled together a who's who among AAAA types. Matt's been at this since 2004 and has nearly a full season in the majors (career 152 games) to show for it. He gives you a little bit of power, some walks, a mediocre batting average, and can move around a bit. Over the last two years, he has played three infield positions and both corner outfield positions, but it's more-or-less shocking to see him play anywhere but 1B/LF/RF. He was a minor surprise in 2013 as a platoon option against lefties for the Tigers. He slashed .244/.351/.415 with 7 HR, but it wasn't enough to warrant continued employment by the Tigers as he spent the last two seasons with Buffalo and Charlotte of the International League. Now, he seems likely to remain in the IL as a member of the Gwinnett Braves.

Brignac, 2B, 0-for-1, RBI

Who is he? Reid Brignac...A long, long time ago, Brignac was a bit of a prospect. In 2010, he was a decent bench option for Tampa Bay with a 1.4 fWAR, but his bat completely fell off the following year and he hasn't posted a positive fWAR since, nor has he been in the bigs for very long. Since 2013, he has made cameos with the Rockies, Yankees, Phillies, and Marlins while playing bigger roles for their AAA teams. He might be a little higher on the depth chart than D'Arnaud, but he's still behind Daniel Castro as far as "next man in" goes.

Schlehuber, C, no plate appearance

Who is he? Braeden Schlehuber...You really should know Schlehuber by now considering he's been a fixture of each spring training for a number of years. He's been in the system since 2008 and was even a Carolina League All-Star during 2012, but that's about the extent of his offensive highlights (.270/.328/.439 with 8 HR). 2012 was the only year since 2011 that he didn't spend at least some of the year with Mississippi, by the way, which should be grounds for naming him mayor. Where he lands after spring training is not really that important. He's an organizational guy who fills out a roster.

Cervenka, 1 ING

Who is he? Hunter Cervenka...You'd be excused if you missed the Cervenka signing last summer. After all, he was just some lefty with a weird name who was added to the Mississippi Braves roster from Sugar Land in the Atlantic League. He hadn't been with the Skeeters long, though. He began the year with the Iowa Cubs, which was the first time during his seven year career he had been above AA. He stunk over a dozen games out of the pen and was demoted to AA before being released. Once the Braves got him, he made a three-game cameo with Mississippi before getting a second run at Gwinnett. He turned it on there and the southpaw K'd 23 in 16.2 ING. He did walk 8, continuing a career-long issue with control. He's an interesting lefty reliever arm, though at 26, his control issues will likely limit his effectiveness. That said, he has owned lefties in the minors so if you're going to be a one-trick pony, it's good to have a great trick to fall back on. The Braves have a lot of lefty arms, though, and might be more inclined to see how Ian Krol, Matt Marksberry, Andrew McKirahan, and some of the veteran non-roster invitees do before going with Cervenka. Still, he likely begins 2016 with Gwinnett with a chance to get a foot in the door.

Texeira, 1 ING, 1 K

Who is he? Kanekoa Texeira....No, he's not related to the Mark Teixeira (the names aren't even spelled the same).  K-Tex has been around since 2006 nearly exclusively as a reliever until recent years. He even logged 43 games of action with the Mariners and Royals in 2010 (and six more with the Royals the following season) though the results were pretty abysmal. He first hooked up with the Braves in 2014 after they signed him out of the Atlantic League. Since then, he's been a swingman for Gwinnett and did hit the 100 inning mark last year for just the second time of his career (again, mostly a reliever). As my friends at Outfield Fly Rule often say, K-Tex is "just a guy." Nothing particularly impressive or noteworthy about his career, not his recent numbers. He's depth at Gwinnett and that's about it, though it's quite possible with so many pitchers in camp fighting for a major league spot, K-Tex could be also fighting to keep his job in AAA. He was added to the major league camp yesterday specifically to give them a tenth inning arm. He heads back to the minor league camp now.

That's it for now. Is this helpful for you? Let me know in the comment section or tweet me.

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