Saturday, March 5, 2016

Spring Training Moves & Guys You Don't Know, vol. 4

First thing's first, I published some instant analysis on today's spring training moves that included the releases of David Carpenter and Ryan Kelly along with reassigning Braxton Davidson to the minor league camp.

Another game and a few more names that might have surprised Braves fans in Atlanta's 12-11 loss to the Phillies on Friday. This is the fourth edition of this column and you can read about other random names that have shown up in boxscores by clicking here.

M. Kennelly, C, 1-for-2, R, 3 RBI, BB

Who is he? Matt Kennelly...It was almost appropriate that Kennelly replaced Braeden Schlehuber behind the plate on Friday as the two have been in the system for some time and are essentially the same player. Kennelly got his start after being signed out of Australia about a decade ago. He appeared in his first game in 2007 and spent the next six years plus years in the Braves system with an odd three-game turn in the Arizona Fall League. He reached Gwinnett in 2011 and started there in 2013 before being pushed out by a number crunch. After spending the rest of 2013 in the Reds organization, he returned to the Braves in 2014 and has been a fixture ever since (along with a yearly run in the Australia Baseball League). In nearly 600 games, he has hit just 19 homeruns and OPS'd .630 so you can imagine that his job is dependent on handling a pitching staff well. Kennelly can play a little first and has played the outfield in Australia as well. He even got into a game on the mound last year for Mississippi, pitching a quiet inning in relief. Overall, he's respected by the organization, but that's about it. Kennelly was among the five players reassigned to the minor league camp early this morning.

V. Mateo, P, 0.1 ING, H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, K, HR

Who is he? Victor Mateo...After spending eight years in the Devil Rays organization, Mateo joined the Braves last offseason and was great at Mississippi before spending a rough month or so with Gwinnett. A durable righty who has has logged between 147.2 ING and 166 ING in each of the last three seasons, Mateo gets a decent amount of groundballs and largely avoids homeruns, but routinely has FIPs over 4. Even when his ERA was 2.68 as a Mississippi Brave over 107.1 ING last year, his FIP was 4.09. This is largely due to weak strikeout numbers and good, but not great, control which results in a career 1.8 K/BB ratio.

Hursh, P, 0.2 ING, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, K, HR

Who is he? Jason Hursh...You really ought to know who Hursh is at this point, but just in case you didn't, here's the book on Hursh. You get a lot of grounders and that's about it. Basically, he's a slightly more impressive Mateo as he keeps the ball on the ground (usually) and avoids homeruns (again, usually). At this point, Hursh seems to be transitioning into a bullpen role, which seems like a weird fit for a sinker baller. Ultimately, Atlanta is trying to get anything from their former first rounder, but it seems unlikely that Hursh will be in the major league picture at any point in 2016.

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