Sunday, April 3, 2016

Even More Minor League Releases by the Braves

Michael Bourn and Emilio Bonifacio were notably cut from the team today, something I blogged about here. But they weren't alone. Scores of minor leaguers have gotten pink slips over the last few days. Less than a week ago, I profiled many of the Braves farmhands that became free agents after being cut by the Braves. Let's look at some more that are looking for work now after being released by the Braves.

P Dustin Emmons - Not to be confused with the Dustin Emmons that pitched for the Mets organization in 2011, this release is the end of a nice little story. Undrafted, Emmons was signed in 2014 out of the Coastal Plain League, a summer collegiate league. Emmons showed good control and 97 mph heat there and joined Danville for eight games after signing. He appeared in 37 games last year (all but one with Rome), but didn't display the control or have the strikeout numbers that were expected of him. Like I mentioned before, older minor league players (Emmons is 24) are often in sink-or-swim mode during spring training where they have to earn a spot or get released. Emmons wasn't headed back to Rome and didn't pitch well enough to join the Mudcats roster.

P Yean Carlos Gil - Back in the winter of 2014, the Atlanta Braves chose to protect Gil over J.R. Graham. Just over a year later, Gil is a goner. His calling card is that he throws a collection of pitches with downward movement and can throw them for strikes. The rub is that Gil doesn't have much plus side. His arsenal isn't noteworthy and while he has good control and won't surrender many homeruns, he won't get many strikeouts.

P Bryan Morgado - Drafted three times by the Red Sox, White Sox, and finally the Phillies, Morgado has been around for awhile, but hasn't pitched in affiliated baseball since being released before 2013 by the Phils. Over the last three years, he's been a fixture in the independent scene and pitched 72 innings for Lancaster last year with nearly a K an inning. He might head back there and try to keep his dream alive. He's never thrown a pitch above high-A.

P Andy Otero - When he was 17 years-old, Otero looked like a potential big time arm as he dominated the Dominican Summer League (0.84 ERA, 93 K's in 64 innings). Injuries killed his progression and forced a move to the bullpen. He's had good (not beyond nuts) strikeout ratios since then and has a feel for his pitches that he can throw for strikes, but the Braves didn't see anything too spectacular about him. The lefty turns 24 in June and has yet to throw a pitch in AA. Here's my Random Prospect Sunday profile on him.

P Jorge Zavala - No cut surprised me more than Zavala. In 152.1 innings over the last four years, Zavala has a 2.84 ERA. That ERA drops under 2.00 if you look at just 2014-15. It's rare to get released based on that and I'm left to wonder if he came to camp out-of-shape or with decreased velocity. Zavala is a free agent with a career 9.6 K/9 and 2.6 K/BB so he should interest other teams in giving him a look. Like Otero, Zavala was profiled in the Random Prospect Sunday series.

C Bryan De La Rosa - Atlanta has been very patient with their third round selection of the 2012 draft, but De La Rosa's time finally ran out. Expected to have an improving stick to match solid defense, De La Rosa received a signing bonus slightly over $400,000 so began a disappointing four seasons in the minors in which De La Rosa rarely hit. His defense was pretty good and he has a great arm behind the plate, but a career .195/.268/.272 slash over four years did him in even with Atlanta's catching issues.

C Chris O'Dowd - Acquired with Jose Briceno in last year's David Hale trade, O'Dowd was very much in a similar position as Kyle Wren. With his father no longer the general manager of the Rockies, the team shopped him and eventually found a taker. He was actually doing pretty well for Mississippi last year with a .304/.429/.468 triple slash before a PED suspension ended his season in late May. He has a fun set of skills for a catcher because he has speed, but only OPS'd .711 over four seasons in which he also played for the Padres' system.

2B Eric Garcia - A defense-first substitution player who was drafted in the 20th round of the 2012 draft, Garcia filled in where asked, but never showed much of a stick nor any other tools worth mentioning. Last year in 92 games with Mississippi, he hit a Rafael Belliard-worthy .200/.268/.276.

OF K.D. Kang - Originally born in South Korea, Kang was a graduate of Parkview High School in Georgia and attended community college in Alabama. After seven seasons in the Rays' organization in which he never advanced beyond Double-A, Kang signed with the Orioles for 2014 and with the Braves the winter before last. He didn't do much at the plate last year for Mississippi, but was resigned for 2016 and even logged four plate appearances for the big league club this spring. Now 28 years-old, you have to wonder if Kang doesn't consider a run in the KBO, where offense is inflated.

OF David Rohm - Formerly a ninth round pick in 2010 out of Fresno State, Rohm has been a slow climber for the Braves. He's rarely been complete failure at the plate, but has little pop to speak of and nearly non-existent speed. With a career .324 OBP, Rohm was on the bubble this spring and didn't play his way onto a roster.

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