Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Transaction Tuesday: Recker, Adonis, Minter, Yepez

I'm going to try something new this season and that's keeping up with minor league transactions. Every Tuesday, I'll take a look at each level to go over some of the moves and provide analysis.

Review last week's transactions. This edition includes moves made on and between 5/3 and 5/9.

Gwinnett
Acquired: Anthony Recker...When the Braves acquired Recker yesterday, many questioned if this was a sign that A.J. Pierzynski's job was in jeopardy and Ryan Lavarnway was headed to the majors. I have no idea, but Recker isn't more than a decent AAA bat. In the majors, he strikeouts too often for his power (career .149 ISO) to matter much. Defensively, he grades poorly in pitch framing metrics.

Activated and DL'd: Tyler Moore...That was quick. Moore has spent considerable time on the DL this season, which has limited him to just 18 games. He hasn't been very productive when in the lineup either.

Promoted: Joel De La Cruz...One of the pitchers who shows up weekly in this report specifically because he's been up-and-down between Gwinnett and the taxi squad (the Danville roster). He has a 2.95 ERA over 18.1 innings. A high BABIP of .391 has led to too many hits, but he's been fairly effective with a 48% ground ball rate and 2.55 FIP.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Optioned: Adonis Garcia...A lot of people were surprised by his demotion, but they shouldn't have been. A .297 wOBA coupled with his inability to play any position is a bad combination. Garcia also saw his power numbers absolutely crater after putting up an unsustainable HR/FB rate last year. He'll play left field, but the nice story has come to an end.

Rehab: Gordon Beckham...A hamstring injury sidelined Beckham, who was actually doing pretty well to begin his Braves career. He looked good with Gwinnett and will have a chance to claim a lionshare of playing time as he rejoins the team today. With guys like Reid Brignac and Daniel Castro getting playing time, Beckham is just as reasonable of an option.

Rehab: Ender Inciarte...The Braves are grateful to get their opening day center fielder back in the fold, which happened over the weekend. He's playing left field so far, except against lefties when Mallex Smith gives way to Jeff Francoeur because reasons. I'd put Inciarte in right field, as I mentioned here, but it's good to have a competent major league option back.

Demoted and Promoted: David Peterson...The prime example of a minor leaguer who must be well liked since his numbers won't overwhelm you. Peterson has often been good, though never spectacular. This year, he's just been bad for Gwinnett. Some of that is BABIP, but a lot of it comes from a 7.1 BB/9. Now, that's a bit unfair. Two of his nine walks are intentional and that makes a big deal in a small sample of 11.1 innings. Nevertheless, Peterson doesn't have the stuff to work around walks.

Demoted and Promoted: Kanekoa Texeira...I'm just going to start saying "Taxi Squad" because that's what Texeira is. A guy who is added to the roster to get work and give the team a fresh arm.

DL'd: Brandon Snyder...Part of the "he's not really an outfielder" outfield for Gwinnett, Snyder has struggled to get going with an empty .261 batting average and zero extra base hits. He's logged time in the majors with the Orioles, Rangers, and Red Sox during his career, but doesn't seem likely to add the Braves to that resume.

Paternity List and Activated: Jace Peterson...Congratulations to Jace, who has just 1 hit in 14 PA since being demoted.

Mississippi
Acquired: Mel Rojas Jr....Picked in the second round of the 2010 draft, the son of the former Expos reliever has had a difficult time as a professional ballplayer. He doesn't hit for a high average, strikeouts too much for his profile, and maxes out at about ten homers. But the Braves are thin on outfielders in the upper levels of the minor leagues so Rojas was a fit. He was slashing .154/.214/.269 in 12 games in the International League before the trade.

Promoted: Victor Mateo...It's been a struggle for Mateo this year, though it's about as short of a sample size as you can find.

DL'd: Sean Godfrey...The right-hand hitting outfielder has been on-and-off the active roster with injuries after replacing the also-injured Connor Lien right after the season began. Godfrey was beginning to swing a hot bat before the most recent injury and is now sidelined with a .304/.333/.478 slash.

Carolina
Promoted: Erison Mendez...He was shuffled up to Carolina, though he wasn't hitting at Rome (.196/.245/.304). Simply a procedural move.

Rome:
Activated: Josh Graham...Good to see more of the 2015 draft class cycling up to Rome. Graham appeared in 6 games, all but one as a starter, with Danville last year after being picked in the 4th round from the University of Oregon. He was impressive in 17.1 innings with 21 strikeouts and just three walks. Graham is a bit of an interesting story because he was a catcher for Oregon for two years before a switch to the bullpen and then, as a senior, the rotation. He works off mid-90's velocity and a nice slider.

Activated: A.J. Minter...The number of prospects that Rome has is off the charts. Add the southpaw Minter to the mix. Picked two rounds ahead of Graham last June, Minter is a raw pitcher with a high ceiling. Thoracic outlet syndrome and Tommy John surgery limited him to just 58 total innings, but he had first-round potential so the Braves bought in with their 2nd round pick. Minter is working out of the pen right now, but could flip to the rotation should a spot open up. In two innings over two appearances, he has a walk, a strikeout, and a wild pitch. Keep an eye on Minter.

Promoted: Yeudi Grullon...Nothing really stands out about Grullon. He's not going to rocket up the charts as a defensive whiz, nor has he shown a knack for hitting. That said, he does display a good understanding of the strikezone. Unfortunately, he has pretty much no pop. He's in many regards the guy he replaced - Mendez.

Promoted: Juan Yepez...It took an injury to get Yepez to full-season ball, but I'm excited about this one. The final big international player the Frank Wren regime grabbed, Yepez was overshadowed by Austin Riley both in the GCL and with Danville last year. He even was shifted from third base, where there was hope he would play, to first base for Riley. He still slashed .299/.364/.458 as a 17 year-old with 4 HR. Now 18, the first baseman won't face many pitchers younger than him this year (if he ever does) and he gives Rome one more significant prospect to keep an eye on.

Demoted and Promoted: Matt Custred...After a dominating 2015 in rookie ball, much was hoped for when it came to Custred in 2016. The results have not been there as he's nearly walking a batter an inning. The Braves gave him a chance to clear his head last week and he faced Augusta two days ago in his first game in over a week. Augusta had scored twice off him a few weeks earlier with the aid of three walks. This time, Custred mowed them them with a strikeout over a nine-pitch inning - just his second perfect frame of the year.

DL'd: Matt Tellor...It was only a matter of time until Tellor was replaced by Yepez. His injury only pushed the issue. Tellor has a .227/.267/.325 slash over 119 games as a professional.

Danville
Demoted: Brandon Cunniff...Despite struggling with control over 39 games last year in the majors, there was a lot to like about Cunniff. However, after being a non-factor this spring, Cunniff has been awful for Gwinnett this year. His last two outings have been extra bad - 1.1 innings, 9 runs allowed, 2 walks, a homer.

Demoted: Luis Gamez...He appeared in one game for Rome last week with two scoreless, but the numbers game pushed him back off.

Demoted: Dalton Geekie...A regular out of the pen, Geekie's metrics are not very forgiving (2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K in 16.2 innings). The Braves have better options.

Demoted: Braeden Schlehuber...Guy should just buy a house in Gwinnett at this point.

GCL Braves
No moves.

DSL Braves
No moves.

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