State of the Minors and Game Thread (AAA Pitching)

There’s some really good pitching going on at Gwinnett. However, a lot of the good reports aren’t from the guys we’d like to see such as Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Kolby Allard, and Patrick Weigel. Rather, it’s from lesser known commodities and/or bullpen pieces that have either already seen action at the big league level, or are deserving a look. With Touki Toussaint throwing an abnormal amount of pitches yesterday and Kevin Gausman looking lost on the mound, it’s important to remember a few names on here as we could see them as early as today.

Ben Rowen–  (Between AA and AAA) 2.84 ERA, 44.1 IP, 0.992 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9

Rowen was picked up as a MiLB free agent this past offseason. He’s a 30 year old RH sidewinder from California that had a cup of coffee in Texas and Milwaukee and has been really good since joining Gwinnett with a 2.70 ERA in 40 innings. The big kicker for Rowen is that he just doesn’t walk guys as he’s only allowed 5 walks. I cannot imagine he’s being considered for a spot at the moment, but if he continues to impress, who knows? I’ve watched him pitch a few times and he’s got a bit of a wow factor to him as it just doesn’t seem like batters, especially RHHs, pick up the ball out of his hand.

Jose Rafael de Paula- 2.45 ERA, 25.2 IP, 1.325 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 5.3 BB/9

From the D.R., Jose was acquired in the MiLB portion of Rule 5 Draft last year. He’s got an upper 90s fastball and was once a highly touted prospect in the Yankees organization. Now 28, time is running out and he’s not likely to get much attention from the MLB until he can lower the walk rate and those have been coming more frequently in the last 5-6 games.

Wes Parsons– 3.77 ERA ERA, 18.2 IP, 1.968 WHIP, 8.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9

Parsons is back to pitching well and is doing it by limiting walks and averaging right under a strikeout an inning. He’s being asked to pitch multiple innings since returning to AAA and that seems like it’ll be his role should he get the call back to the bigs. I’d venture to guess that’s going to be the cycle for Parsons and if he does get the call, he’ll likely go multi-innings then be optioned back to Gwinnett for a fresh arm. He’s not the kind of pitcher to build around, but he can give solid innings in lower leverage situations.

Grant Dayton– 1.65 ERA, 16.1 IP, 0.673 WHIP, 13.2 K/9, 0.6 BB/9

Know what happens when you come up to the bigs, pitch 4 innings, have a 0.00 ERA and only let 1 of 4 inherited runners to score? You get sent down to AAA and frickin’ dominate. Dayton is, by far, the most worthy pitcher at Gwinnett to receive a return call and I cannot imagine that the days of Jerry Blevins lasts much longer. He’s first in my pecking order for a callup should Braves need a lefty.

A.J. Minter– 2.53 ERA, 10.2 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 12.7 K/9, 1.7 BB/9

It’s good to see Minter finding himself again and make no mistake, the Braves need him to be that guy again. He’s our best shot at an in-house bullpen ace and he’s looking like he’s finding the control of that sweeping slider. Aside from 1 recent rough outing, he’s been lockdown again and I expect he to be up very soon.

Chad Sobotka– 1.59 ERA, 5.2 IP, 1.235 WHIP,  3.2 BB/9, 14.3 K/9

I truly think Sobotka was injured because he went nearly a month before reappearing in Gwinnett. From the 1 game that I got to see him pitch, his offspeed looked on point again and it hadn’t looked that good in 2019. Yes, he’s got an upper 90s fastball, but that slider that just disappeared was drool-worthy. I’m no pro scout…but it looked to be back. He’s currently on the 7-day IL again so we will have to wait a bit to see if he’s ready for another MLB stint.

Conclusion: While many of the big named prospects in Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Kolby Allard have struggled in the rotation, there are several relievers that have put together really good stretches. The MLB bullpen guys better not get too comfortable as several arms are ready to prove themselves…some, for the 2nd time.

Long live Braves Journal

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

88 thoughts on “State of the Minors and Game Thread (AAA Pitching)”

  1. Alex…from previous

    More the general rather than the particular for me – I can’t even remember a specific bad play if there was one.

    I maybe overreact sometimes though with the Acunas and Toukis of our world out of a, perhaps misplaced, sense of protectiveness of their youth and their precocious talents. You would hate to see any wasted by indolence.

  2. I think it’s worth discussing the impact of Keuchel on the Braves 25-man roster, as Rob discussed. In all likelihood, Gausman goes to the bullpen and the rotation stays at 5.

    However, we could see a stretch where the Braves go with a 6-man rotation and 7-man bullpen, which I wouldn’t hate. If that were to happen, I’d think someone like Jerry Blevins, who’s only skillset is that he can, more than likely, get left-handed hitters out, would be a roster casualty. Even so, guys like de Paula or Rowen. who lack a 40-man spot, would be pushed back even more from a call-up.

  3. Dallas Keuchel informed the media that the Braves have been in constant contact with him since the beginning of the offseason, yet Bowman stated that the Braves had not reached out to Keuchel at all. This should be a lesson for all of us in regards to the info the Braves beatwriters receive:

    Don’t trust it.

    It’s not that they’re wrong, per se. Rather they’re just uninformed. AA is so dadgum secretive that he’ll be untruthful to the beatwriters that work for the team. There are a few Blue Jays fans that follow me on Twitter and they said the same thing: the beatwriters knew nothing. Even AA stated that there is nothing gained when information of who he’s targeting is leaked.

    This isn’t a hit on DOB or Bow as they can only report what they’re told, but it does bring into perspective who should be the trusted sources on Braves rumors…and it isn’t Braves beatwriters.

    Paul Crane is a dude on Twitter that catches backhands regularly because most of his info is swing and miss reporting. However, he’s boldly admitted that his sources come from scouts, and I’m sure scouts are sent out nearly every day to watch players of interest. He broke the Markakis news and the Keuchel news a few hours before it was reported, but people accused him of crying “Wolf!” because they think his stories are fabrication.

    Point being, AA runs a tight ship and we’re likely better off listening to outside sources.

  4. @2 Is Gausman more valuable as a RP or a potential trade chip?

    I tried to find his relief stats for 2015, which seems to be the only year he spent any significant time in the pen. It’s a hard find. He was up and down a lot that season though between Baltimore and Norfolk, and just didn’t seem to have an especially great season. He was hurt some that season, in fairness.

    I just wonder if someone would take a flyer on him for something? He’s eventually going to get squeezed in Atlanta. We don’t know if the options moving forward will absolutely be better, but they will be cheaper.

  5. Gausman 2015, as Reliever:

    8 G, 12 IP, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP 13 Ks, 5 BBs, 2 HRs, just not enough of a sample to know anything.

  6. Your description of Ben Rowan reminded me of Greg McMichael, aka He Who Made Tony Gwynn Look Silly.

  7. RustyS from prior thread. Nice recap, thanks for the guffaw on Harry Doyle (I nearly spit out my Coke).

    To change the subject slightly, TT just stated, as part of their three takeaways last night, that we saw the “real Fried” after everyone’s caught up to him and that he’s never going to be a Soroka. To me, that was like saying Glavine was just a mid-rotation starter after everyone caught up to him and he was never going to be a Maddux. Just because you have a great Ace(TM) doesn’t mean your second best pitcher is not also great.

    With regards to Gausman going to the bullpen, it’s not a good idea. He was not good in bullpen duty in Balto. What happened to everyone thinking Folty should be a bullpen weapon? This was the prevailing thinking for so long that I wonder where all you “Folty bullpenners” are. If you want to see someone go to the bullpen, I think you should look at their swing and miss rates and their 1st-2nd inning ERAs. From what I see, neither is very good at any time right now but Folty has some good 1st inning stats and is better than Gaus in the first 3 while Gaus is better in 4-6. Of course, Gaus’ FIP is much better overall which I think means he deserves to stay in the rotation. If Folty can go to the pen and get his act together, he’s likely better long term. I just think he’ll be the better one in the pen at this point.

    Neither is a great trade chip at this point, but all the “talent” has pretty much stalled at AAA. As Ryan points out, we seem to be swimming in relief performance right now more than SP performance.

    I didn’t know that Rowen was a sidewinder. Seems like he could be a lot like O’Day. O’Day was a late bloomer and only became elite after he turned 30. It’s possible that Rowen could be a real diamond in the rough.

    I can’t really imagine why neither Dayton nor Minter has been called up since they’re on the 40-man and either would be better than Blevins. It’s possible they’re saving that move for another signing or trade as releasing Blevins would open up a 40-man slot.

    I’m not sure what happened to that Gwinnett shuttle. I don’t think anyone’s ridden it for quite a while. With Swarzak playing well and everyone else seeming to be holding down their spots and Riley and Culby and Joyce playing so well, there just doesn’t seem to be any place for Dayton, Minter, Rowen, Duvall, Ender, or anyone else doing well at Gwinnett.

    We really need to see what we can get for some of our trade chips.

  8. The problem with Gausman is if he has two more rough outings in a row, there may be no spot left for him in the rotation even if they want to go to a 6-man. We can’t eat the kind of bad games Gaus has been having. After today, his next turn is against Philly…

  9. For me, looking at Gausman’s 1st and 2nd innings of work isn’t the best way to judge whether he’d be good in relief. If he knows his outings are only going to be for 1 or 2 innings, we could see an uptick on velo (I’ve never thought that Gausman looks like a max effort pitcher). This isn’t an exact science, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hitting 98-99 in short outings.

    Also, he’s dropped a pitch and that could have the reverse effect in 1-2 inning stint.

    I don’t think Gausman has any trade value at this time. His current salary is right under 10MM and he’s more of a non-tender candidate than a sure thing pickup for a team in 2020.

  10. Lineup out. Joyce not in it and Markakis is back batting 5th. *proceeds to roll eyes*

  11. So what happens if Gausman is actually, you know, good tonight? And then Folty keeps inching back to where he looks like his old self? Good problems to have I know but just think if we had:


    all pitching at the top of their game.

  12. Same lineup again tonight. I agree with Roger that it’s probably time to shake things up a little. Maybe Riley cleaning up and moving Donaldson and Markakis down a spot since they both are slumping.

  13. the standout rookie school
    why not wrap them up in cotton wool?
    critiques must be avoided
    else their fragile egos damaged, like Freud did.

  14. I nominate Coop’s nickname for Camargo for the Glossary.

    And I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that Snit is stuck in his ways as to the lineup.

  15. Oy! Come on, Ronald.

    A guy pitching for his spot in the rotation needs big league defense behind him. Limit the damage, Gaus.

    Good job, Kevin.

  16. Well, I think we won that exchange.

    What happened to professional umpires?

    Claude has been sighted at first base.

    Good to have Nick back in the lineup.

  17. Donaldson shoved the catcher, so ejecting him made sense. I’m not sure about Musgrove but I’ll take it.

  18. Can someone explain what exactly happened? Seems like my whipping boy finally contributed.

  19. Error in the first = 1 run for the Pirates

    Error in the third = 2 runs for the Pirates

    This game could easily be 5-1.

  20. Oy vey!

    Wish you well in your next job, Kevin. Talk about self destruction. Still nobody out.

    Thank you, Snit.

  21. Keuchel’s line at Rome tonight: 7IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 9Ks, 1 BB. 77 pitches, 55 strikes.

    I know it’s A ball, but obviously he’s got command of his stuff.

    And I believe there is an opening in the rotation.

  22. Musgrove was tossed for inflaming the situation – walked toward JD, threw his glove and hat off, and kept jawing. If he had stayed on the mound and just yelled over then he would not have been tossed. I think Donaldson tried to bait him and when he took the bait, finished the job. Certainly worked. Anyone think we’d have 6 runs off Musgrove?

  23. Both Ozzie’s and Freddie’s dingers looked like routine fly balls that kept carrying. Ronald’s was a no doubter.

  24. This is working out, send Gaus to GWN, Newk takes his start Saturday v PHI and bring up Dayton for the pen

  25. @45
    Start spreading the news
    I’m relieving today
    I want to be a part of it
    new Newk, new Newk.

  26. Where does an extension for Freeman begin? I’d propose 6/$150 superseding the remaining two years on his deal.

  27. Let’s not forget that Newk had his struggles as a SP. It’s the move to the pen that helped him find a groove. Why mess with that?

    There are any number of starters at AAA that could make a spot start, or just let Gausman make one more go at it. Then you plug Keuchel in.

  28. 56 — He dominated his last 2 starts at Gwinnett with no walks before he was brought back for the bullpen. I think it’s more likely that either he made a mechanical change or he finally started trusting his stuff.

  29. Blevins might be the next reliever to go. A guy who can’t even pitch a full inning without allowing a run doesn’t have much value.

  30. I believe this is Winkler’s 3rd consecutive day pitching. I don’t remember him ever pitching 3 days in a row.

  31. Lukey, Touki, and Swarzak are unavailable today. He doesn’t have a lot of options.

  32. Is no lead enough for this bullpen?

    It feels like there have been a half dozen games this year where the Braves were cruising along with a big lead and they entered and it all came tumbling down. Like that 12-0 Braves lead they turned into a 12-8 final score.

  33. @70

    You’re correct. No lead is enough. And manure, no matter how you process it and massage it and manage it, is still crap in the end sum, which is why precious little of this is on Snit.

  34. I still contend that Snitker minimizes our bullpen’s chance for success. He uses pretty much all of them, every freaking game.

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