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