Braves MILB 1st Week MVPs

We are a week into the Minor League season and thus far, there’s a whole lot to like in regards to some older vets on the cusp of the MLB as well as some usual suspect prospects and some new names that are definitely worth keeping 2 eyes on.

Gwinnett Stripers Top Performers

Offense

Breakdown: So, are we still seeing inflated power numbers from the old baseball? Maybe…maybe not (we’ll get to that in a minute). No matter what, having 5 regulars with OPS’s at 1.162 or above is insanity. While the Braves have given Johan Camargo ample opportunity to prove himself since his 2018 breakout, Orlando Arcia is a different story. Could he help now? My guess is yes. Dansby Swanson looks to be turning the corner, but if he gets hurt, Arcia, who’s a superior defender, could step right in. How do you get both playing time? It would take some creativity that might not be worth it in the long run (Arcia or Austin Riley to the OF, Ronald Acuna Jr.to CF). My guess is these things will work themselves out, but something to keep in the backpocket in regards to Arcia is the “Adam Duvall treatment”. In 2019, the Braves let Duvall rot in AAA as he hit dinger after dinger and gained an extra year of control (of which they didn’t utilize). Arcia would have to stay down until June 7th for the Braves to get an added year of control. If I were betting man, I’d make that bet.

Travis Snider is an interesting player and could be viewed as a bench bat. He’s demolishing baseballs right now and has kept his K-rate in check. Demeritte is still hitting, but striking out a whole lot and that’s always been his Achilles’ heel. Still, I think he’s a capable bat off an MLB bench.

Pitching

Breakdown: Johnstone had to fill in on the fly and did well, but he’s a career MiLB arm and should be viewed as such. Sure, there might be a time when he gets called up, but it’d be for a short term/emergency appearance. We’ve seen Wilson in the bigs, so I’m not going to get into him, but Tucker Davidson continues to impress and I wouldn’t hate it to see him be the next in line for a spot start. I think he’s a capable 3rd or 4th starter.

Mississippi Braves

Offense

Breakdown: For me, Langeliers is the guy. He’s the guy ahead of William Contreras. He likely won’t be with the bat, but he’ll be an average hitter with other worldly defense, arm, and instincts. Jenista still has pedigree, but needs to come a long way before I really start paying attention again.

Pitching

Breakdown: Withrow and Hoekstra are fringy relief arms that could have a future in the bigs, but Vodnik is a serious stud in the making. He’s definitely the guy to watch in Mississippi.

Rome Braves

Offense

Breakdown: I’m happy for these guys, but I’d be lying if I didn’t follow this up by saying this is likely the peak of their year. Delgado has a chance to get MLB time if MLB ends up expanding rosters to 28. That’s about all I got.

Pitching

Breakdown: Trey Riley is now a full-on relief prospect and that will likely hurt his prospect status, but is good news for his chances of becoming a big leaguer. Sleeper alert! Indigo Diaz is creating a stir amongst Braves scouts and could be a fast mover considering he’s already 22. He’ll have to reduce walks, but the stuff is closer worthy.

Augusta Green Jackets

Offense

Breakdown: These guys are absolutely crushing the baseball…and they should be. They’re all well past the age where they should be in Low-A ball. Of this group, Carter is the only one to really keep tabs on as the bat has real power, but I don’t think it’s enough to carry him to the bigs.

Pitching

“Munoz, not “Nunez”, but message is still the same.

Breakdown: Of this group, Munoz is the guy you immediately need to start following. In his first year stateside, the dude is pumping 99 as a starter. Time will tell if it’s sustainable and if he can grow past his velocity.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

91 thoughts on “Braves MILB 1st Week MVPs”

  1. From the last thread, I don’t actually hate grits, in fact I love them. I was just using an established mock-southern saying, “as overrated as grits”.

    You need not worry, Chief is a grits connoisseur.

  2. @1: Rare Braves Journal unanimity! (If you don’t like grits, go post somewhere else.)

  3. From MLB Trade Rumors:

    “The Braves are in agreement on a contract with free agent reliever Shane Greene, confirms MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Talkin’ Jake of Jomboy Media was first to report the deal

    I didn’t realize Jomboy did anything other than lip-read beanbrawls.

  4. @6
    Seems like overall good news for baseball fans while maybe not being the best news for Braves fans.

    Personally, I’m tired of seeing pitchers go down for extended periods due to what amounts to (insert muscle) swelled and hurt after throwing.

    Did I mention I’m ready for baseball to embrace some PEDs again??

  5. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/no-mlb-team-is-great-and-fewer-are-awful-is-this-the-parity-we-wanted/

    Interesting analysis. To me this suggests a historically low number of “sellers” at the trade deadline and teams that expect to improve internally (i.e. from prospects maturing or players returning from injury) like the Braves will be in the best position to improve as the season goes on.

    If we “fix” the pitching with players like Soroka, Martin, and Greene and Ozuna gets on track then this team will leave all the others in the dust.

    For what it’s worth, I think Pache should bunt every AB until the infield is so close that even a soft ground ball would get through…… :) Right now, he can’t hit his way out of a paper bag but he is the best bunter I’ve seen in many years.

  6. So I guess we’re back to the thing where people complain about batting Acuna 1st? Because he keeps coming up with the bases empty?

    Here me out, what if the solution wasn’t moving your best hitter down in the order, but rather finding better hitters to fill out the bottom of the order? Imagine.

  7. @13: That’s what Ynoa was doing, but he kept killing rallies with homers.

  8. Ryan…

    Two in a week? Why not. Your MiLB assembled package was sensationally informative on its own. How, if at all, are you going to be able to try and keep it updated, say once a month? Is that a realistic goal? If too much timewise for you maybe someone in our number could help you with it?

  9. Have they said when Greene will join the team? Could you imagine getting Martin, Newcomb, and Greene to join the pen all within the span of the next couple weeks? That’ll be huge. And then a week or two after all that, Soroka joins the rotation. Would think Heredia will also replace Pache during that time as well. Let’s go!

  10. @blazon

    Matt P will be helping me out with these and our goal is to put them out on Monday and Thursday

  11. Getting Martin back would be huge. Getting Greene seems to be huge.

    Getting Newcomb is like going for the hundredth time to a lousy local restaurant, wanting to believe this time will be different…and proceeding to be served microwaved fried okra.

    I want Newk to be good so bad. Really pulling for him. But at the end of the day, we should expect soggy, soul-less fried okra.

  12. @22 As a reliever, Sean Newcomb has a 3.58 ERA in 60.1 IP with a 1.26 WHIP and a 10.7 K/9, all of which are significantly better than when he’s a starter. And that’s with Atlanta completely jerking him around for the last 3 seasons. He’s one of our best relievers.

  13. Braves opened up a 40-man spot yesterday, have not announced who today’s starter will be against the Blue Jays, and signed Tanner Roark to a MiLB deal after he was released by the Blue Jays.

    Is it revenge season at Truist tonight?

    @22 That’s gold. Newcomb really put some work in this offseason to clean up his mechanics. If he can throw strikes (big if), he can be an elite reliever. Thus far, he’s been elite for a stretch and awful for a stretch. Unfortunately, the awful has won thus far.

  14. Re fried okra: There are few things in life in which the gap between done right and done poorly is so wide. Prepared correctly it is one of God’s great gift to mortals. Microwaved frozen fried okra is stench in the divine nostrils.
    The Newk analogy is pretty apt.

  15. I maybe alone in this thinking, but Newk is one of those guys that, were he to get his mechanics straightened out, could potentially return to starting and be a very formidable starter. Simply put, the guy is a tank. He could really eat some innings.

  16. I don’t believe Newk will ever do that on any time frame that’s useful to the Braves. Maybe he has a Jamie Moyer- or Charlie Morton-style late-career renaissance, but in the meantime I think we’ll be fortunate to even get an inning at a time of effective work from him. Innings eating isn’t something I think he’s capable of getting close to at this point.

  17. I’m out on okra, but I’m putting grillades on my grits. I still have a whole lot of New Orleans in me.

  18. I don’t know where the Sean Newcomb hate is coming from. I look at last season and see that it basically went south in a ~dozen innings. The rest of the body of work, as Rob pointed out, is pretty damn good, especially out of the pen. If this is a guy who is aware of his mechanics inconsistency and he’s trying to work on it, I would keep him in the pen.

    When and if he proves he has improved his control, I would not keep the door closed on him returning to starting. I doubt we know many pitchers who can make 130 big league pitches in a game. Newcomb has value right now out of the pen, and he still has potential. He’s not hurting the team.

  19. I’m not expecting much from Roark, but if nothing else he makes me feel better about Smyly. What were the Blue Jays thinking in signing him at 33 to a 2 year $24 million deal? The guy hasn’t had a decent year since 2016. Despite racking up a lot of innings, Roark has fallen flat on his face after the 4th year of his career.

  20. Given Newk’s overall history, the okra analogy works, generally – and FWIW, I love okra. But I’d agree that Newk seems better suited for air-it-all-out, shorter relief work: Try to let him blow away hitters & just hope he doesn’t walk the ballpark.

    In which case, the food analogy might be Caesar Salad.

    Meaning: It’s either great (zesty, fresh, not too filling) or it sucks (soggy, flat, maybe too many anchovies). There’s no in-between. Order it up & hope for the best.

  21. I actually think that if anything, Newcomb’s been harmed by the Braves shuttle to Gwinnett, perhaps more than anyone. His career numbers aren’t terrible although I’d add that his FIP and ERA are almost identical so whatever you think of him, he’s what he is.

    His career 162gmW/L% is .503, which means that if every pitcher you had was Sean Newcomb, you’d be about 82-80.

    IMO, his career numbers are such that he should either be left alone at the MLB level, or traded or released.

    Ryan,

    FWIW, I’d be glad to chip in with the minors work, if your other cohort is ever unavailable. I’m a curmudgeon, but I do at least scribble words pretty well.

    Go Braves.

  22. My goodness…Chief and Ryan…tag team…?!
    and…
    Okra for the enquiring mind… Sokrates

  23. People want to include Sean Newcomb in the list of failed pitching prospects, and it’s simply not true. Notable pitchers of the rebuild with their ERA and bWAR as a Brave:

    Matt Wisler: 5.27, 0.2 in 324 IP
    Aaron Blair: 7.89, -1.9 in 73 IP
    Lucas Sims: 5.96, -0.2 in 68 IP
    Sean Newcomb: 4.24, 3.7 in 354 IP

    Notable pitchers with a worse career ERA than 4.24 in minimum 354 IP: Paul Maholm, Ramiro Mendoza, Jason Vargas, Joe Ross, Nathan Eovaldi, Todd Stottlemyre, Bronson Arroyo, Taylor Bucholz, Jon Lieber, Kenny Rogers, Big Handsome (second mention of him today!), Jamie Moyer. No one would say any of those pitchers were a bust.

  24. @35 – I’m not too optimistic about Roark, but it’s possible. He’s had exactly 2 good full seasons – age 27 and 29. Morton had 2 decent seasons at age 27 and 29, although not close to as good as Roark, but his best seasons were from age 33 to 35. At 34 Roark better hurry up.

  25. Braves claimed this guy. Still waiting on the rest of his last name…

  26. And Chief, I’ll definitely take you up on that offer, with one exception: You are not allowed to crap on our players. That’s non-negotiable.

  27. @37

    Chief’s minor league coverage would consist of listing players and writing “he sucks” for every one of them.

  28. I thought I remembered Newk being off to a good start this season. He came back from a stint away from the big club and has gotten roughed up in a couple of games. It’s important to remember that it only takes a couple of bad appearances for a reliever to have ugly numbers.

  29. Newcomb started the season giving up 1 run in 5.1 IP. Then I guess he got all 19 of the Covids, maybe more, because when he came back two weeks later, he gave up 5 runs in 1 inning across two appearances.

  30. @46 It’s sometimes a harsh crowd around here.

    @43,44

    “This guy literally has no future beyond AAAA. Unless you count bagging groceries or working down the street for the Home Depot.”

    “Has a good enough arm to hit your cart in motion with rolls of toilet paper — will never see anything past AAA IMO.”

    “Did I mention there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect? This guy is getting hit hard in the minors. Would have better luck training police dogs — would be roughed up less, surely.”

  31. I don’t know anything about this kid, but per ESPN’s baseball mock draft they have him going to the Braves. Not surprisingly, we are looking at a kid that has a “lack of impact stuff” but solid pitch-ability. Sounds like all of the other guys we have that have mediocre stuff and nothing electric.

    Atlanta Braves
    Jordan Wicks, LHP, Kansas State

    Wicks could go as high as the middle of the teens, but slides a bit in this scenario due to a lack of impact stuff. He should miss a decent amount of bats with a plus changeup, solid pitchability and an average fastball/slider combo even though his slider is inconsistent.

  32. @48 Not to eat up any goodwill I have stacked up like cord wood today, but hard pass on anyone with that description. I’ve had about enough of the pitchability types. Stuff > pitchability It’s easier to cobble together a pitcher’s career with superior stuff than it is to take mediocre stuff and make them Greg Maddux. Not that he had mediocre stuff but you get my drift.

  33. I wonder, when the Braves have to decide on a starting pitcher, do they draw names at random or do they simply go with the man with the highest FIP?

  34. @50 – I think they think we have 5 equally good starters at Gwinnett, and they just call up whoever’s turn it is in the rotation. I have some thoughts about that theory.

  35. And today is the day I clicked the link and learned that Chief sells dirt.

    Top notch reviews.

  36. @52 His manure to make the compost comes from his takes on this here blog.

  37. According to the Jays’ radio guys, RAJ is 5 for 8 w/ 3 HRs vs. Robbie Ray… might wanna pitch around him next time.

  38. Where do people find Statcast info? would be fun to see how hard Acuna’s shot there was hit.

  39. I don’t think it’s just whose turn it is in the rotation. Wright is pitching at Gwinnett tonight (and not well).

  40. @ #62

    Ben on the radio said it measured 412 feet and had an exit velocity of 110 mph.

  41. I have to say, Wilson’s done a lot more than I thought he would.

  42. Hard to criticize 6 innings and 2 runs from Wilson. Need the offense to show up now

  43. That was a great outing by Wilson, notwithstanding the home run. His change up was filthy; I don’t remember that being so effective before.

  44. Seems like every night one of these dudes doesn’t have it. Problem is you never know which one it is

  45. Why wasn’t Tomlin given the ball to start the 8th …they have all RH hitters.. crazy

  46. F-Ing Minter with the Bryce Wilson mental game tonight. Make a bad decision and compound it multiple times.

  47. JACOB WEBB DIDN’T COVER THE BASE AGAIN????????

    Please fire him into the sun. And then please fire him, by terminating his employment.

  48. Webb might be the dumbest pitcher in baseball. This game is done. Just hit the slam off this idiot so we can dfa him

  49. Webb has learned that “Chip digs the win stat.” He’s trying to make sure he’s in line for the win, without, by the way, having any chance of getting a loss.

  50. This dude needs to walk off the mound, through the clubhouse and into free agency. And I don’t care if he has options left

  51. Our pen sucks …. we spent mega bucks on 2 washed up starters .. when we should have gotten Melanson back .. and another righty.. im tired of Minters inconsistencies .. how the hell is Webb even on a major league roster .

  52. What’s the theory under which Teoscar Hernandez’s dribbler to Freddie is deemed an “infield single?” Why can’t they give Webb an error on that play?

    btw: Triple Grybo with a stuck landing.

  53. Scoreless inning by Webb. 😂😂

    Webb is shell-shocked. Covering bases is muscle memory, and somehow his is frozen.

  54. When Webb crouched down I think it was because he did not want to cross Freddie’s path to throw home. It was totally wrong, but I think that may have been his thought process. Open to the argument there was no thought process.

  55. I know Biddle is not a popular reliever and his results aren’t great, but from my admittedly untrained view he doesn’t appear far away from being a useful reliever. He has a tendency to pitch well to 80% of the batters he faces. He seems to go brain dead against one hitter and gives up a dribbler for a hit against another. As soon as I say this he’ll probably start getting killed by every batter, but from my eyes, a good pitching coach could help him a lot. Does anyone else see anything similar?

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