Friday, September 29, 2006

2006 Myrtle Beach Pelicans

OF- Carl Loadenthal

Loadenthal had a fantastic season in Myrtle Beach, but his age really limits what we can take from it. Carl is 24 years old which is very old for advanced A ball. Anyways, here is what he did. He hit .323 and got on base at a .425 clip to go with 7 homers and 48 RBI. He was second on the team with 25 stolen bases and had an excellent K/BB ratio at 67/62.

OF- Matt Young

Young had a very nice season despite displaying virtually no power. He hit .281 and walked 71 times against 55 strikeouts for a .389 OBP. He also stole 21 bases in 31 attempts. Young combined with J.C. Holt to form a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup in the second half of the season.

2B- J.C. Holt

Holt also had a decent year without any power to speak of. He batted leadoff much of they year and hit .266 while stealing 35 bases in 40 attempts. His plate discipline wasn’t ideal for a leadoff hitter, however, as he walked 41 times and struck out 80 times.

3B- Van Pope

Pope started slow but became the star of the offense once Brandon Jones was promoted. Pope hit .263 with 15 homers and 74 RBI’s to go along with 31 doubles. His batting averages from June to August were .338, .299, and .280 respectively. He also hit 7 home runs during the month of August.

1B- Kala Kaaihue

Kala struggled quite a bit in his first exposure to High-A ball, but there were also many positives. He hit .223 but still slugged .473 thanks to 13 homers in 188 at-bats. He also continued to show a tendency to not only strike out a lot but also walk a lot. He walked 30 times but also struck out 49 times. He has the power, he just needs to improve his contact a little bit.

SP- Kelvin Villa

Kelvin was the lone representative in the all-star game for the Pelicans. The lefty had a nice year, going 8-6 with a 3.83 ERA. He really pitched well during the first half of the season before tailing off a bit in the second half.

SP- Matt Harrison

Harrison began his season in Myrtle Beach and earned a mid-season call-up by going 8-4 with a 3.10 ERA. His K/9 was decent at 6.65 and he had excellent control by only walking 16 and allowing a WHIP of only 1.14. In my opinion, he is possible the brightest pitching prospect in the organization right now.

RP- Michael Nix

After dominating Rome for a few weeks, Nix came up to the Beach and pitched very well there as well, compiling a 2.90 ERA with 7 saves. He struck out 50 guys in 49.2 innings but also walked 30 for a 1.49 WHIP. He is going to have to get that WHIP down to be a successful reliever at higher levels.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Prospect Profile: Van Pope

Name: Van Pope
Age: 22
Height: 6'0
Weight: 200
Bats: R
Throws: R

Van Pope was drafted in the 4th round of the 2004 draft by the Braves out of Meridian College. He was originally drafted by the White Sox in 2003 but he didn't sign. Pope started his career in Danville and had a decent season for a first year player. He hit .270/.333/.429 with 5 homers and 39 RBI's. In 2005 he was promoted to Rome where he improved his plate discipline but his power was still lacking. He hit .277 and got on base at a .347 clip but hit just 6 home runs. He played about a month in Myrtle Beach in 2005 but he did not fare well as he hit just .167.

2005 was a different story for Pope in Myrtle Beach. Pope was a steady force on offense throughout the entire year for the Pelicans. He hit .263 after a slow start and improved his power with 15 homers and 74 RBI's. His 15 homers are even more impressive considering he played half of his games in the pitcher's haven at Myrtle Beach. He also walked 58 times to go against 92 strikeouts.

Pope is a pretty big guy with some decent power potential which makes 3rd base a good position for him. He took a big step forward this year at Myrtle Beach this year and can hopefully step his game up again next year to be a top prospect. Braves scouts have always liked Van Pope and it is obvious he has a lot of talent. How he projects depends on how he develops over the next year or two, but it looks like he can be a good hitter with some decent pop. He is one stop ahead of Eric Campbell so it will be interesting how they sort that out when the time comes for both of them to play in Atlanta.

YearTeam NameOrg.Level

Myrtle BeachAtlA+
2006Myrtle BeachAtlA+

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Prospect Profiles

I’m planning on replacing 2 of the players on the current top-15 prospect profile list. I’m taking off Max Ramirez because he was traded and Chuck James because he has solidified himself as a major leaguer. Now I would like to ask your opinion on whom to replace them with. Please give me your thoughts in the comments section. I’ve thought about upper level guys like Anthony Lerew, Paul Bush, Wes Timmons, and Gregor Blanco. I’ve also thought about some of the younger guys like Dan Smith, Zach Schreiber, Josh Burrus, or Van Pope. Who would you like to see a prospect profile on?

Rome Braves

The Rome Braves were the first half division champ at 42-28 but went 29-40 in the second half. It probably had something to do with a couple of all-stars (Reyes, and Kaaihue) being promoted along with the trading of another one (Max Ramirez). Anyways, they finished up a little bit above .500 and were home of some good looking prospects.

1B- Kala Kaaihue

Kala only played the first half of the season in Rome but put up some ridiculous numbers. His line was .329/.458/.614 for a whopping 1.072 OPS. He also hit 15 home runs and drove in 49 during his time in Rome. He struck out 66 times which is a lot considering he only had 228 at-bats. However, he also walked 52 times which is a huge positive. He found it more difficult to hit at Myrtle Beach as his .223 average there indicates, but his power was still there as he hit 13 home runs to give him a total of 28 on the season.

3B- Eric Campbell

Campbell solidified himself as a top prospect with a standout season in Rome. Campbell hit .296 with 22 homers and 77 RBI’s while being named to the all-star team. He also showed another facet of his game as he stole 18 bases in 22 attempts. His strike-zone judgment could use a little work as he walked 23 times and struck out 68 times.

SS- Elvis Andrus

Elvis’s numbers were not great but they were good considering he was 17 during most of the season. His physical talent is unmistakable and he has the potential to be a star. As a 17 year-old in full season single-A ball, Elvis hit .265 with 3 homers and 25 doubles to go along with 23 stolen bases. However, he was caught stealing 15 times and committed 32 errors at shortstop. Elvis obviously needs a lot of refining but his raw talent is exciting.

SP- Jo-Jo Reyes

Reyes is another guy who was promoted at mid-season from Rome. His promotion was well-earned as he went 8-1 with a 2.99 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He also increased his strikeouts this year by striking out 84 batters in his 75.1 innings at Rome. Jo-Jo was great initially in Myrtle Beach before struggling later in the season. I expect he will rebound next year and pitch very well for Myrtle Beach.

SP- Dustin Evans

Dustin was the 4th player taken by the Braves in this year’s draft but he was still taken in the 2nd round. He dominated a few innings in Danville before being promoted to Rome where he pitched well. In 40.2 innings, he only struck out 25 but his ERA and WHIP were low at 2.88 and 1.18 respectively.

RP- Devin Anderson

Anderson was excellent out of the bullpen in Rome before being promoted to the Beach. I’ll admit that his peripherals don’t match up with his 2.13 ERA but he was effective in his time with Rome. His WHIP was 1.29 and he struck out 27 guys in 38 innings. Those aren’t bad numbers but they don’t add up to a 2.13 ERA.

RP- Lee Hyde

Hyde was taken in this June’s draft as well out of Georgia Tech. He faired decently well in his first exposure to pro ball. In 27 innings, he struck out 19 to go with a WHIP of 1.37 and an ERA of 3.33. The Braves hope he will turn into a nice left handed reliever.

RP- Kevin Gunderson

Gunderson got a late start this year as his team, the Oregon State Beavers, won the national championship thanks in no small part to Kevin, who was their closer. In his short time with Rome, Kevin put up some impressive numbers. In 24 innings, he gave up only 16 hits and 4 walks for a 0.83 WHIP while striking out 21. His ERA ended up at 1.13 to go along with 3 saves. Kevin is a lefty but will probably close in the minors and will hopefully be a very effective late inning guy in Atlanta someday.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Danville Braves

I apologize for the complete lack of posts over the past few weeks but things have been hectic at my new dwelling which included about a week of no internet access. During my time away, it seems that the Danville Braves have concluded their already successful season by taking home the Appalachian Leauge Championship. Unlike the GCL Braves, Danville's strength was the offense, however, they couldn't have won the title without the help of some talented pitchers. Here are some of the top performers this year for the Danville Braves.

OF- Larry Williams
Williams lead a strong outfield in Danville by driving in a team-leading 46 runs while hitting .338 with an OBP of .389. He didn't show much power or speed with 2 homers and 2 stolen bases but his average and RBI's lead the team.

OF- Willie Cabrera
Cabrera was the other offensive leader and showed a little more pop than Williams. He hit .308 to go along with 7 homers and 37 RBI's. He only walked 11 times but he only struck out 32 times which indicates that he is a free swinger who makes consistent contact. However, at higher levels his contact rate will likely decrease.

SS- Robert Fontaine
Fontaine was a 2006 draftee out of a community college in Florida. Robert had a really strong year at the plate with a .296 average and 4 homers to go with an OBP of .411. His on base skills are very strong thanks to a team-leading 37 walks. He did make 20 errors at shortstop so he will definitely need to work in that area.

C- Phillip Britton
Britton was drafted in 2005 and looks like another talented hitting catcher in the Braves system. He it .296 with a slugging percentage of .471 to go with his 7 homers. He only walked 7 times so he will need to address that but his raw power potential is obvious.

IF- Ernesto Meija
Ernesto had a nice year at the plate as well. His .296/.371/.473 line matches up with the other top hitters on the team. His OPS of .845 was 2nd only to Jon Mark Owings.

C- Tyler Flowers
Yes, another catcher. Flowers only had 129 at-bats but he did hit 5 homers for a .465 slugging percentage and walked 16 times for a .373 OBP. His numbers are pretty good but they don't look as good when you see all the great numbers of the other Danville players.

OF- Jon Mark Owings
I'm putting him here because he had a very good season but I will say that he has had experience at higher levels which the other guys haven't. In only 162 at-bats, he slugged .519 with 8 homers and hit .284. His OPS of .861 and home runs lead the squad.

SP- Jamie Richmond
Richmond was not only one of the organization's biggest surprises, but he was also possibly the biggest success as a starting pitcher. Richmond dominated the Appalachian league with a 7-1 record, 1.21 ERA, and 0.82 WHIP. Those numbers are just ridiculous. He only struck out 52 in 67 innings but got away with it by walking a minuscule 4 batters the entire season.

SP- Carlos Sencion
Sencion is a lefty with a poor 0-4 record but his peripherals suggest he is better than that. First of all, his 2.56 ERA and 1.10 WHIP were very good. He struck out 60 guys in 52.2 innings to go with 17 walks which could be a little high but is not troubling at this point.

SP- Tommy Hanson
Hanson is one of my favorite young pitchers in the organization. He was a draft and follow signee early this year. He pitched extremely well in Danville as his ERA was 2.09 and his WHIP was 0.99. Eight of his 13 appearances were starts as he went 4-1 while striking out 56 in 51.2 innings. Equally as impressive as his strikeouts were his 9 walks given up.

RP- David Williams
Williams was a very solid pitcher for the Braves out of the bullpen. He saved 4 games and held 3 more in 22 appearances. In those appearances, Williams struck out 29 in 25 innings while walking 11 for a 2.52 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

RP- Kristopher Medlen
The star of the bullpen was Medlen. He finished 19 games in 20 appearances while collecting 10 saves. His ERA was 0.41 and his WHIP was 0.73 as he struck out 36 guys in 22 innings while walking only 2. That was just domination. His 18/1 k/bb ratio dwarfs even Jamie Richmond's 13/1 mark.
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