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.