2006 Mississippi Braves
Although Yunel did make an appearance in the major league futures game, his 2006 season was somewhat of a disappointment. His power was non-existent with 2 home runs and a .346 slugging percentage. He stole 7 bases but was caught 9 times. He committed 26 errors in the field and hasn’t settled on a position. However, with all this being said, he did show some good plate discipline as he led the team with 59 walks. Also, his athleticism indicates that he is capable of doing some major improving and it shouldn’t take that long as he is about to turn 24 years old.
C- Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Salty came into 2006 with huge expectations after a great year at Myrtle Beach in 2005. However, his first half of the season was so bad that some people were beginning to write him off as a prospect because of it. He went from being Atlanta’s top prospect to almost a non-prospect in half a season. However, we can now see that those judgments were premature and Jarrod has once again established himself as the top prospect with a big second half. His final line of .230/.353/.380 doesn’t look so hot but considering he was under the Mendoza line for much of the season, it doesn’t look that bad. Also, despite his enormous struggles, he was still able to post a very good OBP of .353. Jarrod is currently playing in a winter league and he has been punishing pitchers. He is hitting .565/.655/1.000 in his first 6 games with 3 home runs. I think he is back.
OF- Barbaro Canizares
Canizares is another Cuban defector like Escobar. However, Canizares is 26 going on 27. Barbaro hit .301 for Mississippi with an OBP of .365 while striking out only 44 times. He only hit 4 homers which isn’t a lot for a guy who is 6’3”, 210 pounds. But the guy can hit and could find his way to the majors as a pinch hitter for a few years.
SP- Matt Wright
Matt Wright continued his trend of dominating at a level one year after struggling mightily at the same level. After posting a 6.11 ERA in Mississippi last year, Wright went 7-3 with a 2.22 ERA while striking out 84 in 89 innings. Control is what seems to get Matt in trouble. When he isn’t walking people, he is a very effective pitcher. He struggled in the second half with Richmond so I suspect he will have a very good year in Richmond next year.
SP- Fancisley Bueno
Bueno is a yet another Cuban defector which not a lot of people know about. His 1-7 record will probably turn people off to him but his other numbers look a lot better. His ERA was 3.59 and he struck out 84 batters in 80.1 innings while walking only 19. His WHIP was 1.20 but he did give up 10 home runs which needs to come down.
SP- Matt Harrison
Harrison continued his good pitching at Mississippi after being an all-star in the first half with Myrtle Beach. In Mississippi, he went 3-4 with a 3.61 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. His strikeouts were slightly down at 54 in 77 innings but he will probably bring that up to an acceptable number. Matt is probably the top pitching prospect in the organization right now which doesn’t speak that well for our pitching at the higher levels but Matt still a very good pitcher.
RP- Dan Smith
Smith was probably the surprise of the year in 2006 and he didn’t even come on until later in the season. His numbers were downright nasty. He started 8 games in his 28 appearances and struck out 86 guys in 60.1 innings while holding opponents to a .196 average. His ERA was 3.13 but his ERA over his final 10 games was 1.52. He is a left hander who can strike guys out and could be a candidate for Atlanta’s bullpen sooner rather than later.
RP- Arthur Santos
Santos is a very intriguing pitcher. He is a right-handed late inning reliever but doesn’t strike out a guy per inning. In 40.1 innings, Santos struck out 26 but walked only 8. His ERA was 1.79 and his WHIP was 0.94. Those are excellent numbers but he doesn’t overpower people. It will be interesting to see how he progresses at AAA.
RP- Zach Schreiber
Santos was the 8th inning guy while Schreiber was the 9th inning man. Zach’s style was very different from Santos, however. Schreiber struck out a lot of people but had major issues with his control. Zach pitched 39.2 innings and struck out 45 while walking 28 but he was able to keep his ERA down to 2.50 while recording 21 saves. Schreiber and Santos have been advancing at the same pace which would put them both in Richmond some time next year.