Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: Winter League Updates

Jan 23, 2016; Reston, VA, USA; A light pole drips with icicles during winter storm Jonas. Over 20 inches of snow fall was recorded at nearby Dulles International Airport. Mandatory Credit: David Cooper-USA TODAY NETWORK

Two dozen Braves players have been involved in post-season leagues so far and it is time to catch up on how that’s going.

Winter Leagues are used for a variety of purposes:  for learning, for challenging, for competition, and sometimes even for fun.

As we will see, though, some of our Atlanta Braves farmhands (mostly!) are having more success with that than others.


Several Braves are on the Salt River Rafters club, which is 9-7-1 thus far, a half game behind Mesa for first place in the Eastern division, and tied for 3rd overall in the 6-team league.

  • Travis Demeritte.  Let’s start with this intriguing prospect. There’s been a lot said about him this Fall:

He has impressed many with his range and glovework around second base.  He also impresses in the batting cage.  That occasionally transfers to in-game hitting.

In 13 AFL games, Demeritte is hitting .250 in 56 ABs with 2 doubles, a triple, a homer, 5 walks and 15 K… the latter of which is the number most at issue, helping reduce his OPS to .686.  I would like to see him try AA Southern League pitching next season.

  • Dylan Moore.  The SS has not played very often, but got his licks in early and often:  6 games, 22 AB, 8 hits with 2 doubles and 2 homers for a slash line of .364/.440/.727/1.167.  Hang that one up on a wall for all to see… especially since he’s a fellow UCF brother!
  • Dustin Peterson.  He’s been hanging in there against some of the better pitchers that this league throws out there.  .265 in 10 games/34 AB with a double and triple.  .639 OPS overall.  Has taken just one walk (.286 OBP), but also limited the strikeouts (4).
  • Kade Scivicque.  Catcher Kade has also done well in limited action:  5 games, .278/.316/.389/.705 line with two doubles among his 5 hits in just 18 AB.
  • Chris Ellis.  Moving to the pitchers, Ellis started okay, but ran into a buzzsaw the last time out, giving up 5 runs in 2.2 innings to kill his stat line.  His WHIP is around 2.0, which is the result of both being hittable and wild (7 walks in 8.2 innings overall).

Ellis could be getting tired, too:  he has thrown 155 innings this season in 3 leagues with 31 starts on the year… personal highs across the board, and the Braves have definitely pushed him a bit this season.

  • Akeel Morris, picked up from the Mets in Kelly Johnson Trade II, is doing well:  3.00 ERA with 5 K in 6 innings.  He does have 4 walks, leading to a 1.67 WHIP.
  • Evan Phillips has a 4.05 ERA likewise thanks to 5 walks in 6.2 innings.  His K total is 8, which leads the Braves’ contingent on the Salt River Rafters club, along with a 1.35 WHIP and .160 BAA.

Jul 26, 2015; Cooperstown, NY, USA; Hall of Fame Inductee Pedro Martinez (L) and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (R) hold up the Dominican Republic flat at the end of his acceptance speech during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies at Clark Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Liga de Beisbol Dominicano

Five Braves have made their way to the Dominican Republic.  Four of them play for the Licey Tigers team there.  Currently, they are 5-4 and clinging to second place behind the 8-2 Gigantes.

  • Matt Wisler is the headliner here, and he has not disappointed:  9 innings in 2 starts;  5 hits and no runs allowed with 12 K and 1 walk.  Yeah, we’ll take that.  If he’s even down there just to fine-tune his confidence, it seems to be working.
  • Rob Wooten hasn’t been as good, but that’s the result of a single appearance:  3 innings and 3 earned runs allowed.  No walks, but plenty of hits allowed.  Still, it’s just one outing.
  • Joel De La Cruz has a 3.86 ERA in two outings that combine to 2.1 innings, giving up a single run on 2 hits, though no walks and one strikeout, contributing to a 0.86 WHIP thus far.
  • OF Mel Rojas, Jr. only has 8 AB thus far and a .124 (1 hit) result.  No walks; 1 strikeout.
  • 3B Carlos Franco is playing for the Toros team, which is 2-7 so far. IN 4 games and 12 AB, he’s hitting .250 with an .808 OPS and 2 RBI – thanks to all of his 3 hits being doubles.

Feb 7, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the flags during the first half of the game between Team USA and Team Canada in the International Bowl at Maverick Stadium. Team USA shuts out Team Canada 35-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Scattered All Around

  • Catcher Willians Astudillo is playing for Caribes de Anzoategui in Venezuela.  .226 in 12 games.  2 strikeouts already (that’s news) and 3 walks (bigger news).  2 homers gives him a .734 OPS, though 3 GIDP tarnishes that a bit.  But you don’t expect a normal stat line from Willians ever, right?
  • Infielder Emerson Landoni is on the same club and is hitting just .191 with 47 AB in 13 games; 3 walks, 10K, 2 steals.  No extra base hits (no surprise there), so his OPS is mired at .422.  Long-time Brave Landoni is now 27.
  • OF Joey Meneses is playing for Tomateros de Culiacan (the Culiacan Tomato Growers) in the Mexican Pacific League.  He is holding his own with a .279 average in 17 games/68 AB with 3 homers and a .752 OPS.
  • Ronnier Mustelier is a teammate of Meneses and is tearing it up:  .386/.436/.543/.979 in 17 games and 70 AB.  11 doubles among his 27 hits… plus 6 walks and just 7 K.  Nice job!
  • Mallex Smith was also in that league, but as we reported over the weekend, he was cut from his squad after a poor start.
  • C Jonathan Morales, playing for Criollos de Caguas in his native Puerto Rico, hasn’t seen much action to this point – 4 AB in 1 game, no hits.
  • Wilfredo Boscan is pitching on the Zulia club in Venezuela:  2.25 ERA early on (8 innings; 2 starts), 1.13 WHIP.
  • Enderson Franco is also in Venezuela:  1.50 ERA in 4 outings totalling 6 innings.
  • Brian Moran is a teammate of Jonathan Morales in Puerto Rico and has a clean line after 1 outing of 1 inning… barely… he hit a batter and gave up 2 hits while K’ing 1.
  • Carlos Salazar is pitching for Charros de Jalisco in the Mexican Pacific League.  7.36 ERA in 3 appearances of 3.2 innings.  He’s walked 3, yielded 2 hits and struck out a pair.

That’s a wrap on Winter League action thus far… most leagues play through November (at least), so there is still some time to go for these Atlanta Braves’ players.

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