Braves Win Opening Series; Minor League Season Starts Today

Braves WON a pitcher’s duel, and come away with the series win in Milwaukee. After a rough opening game, the Braves bats came around and did some damage in game 2. I’m not sure we should read anything into the lack of hits in game 3. It was a day game less than 14 hours after a night game–heck, the Brewers were no-hit for just as long by Aaron Harang! Brewers starter Matt Garza was also on his game, and would have given any team a hard time yesterday.

Braves get Beat-o: The Braves claimed RHP Pedro Beato off waivers from the Reds after the game Wednesday afternoon. Beato had a decent spring for the Reds, and was one of their final cuts last Sunday. They claimed him this off-season from the Red Sox, where he appeared in 10 games last year, mostly as a mop-up man.

Back in 2007, Beato was considered a top prospect in the Orioles organization and in baseball, getting listed towards the end of several top-100 prospect lists. He was a first round pick by the O’s in 2006, then selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft in 2010. Despite being passed around among several organizations in the past few years, Beato is still just 27-years-old.

Beato will be activated by the team on Friday and likely take the spot of one of the rookies in the current Atlanta bullpen, my guess is Ryan Buchter. It’s a good move by the Braves, as they probably believe as I do that Beato is better, more experienced option than Buchter.

Tweet of the day: J-Hey is how important to the Braves?

Who to watch in the minors: All four of the Braves full-season minor league teams begin play tonight. Most of the folks in Atlanta will be watching the rehab starts of Gavin Floyd at Gwinnett, and Mike Minor at Mississippi, but here is a quick rundown of the prospects you should watch at each level this season.

Gwinnett Braves (AAA): Most folks will be watching how 2B Tommy La Stella, 3B Edward Salcedo, and C Christian Bethancourt handle the minors highest level. We’ll also keep a close eye on how Joey Terdoslavich progresses after his rough spring. Relievers Mark Lamm, Juan Jaime, and Luis Perez could also make strides that convince the organization that they are ready for the Majors. While he’s been a prospect since he was drafted (so he’s not really a sleeper), OF Todd Cunningham could emerge this season as a serious contender for an everyday Major League job.

Mississippi Braves (AA): There are a lot of pitchers here who could help Atlanta in the next year or two, starting with J.R. Graham, Jason Hursh, and Shae Simmons. But don’t overlook the plethora of power arms in the pen, including John Cornely, Ryne Harper, Ronan Pacheco, Carlos Perez, and James Hoyt. There will be some tough tests for a few hitters–3B Kyle Kubitza, OF Matt Lipka, and SS Elmer Reyes. Keep an eye on sleeper prospect OF David Rohm, whose home run power has been lurking under the surface and could finally emerge.

Lynchburg Hillcats (High-A): This will be the most exciting team for Braves prospects, highlighted by the next “big three” in the rotation–top prospect Lucas Sims, Mauricio Cabrera, and Wes Parsons. Those three starting pitchers have a chance to be top-of-the-rotation starters in Atlanta one day. The lineup will kick into high gear with the speedy duo of OF Kyle Wren and SS/2B Jose Peraza–the two of them could steal well over 100 combined bases this year. They will be followed by OF Josh Elander, one of the best high-average power hitters in the system. Keep an eye on four sleeper prospects, RHP Andrew Waszak, LHP Matt Marksberry, OF Alejandro Piloto… and of course, LHP Eric Pfisterer.

Rome Braves (Low-A): Several lesser known prospects could emerge as top prospects with breakout seasons. This includes C Victor Caratini, OF Victor Reyes, SS Johan Carmago, and right-handed pitchers Andry Ubiera, Carlos Salazar, and Tyler Brosius. Keep an eye on sleeper outfield prospects Cody Livesay and Jose Morel, as well as RHP Richie Tate and LHP Michael Flores.

Graham still a starter: Prospect J.R. Graham, coming off a season plagued with shoulder problems, will remain in the starting rotation at Mississippi. There was talk this spring that he might switch to the bullpen full time in order to accelerate his arrival in the Majors. I’m glad the Braves are putting him back in the rotation. Leave him there as long as he succeeds, you can always move him to a relief role if you need him in the Majors in that capacity.

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