Evan Gattis (Atlanta): 2-for-3, HR(12), 3RBI, BB, K || The White Bear hit his 4th home run in his last 6 games. That gives him the same number of home runs (12) through June 3rd that he had last year in just about the same number of at-bats. In fact, just about all of his numbers this season are the same as they were through June 3rd of last year.
The test will be from here on out. Last year from June to August, Gattis’ OPS dropped about 300 points from where it had been in April and May. Of course, his playing time got cut in half during those summer months. With regular playing time will Gattis continue to post an OPS above .800? We’ll keep an eye on that.
B.J. Upton (Atlanta): 2-for-5, HR(5), RBI, 3K || It’s a better BJ this year, as his OPS in 2014 (.650) is nearly 100 points higher than last year’s OPS (.557). Although that’s still 100 points lower than his OPS before coming to the Braves (.758). He’s better, but there’s still room for improvement. His May OPS this year (.685) is 100 points better than his April OPS (.586), so he’s headed in the right direction.
Jorge Reyes (Mississippi): 1IP, 1H, 3R, 1ER, 1BB, 1K, 1HR, blown save || The Braves acquired Reyes yesterday in a trade with the Padres in exchange for cash considerations. He’s a 26 year old reliever who’s been wallowing at Triple-A for the past three years, converting from starting to relieving full time last year. His debut for ‘Sip wasn’t that great. He’s probably best known for being the deaf guy in an elaborate month-long prank of Jeff Francoeur.
James Hoyt (Mississippi): 1IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 2K, Save(2) || Hoyt took over for Shae Simmons as the M-Braves closer, and earned his paycheck yesterday. In a back and forth game, Hoyt worked around a lead-off double in the ninth inning to secure the win for Mississippi. Hoyt, signed out of the Mexican League prior to last season, is having a great season. His ERA (1.40) and BB/9 are down and his K/9 is up. He’s a candidate for a promotion to Triple-A.
Terry Doyle (Mississippi): The Braves signed this well-traveled reliever a couple of days ago and assigned him to Mississippi. He was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Twins in 2011, but was returned to the White Sox before the season started. He was released in the middle of 2012, and spent the rest of the year playing in Japan. Like I said, he’s well-traveled. He’s not a big prospect or anything, just minor league filler.
Josh Elander (Lynchburg): Outfielder Josh Elander was placed on the disabled list with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. I listed him as the number-8 prospect on my pre-season list, but he’s really struggling this year hitting just .219 without much power.
Victor Caratini (Rome): 1-for-2, solo HR(2), 2BB || It’s always big news when Caratini hits a home run, just his 3rd as a professional. He was also named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Team, along with outfielder Victor Reyes and pitcher Yean Carlos Gil.
Cesar Lopez (Rome): The Braves signed this Cuban pitcher out of the Independent Leagues. He was originally signed by the Pirates for $600,000 in 2010. At the time Baseball America described Lopez as “a sinker/slider pitcher who can run his fastball up to the low 90s.” He posted some averageish seasons for the Pirates low minors teams, and was released by the team this spring. Speculation among Pirates blogs seems to point to inadequate velocity as the reason for the release. We’ll see if the Braves can turn him into anything, he’s still just 23. The Braves love low-90s sinker/slider pitchers.