I made my (now annual) pilgrimage to see the Danville Braves towards the beginning of their season. It’s an opportunity to see a lot of the new players in the Braves system who have just been drafted or promoted from complex ball in Orlando. (Link to last year’s report.)
My parents live just over the mountain in North Carolina from several Appalachian League teams, so it’s also a great opportunity to visit family. I made the trek around Roan Mountain and into Tennessee, past Johnson City to the town of Kingsport. The D-Braves were playing the Kingsport Mets, and it was my first visit to this stadium.
As far as Appy League stadiums go, Kingsport has got to be the nicest, and biggest one I’ve been to–and that’s saying something for the Rookie Level Appalachian League. Overall though it’s a stadium, with nothing terribly special about it. There is good access to home and visiting players along the fence, if you care about getting autographs or talking to players.
At any rate, there wasn’t any player I was particularly keen on seeing from Danville. I was more or less just looking to see who was here and what they “looked” like–basically, trying to put a face and a game to a scouting report.
Two guys that stood out were outfielders Sean Godfrey (22nd round, 2014) and Justin Black (4th round, 2012). Godfrey reminded me of Hunter Pence in his lanky-ness, but he played more under control. I can see him being a guy with a similar profile to that of Kyle Wren.
Black was a project when the Braves drafted him two years ago out the lean-on-baseball area of Billings, Montana. He’s struggled the last two years in Rookie Ball, but looks better this year. He has a quick stroke that seems to be making more contact this season. He also had a less-hurried approach in the batters box. Last year when I saw him I felt that he had happy feet and swung at everything. This year, early on at least, he seems to have a better understanding of the strike zone.
Anyway, on to the photos. I probably took too many, so I’ve put them after the jump. I’ll go in order of the batting lineup, then add the pitchers. You can view the box score from this game here.
Justin Black hit a triple, and showed great speed around the bases.
Jordan Edgerton (9th round, 2014) didn’t show much, but it was just one game. Open stance with some movement might be a problem.
Wigberto Nevarez was the 20th round catcher that Braves.com compared to Gattis. So far, he just looks like a 20th round catcher.
Here are Luis Monasterio (left) and Alejandro Piloto (right).
Daniel Cordero started for the D-Braves. He looked great the first time through the order, then the wheels fell off. From my snooping on the scouts’ radar guns it looked like he was topping out at 91 mph on his fastball. His curve looked good too, he used it to get some strikeouts. His delivery comes straight over the top of his body, not a full-Collmenter, but almost.
Cordero was relieved by Michael Flores, who I was interested in seeing. I came away unimpressed. He never hit 90 mph on his fastball, and every pitch seemed to be flat–and he thusly got hammered like it was thrown flat.
The last pitcher I saw before the batteries on my camera died was Caleb Dirks (15th round, 2014). He was throwing 93-94, and looked a bit unsettled on the mound. His setup and delivery are weird. He puts his hands perpendicular in front of him, then seems to knock them up with his leg during his windup. That leads to his entire motion looking hard to repeat. Perhaps the Braves will clean this up.
That’s all for now. I’m going to try and make it to Johnson City tomorrow, so I should have another game report after that.