MiLB.com previewed the Braves minor league system today. They profile players at each of the Braves minor league teams, give us some potential players who have fallen under the radar, has a 2006 draft recap and then they predict that Eric Campbell and Jo-Jo Reyes will be the top minor league players in the organization. There’s a ton of good prospect information in this column so be sure to check it out.
The Hardball Times Braves preview is here and it’s their standard five questions format. John Beamer is the author and he touches on things like the Braves bullpen and how the team is going to replace Adam LaRoche at the plate. He closes with the question as to whether whether or not the Braves can catch the Mets in 2007.
In a huge move, the Braves extended Brian McCann’s contract by six years. The initial amount is $27.8 million but it looks like he could earn another $2 million to make it pretty much a $30 million deal. Not too shabby if 2006 is what we can expect from McCann. This will cover all of McCann’s arbitration eligible seasons and will also take care of what would have been his first year as a free agent. There’s also an option for 2013 so you’re definitely looking like at the Braves catcher for the rest of this decade and beyond.
Mike Redman threw five solid innings today for the Braves. He gave up just two runs but he was touched up for seven hits and he gave up two walks with two strikeouts. Rafael Soriano threw a perfect frame with one strikeout while Jonathon Johnson was shelled for three runs in 2/3 of an inning.
Andruw Jones hit his second homerun of the spring while Carlos Mendez singled and drove in two runs. Next up for the Braves are the Mets.
Bill Ballew at Baseball America recently profiled Braves first base prospect Scott Thorman. It’s a good read and it goes through pieces of his minor league career as well as some personal tid bits. While I don’t think Thorman is going to be expected to start every day, he is going to be a piece of the offense and it’d be nice to see him have a solid rookie campaign.
If you ever wondered where John Smoltz came from, John Sickels recently penned an excellent prospect retro column on Smoltz’ minor league career. Most of it was with the Tigers organization before the Braves traded for him in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. Nice stuff and it’s a good case study on how a top prospect can have a bad year yet still pan out.
It seems like a full season of Chipper Jones won’t happen once again in 2007. The third baseman sprained his ankle today in the Braves spring game against the Cardinals and he’s listed as day to day.
Beyond the Boxscore continued their season preview series with a look at the Braves this weekend. The initial look has the Braves coming in around 85 wins but they hedge against any playoff chances because of the strength of the Braves (and I think the Phillies). The offense should be top notch again and the bullpen should be better but the problem might be the rotation. The final prognosis is similar to the initial feeling. The Braves could win up to 90 games, but that’s not enough to hit the playoffs. So it should be a good year, but not a great one.
I’m surprised a guy like Mike Redman was still out there. He’s a left hander and while he hasn’t a great year since he played for the World Series Champion Marlins in 2003, he had fair seasons in 2004 and 2005. Of course he fell off of a cliff in 2006 (ironically in his All Star season) with the Royals. This is just the kind of guy Leo Mazzone could work with if he were still here.
Of course the Braves recently signed Redman to a minor league deal in response to the latest injury by Mike Hampton. He’ll compete for a spot on the rotation with Kyle Davies and Lance Cormier. Regardless, Redman is a guy who’s not bad to have in your back pocket in the event something else goes wrong.
It looks like Mike Hampton’s comeback attempt will be postponed as he injured himself while taking batting practice yesterday. Whether it’s a strained oblique or a broken rib, Hampton will most likely miss all of April if not more. The Braves were kind of banking on Hampton being there so they’ll probably be either looking to make a trade or examining what they’ve got as far as prospects to see who can fill in. We’ll have to keep an eye on the Braves depth chart to see who emerges as the likely fifth starter in the event the Braves aren’t able to make a deal.
The Dodgers touched Chuck James up for a run in the first inning but the rest of the pitching staff held the Dodgers scoreless the rest of the way in the Braves 4-1 win over the Dodgers. Buddy Carlyle was particularly sharp with two strikeouts in two shutout innings.
Martin Prado was the hitting star for the Braves. He had three hits, including a double, with a run and an RBI. Ryan Langerhans had two hits and an RBI and Scott Thorman had two hits and a run.
Tomorrow, the Braves take on the Nationals. Hopefully the Braves can keep up their solid start this spring as they’re already 3-1.
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