I’m going to try something new this season and that’s keeping up with minor league transactions. Every Tuesday, I’ll take a look at each level to go over some of the moves and provide analysis. If this is the kind of thing that interest you, let me know. Hopefully, next week I will be able to get this article out quicker. I’m still getting things back to normal after a busy weekend that included serious sunburns.
Review last week’s transactions. These transactions include moves made on and between 4/26 and 5/2.
Signed: Sean Burnett…I was shocked Burnett wasn’t signed this offseason. He seemed like a perfect reclamation project for the Braves. A veteran of eight major league seasons, Burnett was last a full-time major leaguer in 2012 when he finished up a four-year run where he had a 2.85 ERA over 234 innings. He then signed a big-dollar deal with the Angels, but hurt his elbow. He returned to the Nationals in the offseason, but failed to make their roster. He next landed with the Dodgers, but has struggled with his control and wasn’t getting called up there. Considering how shaky the lefthand relief – and the bullpen in general – has been for the Braves, he’s worth a look.
Promoted: Ozzie Albies…It’s worth noting yet again how young and inexperienced Albies is. He has played just 180 professional games. With 785 plate appearances entering tonight, Albies has never faced a pitcher younger than he is. And during his age-19 year, Albies is now in Triple-A. Mind-boggling. It’s hard to suggest what Albies’ ceiling is because he keeps changing it. Oh, because he needs another weapon, his walks are up.
Promoted: Levi Hyams…A 19th rounder all the way back in 2012, Hyams struggled with Mississippi in 15 games, but with a need in Gwinnett, he got his first promotion to Triple-A. He can fill in at 1B, 2B, and 3B and even saw an inning before the promotion in the outfield. he’s never been a particularly good hitter, though.
Promoted: Emerson Landoni…His career began in 2006 with the Tigers/Marlins shared squad in the Venezuelan Summer League. Now, a decade later, he’s finally made it to Triple-A. Of course, a series of major league moves helped to set the stage for Landoni, who is a career .269/.333/.342 hitter with 14 HR in nearly 2500 PA. Like so many Gwinnett infielders who aren’t prospects, Landoni started his first game above Double-A in the outfield. It was his first start in right field since 2011.
Optioned: John Gant…The righty spent a few more days in the majors last week, including a significant mop-up relief appearance where he threw 4.2 innings against the Red Sox. Gant has looked a bit better in the minors and the 23 year-old has plenty to work on.
Optioned: Ryan Weber…A pleasant surprise last season, Weber’s luck might have run out. He’s got great control, but not much else to get hitter out. Of the 39 batters he faced in the majors, more than half reached base.
Optioned: Chris Withrow…For Withrow, it was a pretty ugly first look for the former top prospect of the Dodgers system. He walked five in seven innings, hit a batter, gave up a Grand Slam, and generally failed to resemble the guy who K’d 11.4 per nine as a Dodger. He’ll get a shot to round into form with Gwinnett.
Demoted and Promoted: Braeden Schlehuber…It seems like a daily move to get Schlehuber on-and-off the Gwinnett roster. Overall, the career minor leaguer has stepped to the plate ten times and singled once. His OPS is an even .600 over his 9-year career.
DL’d: Tyler Moore…Acquired in a strange exchange at the end of camp from the Nationals, Moore had scuffled to open 2016 with Gwinnett before hitting the DL. He’s got real power, but he also has real holes in his game (and his bat).
Promoted: Dansby Swanson…Entering today’s action, Swanson had a .312/.415/.514 slash with 20 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, and 7 SB in 205 career plate appearances. Not too shabby. Swanson is angling for a shot to play in Turner Field this season and has been impressive in the field. The Braves’ #1 prospect makes the Shelby Miller trade look better almost every day.
Activated: Sean Godfrey…Once again, Godfrey is trying to solve the mystery of Double-A pitching. After rocketing up the ladder in 2014, the right-hand hitting outfielder fell on his face with Mississippi last year and “earned” a demotion by slashing .194/.232/.272. He didn’t make the Double-A squad to begin 2016, but Connor Lien‘s injury pushed Godfrey up the ladder.
Outrighted: Danny Burawa…It’s been a quick fall not only to AA, but off the 40-man roster for Burawa. Acquired last summer off waivers from the Yankees, Burawa did okay in a dozen games in the bigs with the Braves, but has been awful this season dating back to spring training when he served up gopher balls like it was a homerun derby.
Promoted: Erison Mendez…After 282 PA with Rome since the beginning of last year, Mendez tries his luck with the Mudcats. The utility player was on-basing a miserable .245 at the time of his promotion and has yet to hit a homer in professional ball since making his debut in 2013.
Promoted: Michael O’Neal…Added from the Frontier League last offseason, O’Neal is a southpaw still trying to find the strikezone. At 24, he doesn’t have much time to show the Braves he belongs.
Activated: Sal Giardina…A 31st rounder in 2014, Giardina is a switch-hitting catcher out of Lynn University. He skipped rookie ball after being drafted, but hasn’t shown much with the bat. All organizations need filler players like Giardina, though.
Released: Bryton Trepagnier…The Braves added Trepagnier to the organization last year after five years in the Pirates’ system. In last week’s transaction recap, I wrote of Trepagnier after he had been activated off the DL – “He must have a believer or two because statistically, the results simply have never really been there.” I guess that believer lost his faith.
Promoted: Luis Gamez…An 11th rounder in 2014, Gamez made his full-season ball debut last week with a scoreless two innings. Gamez has not loooked very good in rookie ball since he was picked.
DL’d: Caleb Beech…I ranked Beech #41 among Braves prospects entering 2016 and saw others rank him higher. He has a mix of four pitches, though none grade out as plus pitches. What he does do a good job of is keeping the ball down. Unfortunately, he’s also struggled at staying in the lineup. Since being picked in the 2014 draft, he has thrown just 78.2 innings. He’s a bit too old for Rome.
Demoted: Joel De La Cruz…He spent a day in the majors without appearing in a game. Now, De La Cruz joins the group of players who are sticking around Gwinnett and waiting for their next chance to pitch.
Demoted, Promoted, and Demoted: Kanekoa Texeira…A fixture last year for Gwinnett, Texeira spent some time on the DL this year. In 15 innings with Gwinnett, Texeira has a 1.07 WHIP and 1.20 ERA. The 30 year-old had a 3.55 ERA for Gwinnett last year.
Promoted and Demoted: Rob Wooten…This is the third consecutive week for Wooten to show up in these transaction recaps. On the year, he has appeared in six games with Gwinnett and is essentially a reserve roster pitcher who is available when they need a fresh arm.