Mallex Smith, the speedy CF prospect acquired in the Justin Upton trade, is having no problems adjusting to Double-A pitching. batting .361 with 6 steals and a .400 OBP. The idea of Smith and Peraza atop the Braves line-up is a tantalizing one, though Jose is off to a bit of a slow start, however, hitting .195 with 1 SB, Teammate Eury Perez has a .395 OBP and 7 SB. Not sure why management seemed to cool on him during Spring Training.
Folty and Banuelos have identical 2.08 ERAs and are averaging more than a strikeout and nearly a walk per inning. Until they demonstrate better command the Braves are wise to keep them at Gwinnett. Matt Wisler, meanwhile, had a terrific debut but was bombed in his second start. Tyrell Jenkins, pitching for Mississippi, has a 2.35 ERA but has struck out only 1 and allowed 8 hits in 7-2/3 IP.
Rio Ruiz, playing 3B for the M-Braves, is hitting .286 with a .375 OBP. Teammate Matt Lipka, no longer considered among the organization’s top prospects, is raking thus far: .393-.438-.536. Jason Hursh, another of the previous regime’s questionable top picks, is fooling no one, logging only 5 IP in two starts, walking 5 and yielding 5 runs. The more highly regarded Lucas Sims, pitching for the High-A Carolina Mudcats, has also struggled through two starts.
Speaking of struggling first round picks, last year’s No. 1 selection, Braxton Davidson, playing for the Rome Braves, has picked up where he left off in 2014, which is not good. He has 2 hits through 8 games, though he did hit his first professional homer. About the only thing he’s shown a capability for so far is drawing walks.