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So in this edition of Prospect Update, we're going to take a look at the pitchers for the Mississippi Braves. Mississippi has a lot of pitchers who are having really great years, but whose records look absolutely horrible because of the team's absolutely anemic offense. We're going to take a look at some of the highlights today.
Edgar Osuna, SP: 5-5, 3.64. Osuna's stat line is split over Mississippi and Myrtle Beach, where he was promoted from at the beginning of June. Osuna's first 2 starts in Mississippi were great, allowing 1 run and 5 hits over 14 innings. He was then absolutely decimated by Birmingham on Monday to horribly skew his overall line. Osuna is an intense control pitcher, walking 2.5/9 (down at the Beach, that number was 1.8, but he's struggled a little since the callup). Osuna hasn't struck out a lot of men this season (6.15/9, compared to 9.69/9 last season), and has an average BAA (.238) while also allowing a good bit of flyballs. He spent last season in Rome, going 10-5 with a 3.38 ERA and 135 strikeouts while also keeping the ball in the air. If Osuna is able to keep the ball on the ground a little more often, he has a chance to become a productive major leaguer, especially since he is still only 21.
Jonny Venters, SP: 4-4, 3.46. Venters's ERA is an illusion, as he's striking out nearly as many he walks, around 6 per 9 innings. Venters was actually promoted to Gwinnett a week ago, and has struck out 10 in 10 innings, while cutting his walks. A problem with Venters is that he allows a lot of hits, 74 in 75 1/3 innings this year over the two levels. This was a problem for Venters last season as well, as he only threw 34 1/3 innings, but allowed a .295 BAA while having an ERA nearly identical to where it is this season (3.41 last year). Venters is also a groundball pitcher, with a GB:FB ratio nearly 2 over his career.
Stephen Marek, RP: 2-3, 5.61. Marek was the THIRD MAN in the Mark Teixeira deal from last summer, and was expected to contend for a spot in the Braves bullpen coming out of spring training this season. He didn't win the job, and was sent to Mississippi to start the year. The year started off really horribly for Marek, allowing 16 earned runs in his first 15 2/3 innings, while walking 14 men and only striking out 12. Since May 31st however, Marek has not allowed a run and only allowed 3 hits, walking 6 and striking out 9. If Marek can continue his recent hot strteak, he could be a factor in the bullpen near the end of the season. However, if he reverts to his early season form, he may find himself with a new organization in 2010.
Cory Gearrin, RP: 0-0, 1.48. Gearrin, like Osuna, began the season in Myrtle Beach but was promoted to Mississippi after early success. Gearrin is this year's version of Craig Kimbrel, drafted out of a community college, coming out of the bullpen with a lot of ground balls and strikeouts, and gaining some traction in the future of the bullpen. Gearrin has struck out 23 in 24 1/3 innings this season, and has only allowed 16 hits and 5 walks. His time at Mississippi hasn't been quite as good as his time at Myrtle Beach, which is where he ended last season struggling, but it is still acceptable. Gearrin hasn't been used as the closer in Pearl like he was for the Pelicans and has actually been used for several innings in 2 of his last 3 outings. A player like Gearrin is someone you should really keep your eye on in the future.
So that does it for the Mississippi pitchers. Myrtle Beach is next, though I have no idea when I'm going to get around to starting on them. I'm toying around with a piece on Kelly Johnson that I may end up posting tomorrow, but we'll see. Keep an eye out for the series recap of the Boston series tomorrow afternoon or evening, and the series preview for the Yankees series on Monday. I'm not going to do a preview for the Cubs game because...its one game. Come on now.