A look at MORE of some of the very raw kids on the farm...a lot of 2010 draftees involved here!
27-31 (.466), 5th in division
All-stars: Matt Lipka (postseason)
2010 supplemental first round pick Matt Lipka was far and away the most heralded player on this GCL team, and his professional debut was a solid one, as he was the one player from the team to be named an All-Star. His line was .302/.357/.401, about what the team expected. Lipka was stellar on the basepaths, being successful 20 out of 23 times. He also showed fantastic control of the strike zone, striking out only 11.5% of the time while walking 6.8% of the time...not stellar, but overall very good. The 18 year old Lipka struggled in his final week promotion to Danville, but in a 4 game sample size, you can ignore the overall numbers...2 strikeouts in 16 at bats is solid though. A position change is probably in the works for Lipka, as he made 11 errors in only 48 games at shortstop. His power should mature as he gets older, so don't panic about the .099 ISO.
There were other players from the 2010 draft that played on this Danville team. I've spoken about some of them, but hell, since the season's over...I'll do it again! A young man who impressed me was catcher Cory Brownsten, drafted in 2010 out of Pitt. He performed very well, though was probably advanced for the league at age 22. His line was a fantastic .287/.407/.426, and he struck out 11 times while walking 16 in only 94 at bats. Very solid for the young man, but again...small sample size. He showed decent power with a .139 ISO. Good debut for Brownsten to add to the organization's catching depth.
19 year old Edison Sanchez had a solid start to the year before struggling in August to kill his numbers overall, finishing with a line of .236/.376/.337. He struck out way too many times, 38 in 89 at bats, but 13 of those K's came in 30 August ABs. Sanchez showed good discipline by walking 17 times. The power needs to mature though...a .101 ISO out of a first baseman is unacceptable, Kotchman level stuff. He showed he can hit last year in the DSL by posting a .900 OPS, so its not out of the realm of possibility for him to continue to improve at round 2 in the GCL next season.
It was a mixed bag for the GCL's pitching staff. The brightest light on the team was 2010 draftee Dan Jurik, The 23 year old worked his way up to Rome to end the season, and finished his 3 stop 2010 with a 3.15 ERA, 52 strikeouts, 15 walks, and 5 homers allowed in 68 2/3 innings. I was happy to see the Braves give his arm a workout in 2010 and not call it quits after 40 innings or so. Jurik had probably the best performance of any pitcher drafted by the Braves in 2010, as you'd expect from someone who was promoted as aggressively as he was. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start 2011 in Myrtle Beach with a chance for more swift movement.
19 year old Williams Perez had a crappy 5.63 ERA and 0-6 record, but had good peripheral stats: 43 strikeouts, 8 walks, and 3 homers in 54 1/3 innings pitched. Those numbers translate into a 2.78 FIP...much better than his ERA would lead you to believe. The Nicaraguan had some bad luck, allowing a .304 batting average. Here's hoping the Braves are willing to look past conventional numbers, and see that a 5 to 1 K:BB ratio is worth keeping an eye on.
The rest of the pitchers on the GCL Braves are mostly relief prospects that don't appear to be too dominating, so I'll give them a breather here. Overall, the team...just wasn't too great. No real dominant, can't miss prospect on either side of the ball. A little depressing, but that's how things go. Next up: an exciting young Danville team!