Thursday, July 07, 2005

Down on the Farm

The Braves called up mega-prospect Jeff Francouer today to replace Brian Jordan, whose gimpy shoulder is responsible for a trip to the DL. On one hand, it's somewhat surprising - Francouer hasn't seen a full season at AA yet. On the other, what's one more rookie? Fancouer is noted for his defense as well as being a "five tools" guy. I'm not crazy about the label, but he has hit for power and shown speed thus far in his career.

Francouer hit .273-13-62 with 13 steals and 20something doubles (can't find the number at the moment, sorry). His plate discipline still has a ways to go, so he could struggle early with such a large jump.

Other prospect news:

Chuck James is having a pretty good season at AA Mississippi. 5-1 with a 2.96 era, in 54 innings he's given up 46 hits, 15 walks (that's an excellent WHIP), and has 66 ks (and every K-related ratio here is outstanding). Pretty strong numbers, particularly with only 4 homers allowed. Ole Chuck is a lefty, and according to Baseball America, left handed hitters are having a little bit of trouble hitting him. To the tune of 10-93 with 42 ks. Those are shocking numbers. James has faced 131 righthanders, who are hitting a bit better against him (.270 ish). That his K's are that different is surprising. He's young, so it may be that oneday he'll do better against RH hitters. Or, this could be a fluke - he's always put up excellent numbers in the minors and always had excellent K rates. Or maybe his future will be in the pen, possibly as a lefty specialist. Who knows.

Joey Devine the Braves first round pick out of NC State, was said to be one of the most major-s ready prospects in the draft. A hard, if goofy (delivery said to be between sidearmed and 3/4), throwing reliever, many predicted he may be on the same track as recent college stars like Houston Street (Oakland) and Chad Cordero(Washington). Well, he walked 3 in his first outing but escaped - nerves I'm sure. 4 innings later, he'd still just walked the 3 batters, had plunked another, had given up no hits or runs, and had 7 ks. I don't know if he pitched anymore in High-A (Myrtle Beach), but he made his AA debut recently with a scoreless, 1 strikeout, inning. The Braves bullpen struggles had to be on the brain when they took Devine - whom they were not expecting to be available. Will he be in Atlanta by September? It's far to early to say. Still, it's not a bad start.

Ande Marte has done pretty well since returning to Richmond. His average is at .283, he's homered a couple of times, and drawn a number of walks. I'm confident we'll be seeing him again in the near future.


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