Braves Have Collection Of Arms In Danville
The Braves dealt from a position of strength at the trade deadline due to a plethora of pitching, both at the major league level and throughout the farm system. That philosophy is built from the ground up, as evidenced again this season at Rookie-level Danville.
The D-Braves celebrated the one-month mark of the Appalachian League campaign by ranking second on the circuit with a 3.56 ERA and 271 hits allowed in 290 innings. Danville also had limited opponents to a league-low 13 home runs while topping the loop with 307 strikeouts.
"Pitching is what wins championships, and our scouts have a knack for finding arms," said Danville manager Randy Ingle, who is in his 33rd season as a member of the organization. "When there's a need above us, there's always someone ready to move up and come here. That type of depth is rare to see on a yearly basis."
After fielding the top prospect in the league last year in lefthander Carlos Perez, Danville has remained within striking distance of first place in the Eastern Division thanks to a mix of newcomers and holdovers. This year's draft has given Ingle the likes of righthanders J.R. Graham and Greg Ross in the rotation and Cody Martin in the bullpen.
Graham, a fourth-round pick out of Santa Clara, owned a 2.45 ERA through 22 innings. Ross was nabbed in the 18th round out of Frostburg State (Md.) and won three of his first four decisions while posting a 2.84 ERA. Martin, a seventh-round selection from Gonzaga, did not allow an earned run in his first eight relief appearances.
Others have been equally effective, including Lucas LaPoint, a 23rd-round pick in 2009 out of a California high school. LaPoint won only one of his first four decisions but ranked among the league leaders with a 2.38 ERA through six starts. And Williams Perez, a 20-year-old righthander from Venezuela, has bounced back from an 0-6, 5.63 showing in 12 outings last season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League to go 2-0, 3.47 in the early going this year.
• One Danville pitcher who has struggled is Dave Filak, a fourth-round pick in 2010 out of Oneonta State (N.Y.). The righthander went 2-5, 7.54 in 45 innings at low Class A Rome and was 0-3, 8.53 in six outings since a demotion to the D-Braves.
• Rome catcher Evan Gattis was named the South Atlantic League player of the week for July 18-24. Gattis batted .435 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in six games.