Shortstop James Kang (2) of the Greenville Drive is out at second base as shortstop Matt Lipka (5) of the Rome Braves turns the double play in the second inning of a game on July 18, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Rome beat Greenville, 7-3. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Atlanta Braves tested out 2010 No. 1 pick Matt Lipka in the outfield during this fall’s Instructional League play in Florida.
O’Brien reported on his Twitter feed: “Took to it well, impressed. Will play CF in ’12 in minors.”
The Instructional League is a chance for young prospects to get some additional training end experience in a Spring Training environment in Florida after the regular Minor League season ends. Very little official news comes out of these sessions. The Braves have not commented on their website.
Lipka is highly regarded by the Braves, as you would expect of any top draft pick, but the team has a line of good prospects waiting for a shot at the shortstop job, which is where Lipka has been playing.
Lipka played for the Rome Braves this year in Class A, and appeared in several games at Fluor Field against the Greenville Drive.
Atlanta called up their top shortstop prospect, Tyler Pastornicky, when rosters were expanded at the end of this season. However, O’Brien has also reported that the team will be looking for a one-year veteran at short in 2012 until Pastornicky is ready for the starting job.
Atlanta also has another highly regarded shortstop prospect in the minors, Andrelton Simmons, who played this year in High A Lynchburg of the Carolina League. At the end of the season he was named one of the league’s Top 20 prospects.
And if you want to go deeper into the Braves farm system, they also have rookie Danville shortstop Brandon Drury, who was named to the Appalachian League Post-Season All-Star Team this year and was named the league’s Player of the Year.
So that kinda gives a hint of what Atlanta is trying to do with Lipka.
Infielder/shortstop Andrelton Simmons (33) of the Lynchburg Hillcats, Carolina League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, prior to a game against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on June 15, 2011, at City Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. Simmons was a second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin (2) of the Rome Braves, Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in a game against the Greenville Drive on August 16, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Gilmartin was Atlanta’s first-round pick (No. 28 overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida State. Making his second start of the season, he pitched four scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out four. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Lefty starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin, the Atlanta Braves’ No. 1 pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is picking up steam in the Arizona Fall League.
Gilmartin, who was called up to Rome in August and pitched a game at Fluor Field against the Greenville Drive, allowed one run on four hits over five innings and struck our four in his latest outing for the Surprise Saguaros.
(I wasn’t sure what a saguaro is, but wikipedia says it’s “a large, tree-sized cactus species . . . native to the Sonoran Desert in the U.S. state of Arizona.” Makes sense.)
Anyway, Gilmartin has struck out 14 and walked just three in his four starts in the AFL.
Other Atlanta prospects are also doing well for Surprise:
1B Joe Terdoslavich is leading the AFL in batting at .462 and second with .512 on-base percentage and .718 slugging percentage
C Christian Bethancourt ended his eight-game hitting streak Monday but remains eighth in the league with a .375 average.
OF Todd Cunningham had a multiple RBI game for the third time Oct. 19 when he drove in three runs.
Boston prospects who played with the Greenville Drive are on the same team as those Braves:
3B Will Middlebrooks went 2-for-5 with his third homer and three RBIs on Friday.
C Dan Butler was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs on Friday and is 6-for-11 at throwing out attempting base stealers.
RHP J.J. Hoover (48) of the Rome Braves, No. 24 prospect of the Atlanta Braves, pitches in a game against the Greenville Drive on July 8, 2009, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Whenever I shoot I always worry about getting clean backgrounds, so I’m sure I was annoyed that I got some clutter behind this shot of J.J. Hoover pitching at Fluor Field in Greenville.
I needn’t have worried, however. This Leaf card which I discovered for sale recently on eBay just wiped the background clean, and did my work for me.
I normally don’t care too much for dropouts, but I’ll be a big fan of this series of cards when the check arrives.
First baseman Joey Terdoslavich of the Danville Braves in a game against the Pulaski Mariners on July 19, 2010, in Pulaski, Va. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Atlanta Braves first base prospect Joey Terdoslavich is making his name known in the Arizona Fall League this month. After just four games, Terdoslavich leads the league with a .529 average that includes 3 doubles.
On Monday he went 2-for-5 and knocked in two of those doubles for his team, the Surprise Saguaros, which also includes Braves prospects RHP Billy Bullock, RHP Erik Cordier, RHP J.J. Hoover, LHP Sean Gilmartin, C Christian Bethancourt and OF Todd Cunningham.
Terdoslavich is just picking up where he left off during the Minor League season, when he led the Carolina League with 52 doubles for the Atlanta Class A franchise, the Lynchburg Hillcats. It was a new Carolina League record.
Selected by Atlanta in the 6th Round (194th overall) of 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Beach State, Terdoslavich is the nephew of Mike Greenwell, who played with the Boston Red Sox. Terdoslavich batted .286 for Lynchburg this year.
With Freddie Freeman firmly established at first for Atlanta, the first base position doesn’t seem to be a growth opportunity. At least one Braves beat writer, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thinks the Braves might try to work him into the outfield, where they need help in left field.
LHP Matt Moore of the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C., Sept. 3, 2009. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)
Matt Moore, a 22-year-old lefty who hasn’t even been in the majors for a month, is the first winner in the 2011 playoffs.
Moore led the Tampa Bay Rays to a 9-0 win in the first game of their American League Division Series with the Rangers on Friday.
“Three weeks ago, I was in the Minor Leagues, and to be a part of this now in this postseason push is something I never dreamed was going to happen this year,” Moore told Bill Chastain of MLB.com.
I photographed Moore when he pitched at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., two years ago when he was playing for the Rays’ Single A club. Donruss turned one of those photos into a card.