January 2013

Jackie Bradley Jr. in the spotlight at SC event

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Boston Red Sox prospect outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. speaks with a TV reporter at the Greenville Drive’s annual Hot Stove Event on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, in Greenville, South Carolina. Bradley is ranked No. 32 prospect in the country for the 2013 season by MLB.com. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Tuesday night, even as former Gamecock and former Greenville Drive outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was talking with fans in downtown Greenville, the MLB Network was getting ready to air its new Top 100 prospects list.

Not long after I got home from photographing Bradley and the other notables at the Greenville Drive’s annual Hot Stove Event at Zen in the West End, I flipped on the TV and watched as Jonathan Mayo announced Bradley as No. 32. Mayo said Bradley is someone “who’s looked at as a likely replacement for free-agent-to-be Jacoby Ellsbury . . ..”

Bradley signed autographs for fans, posed for photos, talked with TV reporters and generally showed how comfortable he is even in the spotlight.

A look at the prospects in the Atlanta Braves’ trade

MLB - Atlanta Braves

RHP Zeke Spruill of the Atlanta Braves at Spring Training camp on March 14, 2009, at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday in a trade that sent veteran utility man Martin Prado and starting pitcher Randall Delgado to Arizona.

Also in the deal Arizona received three prospects from Atlanta: pitcher Zeke Spruill, shortstop Nick Ahmed and first baseman Brandon Drury.

Nick Ahmed

Infielder Nick Ahmed (22) of the Danville Braves, Appalachian League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, prior to a game against the Johnson City Cardinals on August 19, 2011, at Howard Johnson Field in Johnson City, Tennessee. Ahmed was Atlanta’s second-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Danville defeated Johnson City, 5-4, in 16 innings. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Brandon Drury

Infielder Brandon Drury (2) of the Rome Braves, an Atlanta Braves affiliate, in a game against the Greenville Drive on May 6, 2012, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. Drury is Atlanta’s No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball America. Greenville won, 11-3. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Former Braves farmhand Matt Harrison re-signs

Mississippi Braves

Matt Harrison of the Mississippi Braves, the Atlanta Braves’ Class AA affiliate of the Southern League, in a game against the Birmingham Barons on April 21, 2007, at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Former Atlanta Braves farmhand Matt Harrison has agreed to a $55 million, five-year contract with the Texas Rangers.

A third-round pick of the Braves in 2003, Harrison played at every level of the Braves’ minors through Class AA before being traded to the Rangers along with Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Ron Mahay and Mark Teixeira. Those guys went on to be regulars for the Rangers, and, well, the Braves no longer have anything to show for that trade. (Insert negative editorial comment here.)

Prospect Evan Gattis is Spring Training invitee

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Catcher Evan Gattis of the Rome Braves, Class A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Greenville Drive on August 15, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, South Carolina. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Catcher turned slugging left field prospect Evan Gattis is among the 21 non-roster invitees the Braves will bring to Spring Training camp this February.

The Braves’ invitees include nine pitchers: Ryan Buchter, Yohan Flande, Sean Gilmartin, J.R. Graham, Dusty Hughes, Wirfin Obispo, Daniel Rodriguez, Gus Schlosser and Alex Wood.

Six catchers: Luis De La Cruz, Evan Gattis, Matt Kennelly, Matt Pagnozzi, Braeden Schlehuber and Jose Yepez. Three-infielders: Nick Ahmed, Blake DeWitt and Joe Leonard. Three-outfielders: Todd Cunningham, Joe Terdoslavich (formerly an infielder) and Jordan Parraz.

Cub Anthony Rizzo to play for Team Italy in WBC

MiLB - Greenville Drive

First baseman Anthony Rizzo (25) of the Greenville Drive on the team’s 2009 home opener against the Hickory Crawdads on April 13, 2009, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Former Greenville Drive and current Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will play for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic, which begins in March.

Italy will open the competition on March 7 against Mexico, playing in Scottsdale, Ariz.

MiLB.com profiles Sox SS prospect Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Infielder Xander Bogaerts (23) of the Salem Red Sox, a Boston Red Sox affiliate, in a game against the Potomac Nationals on June 8, 2012, at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia. Potomac won the first game of a doubleheader, 5-4. Bogaerts is the No. 2 Boston prospect, according to Baseball America. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

MiLB.com has a new in-depth interview with Boston Red Sox’ prospect shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

 

Russell Wilson before the Seattle Seahawks

MiLB Baseball - Asheville Tourists vs. Greenville Drive - May 1, 2011

Infielder/second baseman Russell Wilson (3) of the Asheville Tourists, Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, in a game against the Greenville Drive on May 1, 2011, at Fluor Field at the West End in Greenville, S.C. Wilson was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. (Tom Priddy / Four Seam Images)

Before going back to college and before playing in today’s NFL playoff game with the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson was a Rockies Minor Leaguer with Asheville. I photographed him in the visitors’ dugout during a game in Greenville in 2011.

 

Writers name Jackie Bradley Jr. top Red Sox prospect

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (16) of the Salem Red Sox, a Boston Red Sox affiliate, in a game against the Potomac Nationals on June 8, 2012, at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia. Potomac won the first game of a doubleheader, 5-4. Bradley is the No. 10 Boston prospect, according to Baseball America. (Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

Former University of South Carolina Gamecock and Greenville Drive outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has been selected by Boston’s baseball writers as the Red Sox Minor League player of the year for 2012.

The award, called the Greg Montalbano Minor League Award, will be presented at a dinner Jan 24 by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. It goes to the “individual who has made the greatest impact in the minor leagues in the past season.”

Bradley was a member of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks’ national championship teams and played briefly for the Greenville Drive. He moved up the Sox’ Minor League system quickly last year, from Salem to Portland.

Most of the previous winners of the award since 2005 also played for the Greenville Drive, including Jon Lester (rehab assignment), Clay Buchholz, Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Ryan Lavarnway, who won in 2011.