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Thread: Danville Braves Wrap-Up

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    Danville Braves Wrap-Up

    Rarely does a last place team have two players recognized as the league-wide top performers in their respective categories, but that's what happened in Danville this past season.

    Bryce Ball was named the Appalachian League Player of the Year and Mitch Stallings was named the Appalachian Pitcher of the Year as part of the Appalachian League All-Star team. Both guys clearly deserved the recognition they received.

    Ball was the Braves' 24th round draft pick in 2019 out of Dallas Baptist and he signed for about $100,000 over the allowed post-10th round slot. Along with the bevy of high school players who went overslot in Rounds 10 through 20, Ball appears to be a part of a strategy to pursue players with perceived higher ceilings after Round 10 and be prepared to go over slot to get them. Ball was simply terrific at Danville. His isoSLG came in at .352 (.676 SLG/.324 BA). He didn't strike out much for a power hitter (30 times in approximately 170 PAs). He finished second in the Appy in HRs and he left there three weeks ago. He didn't qualify for other leader categories because of the promotion, but his SLG would have led the league. He was 20 when the season started, turning 21 in July. He played his first two years after high school at Northern Iowa Area Community College before heading to Dallas Baptist for his junior year. In a totally unrelated note, Ball and my wife were both born in Mason City, Iowa, though considerable years apart.

    Stallings also shone throughout the year and earned a promotion to Rome just days after Ball. Mitch was a senior sign out drafted in the 30th round out of Duke in 2018. His control was stellar in Danville, walking only 11 guys in 56 IP while striking out 69. 1.14 WHIP and 1.48 GO/AO in Danville. Reverse splits are a bit puzzling. He's 24 and is probably slated for Florida next season.

    The rest of Danville was pretty much a mixed bag. 2nd round pick Beau Philip appeared to field the SS position well (.952 FP is only a partial picture), but he didn't hit much coming in below the Melvin Mendoza line with a .194 BA. Solid walk rate and K-rate isn't bad. 4 HRs, but only 10 XBHs. He was injured for part of his college season and that may have contributed to his performance in Danville.

    2019 9th round pick Cody Miligan had an interesting season. He played catcher in JC ball at Crowley (KS) CC and moved to 2B at Danville. Walk rate of approximately 17% stands out for Milligan. .252/.384/.299 slash. 11 errors at 2B, which isn't shabby given it's a relatively new position for him.

    In the OF, 2019 10th round pick Brandon Parker and 15th round pick Connor Blair had mixed results. Parker had two killer years at Mississippi Gulf Coast CC and Blair was the California CC Player of the year in 2018 before playing at the University of Washington in 2019. Neither played up to those plaudits at Danville. OFs Jose Palma and Charles Reyes faded after strong starts (which is not that rare for 2nd and 3rd year guys playing against 1st year guys in the early going of a short-season league).

    A couple of interesting performances from guys not really on the radar came from late FA signee Garrett Saunders--IF out of Central College in Iowa--and 1B Mason Berne who started the season in the GCL and came to Danville after Ball's promotion to Rome. Berne is a 2nd year guy who was drafted in the 33rd round in 2018 out of University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Berne hit .341/.400/.455 in his short stint in Danville. Of further interest is Berne's birthplace of Lumberton, NC. That's the same birthplace as former Brave/Phillie/Astro RHP Ira Thomas (Tommy) Greene. It's also the locale where the movie Blue Velvet takes place (movie was shot in Wilmington, NC).

    The Danville pitchers fared better than the hitters. 2019 draftees RHP Tanner Gordon (Round 6), RHP Darius Vines (Round 7), RHP Ricky DeVito (Round 8), RHP Tyler Owens (Round 13), RHP Alec Barger (Round 17), RHP Peyton Williams (Round 20), LHP Alex Segal (Round 22), RHP Greg Leban (Round 31) and RHP Justin Yeager (Round 33) all pitched for the D-Braves in 2019 and for the most part had the same story: Great K-rates, so-so (to bad) BB-rates. DeVito earned a promotion to Rome in mid-August and Owens was really solid for a high school kid who started the year in the GCL. Cherry-picking stats should be illegal (and is in some states), but Owens surrendered 8 of the 12 earned runs he allowed in two consecutive extremely short appearances in early-August. He ended the season on a high note, going a combined seven innings in his last two games allowing only 2 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8. Owens is on the smallish side at 5-10/185, but he's another one of the more heralded high school players the Braves selected after the tenth round. Other than Owens, the rest of the draft picks that ended up in Danville are physically pretty big.

    2018 37th round pick (and similarly physically imposing) RHP Alex Camacho started the season as the D-Braves closer before earning a promotion to Florida.

    International players RHP Alger Hodgson, RHP Albinson Volquez, and LHP Filyer Sanchez also logged innings. Sanchez had the best stat line and was particularly effective against LHH while Hodgson was recovering from arm surgery after missing all of 2018. LHP Lisandro Santos started 5 games for Danville after beginning the year in the DSL. All of these guys except Sanchez suffered from the same control problems that plagued the rest of the staff.

    Interesting late addition to the staff was RHP Marrick Crouse, who pitched for the University of Southern California in 2016 and 2017, but who didn't appear in a game there in 2018. Crouse as an 11th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays out of Dana Hills (CA) HS in 2015. Put up a great ERA of 0.73 in 10 appearances and (no surprise here) K'd more than 1 per inning but also walked 10 guys in 12 IP.

    So that's what happened there. Interesting group. My guess is a lot of these guys will compose the Rome roster next season and maybe a couple will leap all the way to Florida (and watch it rain).
    Last edited by 50PoundHead; 08-30-2019 at 05:09 PM.

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    Thanks for a terrific summary. We took so many promising players in this year's draft. It is much too early to say how many or which ones will pan out. But the early returns look very good.

    I would add that considering the reduced bonus pools we have been operating under, our international signings the last two years have been fairly productive. The bonus pool for the current signing year is zero, which should really hold down the talent level on our DSL team next year.
    Last edited by nsacpi; 08-30-2019 at 12:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsacpi View Post
    Thanks for a terrific summary. We took so many promising players in this year's draft. It is much too early to say how many or which ones will pan out. But the early returns look very good.

    I would add that considering the reduced bonus pools we have been operating under, our international signings the last two years have been fairly productive. The bonus pool for the current signing year is zero, which should really hold down the talent level on our DSL team next year.
    Isn't next year the last year of our penalties? I think our bonus pool is reduced by half this coming up year and then we are free to sign whoever we please during the 2021 J2 class right?

    All things considered, I think we've done a decent job of keeping decent talent in our lower minors despite the sanctions. Hopefully there is a good class in 2021 that we can really go after hard since I presume that we'll be in a much better position to sign some top guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeanieAntics View Post
    Isn't next year the last year of our penalties? I think our bonus pool is reduced by half this coming up year and then we are free to sign whoever we please during the 2021 J2 class right?

    All things considered, I think we've done a decent job of keeping decent talent in our lower minors despite the sanctions. Hopefully there is a good class in 2021 that we can really go after hard since I presume that we'll be in a much better position to sign some top guys.
    Yes. But next year we have half of what would have been our pool without penalties. This year we have zero.
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    What a great post! This is why Al Gore invented the interwebs..

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