It’s a good thing the Gwinnett Braves won their final game at Charlotte on Labor Day. If they hadn’t, the Atlanta minor league system wouldn’t have had a team with a winning record.
As it was, no Braves team made the playoffs and that hadn’t happened since 1990 — the year before Atlanta went from worst to first and started its run of 14 consecutive division titles.
Player development, not winning, is the priority in the minors and the Braves’ system has continued to be productive. But the lack of team success in the lower minors doesn’t bode well for Gwinnett’s success in the coming years.
Atlanta’s system had an overall record of 313-372 this season. Other than Gwinnett at 72-71, the only Braves affiliate that didn’t have a losing record was Danville of the rookie Appalachian League at 34-34.
Atlanta’s two Class A teams struggled the most, with Myrtle Beach of the Carolina League going 58-83 and Rome of the South Atlantic League not much better at 59-80.
The six Braves farm teams also had a losing record in 2009, going 338-348. But Gwinnett made the International League playoffs as the wild-card team and Danville won the Appalachian League championship.
In 2008, the Atlanta minor league system had a winning record at 345-337 and Mississippi won the Class AA Southern League championship.
Redmond, Carter on Team USA
G-Braves starter Todd Redmond and reliever Anthony Carter, a White Sox prospect who graduated from Parkview, were named to Team USA for the Pan American Games qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico early next month.
Redmond, 25, was 3-0 last September as the U.S. won the World Cup in Europe, allowing just 11 hits in 22 innings while striking out 17 and walking one. He was 9-10 with a 4.26 ERA for the G-Braves this season and pitched a no-hitter at Louisville. Twice he was named International League pitcher of the week.
Carter, 24, tied for the Southern League lead in saves with 22 while making the conversion from starter to reliever at Birmingham this season. The winner of 11 games each of the previous two seasons as a starter in Class A, he had a 2.58 ERA in 44 relief appearances with the Barons, striking out 55 with 16 walks in 521⁄3 innings. Opponents hit .201.
After pitching for Team USA, Carter will head to the Arizona Fall League.
Freeman, Teheran win awards
First baseman Freddie Freeman and right-hander Julio Teheran will be honored as the Braves’ minor league player and pitcher of the year during ceremonies prior to tonight’s game against St. Louis at Turner Field.
Freeman, promoted to Atlanta on Sept. 1, batted .319 for Gwinnett and led the International League in hits and extra-base hits while smacking 18 homers and driving in 87 runs. At 20, he was one of the youngest players in Class AAA.
Teheran, 19, was 9-8 with a 2.59 ERA in 24 starts while making stops in Class A at Rome and Myrtle Beach and finishing the season at Class AA Mississippi, where he was involved in a combined no-hitter. The native of Columbia struck out 159 in 1422⁄3 innings and opponents batted just .208.
Barbaro Canizares, the International League batting champion with a .341 average, and Craig Kimbrel, who had 23 saves, were named the Gwinnett player and pitcher of the year. Kimbrel joined the Braves at the end of the IL season.
Young, Timmons bound for Mexico
Matt Young is headed back to play in the Mexican Pacific League this winter and he is bringing G-Braves teammate Wes Timmons with him. “I had to twist his wife’s arm,” Young said.
Young, 27, hit .300 and led the International League with 39 stolen bases this season while playing second base as well as all three outfield spots. Timmons, 31, made the AAA All-Star Game for the second straight year and finished with a .293 average and .400 on-base mark.
Timmons missed much of the last month of the season with an abdominal injury and he is scheduled to have a surgical procedure.