ATLANTA — With Kenshin Kawakami officially on his way to Class AA Mississippi, another top prospect could begin his season with the Gwinnett Braves.
The Atlanta Braves’ top prospect, right-hander pitcher Julio Teheran, is now a “possibility” to join the starting rotation for the G-Braves to begin the season according to Braves general manager Frank Wren.
“That’s a projected possibility,” Wren said when was asked if Teheran could start the season in Gwinnett.
With more than a week to go before the G-Braves season begins against Durham on April 7, final roster decisions are still pending, but like Freddie Freeman last year and Tommy Hanson in 2010, the potential exists for another prospect to be on Gwinnett’s opening day roster.
A native of Colombia, Teheran rose quickly through the Braves’ system in 2010, pitching for Class A Rome, high-A Myrtle Beach and Mississippi compiling a 9-8 record with a 2.59 ERA with 159 strikeouts in 1422⁄3 innings. He made the Class A Carolina League All-Star team while with Myrtle Beach and Baseball America named him to its 2010 Minor League All-Star Team.
At just 20-years-old, starting in Class AAA would out-pace the most recent pitching prospect Hanson who threw his first G-Braves game at 22.
But the potential good news for Teheran could mean a return to Mississippi for Parkview’s Tim Gustafson.
With the status of Jair Jurrjens still in flux, the potential starting rotation for Gwinnett is Mike Minor, Rodrigo Lopez, Teheran, Todd Redmond and Yohan Flande. Jacob Thompson is in line as the long reliever or potential fifth starter if Minor starts the year with Atlanta in place of Jurrjens. Every option looks like Class AA for Gustafson.
Mather clears waivers, now a G-Brave
Former St. Louis Cardinal Joe Mather cleared waivers Tuesday and was assigned to Class AAA Gwinnett to begin his first season in the Atlanta organization.
Mather entered camp with hopes of snagging a spot with the Braves, but a rough spring where he hit .137 with 14 strikeouts in 51 at-bats ended the utility player’s chances.
“It’s not that terrible,” Mather said of his assignment. “It’s not exactly where I wanted to be but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gwinnett.”
With the G-Braves, Mather should split time at first base, third base and in the outfield.
Mather made his big-league debut with the Cardinals in 2008, hitting .241 in 54 games. He broke the hamate bone in his hand and didn’t make the majors again until 2010 where he split time between St. Louis and Class AAA Memphis. The Braves claimed the Idaho native off waivers in November.
Gustafson keeps ERA perfect in spring
He may be a long shot to make the G-Braves at the moment, but Gustafson looked good under the lights at Turner Field on Tuesday.
In his second big-league spring training appearance, the Parkview grad sat down the Twins in order getting Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer to fly out to right field and striking out Jason Kubel. All three are major leaguers.
In two innings this spring, Gustafson has a sparkling 0.00 ERA with just two hits allowed and a pair of strikeouts.
Basner gets big-league action
Though he’ll spend this coming season back in the minors, Brookwood graduate Toby Basner got some action Tuesday at Turner Field.
The umpire, who began his climb toward the majors as an umpire at 19, was on the field for Tuesday’s exhibition game between the Braves and the Minnesota Twins.