Atlanta Braves left fielder Joey Terdoslavich (25) works out prior to the game against the Detroit Tigers on March 2 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)
Finishing with the worst record in the International League, suffering through a 14-game losing streak in early April and never enjoying a month over .500 didn’t leave many positives for the 2013 edition of the Gwinnett Braves.
The starting pitchers’ ERA was 4.13 and the relievers weren’t much better at 3.91. As a team, the G-Braves hit just .253. For the second straight season, the G-Braves ended the year with a sub-.500 record and minus a manager after the Braves opted not to retain Randy Ready after one year at the helm.
But every minor league manager stresses the importance of player development and on that end, the G-Braves had some successes.
The biggest was Joey Terdoslavich.
A rising star in 2012, shouldering the weight of replacing Chipper Jones at third base the following year, Terdoslavich slogged through the year piling up errors and rarely reaching base or flexing his power potential. He was hitting below .200 when he was demoted to Class AA Mississippi partway through the season.
Everything changed in 2013. Terdoslavich partially blamed the expectations, but mostly put the lost year on a hitch in his swing he didn’t identify until his demotion.
He spent the offseason working to fix it and arrived back in Gwinnett with a new position, outfield, and his attitude never suffered.
By mid-season he was playing in the MLB Futures Game at the All-Star Game and on July 4 joined the Atlanta Braves, going 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter against the Marlins. In 55 big-league games, the switch hitter batted .215 and he never returned to the minor leagues.
He was named the team’s most valuable player and was a member of the International League’s mid-season and postseason all-star teams. He hit .315 during his time with the G-Braves.
Terdoslavich was one of five Gwinnett Braves to make major league debuts in 2012, including outfielder Todd Cunningham, infielder Phil Gosselin and pitchers David Hale and Cory Rasmus. Hale made two big league starts, going 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA. He allowed one run over 11 innings pitched. Rasmus dazzled in his first relief appearance, striking out three in 1 2/3 innings, but struggled his second time out, allowing six runs. Cunningham hit .250 in eight games and Gosselin played in four games with Atlanta.
Ernesto Mejia, the IL rookie of the year in 2012, returned to the IL all-star game and led the league with 83 RBIs for the second straight year. He set a new G-Braves single season record with 28 home runs.
But the bright spots were just that. Spots. The losing overshadowed many of the performances. The streak of losing months now sits at 11. The last time the G-Braves won more than they lost in month was April 2012 when they went 17-7.