Chipper Jones Named to Southern League Hall of Fame

Jones was a member of the historic 1992 Greenville Braves
PEARL, MS — In conjunction with The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs, the Mississippi Braves announced that Chipper Jones was named to the Southern League’s 2015 Hall of Fame class earlier today. The 2015 class consists of 12 members as elected by a panel of 30 voters.

Jones was a member of the 1992 record-setting Greenville Braves club. He hit .346 in 67 games with the ’92 G-Braves. Jones was a large part the most successful season in Double-A Braves history. The 1992 club won 100 games, becoming the first team in Southern League history to reach such a feat, en route to the Southern League Championship. Jones posted 17 doubles, 11 triples, nine homers and 42 RBI with the Double-A club. Jones was named to the 1992 Southern League All-Star team, and he was also named Double-A Player of the Year.

The switch-hitting third baseman made his MLB debut on September 11, 1993, with the Atlanta Braves. Jones spent his entire 19-year career with the A-Braves. In addition to being an eight-time MLB All-Star and a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Jones was named the 1999 NL MVP and 2008 NL batting champion. He was a member of the 1995 World Series Championship team, and his famed No. 10 has been retired by the Atlanta Braves. Jones retired following the 2012 campaign, notching a career batting average of .303. He has 468 career home runs, 1,512 walks and 1,623 RBI in 2,499 games. Considered by many as the best switch hitter in the game’s history, Jones was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame on June 28, 2013.

The Southern League Hall of Fame was created last season. Similar to the inaugural class, an inductee from each club (or its clubs from prior franchise history) was selected for the second inductee class. All member clubs will honor inductees throughout the 2015 season.

2015 Southern League Hall of Fame Class

Biloxi: Scott Brosius (Huntsville Stars, 1989-90)

*Birmingham: Frank Thomas (Birmingham Barons, 1990) & Rollie Fingers (Birmingham A’s, 1967-68)

Chattanooga: Trevor Hoffman (Chattanooga Lookouts, 1991-92)

Jackson: Razor Shines (Memphis Chicks, 1981-83; Birmingham (MGR), 2004-05; Chattanooga (MGR), 2014)

Jacksonville: Randy Johnson (Jacksonville Expos, 1987)

Mississippi: Chipper Jones (Greenville Braves, 1992)

Mobile: Turner Ward (Mobile BayBears, 2011-12)

Montgomery: Lou Whitaker (Montgomery Rebels, 1977)

Pensacola: Jason Kendall (Carolina Mudcats, 1995)

Tennessee: Carlos Delgado (Knoxville Smokies, 1993)

Special Consideration Ballot: Harmon Killebrew (Chattanooga Lookouts, 1957-58)

*Tie. Both elected according to SL HOF policies.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE 2015 SOUTHERN LEAGUE HOF RELEASE

Kyle Tait is the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves, double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.  Follow him on Twitter: @MBravesRadio and hear more at HearKyleTait.com

Offseason Update: @MBraves Pitching Coach Lewallyn Talks Pitch Clock, Defensive Shifts

Major League Baseball announced last month that it will implement a 20-second pitch clock at the AA and AAA levels–among other pace-of-play rules–starting with the 2015 season.

The change was first tested during the Arizona Fall League, and with Spring Training on the horizon, pitching coaches across MiLB are now adjusting their plans to deal with the new rule.

Broadcaster Kyle Tait caught up with Mississippi Braves pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn on Tuesday to talk about the pitch clock, defensive shifts, and more:

Lewallyn returns to Mississippi in 2015 for his third season coaching under manager Aaron Holbert.

Kyle Tait is the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves, double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.  Follow him on Twitter: @MBravesRadio and hear more at HearKyleTait.com

@MBraves announce 2015 bobblehead series

M-Braves set eight bobblehead dates for the 2015 season
PEARL, MS —  The Mississippi Braves have announced a series of eight collectible bobbleheads that will be released throughout the 2015 season at Trustmark Park. In addition to six individual bobblehead giveaways, the Braves will also have a couple of special hall of fame collections.

Fans are encouraged to secure tickets in advance. Individual game tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, February 9 at 9:00 AM. All bobblehead giveaways are for the first 1,500 fans through the gates each night. Special ticket packages centered around the bobblehead collection will be announced at a later date.

2015 MISSISSIPPI BRAVES BOBBLEHEAD SERIES

Friday, May 29
Christian Bethancourt

Thursday, June 4
Commemorative 2014 Hall of Fame Tri-Bobblehead
Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine & Greg Maddux

Friday, June 5
Mycal Jones

Thursday, June 11
John Smoltz, 2015 Hall of Famer

Friday, June 12
Barrett Kleinknecht

Friday, June 26
Aaron Holbert

Friday, July 17
Julio Teheran

Friday, July 24
Braeden Schlehuber

The M-Braves complete 2015 promotional calendar will be announced within the next two weeks.

Kyle Tait is the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves, double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.  Follow him on Twitter: @MBravesRadio and hear more at HearKyleTait.com

@MBraves to host 2016 Southern League All-Star Game

Trustmark Park to host league’s best for the second time

By: Miranda Black, Mississippi Braves

PEARL, MS — The Mississippi Braves have announced the organization will host the 2016 Southern League All-Star Game at Trustmark Park. Specific events surrounding the vast celebration along with dates and times will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited to return to Trustmark Park for the 2016 Southern League All-Star Game and festivities,” said Southern League President Lori Webb. “The Mississippi Braves will again serve as an excellent host to some of baseball’s best young talent.”

The Southern League All-Star Game is the centerpiece to the league’s three-day all-star break and features premier players and some of the game’s top prospects from around the league. In addition to the game itself, fans should watch for more details on various ballpark and community events leading up to and surrounding the game.

“We’re excited to receive the honor of hosting the 2016 Southern League All-Star Game,” said Mississippi Braves General Manager Steve DeSalvo. “We look forward to planning a memorable show for the fans and showcasing not only our great facility but the surrounding development area.”

As ranked by Stadium Journey Magazine, Trustmark Park was recently selected as the eighth-best facility in Minor League Baseball as well as the 45th-best in all of sports. Last season the Mississippi Braves and Trustmark Park celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 2005, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves relocated to Pearl from Greenville, SC, after 21 years.

The 2016 Southern League All-Star Game will be the second in Trustmark Park history. The M-Braves last hosted the Southern League’s version of the midsummer classic in 2007. The game featured several future and current Major Leaguers including Jose Ascanio, Emilio Bonifacio, Jake Fox, Matt Harrison and John Jaso.

The annual Southern League All-Star Game rotates throughout the league’s various cities. The 2015 contest will be hosted by the Montgomery Biscuits on Tuesday, June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, AL.

Kyle Tait is the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves, double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.  Follow him on Twitter: @MBravesRadio and hear more at HearKyleTait.com

@MBraves Announce 2015 Field Staff

Manager Aaron Holbert to lead M-Braves for his fourth season
PEARL, MS — In conjunction with the Atlanta Braves, the Mississippi Braves announced its 2015 field staff today. Manager Aaron Holbert, pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn and trainer Ricky Alcantara all return for the 2015 season. After a one-year stint at Triple-A Gwinnett last season, hitting coach Garey Ingram is set to return to the M-Braves as well.

Holbert returns for his fourth season managing the Double-A Braves. After leading the 2013 club to its first playoff appearance since 2008, Holbert’s 2014 M-Braves posted the best record in the Southern League, going 83-56. That record was also the best in M-Braves history, and it was the fourth-best record in Double-A Braves franchise history (best since 1992). The California native spent 17 years as a player including big league appearances with St. Louis (1996) and Cincinnati (2005). He resides in Tampa, FL.

Lewallyn returns for his third season overseeing the M-Braves pitching staff in 2015. The 2014 club had the second best ERA in the Southern League at 3.37. With 1,043 strikeouts, the staff also fanned the second-most in the league while walking only 381 (second-least in the league). Lewallyn also saw closers Shae Simmons and Chasen Shreve receive direct call-ups to Atlanta this past season. The 2015 season is Lewallyn’s seventh season in the Southern League. He previously served in the same capacity with the Tennessee Smokies (2007-10). Lewallyn resides in Pensacola, FL.

Ingram served as the M-Braves hitting coach for four seasons (2010-13) before moving to Triple-A Gwinnett in the same roll last season. He’ll return to the M-Braves in 2015 and look to pick up where the 2014 club left off in posting the best batting average (.266) in the Southern League. Prior to joining the Braves organization, Ingram spent seven seasons (2002-08) as a minor league hitting coach in the Dodgers system. He retired from a 14-year professional playing career in 2002. Ingram resides in Columbus, GA.

Alcantara returns for his eighth season in Mississippi. He’s been in the Braves organization since interning with the Braves Instructional League in 2003. Alcantara is a graduate of Texas State University and resides in Dallas, TX.

The Mississippi Braves open the 2015 season at Trustmark Park Thursday, April 9 against the Mobile BayBears. Season tickets and mini plans are on sale now. Businesses looking for unique ways to advertise should explore opportunities with the M-Braves. For more information, call 888-BRAVES4 or stop by the M-Braves Front Office Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

Kyle Tait is the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves, double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.  Follow him on Twitter: @MBravesRadio and hear more at HearKyleTait.com

G-Braves Hot Stove: 2014-2015 Transaction Tracker

Kyle Tait:

Thorough look from G-Braves media relations manager Dave Lezotte
on the FA movement in the Braves’ system.

Originally posted on The G-Blog:

Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed on November 12.  (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves) Sean Kazmar, a member of the Gwinnett Braves for the past two seasons, re-signed with Atlanta on November 12. (Taylor Botta / Gwinnett Braves)

As the Hot Stove season continues, here’s an overview of Atlanta Braves’ transactions that could directly affect the Gwinnett Braves roster in 2015.  Moves that pertain to the Major League club only are not included.  All information has been obtained through the Braves.com Transaction Report and Baseball America Minor League Free Agent Tracker.  Please note that the official Gwinnett Braves 2015 Roster will not be announced until early April, and all roster projections are my opinion only.

This post was last updated on December 15.


Acquired via trade:

  • Arodys Vizcaino (RHP) – acquired from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Tommy La Stella on November 16.  As mentioned in a previous post, the hard-throwing Vizcaino is back in the Braves’ organization after two-plus seasons…

View original 2,482 more words

@MBraves Win Season Finale but Miss Playoffs

Jacksonville’s 6-5 win over Mobile negates M-Braves’ 2-1 defeat of Huntsville as Suns clinch South
By: Kyle Tait, Mississippi Braves

Huntsville, AL – The Mississippi Braves did their part in a 2-1 win over the Huntsville Stars in Monday afternoon’s season finale at Joe Davis Stadium, but the Jacksonville Suns’ 6-5 win over the Mobile BayBears eliminated the Braves from playoff contention.

Entering the day, Mississippi (44-26; 83-56) needed to win and for the Jacksonville Suns to fall to the Mobile BayBears in order to clinch the final playoff spot in the Southern League.  Mobile scored twice in the ninth but stranded the tying run at third base, ending the M-Braves’ chances.

With the division loss, the M-Braves become the first team in Southern League history to finish with the league’s best overall record but not make the playoffs because of the first-half, second-half system.

Seth Loman broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth inning when he came up with the bases loaded and one out.  He rolled one to second base for a force out, and Kyle Wren came across for a 2-1 lead.

The lead came only after a great pitcher’s duel between Mitch Atkins and Brent Suter.  Atkins fired six innings of two-hit baseball, allowing just a solo home run to Hainley Statia in the first to trail 1-0.

The M-Braves tied it 1-1 against Suter in the third.  Wren doubled and Kyle Kubitza drove him home with an RBI single with two outs.

The contest went to the bullpens tied up, with Ryne Harper (9-5) picking up the win in relief and Kevin Shackelford (2-4) suffering the loss.  John Cornely (S, 7) came on for the save, allowing a hit and striking out two in the ninth.

The Stars will meet the Chattanooga Lookouts while the Mobile BayBears face the Jacksonville Suns in the Southern League playoffs beginning Thursday, with both coming as best-of-five series to determine the Championship round.

The M-Braves open their 11th season of play in Pearl, MS on Thursday April 9, 2015 with the Tennessee Smokies at Trustmark Park.

Mississippi Braves (44-26; 83-56)                              2 R          8 H         1 E
Huntsville Stars (31-39; 77-63)                                   1 R          5 H         0 E

W – Harper (9-5)
L – Shackelford (2-4)
S – Cornely (7)
Time – 2:17
Attendance – 1,527

Kyle Tait is in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves. Follow him on Twitter @MBravesRadio and hear more at http://www.HearKyleTait.com

Playoff Hopes Wane as @MBraves Split Twin Bill

Braves need to win Monday plus a Jacksonville loss to make playoffs
By: Kyle Tait, Mississippi Braves

Huntsville, AL – The Mississippi Braves’ 2014 playoff chances took a hard hit on Sunday night after splitting a rain-delayed doubleheader with the Huntsville Stars, winning the opener and dropping the night cap by the same score, 6-2.

With Jacksonville defeating Mobile 5-0, Mississippi (43-26; 82-56) needed to win both to stay in control of their own fate.  Now the M-Braves need to win Monday’s season finale and get a BayBears win over the Suns to advance to the playoffs.

After the first game was delayed for three hours and three minutes by rain and the ensuing field conditions, the M-Braves got off to a hot start against Stars (31-38; 77-62) starter Jed Bradley.  With two outs in the first, Kyle Kubitza walked and Cedric Hunter ripped an RBI triple to start the scoring.

Rich Poythress made it 2-0 with an RBI single, and Barrett Kleinknecht drove him in with a double to make it 3-0 in the first.

The Stars bounced back with an unearned run in the first.  After Williams Perez was hit with a comebacker on his second pitch for a Nick Shaw infield single, Andrew Robinson came on in relief.  A two-out error by Poythress moved Shaw to third, and Hainley Statia drove him home with a single.

Robinson (5-0) picked up the win in relief, firing three shutout frames on one hit and three strikeouts.  He also ripped his first career extra-base hit, a one-out double in the second to set up a Kyle Kubitza RBI single for a 4-1 lead.

The Braves put up two more in the third for a 6-1 lead.  Kleinknecht homered to left-center, his ninth round tripper of the year to make it 5-1.  Daniel Castro followed up with a single and Braeden Schlehuber clubbed an RBI double for a 6-1 lead.

Ryan Kelly gave up a late relief run in the sixth, but the M-Braves held on for the win.

Bradley (5-8) took the loss, allowing six runs, four earned, on nine hits and a walk, striking out two.

In the second game, Joe Gardner (3-3) met his first adversity as an M-Braves hurler.  The right-hander allowed four runs on five hits over four frames, suffering his first loss as a Brave in three starts.

The Stars and Braves swapped early runs.  Huntsville’s Nick Ramirez hit a two-out single and Hector Gimenez doubled off the wall for a 1-0 lead in the first.  Mississippi fought back in the third when Matt Kennelly doubled and Jose Peraza—just activated from the disabled list between games—singled home the tying run.

Huntsville struck for three two-out runs in the fourth to pull away.  Robinzon Diaz singled on the infield and a throwing error moved him to second.  Joey Paciorek walked and Erik Komatsu doubled home two runs.  A batter later, Shea Vucinich singled in Komatsu for a 4-1 lead.

Mississippi got a run back in the sixth on a Kubitza inside-the-park home run off the center field wall, their third inside-the-parker of the season joining Elmer Reyes in May and Gustavo Nunez in mid-August.

Komatsu hammered the final nail in the coffin with a two-run home run off Jorge Reyes in the sixth, pulling the final to 6-2 Huntsville.

Austin Ross (2-3) picked up the win for Huntsville, allowing one unearned on four hits and a walk, striking out six over his five frames.

The teams combined for nine errors total in the double header.

For the third time in four halves dating back to the start of 2013, the M-Braves take the South division race down to the final game of the half.  Right-hander Mitch Atkins (6-1, 3.56) takes the mound for the Braves in the must-win opposite Stars left-hander Brent Suter (10-10, 4.06).  First pitch is slated for 1:00 PM CT.

Listen live to Kyle Tait on the call beginning at 12:30 PM CT on 103.9 WYAB and online at MississippiBraves.com.

Game 1
Mississippi Braves                                                          6 R          9 H         2 E
Huntsville Stars                                                                2 R          4 H         3 E

W – Robinson (5-0)
L – Bradley (5-8)
Time – 2:22 (3:03 delay) 

 

Game 2

Mississippi Braves (43-26; 82-56)                              2 R          5 H         2 E
Huntsville Stars (31-38; 77-62)                                   6 R          7 H         2 E

W – Ross (2-3)
L – Gardner (3-3)
Time – 2:02
Attendance – 924

Kyle Tait is in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves. Follow him on Twitter @MBravesRadio and hear more at http://www.HearKyleTait.com

@MBraves, Stars Postponed by Rain

Doubleheader scheduled for Sunday at 4 PM CT
By: Kyle Tait, Mississippi Braves

Huntsville, AL – The Mississippi Braves and Huntsville Stars have been rained out due to persistent storms through Saturday evening at Joe Davis Stadium.

The game is scheduled to be made up as part of a doubleheader beginning at 4:00 PM CT on Sunday.

Right-hander Williams Perez (7-6, 2.91) is scheduled to start the first game against left-hander Jed Bradley (5-7, 4.29), with the second game pitting right-hander Joe Gardner (3-2, 2.94) against Stars right-hander Austin Ross (1-3, 3.86)

Both games are scheduled for seven innings, with a thirty minute interlude between games.

Listen live to Kyle Tait on the call beginning at 3:30 PM CT on 103.9 WYAB and online at MississippiBraves.com.

Kyle Tait is in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves. Follow him on Twitter @MBravesRadio and hear more at http://www.HearKyleTait.com

@MBraves’ Hunter, Perez Named Post-Season All-Stars

 Two Braves represented on 2014 Southern League Post-Season All-Star team

PEARL, MS — The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs announced its Post-Season All-Star Team on Friday afternoon. Outfielder Cedric Hunter and right-handed pitcher Williams Perez are the only Mississippi Braves representatives.

Hunter, 26, is hitting .296 with 29 doubles, four triples, 14 home runs and 70 RBI through 116 games with the M-Braves this season. His .296 average currently ranks 10th among Southern League Leaders. He also ranks third with a .499 slugging percentage and a 8.75 TPA/K ratio. Hunter strung together a 17-game on-base streak earlier this season along with a season-high 10-game hitting streak in June.

The Georgia native signed with the Braves as a free agent on January 24, 2014. He was originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 2006 draft out of Martin Luther King High School. He was named as a 2008 California League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star as well as a 2010 Texas League Mid-Season All-Star.

Perez, 23, currently leads the Southern League with a 2.91 ERA and his 1.18 WHIP ranks third among league leaders. He was recently named Southern League Pitcher of the Week (August 18-24) when he went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts. For the month of August, Perez is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in five starts-his best month of the season. His next-best month was April when he went 2-2 with a 1.32 ERA in five starts.

The Venezuela native was selected as a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star earlier this season. Perez was named Pitcher of the Year at High-A Lynchburg last season by the Braves organization. He was signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on January 12, 2009.

Kyle Tait is in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Mississippi Braves. Follow him on Twitter @MBravesRadio and hear more at http://www.HearKyleTait.com

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