Important Takeaways from New MiLB Pitch Clock Procedures

After three months of anticipation, Minor League Baseball on Tuesday released the rules and procedures designed to improve pace of play at the double-A and triple-A levels this season.

You can read the full rules and regulations at the link above, but here are the important takeaways:

– There will be three pitch clock locations at every ballpark at the double-A and triple-A level–one directly beneath the scoreboard, and two behind home plate between the dugouts.

– April will serve as a grace period, with players receiving warnings for violations.  Starting May 1, violations will be enforced.

Between Innings (2 Minutes, 25 Seconds):

There will be a between-inning and pitching-change timer (as implemented this year at Major League Spring Training) of two minutes, 25 seconds.  Minor league baseball has implemented the following suggestions for timing:

– :30 mark — Final warmup toss thrown
– :25 mark — All PA announcements/on-field promotions finish
– :20 to :05 mark — Batter steps in and becomes alert to the pitcher
– Before :00 – Pitcher comes set or begins his windup

After the April grace period, if the batter doesn’t step in to the box and be alert to the pitcher by the :05 mark, the at-bat will begin with an 0-1 count.  If the pitcher doesn’t come set or begin his motion by :00, the at-bat will begin with a 1-0 count.

Between Pitches (20 Seconds):

For the first pitch of the at-bat, a 20-second timer will start when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the dirt circle and the batter is in the home plate dirt circle.  The timer stops when the pitcher begins his wind-up or comes set.

– The pitcher does not have to release the ball in 20 seconds.  He only has to come set or begin his motion to satisfy the clock.  Should the pitcher fail to begin his motion in 20 seconds, a ball will be awarded to the batter.

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If you missed it, I caught up with Mississippi Braves pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn, a former big league pitcher with the Dodgers, Rangers and Indians, to talk about the pitch clock and its implementation.

Kyle Tait is in his fifth season as 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

AUDIO: Spring Training Update w/ Former @MBraves Manager Rocket Wheeler

With Minor League Spring Training in full swing, Kyle Tait caught up with former Mississippi Braves manager Rocket Wheeler to chat about the upcoming season.  Wheeler was promoted to the short-season class-A Danville Braves for 2015 after spending the past three seasons managing in the Gulf Coast League.

He managed Mississippi in 2011, sending names like Randall Delgado and Tyler Pastornicky to Atlanta in his lone season at the helm in Pearl.  2015 will be his 13th year in the Braves’ organization, and his 39th in baseball overall.

Kyle Tait is in his fifth season as 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

AUDIO: Spring Training Update w/ @MBraves Manager Holbert

With Mississippi Braves baseball just three weeks away, minor league Spring Training is in full swing at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  Hundreds of players are competing to prove their worth and break camp with a minor league affiliate in early April.

Broadcaster Kyle Tait sat down with M-Braves skipper Aaron Holbert on Wednesday to talk about camp, including a few players that have stood out in the first few weeks:

Kyle Tait is in his fifth season as 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

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

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