Guys, it's time to set all doubts aside and extend monster props towards Josh Elander.
Haven't heard if he has a catchy nickname, but he is a run-making machine this season unlike anything the Braves have brought through the pipeline since Freeman.
As awesome as his full-season stats are currently at Rome (.329-11-58 in just 64 games), the 22-year-old outfielder is heating up with the weather. Going into Wednesday's afternoon contest, the Rome outfielder had driven in eight runs in his last three games (4-13, 2 homers).
But the former TCU catcher has steadily kept his average on the green side of .300 with a .308 April and a sizzling .353 in May.
Braves fans might also appreciate his productive at-bats. Elander struck out only 15 times in 28 games during his May rampage and is well below a whiff a game. Even more assuring, even at this early point in his career the Braves were able to settle on a position for his bat – left field. After signing last June, he caught exclusively while hitting .260 at Danville, but in one of the least discussed moves the Braves player development people did this off-season was an assortment of changes of position.
Elander was moved front catcher to left field. University of Washington outfielder Chase Anselment, also drafted in 2012, was moved behind the plate. Another lower round pick Casey Kalenkowsky, has also been moved behind the plate in addition to playing first base. Talk of moving him back behind the plate has diminished with the others' adjustment.
As for his future in Rome, Elander is probably counting the days. Trailing first place Savannah by 2..5 games with the first half ended with the weekend. Next week should find Elander in Lynchburg, or higher.
Wednesday's starter in Rome, Andy (or “Andry”) Ubiera, worked 3.1 hitless innings in his first 2013 start before his pitch count claimed him due to bases on balls. He is one of the fast-rising prospect who has made strides each of his two pro seasons. This time next year, he figures to be in the Braves' Top 10; here is what Baseball Prospectus said about him this spring:
19-year-old Dominican power arm, Ubiera is inching toward a breakout in 2013. He can already work 92-93 with a lively fastball that can touch 95, and shows feel for a plus potential curveball. When he puts together the command and finds some consistency, he is going to take off.
At age 18, part of the DSL team, Ubiera was 4-1, 2.66 in 14 games (nine starts). Moved to the Gulf Coast Braves in 2012, he was 2-2, 4.04 in 12 games (nine starts), and he averaged a strikeout an inning each season. One of his GCL winning starts was five innings, one hit, no runs, no walks, five strikeouts.
He's a 6-0, 170 righty from San Pedro de Macoris who figures to be part of the Rome rotation the rest of the year.
ADVANCED CLASS A
Lynchburg (34-30) 6, Winston-Salem 3
WP: Ross (3-3) 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Pacheco (Save, 1) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.
Skinner 2-5, 2 HR (10, 11th), 2 RBI; Kubitza 1-4, HR )7th), RBI; Heffley 1-3, 2 RBI, SB; Reyes 3-4, SB; Lipka 2-5, R 2 SB.
Note: Heffley was 2-23 in June before today.
Rome (36-29) 3, Lexington 2
WP: Jadofsky (4-1) 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. SP: Ubiera 3.1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. A. Wilson (Save, 2) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
Moses 1-3, RBI (.372); Anselment 1-3, 2B, R (.310); Hyams 1-3, R,RBI, SB; Elander 0-3.
DSL Braves (4-6) 9, DSL Brewers 3
SP: Santana 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. WP: Falcon (1-0) 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.
Grullon 3-5, R; Castro 2-5, R, RBI; Tejada 1-4, 2 R, 2 RBI.