With the first full-squad Spring Training workout underway today at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., the Atlanta Braves have a lot of talent from the 2018 Gwinnett Stripers in their camp.
The Braves' 40-man roster includes several key contributors from last year's Gwinnett club, including pitchers Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Luiz Gohara, Wes Parsons, Chad Sobotka, Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Jacob Webb, Bryse Wilson, and Kyle Wright, and catcher Alex Jackson. There's also five former Stripers in camp as non-roster invitees: pitcher Corbin Clouse, third baseman Austin Riley, infielders Sean Kazmar Jr. and Luis Marte, and catcher Jonathan Morales.
The Braves, loaded with pitching prospects, have some intriguing decisions to make with their starting rotation and bullpen. Former Stripers will have a big impact in those competitions.
Allard, after going 6-4 with a 2.72 ERA in 19 starts to earn Gwinnett's 2018 Pitcher of the Year award, headlines a group of 11 former Stripers battling for spots. The group includes Soroka (2-1, 2.00 ERA in five starts with Gwinnett), Toussaint (5-0, 1.43 ERA in eight starts), Gohara (3-4, 4.94 ERA in 12 starts), Parsons (7-4, 3.27 ERA in 13 starts), Wilson (3-0, 5.32 ERA in five games, three starts), Wright (2-1, 2.51 ERA in seven games, four starts), Fried (2-6, 4.41 ERA in 13 starts), Sobotka (0-0, 1.93 ERA, three saves in nine games), Webb (2-2, 3.13 ERA, 11 saves in 30 games), and Clouse (1-0, 2.25 ERA in seven games, three starts), who is in camp as a non-roster invite.
Allard, Soroka, Toussaint, Parsons, Wilson, Wright, and Sobotka are all looking to return to the Majors after debuting with Atlanta in 2018, while Webb and Clouse are seeking their first big-league stints. Gohara and Fried have spent time with the Braves in each of the last two seasons.
Jackson is the lone position player on Atlanta's 40-man roster that has yet to make his Major League debut. Though he batted just .204 in 35 games with the Stripers last year, the catcher was added to the 40-man roster on November 20.
Riley, who batted .282 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs in 75 games with Gwinnett and was named the Braves' 2018 Minor League Player of the Year, highlights a group of four Stripers alumni who are in camp as non-roster invites. The group includes Kazmar Jr. (.254, one homer, 26 RBIs, three steals in 99 games with Gwinnett), Marte (.266, 2 HR, 21 RBIs, five steals in 45 games), and Morales (.261, 12 RBIs in 16 games).
The Braves play their first Spring Training game on Saturday at First Data Field in St. Lucie where they take on the New York Mets at 1:10 p.m. The team's first home game is Monday as they host the Washington Nationals at Champion Stadium at 1:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.