Today, the Atlanta Braves announced their first roster cuts of the spring, reducing their Spring Training roster to 55 players. Four players – pitchers Jasseel De La Cruz, Jacob Webb, Bryse Wilson, and Huascar Ynoa – were optioned to Gwinnett, while nine players – pitchers Thomas Burrows, Kurt Hoekstra, Connor
Today, the Atlanta Braves announced their first roster cuts of the spring, reducing their Spring Training roster to 55 players. Four players – pitchers Jasseel De La Cruz, Jacob Webb, Bryse Wilson, and Huascar Ynoa – were optioned to Gwinnett, while nine players – pitchers Thomas Burrows, Kurt Hoekstra, Connor Johnstone, and Kyle Muller, infielders Bryce Ball and Braden Shewmake, outfielders Trey Harris and Greyson Jenista, and catcher Carlos Martinez – were reassigned to minor league camp.
The four players optioned to Gwinnett include three members of the 2019 Stripers (Webb, Wilson, and Ynoa) and one vying to make his Triple-A debut in 2020 (De La Cruz).
De La Cruz, 22, went 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA (1 ER in 2.0 IP) and one save (1-for-1) in two relief appearances for the Braves this spring, his first time pitching in Major League camp. The right-hander enters 2020 ranked as Atlanta’s No. 12 prospect by MLB.com after going 7-9 with a 3.25 ERA, .212 BAA, and 1.14 WHIP in 25 games (24 starts) between Class-A Rome, Advanced-A Florida, and Double-A Mississippi last season. He owns a career record of 16-17 with a 3.63 ERA in 76 games (50 starts) since signing with the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in 2015.
Webb, 26, went 0-1 with a 27.00 ERA (4 ER in 1.1 IP) and no saves (0-for-1) in two relief appearances with the Braves this spring. Last season, he made his Major League debut with Atlanta, going 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA, .205 BAA, 1.11 WHIP, and two saves (2-for-4) in 36 appearances from April 14 to July 12. After a dominant stretch to start his big-league career (no earned runs allowed in 30 of his first 33 games including 13 consecutive appearances without an earned run from June 1 to July 3), the right-hander saw his campaign cut short by a right elbow impingement injury on July 13. He spent two stints with Gwinnett in 2019 – including a rehab assignment in August – going 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA and one save (1-for-2) in 10 outings.
Wilson, 22, was vying for a spot in Atlanta’s rotation, but went 0-1 with an 8.44 ERA (5 ER in 5.1 IP) and a .348 BAA in three spring games (two starts). Last season, he made the Braves Opening Day roster for the first time in his career and logged seven different stints in the Majors, going 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA in six games (four starts). His best results came in the minors, where he went 10-7 with a 3.42 ERA, .256 BAA, and 1.21 WHIP in 21 starts for Gwinnett to earn the club’s Pitcher of the Year award. Wilson’s 3.42 ERA led the International League, making him Gwinnett’s first-ever ERA champion. The right-hander also ranked among IL pitching leaders in WHIP (1st, 1.21), wins (T-2nd, 10), BAA (3rd, .256), and strikeouts (7th, 118). He enters 2020 ranked the Braves’ No. 6 prospect by MLB.com.
Ynoa, 21, had a solid showing in his second Spring Training with Atlanta, going 0-0 with a 2.70 ERA (1 ER in 3.1 IP) and .200 BAA in three relief appearances. He enters 2020 ranked the Braves’ No. 11 prospect by MLB.com after a 2019 season in which he pitched at four different levels. The right-hander combined to go 4-8 with a 5.09 ERA and one save (1-for-2) in 26 minor league games (17 starts) between Florida, Mississippi, and Gwinnett. In addition to his Double-A and Triple-A debuts, he also debuted in the Majors with the Braves, going 0-0 with an 18.00 ERA over two relief appearances in June and July.
Of the nine players reassigned to minor league camp, three pitched out of the Stripers bullpen in 2019: Burrows, Hoekstra, and Johnstone.
Burrows, 25, is the most notable of the group, ranking as the Braves’ No. 26 prospect entering 2020 according to MLB.com. The left-hander, Atlanta’s 2019 Bill Lucas Award winner, went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 2.1 IP) and a .000 BAA in two relief outings as a non-roster invitee this spring. He split 2019 between Gwinnett and Mississippi, going 2-4 with a 4.42 ERA, .221 BAA, 1.25 WHIP, and seven saves (7-for-9) in 43 total relief appearances. In 27 games during his Triple-A debut, Burrows was 1-1 with a 4.75 ERA and six saves (6-for-7).
Hoekstra, 26, was a non-roster invitee to Braves Spring Training for the first time this year and went 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 2.2 IP) in two relief appearances. A former infielder in the Atlanta system from 2015-18, the right-hander became a full-time pitcher for the first time in 2019 and went 1-5 with a 1.81 ERA, .221 BAA, and eight saves (8-for-9) in 38 games (two starts) between Rome, Florida, Mississippi, and Gwinnett. He made his Triple-A debut with the Stripers last year, going 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three games (one start).
Johnstone, 25, went 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 2.1 IP) across two relief outings as a non-roster invitee this spring, his second straight year pitching in Braves’ Major League camp. The Roswell, GA native combined to go 7-4 with a 4.24 ERA and one save (1-for-4) in 35 games (seven starts) in 2019, including seven relief outings with Gwinnett (2-0, 4.97 ERA).
Atlanta’s 26-man Opening Day roster will be set prior to March 26, when the Braves begin the season on the road at Arizona. Gwinnett’s Opening Day roster will be announced prior to the Stripers’ season opener on April 9 at Norfolk.