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Open Thread and Noc-A-Homa-Win-A-Lotta: Braves at Padres (7/7)

This afternoon we get to see one of the next wave of talented young pitching prospects for the Atlanta Braves. Jo-Jo Reyes did not start out the year as the top pitching prospect in the system, but with a strong showing at Mississippi and then four solid starts in Richmond he will be the first rookie starting pitcher getting the call this year. Here is a link to Jo-Jo's minor league stats so far. Baseball America ranked Reyes as the eighth-best prospect in Atlanta's organization, of course what do they know. Here is what I had to say about Jo-Jo Reyes when I ranked him the fourth-best prospect on the Talking Chop pre-season Top 25 Atlanta Braves Prospects list.

If Harrison is the touch and feel pitcher, then Reyes is the power pitcher of the Braves elite pitching prospects. But that's not to say that Reyes is only a power pitcher, he can mix in his other pitches enough that he's been described as the smartest pitcher in the Braves organization. He was all-everything at Rome this year, dominating the league for the first half of the season. He wasn't lights out after his promotion to Myrtle Beach, but he held his own and finished strong. Reyes needs to find consistency with his pitches, but he has the stuff to dominate for a long time. Along with Harrison they may be the cornerstones of a strong lefty-dominated Atlanta rotation for years. Look for his arrival in the Majors sometime in 2008.

Well, he's found consistency, though he is still issuing his fair share of walks, but other than that one really can't find too many negatives to say about him... and he's making the majors a year early. He seems like a solid pitcher. Here is a snippit of what John Sickels said about Reyes in his "Baseball Prospect Book" (2007):

Although the radar gun gets his fastball at 88-91 MPH, he has a deceptive delivery that makes it "act faster" than the radar readings says. He has an effective slider and changeup arsenal, and when he throws strikes he can breeze through a lineup fairly easily.

Good stuff all around about Jo-Jo. I know that I'm really looking forward to his start today. More notes about the Braves:

  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia was struck by a batted ball near the left temple and had to leave last night's game. He is listed as day-to-day.

  • Brian McCann underwent an MRI on his sprained right knee which showed no structural damage. He expects to be able to play on Saturday.

  • Jo-Jo Reyes will be the fourth Braves player to make the major league roster who started out the year at double-A. Joey Devine, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Yunel Escobar are the others.

  • Joey Devine, who was called up yesterday, is expected to stay with the club through the All-Star break to add more depth to the overused bullpen.

  • John Smoltz was placed on the 15-day DL to rest his right shoulder. An MRI performed on the shoulder showed no damage to his right rotator cuff, but did indicate some inflammation in that right shoulder.

Don't forget to get your picks in before the game for Nok-A-Homa-Win-A-Lotta (click here to learn how to play and to view the leaderboard); the three categories are (1) Attendance, (2) Pick to Click, and (3) Above and Beyond Pick.

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