The Atlanta Braves have added first baseman Ernesto Mejia and right handed pitcher Juan Jaime to their 40 man roster, preventing both players from becoming Minor League free agents. The Braves originally signed Mejia out of Venezuela in 2002, and he played in the organization until leaving as a Minor League free agent in 2010, spending one season in the Royals organization before returning to the Braves in 2011, where he excelled for Mississippi, hitting .297 with a .906 OPS, 37 doubles, 26 homers, and 99 RBI in 573 plate appearances. This season, he was named the International League Rookie Of The Year, hitting .296 with a .849 OPS, 32 doubles, 24 homers, and 92 RBI in 559 plate appearances for Gwinnett. Jaime was considered a top prospect in the Nationals system before Tommy John surgery caused him to miss all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. After a short stint in the Diamondbacks system, the Braves signed him late last year and he made his debut in the Braves chain this year, acting as Lynchburg's closer, posting a 3.16 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, collecting 18 saves, and putting up 12.8 K/9 in 51.1 innings over 42 appearances.
The Braves have also re-signed Minor League free agent catcher Matt Kennelly, outfielder Jordan Parraz, and first baseman Chris Garcia. The 23 year old Kennelly hit .254 with a .684 OPS, 13 doubles, 1 homer, and 22 RBI in 224 plate appearances for AA Mississippi. He was originally signed by the Braves out of his native Australia in 2006. In his first season with the Braves organization, the 28 year old Parraz hit .288 with a .770 OPS in 133 plate appearances with AAA Gwinnett and .208 with a .595 OPS in 29 plate appearances for Mississippi, missing time with a broken hand. Playing in his second season in the organization, the 24 year old Garcia hit .285 with a .839 OPS, 25 doubles, 11 homers, and 59 RBI in 500 plate appearances while helping Lynchburg to a league championship.
Catcher JC Boscan headlines a group of 19 Atlanta Braves Minor Leaguers who have earned free agency this winter. The 32 year old Boscan, who went 2-10 in 6 games for Atlanta this year, and has gone 5-19 in 11 games for Atlanta in the last 3 seasons, is likely to re-sign with the Braves. He has spent 14 of is 16 professional seasons with the Braves organization, and hit .189 with a .548 OPS in 250 plate appearances with Gwinnett this season. Fellow catchers Jose Yepez and Shawn McGill are also free agents. The 31 year old Yepez hit .264 with a .724 OPS, 16 doubles, 3 homers, and 30 RBI in 294 plate appearances with Gwinnett. Playing in his third season with the Braves, the 28 year old McGill hit .178 with a .511 OPS in 112 plate appearances split between Gwinnett, Mississippi, and High A Lynchburg.
Gwinnett infielders Josh Wilson, Ruben Gotay, Rusty Ryal, and Terry Tiffee are now free agents. Wilson, who has over 1,000 plate appearances in the Majors, didn't see any time with Atlanta this year, as the 31 year old hit .241 with a .662 OPS, 26 doubles, 5 homers, and 43 RBI in 452 plate appearances while playing shortstop, second base, third base, and even pitching in 3 games. Gotay, who also played in the Braves organization in 2008 and 2011, hit .243 with a .738 OPS, 8 doubles, 5 homers, and 22 RBI in 213 plate appearances. The 29 year old saw time at third base and second base. The 29 year old Ryal hit .287 with a .759 OPS, 8 doubles, 2 homers, and 12 RBI in 108 plate appearances, while playing second base, third base, and left field. Tiffee hit .299 with a .741 OPS, 9 doubles, 2 homers, and 21 RBI in 121 plate appearances. The 33 year old saw time at third base and first base.
Mississippi infielders Ian Gac, Bobby Stevens, and Jason Christian are also free agents. The 27 year old first baseman Gac hit .247 with a .782 OPS, 27 doubles, 7 homers, and 35 RBI in 292 plate appearances. Stevens hit .200 with a .649 OPS in 39 plate appearances for Mississippi and hit .200 with a .596 OPS in 106 plate appearances with Lynchburg. The 25 year old saw time at every position but pitcher and catcher. Christian hit .219 with a .570 OPS, 3 doubles, and 6 RBI in 181 plate appearances for Mississippi, and the 25 year old saw time at every infield position and in right field.
Gwinnett outfielders Luis Durango, Stefan Gartrell, Josh Kroeger, and Felix Pie are all free agents. Playing almost exclusively center field, the 26 year old Durango hit .289 with a .687 OPS, 13 doubles, 45 RBI, and a league leading 46 stolen bases in 565 plate appearances. In his second season in the Braves organization, the 28 year old Gartrell hit .251 with a .787 OPS, 22 doubles, 20 homers, 55 RBI, and 10 steals in 418 plate appearances, splitting time between right and left field. Kroeger hit .323 with a .888 OPS, 7 doubles, 2 homers, and 12 RBI in 114 plate appearances. The 30 year old saw time in left field, right field, and at first base. The 27 year old Pie hit .285 with a .797 OPS, 26 doubles, 7 triples, 6 homers, 51 RBI, and 16 steals in 365 plate appearances, while mostly playing right field. Mississippi left fielder Tim Smith is also a free agent. The 26 year old hit .279 with a .710 OPS, 6 doubles, 2 homers, and 22 RBI in 187 plate appearances with the M-Braves, and hit .320 with a .912 OPS, 4 doubles, a homer, and 6 RBI in 63 plate appearances with Lynchburg.
Gwinnett pitchers Buddy Carlyle and Dusty Hughes are free agents, as are Brent Leach and Erik Cordier, who both finished the year with Mississippi, but spent time with Gwinnett as well. The 34 year old Carlyle, who first played in the Braves organization from 2007 to 2009, posted a 5-4 record, a 3.43 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP in 76 innings over 33 appearances. Hughes appeared in 54 games, and the 30 year old lefty posted a 3-2 record, a 3.31 ERA, and a 1.61 WHIP in 65.1 innings. Leach only appeared in 1 game with Gwinnett, taking the loss as he allowed 7 earned runs in 0.1 innings. The 29 year old lefty was better with Mississippi, recording a 2-4 record, a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.42 WHIP in 48 innings over 17 appearances. The 26 year old Cordier, who was taken off the Braves 40 man roster last week, suffered another injury plagued season, posting a 1-3 record, a 5.85 ERA, and a 2.07 WHIP in 32.1 innings over 17 appearances between Gwinnett, Mississippi, and the GCL.