Eastern Wake: Sports

Braves tab six 2015 Mudcats to Arizona Fall League

Mudcats outfielder Connor Lien slides safely into third base as the Winston-Salem Dash’s Trey Michalczewski bobbles the ball Thursday, July 16, 2015 at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. Lien went on to score a run.
Mudcats outfielder Connor Lien slides safely into third base as the Winston-Salem Dash’s Trey Michalczewski bobbles the ball Thursday, July 16, 2015 at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. Lien went on to score a run. tlong@newsobserver.com

Johan Camargo, Joseph Odom, Connor Lien, Lucas Sims, Andrew Thurman and Mauricio Cabrera were recently chosen as six of the seven Atlanta Braves prospects to play in the upcoming Arizona Fall League, beginning Oct. 13.

All six players began the 2015 season with the Mudcats; Camargo, Odom and Lien each finished the year with Carolina in Zebulon.

The Arizona Fall League consists of six teams including the Peoria Javelins, Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt River Rafters, Glendale Desert Dogs and Surprise Saguaros. In all, the Braves will send seven players to the AFL this season and all seven, including Camargo, Odom, Lien, Sims, Thurman and Cabrera, will play for the Peoria squad with home games scheduled at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Ariz.

Camargo, 21, was both a mid-season and year-end Carolina League All Star in 2015. The Panamanian-born shortstop finished his fifth year as a pro batting .258 with 101 hits including 15 doubles, six triples and a home run.

Odom, 23, established career highs in home runs, doubles, hits and RBIs in 2015. In 65 games played, the Mudcats’ catcher amassed a total of 48 hits with half of those going for extra bases.

Lien, 21, finished the 2015 season batting .285/.347/.415 with a team-best 34 stolen bases and team-high 129 hits over 128 games. His .285 average tied for the fourth highest in the Carolina League this season and his 34 steals were the second most. Lien also led Carolina League outfielders in assists and double plays, with 21 and seven respectively. Like Camargo, Lien also earned Carolina League year-end All-Star honors while with the Mudcats this season.

Sims, 21, entered 2015 ranked as the Braves second best prospect, according to Baseball America’s preseason 2015 Prospect Handbook. He began the year with the Mudcats and eventually moved on to Double-A Mississippi following a lengthy stint on the disabled list. His Carolina League run in 2015 saw him post a 3-4 record and a 5.18 ERA over nine starts. The former first-round pick (2012, 21st overall) went on to go 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA over nine starts with the Mississippi Braves before the season concluded.

Thurman, 23, also spent time on the disabled list, but like Sims he began the year with Carolina before moving on to Mississippi. Thurman went 5-4 and posted a 3.77 ERA over 11 starts with Carolina before his promotion to Double-A. He finished the year 1-4 with a 5.18 ERA over five starts with the M-Braves.

Cabrera, 21, entered the season as one of Atlanta’s top pitching prospects and appeared in 23 games with the Mudcats before pitching in 13 games with the M-Braves. The hard throwing right-hander from the Dominican Republic struck out 28 and was 2-2 with a save and 5.52 ERA over 31 innings with Carolina this season. He posted a similar earned run average in Mississippi at 5.71, but struck out 25 in 17 1/3 innings between July and September in the Southern League.

The eight AFL teams are split into East and West divisions. Major league baseball teams each send several of their top prospects to their respective fall league affiliate.

In all, the AFL features 180 players. The games are played in spring training facilities used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, A’s, Royals, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Rockies.

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