The Richmond Braves begin the week at 7-11 on the season, three games behind Durham and Norfolk in the South Division of the International League.
Tonight the Braves continue their four-game series in Charlotte against the Knights. Game time is 7:15. Andy Van Hekken (0-2, 9.88) will pitch for the Braves.
Richmond closes out its series in Charlotte Tuesday with a 12:15 afternoon game. The Braves then go to Durham for a two-game series, and then on Friday open up a two-game series in Norfolk.
Andy Marte is in a horrific slump. He's 2 for his last 37 and his average has dropped from .341 last Monday to .261 today.
Mississippi moves back home to Trustman Park to start a seven-game homestand. Tonight the Braves will host Huntsville in the first of three games starting at 8:05 ET.
Zach Miner and Macay McBride will piggyback for the Braves tonight. .
"The Big 3" of Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann, and Scott Thorman are all off to very good starts.
Francoeur: .304 with 3 homers, 13 RBI, and 7 doubles.
McCann: .302 with 3 homers, 13 RBI, and 5 doubles.
Thorman: .313 with 2 homers, 13 RBI, and 4 doubles.
The Braves are 5-12 on the season, 6.5 games behind the Birmingham Barons in the Southern League's South Division. After the series with the Stars, West Tennessee will come to Pearl Thursday to start a four-game series.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are off today. They will open up a six-game homestand Tuesday night at Coastal Federal Field when they host the Salem Avalanche at 7:02. Sean White will pitch for the Pelicans in the series opener.
Myrtle Beach's offense has probably been the most pleasant surprise in the Braves' system for the first couple of weeks. Several players are off to fantastic starts:
Josh Burrus: .333 with 3 homers, 12 RBI, and 2 doubles
Matt Esquivel: .312 with 4 homers, 13 RBI, and 4 doubles
Miguel Bernard: .350 wtih 4 homers, 8 RBI, and 5 doubles
Bernard is quite a story. This is his fifth year in A ball. He first played for Macon in 2001. The Braves have always believed he would develop solid offensive skills to compliment his excellent defense, and now at the age of 24 he is finally fulfilling that promise.
The Pelicans are now 10-8 on the season, one game back of Kinston in the Southern Division of the Carolina League.
After being shutout by Columbus on Sunday, the Rome Braves will take Monday off. They'll start a four-game series against Savannah Tuesday night with Luis Atilano (1-1, 1.08) on the mound.
The Braves have taken a hit offensively with the loss of Brandon Jones and Cole Armstrong to the Disabled List and outfielder Steve Doetsch to Myrtle Beach. Even though the team is not showing a lot of power, there are a few players doing well offensively early on this season:
Van Pope: .323 with 0 home runs, 12 RBI, and 2 doubles
Yohan Silva: .321 with 0 home runs, 14 RBI, and 1 double
Keith Eichas: .290 with 1 home run, 12 RBI, and 3 doubles
Clint Sammons: .286 with 0 home runs, 4 RBI, and 4 doubles
Rome is 9-8 on the season, two games back of Charleston in the Sally League's Southern Division.
Bill Shanks has a new book coming out in several weeks about baseball scouting and player development philosophies with the Braves as the main focus. "Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team" will be on bookshelves in mid-May. Bill can be reached at