Braves release 16 minor league pitchers

Bill Shanks

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reported Friday that the Braves have released 30 players in the last several weeks. Most if not all of these players would have been released during or after spring training if not for its cancellation in mid-March.

Here is a rundown on some of the pitchers the Braves released.

Right-handed pitcher Caleb Dirks was Atlanta’s 15 round pick in the 2014 draft out of California Baptist University. The Braves traded Dirks, along with outfielder Jordan Paroubeck, to the Dodgers for internationals bonus slots in July 2015. The Dodgers then traded Dirks back to the Braves with Philip Pfeifer for right-handed pitcher Bud Norris in 2016. Dirks had a 1.90 ERA in 149 minor league games, but he had trouble staying healthy. Last season, Dirks pitched in only 12 games (three starts) and 20 innings.

Right-handed pitcher Walter Borkovich signed with the Braves in 2017 after a stellar career at Michigan State. Borkovich had a 2.89 ERA in 79 games (12 starts), but last season in 29 games between Florida and Gwinnett he had a 5,25 ERA.

Lefty pitcher Jose Fernandez pitched two games in relief during the Grapefruit League for the big-league Braves. He signed as a minor league player brought to MLB camp. Fernandez was originally signed by Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos’ Blue Jays back in 2012. He’s pitched in 17 MLB games, including four last year with the Tigers. Fernandez’s career ERA is 9.00.

Right-handed pitcher Jose Olague signed with the Braves out of Mexico as a free agent almost three years ago. He pitched last year in Rome and made 23 starts and had a 10-6 record with a 4.02 ERA. Olague is 21 years old.

Ryan Shetter is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher taken by the Braves in the ninth round of the 2018 draft. He pitched in 31 games in his two minor league seasons and had a 2.96 ERA. The Braves drafted Shetter out of Texas Tech.

Alex Camacho is a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher who was Atlanta’s 37 round draft pick in 2018 out of Vanguard University in California. Camacho had two saves in Danville last year with a 3.57 ERA, with 28 strikeouts in 22.2 innings of work.

Right-hander Greg Leban was the club’s 31 round draft pick last year out of Austin Peay. He pitched in three games with the GCL Braves and 10 more with Danville, all in relief. Leban had a 3.63 ERA but had 14 walks in 22.1 innings.

The Braves signed RHP Carlos De La Cruz as a non-drafted free agent two years ago out of the Dominican Republic. He pitched in 30 games between the DSL Braves and the GCL Braves and had a 2.85 ERA with seven saves.

Luis De Jesus is a right-handed pitcher signed by the Braves out of the Dominican four years ago. In his three minor league seasons between the DSL Braves and the GCL Braves, De Jesus had a 4.68 ERA in 32 games (22 starts) with 67 walks in 107.2 innings.

Lefty Carlos Caminero was signed four years ago out of the Dominican. He had a good season in 2018 (five saves in 17 games) but fell back to a 7.62 ERA in eight relief appearances last season in the GCL.

The Braves signed Nicaraguan right-hander Shairon Bennett almost two years ago. He pitched in just two games last season for the DSL Braves and did not give up an earned run. That was Bennett’s only action in minor league games.

RHP Luis Diaz was a Braves signee in August 2017. He pitched with the DSL Braves in 2018 and 2019 and had 30 games with a 3.54 ERA.

Lefty Ramon Linares was signed in March 2019 and pitched in 10 games with the DSL Braves last summer. The 18-year-old Linares had a 2.76 ERA with only seven hits allowed in 16.1 innings, but with nine walks and 17 strikeouts.

Nestor Bermudez pitched in only five games for the DSL Braves last summer and he had a 11.25 ERA, with five walks in four innings. The Braves had signed the left-handed Bermudez last January.

Left-hander Orelvis Rijo had 13 games in the DSL last summer after the Braves signed him in March of last year. Rijo had a 3.57 EA, with 10 walks, five wild pitches, and 18 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.

Leonardo Vargas is a right-hander the Braves signed two years ago out of Columbia. He pitched the last two years with the DSL Braves and had a 1.42 ERA in 11 games. His 10 walks in 19 innings did not help his resume.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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