Posted May 2, 2014 05:19 pm

GreenJackets Gameday: Augusta, Greenville square off in weekend set

Friday, May 2 - 7 p.m.


Greenville Drive (14-10)

RHP Ty Buttrey (2013 A-: 61 IP, 2.21 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 13.8 K%, 8.3 BB%, .280 BABIP)


Augusta GreenJackets (13-14)

LHP Carlos Diaz (2014 A: 20.2 IP, 2.61 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 19.3 K%, 6 BB%, .307 BABIP)


Buttrey is a big right-hander drafted in the fourth round in 2012 out of a North Carolina high school. The 21-year-old is listed at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, but his short-season numbers at Lowell last season didn't match the size. He only gave up 15 earned runs in 61 innings, but he struck out just 35 and walked 21.


Buttrey reportedly throws low-90s but struggles with downward plane on the pitch. He has a hard, downing curve with plus potential and flashes an average changeup. He profiles as a projectable prep pitcher who needs more time in the lower levels despite an age that is nearly average for the league.


Buttrey struggles repeating a motion that has some effort, but he has deception by hiding the ball late. There's some drop and drive that prevents better plane on his pitches. He works from a three-quarters slot.


Diaz continues to cruise through the league at a nice pace. He allowed two runs with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings against Asheville last time out. He took advantage of the Tourists' aggressive bats by sequencing well and living on the corners. It was really a preview of what to expect from Diaz in higher levels as he works to get the most out of his stuff. The more he pitches, the more he shows a solid command profile.


Tuesday was a busy day for Augusta as it welcomed a couple new players and saw a few leave.


Left-hander Donald Snelten and utility player Eugene Escalante were assigned to Augusta, while outfielders Shawn Payne and Devin Harris, and reliever Tyler Rogers were assigned to different levels. Harris went to Double-A Richmond, while Payne and Rogers were shipped to Advanced-A San Jose. The GreenJackets also welcomed back first baseman Ryan Tuntland from the disabled list.


Snelten was drafted in the ninth round in 2013 out of Minnesota. The big lefty will give Augusta another option out of the bullpen and could even spot start after doing so six times in the Arizona League last season. As an advanced college product from the left side, the 21-year-old should excel in the South Atlantic League.


"I think he’s really going to help us from the left side. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him," GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said.  "It’s really good having another lefty in the pen. It’s always a plus when you can match up."


Escalante was drafted in the 15th round in 2013 out of Mount Olive in North Carolina. He's an athletic utility guy who shows some pop in his right-handed bat and appears aggressive at the plate. Escalante was drafted and played 30 games last year in the Northwest League as a catcher, but Goff said he will play "99 percent" of the time in left field to give him more versatility.


"He’s got some energy, got some pop in his bat," Goff said. "He should bring some life to the club."


The GreenJackets are 3-7 in their past 10 games and sit under .500 at 13-14 entering a four-game series with Greenville. They are five games back of Savannah in the Southern Division.


Greenville is 2.5 games back of Savannah at 14-10. While the Drive's lone top 10 prospect in the Red Sox system is a starting pitcher recently assigned to Greenville, they have some positional talent.


Outfielder Manuel Margot is a 19-year-old Dominican holding his own in the league, hitting .289/.344/.470 with nine extra-base hits, seven stolen bases and seven walks in 92 plate appearances. Margot shows five-tool potential, but he's a ways away from realizing it. The ceiling is there as a 10-30 guy, flashing good speed and the ability to handle the bat well enough to use some power. Margot also shows an eye at the plate and has above-average defense in center field.


Second baseman Wendell Rijo is one of the youngest players in the league at 18 years old. The Dominican is hitting like he's been around for years, recording a .313/.446/.478 line and seven extra-base hits with 15 walks in 83 plate appearances. Rijo's numbers hint at good gap power and the ability to square the ball often. He also shows a plan at the plate with good walk rates.