ROME, GA — The Rome Braves hosted their annual Hot Stove Monday night. Unlike last year, which was heavy on South Atlantic League champion players, this year featured some of the Atlanta Braves big guns.
Alex Anthopoulos and Brian Snitker highlighted an all star group on the dais, including Perry Minasian, Jonathan Schuerholz, Ron Knight, Brian Bridges alongside the Rome Braves staff of pitching coach Dan Meyer, hitting coach Bobby Moore, and new (but old) manager Rocket Wheeler.
Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves manager
On the new direction of the team:
“I think that’s why we made the changes. We’ve been saying all weekend that we’re excited about the guys we’re bringing to camp this year. We’ve been hearing about all these guys, guys that came through Rome for the last couple of years, and watched them burst onto the scene. For me it mirrors what happened a bunch of years ago before we started that run. It happened the same way through the development of the farm system.”
On Ozzie Albies:
“I’m really looking forward to watching him play. I was looking forward to him when we got him last year. I wanted him to come up sooner than he did.
“He came up, he did a great job, he slowed the game down really well. He made some adjustments offensively as you saw. He’s got an unbelievable skill set, he’s going to be an exciting player for us. It was great for him to come up and get the experience.”
Rocket Wheeler, Rome Braves manager
On the responsibility of being a player’s first full-season manager:
“As an 18 year old, 19 year old there’s certain ways we go about our business. This is how it’s done at the MLB level, we’re going to teach you guys now. As a young kid we all know, at 18 years old where were we? So now, we’ve got to push them along with the game of baseball, the game of life.”
“That’s what we do. We work with these kids so that when they get to Brian [Snitker] and he asks them to do something, they have to know how to do it. Or try to to know how to do it, right?”
On being back with the Rome Braves:
“A lot of memories. You know what’s great about this staff to be honest. Dan Meyer pitched the first half in 2003. Bobby [Moore] was here as my hitting coach helping me along cause it was my first year in Atlanta after spending 26 years in Toronto. Jonathan [Schuerholz] played second base and shortstop for us. To me, this is pretty cool. There’s four of us out of the 30 sitting up here that was on that championship club. I’m not promising a championship, but I will promise we’re going to play hard.”
Alex Anthopoulos, General Manager
On the transition to the Braves:
“The one person I knew was Perry [Minasian], and he was new so he didn’t really help much. I know the names, obviously, but the tradition, the Braves success that’s been built here, the loyalty is very important to me. This place stands for something. These affiliates are important. There’s just a warmth everywhere I’ve been in the organization, you feel like you’re family when you walk in the door. That’s how I felt when I interviewed. It’s one of those things, I’m glad to be a part of it, but you realize the importance of it, the magnitude of it the more I’m exposed to things whether it’s a Hall of Fame gala or being here in Rome for the first time.”
#Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos on the state of the rebuild: “There’s been down time. It was understandably so. There was going to be a rebuild, there were going to be young players and it was by design. Now we’re getting ready to move it forward.” #RomeBraves #MLB #MiLB #HotStove pic.twitter.com/xlASM2MPFU— Blake Silvers (@JBlakeSilvers) January 30, 2018
On the farm system being a lure:
“I would say it was a reason. Ultimately you take these jobs hoping that you’re going to be here a long time. You realize the minor leagues may not be that strong. Obviously that was a huge perk and advantage. It certainly helps, I just stepped in to a great spot. We just want to add to it.”