The Atlanta Braves are entering what looks to be another challenging season as the team continues in its rebuilding process. Atlanta has not won more than 72 games in a season since 2014, and there is a solid chance that trend may continue in 2018. While a number of talented prospects will begin trickling through to Atlanta, positive results may prove tough to come by as young players try to settle in and adjust to MLB.
It may prove to be a tough season for fans, but there should be a sense of excitement regardless. Watching young players debut and begin developing their MLB careers should keep fans interested all summer long. One prospect that fans should be especially excited about watching in 2018 is LHP Luiz Gohara.
Atlanta Braves Prospect Profile – Luiz Gohara
Early Career and Trade to Atlanta
Gohara was initially signed by the Seattle Mariners as an international free agent in 2012. It did not take long for Gohara to make his professional debut. He made six starts with the Rookie level Pulaski Mariners during his age-16 season. He posted a 4.15 ERA in 21.2 innings pitched, but it was his 27 strikeouts to just nine walks that drew a lot of attention.
2014-2015 saw Gohara struggle a bit with inconsistent results. In 2014, he went 1-7 with a 6.66 ERA in 13 starts across two levels. 2015 was not much better as he went 3-8 with a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts. Though he did struggle with his ERA and saw a spike in his walk rate, Gohara consistently displayed an ability to strike hitters out.
The 2016 season saw Gohara produce a solid season, but he still was limited to just 13 starts. His numbers, however, were fantastic as he turned in a 7-2 record with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 69.2 innings pitched. He also produced the lowest walk rate of his young career.
Despite his impressive season, Seattle apparently could not turn down the opportunity to improve the talent of its MLB roster. The Braves would acquire Gohara and LHP Thomas Burrows from Seattle for OF Mallex Smith and RP Shae Simmons. The move was a questionable one by Seattle, but Ken Rosenthal speculated that there may have been concerns about the long-term health of Gohara’s shoulder. While he is still young, there have not been any major red flags from his time with Atlanta.
2017 Season and MLB Debut
Gohara wasted little time making a splash and climbing through Atlanta’s farm system. He made seven starts with the Advanced-A Florida Fire Frogs, posting a 1.98 ERA and 39 strikeouts. He was quickly promoted to Double-A Mississippi where he made 12 appearances (11 starts) with a 2.60 ERA and 60 strikeouts. During his last stop in the minors at Triple-A Gwinnett, Gohara made seven starts with a 3.31 ERA and 48 strikeouts.
Gohara was eventually called up and made his debut on Sept. 1. He did not perform well as he surrendered six runs in four innings to the Texas Rangers. Though he did take the loss, Gohara still managed to strikeout six batters in the game. His best start of the season came against Philadelphia when he pitched seven innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts. He surrendered just five hits with the lone run against him coming via a home run.
Though Gohara posted a 4.91 ERA in five MLB starts last season, he still displayed the type of stuff that allowed him to rise quickly through Atlanta’s farm system. He is still ranked as Atlanta’s No. 6 overall prospect and could very well being 2018 in the majors. Regardless of where he starts, Gohara’s ultimate destination still looks to be towards the front end of Atlanta’s rotation for the years ahead. His is one name fans will want to remember moving forward.
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