Braves opt to leave Lucas Sims at Gwinnett

Braves pitching prospect Lucas Sims. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves pitching prospect Lucas Sims. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

In April 2016, when Braves manager Brian Snitker still was leading Triple-A Gwinnett, he watched right-hander Lucas Sims hold Toledo to one run over seven innings with 11 strikeouts. The opposing lineup included veteran big leaguers Casey McGehee, Humberto Quintero and Nate Schierholtz.

“He was just awesome,” Snitker said. “It’s kind of like, (the potential) is in there.”

For now Sims, 23, will stay at Gwinnett and work on fulfilling his potential. The Braves, in need of two starting pitchers for a doubleheader against the Mets on Saturday, plan to call up fellow prospect Sean Newcomb and experienced big leaguer Matt Wisler from Gwinnett.

The Braves selected Sims in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Brookwood High. He began 2016 at Double-A Mississippi, quickly earned a promotion to Gwinnett, but ended up back in Mississippi after struggling at Triple-A.

Sims appeared to be on track to reach the big leagues this year when he posted a 2.16 ERA over his first seven starts for Gwinnett with 42 strikeouts and nine walks in 41 2/3 innings. But Sims compiled an 8.38 ERA over his past four starts with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks over 19 1/3 innings, including six earned runs over five innings during a start Monday.

“Hopefully he gets back on track,” Snitker said. “The kid has got weapons, but it’s (about) just learning to do it. A guy like that, he shows you what he’s capable of.”