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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 8/14: Lots of games, Mallex Smith is heating up

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Fans of minor league action had their hands full tonight with 8 games with the Braves' affiliates going 3-5, mainly due to difficulties catching the ball of all things

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Clippers  4 vs. Gwinnett Braves 5 - Resumed Game

Box Score

  • Mallex Smith, CF: 2-4, 2 2B, 1 run
  • Cedric Hunter, LF: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • Sugar Ray Marimon, SP(ish): 6.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K

(64-56) Gwinnett Braves 3 vs. (67-53) Columbus Clippers 5

Box Score

  • Mallex Smith, CF: 1-3, 2 runs, 1 BB, SB(25), .262/.304/.340
  • Sean Kazmar, 2B: 1-3, 2 RBI, .280/.313/.388
  • Eric Young Jr., LF: 2-2, 1 run, 2 BB, .258/.349/.327
  • Ryan Weber, SP: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2.15 ERA

Gwinnett split this "doubleheader" with Columbus 5-4, 3-5 as Gwinnett needed to resume a game with Columbus from the end of May. Many of the players in Gwinnett lineup for the first game were different, in particular Mallex Smith. Mallex went 3-7 with 3 runs scored and stole his 25th base for Gwinnett. He has now hit safely in 8 of his past 10 games (really 9...but stats are weird for resumed games "officially") including 6 multi-hit games. Luis Mateo's 2 RBIs helped bring home the first game while Ryan Weber had a rough return to Gwinnett as he gave up 5 runs in just 3.2 innings due to having some trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark. Christian Bethancourt went 0-4 on the day to cool off a bit at the plate, so hopefully he can pick back up where left off with his hot streak last week. Another player to keep an eye on is Cedric Hunter. He got hits in both halves of the doubleheader, is riding a 9 game hitting streak, and has some of the better power production in the system this season.

(60-56) Mississippi Braves 3 vs. (61-55) Mobile BayBears 9

Box Score

  • Levi Hyams, 2B: 1-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, .252/.360/.371
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 run, .217/.327/.275
  • Emerson Landoni, SS: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 run, .292/.330/.375
  • Andrew Thurman, SP: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 4 K

Andrew Thurman had a rocky debut in AA as Mississippi fell to Mobile 9-3. Mississippi certainly didn't help their own cause with 3 errors on the night, but Thurman did also seem pretty hittable going just 4.2 innings and giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs. Of note, he did get a hit in his only plate appearance of the night. Rio Ruiz hit a double in the game while the top of the order (Emerson Landoni and Levi Hyams) provided the bulk of Mississippi's offense. Unfortunately, that amount of offense was not enough to overcome Thurman's somewhat rocky debut, let alone the additional 4 runs that the bullpen would give up.

(60-57) Carolina Mudcats 2 vs. (57-61) Frederick Keys 3

Box Score

  • Connor Lien, RF: 0-4, .286/.340/.420
  • Joseph Odom, DH: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, .235/.295/.463
  • Carlos Franco, 3B: 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .247/.330/.395
  • Matt Bywater, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R (0 ER), 5 BB, 8 K

Carolina loses a close game that was essentially decided in the third inning as the Keys win 3-2. Matt Bywater made his debut for the Mudcats after a stint in independent league baseball and while he was quite wild, he still had a impressive showing. Carolina continued its struggles on the night in the field with 2 more errors that would cost them 3 runs in the bottom of the third inning that ultimately decided the game. Joseph Odom and Carlos Franco had the RBIs for Carolina in this game, Connor Lien came back to earth a bit with an 0-4 performance, and Dustin Peterson had a weird game with a single and 3 walks.

(49-65) Lexington Legends 1 vs. (48-68) Rome Braves 2

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-3, 1 BB, .242/.389/.367
  • Wigberto Nevarez, 1B: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, .163/.216/.235
  • Yean Carlos Gil, SP: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 4.07 ERA

YCG threw a complete game to lead Rome to victory over the Legends 2-1. Gil was quite good in this game, which makes his inconsistency this season even more maddening. Without Ozhaino Albies in the lineup, Rome's offense has really struggled, but the bottom of the order of Wigberto Neverez and Erison Mendez drove in two runs which would prove to be just enough in this game. Braxton Davidson reached base twice to keep his OBP hovering near .400. It will be interesting to see what the Braves do with Braxton next season as he hasn't exactly hit the cover off of the ball, but he has shown flashes of the power and talent that they coveted when he was drafted and he is still a very young player.

(23-27) Burlington Royals 3 vs. (24-26) Danville Braves 1

Box Score

  • Jose Morel, LF: 2-4, .315/.387/.383
  • Austin Riley, 3B: 0-4, 2 K
  • Matt Withrow, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 R(0 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 3.93 ERA

(23-28) Burlington Royals 1 vs. (25-26) Danville Braves 2

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 1-3, .298/.411/.532
  • Ray-Patrick Didder, RF: 1-2, 1 3B, 2 RBI, .257/.362/.357
  • Luis Gamez, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 5.40 ERA

Another doubleheader, another split...this time with Burlington my the scores of 1-3, 2-1. Yet again, in the first game 3 errors led to 2 unearned runs that ultimately decided the game, while Danville's pitching locked down the second game (despite the defense giving up ANOTHER unearned run in that game). Austin Riley only managed 1 hit between the two games in the doubleheader and there really wasn't much to be found in terms of offensive production from Danville. The top of the order (Didder and Morel) had 4 hits in the first game but Danville could not push them home while in the second game, Didder struck again but this time drove in 2 runs himself and those would prove to be the game winners.

(28-15) GCL Blue Jays 3 vs. (19-26) GCL Braves 1

Box Score

  • Bradley Keller, RF: 2-4, .311/.365/.447
  • Hector Olivera and Freddie Freeman combined: 0-7, 3 K
  • Felix Falcon, SP: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R (0 ER), 4 BB, 6 K, 4.28 ERA

Olivera and Freeman continue their rehabs from injury as the GCL Braves fell 3-1. Hopefully Hector and Freddie's combine performance (which looked like BJ Upton's lines from basically any doubleheadre not a sign of things to come. Bradley Keller has been raking of late and could very well push for a late season promotion to Danville. Rome is going to be a very fun team to watch next year as Keller seems to be a strong candidate along with Austin Riley Jose Morel, Carlos Castro, Mike Soroka, and (probably) Kolby Allard just to name a few. Felix Falcon had a good outing, but again 3 errors led to unearned runs which cost the Braves yet again.