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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 8/25: Hunter, Ruiz go streaking; Power down in rookie ball

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Several top prospects are heating up to end the season, while several young prospects down in rookie ball are trying to make a name for themselves at the plate

(70-60) Gwinnett Braves 2 vs. (68-63) Charlotte Knights 7

Box Score

  • Hector Olivera, DH: 2-4, 1 RBI
  • Cedric Hunter, LF: 2-4, 1 2B, .285/.328/.425
  • Jason Hursh, RP: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 8.00 ERA

Charlotte jumped out to an early lead and did not relent as the Braves fell 7-2. Ryan Weber got the start for Gwinnett and performed admirably, going 5 innings and giving up 3 earned runs. However, Jason Hursh had yet another rough relief appearance, giving up a 3-run homer in his two innings of work. In his last 3 appearances, he has given up a total of 8 earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. As for the offense, the Braves didn't managed to do much other than hit a bunch of singles and hit in to double plays. One interesting story, somehow it has escaped widespread notice that Cedric Hunter now has a 19-game hitting streak for Gwinnett during which he has hit 2 home runs and 16 RBIs. With 11 home runs this year, he is certainly a power threat although he does not walk much, but could be used as a call up for a spot start or as a pinch hitter. Hector Olivera continued his road to the majors with a 2 hit night and he looks as though he is getting his timing back. While Fredi Gonzalez said that Hector wasn't quite physically ready to join the big club, it wouldn't be super surprising to see Hector join the Braves in the next couple days. Mallex Smith had the night off, no reason to think its anything other than a break.

(65-60) Mississippi Braves 0 vs. (57-69) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 1

Box Score

  • Matt Lipka, CF: 2-4, .249/.282/.315
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-4, .230/.332/.303
  • Andrew Thurman, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 3.68 ERA
  • Jorge Reyes, RP: 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3.55 ERA

Andrew Thurman battled through some control issues, but Mississippi's offense was shut down in its 1-0 loss to Pensacola. Thurman was mostly excellent for Mississippi, giving up just 1 earned run and 3 hits. However, he only lasted 4 innings largely due to the 6 walks he handed out. The offense struggled as well, although Rio Ruiz did extend his hitting streak to 10 games and Matt Lipka did some good work at the top of the lineup with a couple of hits. The former 1st round has basically performed this season right in line with his career averages in the minors and one can't realistically expect any more from him at this point, especially given his injury history.

(57-70) Wilmington Blue Rocks 4 vs. (66-61) Carolina Mudcats 7

Box Score

  • Connor Lien, RF: 3-5, 2 runs, 1 2B, 2 RBI, .288/.347/.416
  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 2-4, 1 run, 3 RBI, .260/.329/.366
  • Matt Bywater, SP: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.53 ERA
  • Justin Jackson, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 2.33 ERA

Carolina's offense backed yet another strong out from Matt Bywater as Carolina wins 7-4. Bywater was excellent again in his 3rd start in the Braves organization. While he didn't match his previous two outings (0 ER in both) due to giving up a two-run homer in the 5th and another run in the 6th, Matt has really been impressive thus far since being signed out of an indy league and could be a dark horse prospect going in to next season. The offense was driven primarily by Connor Lien and Dustin Peterson who combined to drive in 5 runs in the game. Dustin Peterson in particular is really heating up now as his average has jumped nearly 20 points in the last two weeks. Keith Curcio also had a great game with 3 hits and the offense as a whole combined for 14 hits including 3 doubles.

(52-75) Rome Braves 0 vs. (53-72) Lexington Legends 3

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-3, .242/.385/.377
  • Leudys Baez. LF: 1-4, .232/.264/.333
  • Sean Furney, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2.82 ERA

Rome's offense is still bad and Sean Furney is a hard luck loser yet again as Rome is shut out 3-0. Shelby Miller can feel Sean's pain as despite being impressive and consistent all season long, Furney sports a losing record (which, again, speaks to the uselessness of that as a stat) due primarily to very poor run support. Expect Sean to move up to high-A next season and possibly make a quick move to AA if he performs well there. Not much really to talk about on offense as Rome scattered 9 singles and failed to score at all for what seems like the 50th straight game. This is a team that misses Ozhaino Albies greatly, but Rome fans should have plenty of fun next season given some of the great young prospects heading that way.

(26-32) Johnson City Cardinals 4 vs. (30-31) Danville Braves 8

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 3-5, 2 2B, 1 run, 3 RBI, .330/.416/.523
  • Jose Morel, LF: 3-5, 4 runs, 1 3B, .322/.383/.401
  • Ronald Acuna, CF: 2-5, 2 RBI, .250/.353/.364
  • Matt Withrow, SP: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 3.56 ERA
  • Matthew Custred, RP: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.53 ERA

In stark contrast to the Rome game, there was plenty to see in this one as the offense and pitching both had strong performances in Danville's 8-4 win. Matt Withrow was very impressive in giving up no earned runs while striking out 8 in his 4.2 innings of work. How about Matthew Custred? The 31st round pick in this year's draft (the lowest Braves pick to actually sign) has been doing work as a reliever in rookie ball as he now has a 1.48 ERA in 17 appearances. Now, he is a college pitcher so he should be good at this level, but his level of success is highly encouraging. As for the offense, Austin Riley keeps doing Austin Riley things (except for no homers this time around) with 3 hits including 2 doubles and 3 RBIs while Jose Morel had a big game as well to raise his average to .322.

(22-33) GCL Yankees2 6 vs. (24-31) GCL Braves 10 - Game One

Box Score

Isranel Wilson, CF: 2-4, 2 runs, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .237/.363/.519

Jonathan Morales, C: 3-4, 3 runs, 2 HR (6), 2 RBI, .264/.336/.455

Kelvin Estevez, RF: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, .258/.281/.323

Gilbert Suarez, SP: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 4.75 ERA

(24-32) GCL Braves 1 vs. (23-33) GCL Yankees2 3 - Game Two

Box Score

Isranel Wilson, CF: 1-3, HR(10), 1 RBI, 1 BB, .237/.363/.519

Jonathan Morales, DH: 2-4, 2 2B, .264/.336/.455

Jaret Hellinger, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3.15 ERA

The GCL scoreboard and stats are/were being weird due to the inclement weather yesterday so I'm going to recap both of these games really quick as they feature some of the same players anyways. Isranel Wilson is starting to heat up in a big way down in rookie ball, especially in terms of power as he has 3 homers in his last 4 games now. He really struggled with strikeouts early on this season in rookie ball, but has only struck out 7 times in his last 10 games while absolutely raking at the plate. Jonathan Morales had a great two game set with 2 solo home runs in one game and 2 doubles in the other. On the pitching side, Jaret Hellinger pitched 6 strong innings in giving up just 1 earned run while Gilbert Suarez also pitched well to get back on track with 4.1 innings of one run ball as well.