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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Dansby and Soroka's hot starts continue, Riley hits first HR

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Was another good night for the Braves' top prospects as several continued their strong starts to the season.

(4-2) Gwinnett Braves 6 @ (4-2) Durham Bulls 5 - F/10

Box Score

  • Daniel Castro, SS: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI, 1 R, .333/.375/.381
  • Tyler Moore, 1B: 2-5, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 run, 3 K, .300/.323/.500
  • John Gant, SP: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Gwinnett got contributions throughout the lineup to forge a comeback against Durham and win in extra innings, 6-5. Starter John Gant had some issues with control in this game, in particular towards the end of his 3.2 innings. He did a decent job limiting the damage and keeping the Braves in the game while facing down Blake Snell, who is quite good. Ian Krol and Danny Burawa had very serviceable stints out of the bullpen while Joel De La Cruz and Brandon Cunniff were less than good.

On offense, there was no one standout player although several had strong games at the plate. Daniel Castro, Reid Brignac, Tyler Moore, and Ronnier Mustelier all had multi-hit games but no player had more than one RBI or run scored. Strong team effort from Gwinnett, although it may be wise for them to cut down on the 13 strikeouts that they had as a team going forward.

(1-5) Mississippi Braves 2 @ (2-3) Montgomery Biscuits 7

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, SS: 1-4, .346/.393/.385
  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 run, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .348/.444/.478
  • Lucas Sims, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 6 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 7 K, 3.00 ERA
  • Trevor Belicek, RP: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 K

Defensive miscues cost Lucas Sims and Mississippi dearly as they fell to the Biscuits 7-2. Lucas Sims didn't have his best control tonight with 4 walks in as many innings of work, but a passed ball (Astudillo's second of the year already) and an error led to 4 unearned runs which certainly didn't help. Trevor Belicek, fresh off his promotion from Rome earlier in the day, relieved Sims and threw 3 innings of mostly clean ball. However, another error in the outfield led to yet another unearned run.

As for the offense, there were certainly some positives. Ozzie Albies continued his torrid hitting as he has now hit in 5 straight games. Dustin Peterson has hit safely in 5 of the season's first 6 games which is certainly a welcome sign for a system in need of some outfield depth. Also encouraging is that, in the early going, he is keeping the strikeouts under control (4 in 6 games thus far). Willians Astudillo had a couple of hits as well, but his day behind the plate was certainly less than desirable.

(3-3) Carolina Mudcats 15 @ (1-4) Wilmington Blue Rocks

Box Score

  • Dansby Swanson, SS: 3-4, 1 2B, 3 runs, 2 BB, .400/.483/.600
  • Jordan Edgerton, 3B: 3-5, 1 2B, 4 RBI, .192/.179/.346
  • Keith Curcio, 3-6, 2 2B, 3 runs, 4 RBI, .462/.500/.692
  • Zack Bird, RP: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4.15 ERA

The Mudcats showed no mercy against the Blue Rocks as they drubbed them, 15-4. Enderson Franco and Zack Bird combined for a serviceable pitching outing and Sean McLaughlin had his second straight scoreless outing as he came in to close the game out. Enderson in particular must be pleased at his outing given how poorly his first outing of the year went (2 IP, 9 ER).

On offensive, the real question is who didn't have a good day. Every single Mudcat batter reached base at least once and the two players who didn't get a hit (Joey Meneses and Stephen Gaylor) walked a combined 6 times. Dansby Swanson had his third straight multi-hit game and added his second stolen base of the year. At this rate, he will not be in Carolina long and will make the Braves make some hard decisions regarding promotions and playing time. Jordan Edgerton and Keith Curcio combined for 8 RBIs to help key the Mudcats' offense. Curcio has been excellent to start the year with 4 multi-hit games since the start of the season.

(2-3) Columbia Fireflies 3 @ (2-3) Rome Braves 1 - Game One

Box Score

(3-3) Columbua Fireflies 3 @ (2-4) Rome Braves 2 - Game 2

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 2-6, 1 2B, HR(1), 2 RBI, .318/.348/.636
  • Jonathan Morales, C/DH: 2-6, .364/.364/.364
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Mike Soroka, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Doubleheaders that have both Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint pitching make me happy, although Rome was swept by Columbia. Touki struggled with command in the first game of the doubleheader, especially early on. Pitches had movement, but the strike zone eluded him. However, in his last inning something clicked and he looked like a different pitcher as he struck out two. As for Mike Soroka, his start was a beautiful thing to behold. In addition to the 5 strikeouts in 6 innings, he was inducing groundballs at will while limiting his pitch count to 67 pitches. Asked what was working for him, Soroka credited his defense (whose job is certainly made easier by the fact that I barely saw any ball hit with any amount of force) as well as catcher Jonathan Morales who realized that Soroka's sinker and fastball were working better than the offspeed offerings. Sadly, Matt Custred and Taylor Lewis couldn't hold down the fort and Rome fell.

On offense, the most exciting news was predictably from Austin Riley. After having yet another double in the first game of the doubleheader, Riley went deep for his first home run at Rome.

Riley was responsible for both RBIs in the second game but was hardly the only offensive player of note from the doubleheader. Jonathan Morales continued his strong start to the year, although as of now its been all singles and not the power we saw while he was in rookie league. Lucas Herbert was the star of the first game as he had two hits, caught a guy stealing, and picked off a batter at first. Herbert (and Ronald Acuna for that matter) have also been super unlucky as they have hit a lot of ball hard but right at defenders. That should work itself out over a long season.