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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 4/17: Lucas Sims Strikes Out Career High

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Lucas Sims has been on fire since the last month of the AA season last year, and has carried that over into one of the best starts of any pitcher this season. He struck out a career high 10 batters Sunday night. Not all was well, as Touki Toussaint and the Rome Braves struggled, but Ozzie Albies had 2 triples for Mississippi.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

(9-2) Gwinnett Braves 4, (2-8) Norfolk Tides 3

Box Score

  • Ronnier Mustelier, LF: 2-3, RBI, .348/.360/.435

  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, 3B, RBI, .316/.381/.500

  • John Gant, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 5.19 ERA

  • David Peterson, RP: 1IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3.86 ERA

Another day, another win for the red hot Gwinnett Braves, who are now sitting at 9-2 after a 6 game winning streak. They now sit 3 games ahead of the second place Bulls, who they will be starting a series with tomorrow. There were no explosive offensive performances today for Gwinnett, but they got it done courtesy of a 3 run 2nd inning that included a Rio Ruiz RBI triple. The day after snapping a 7 game hitting streak Ruiz went 1-3 to bring his slash up to .316/.380/.500. Ronnier Mustelier was the only player with a multi hit game on the day, and drove in the go ahead run that would prove to be the winning run for Gwinnett.

John Gant was able to pitch well outside of a 3 run 3rd inning, otherwise shutting down the Tides in 5 innings to keep the game winnable for Gwinnett. Gant has been underwhelming since his promotion, but has managed to keep good peripherals with 11K/4BB in 8.2IP so much of that could be attributable to back luck. The bullpen was fantastic with Rob Wooten, Kanekoa Texeira, and David Peterson combining to pitch 4 scoreless innings and seal the game. Neither Wooten nor Texeira has given up a run this season.

Next Game: 4/18 vs (6-5) Durham Bulls @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 0.90 ERA)

DUR: Matt Andriese (0-1, 4.91 ERA)

Mike Foltynewicz will take the mound in the series opener for Gwinnett, and coming off of a stellar start against Durham his last time out will look to shut them down yet again. No one has managed any contact off of Folty this year with 4 hits in 10 innings, but walks have been a factor. If Foltynewicz can continue to progress he will find himself in the mix to be the next pitcher to be recalled, and will really need to play well or risk relegation to the bullpen.

(2-9) Mississippi Braves 3, (4-7) Chattanooga Lookouts 4

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, SS: 2-4, 2 3B, .326/.380/.435

  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 1-3, BB, .310/.375/.452

  • Lucas Sims, SP: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K, 1.84 ERA

  • Bradley Roney, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA

Despite a stellar start from Lucas Sims, the MBraves fell yet again and now sit in last place at 2-9 on the season. The defense really let the team down, as the made 4 errors that led to 2 unearned runs in the game. Ozzie Albies hit 2 triples in the game, much welcomed given his lack of extra base hit production at this point, and raised his batting average to .326. That number is 8th in the Southern League, and Albies is the youngest player in the league by a full year. Dian Toscano recorded a hit on the day, as did Dustin Peterson, and though he didn't get any hits Willians Astudillo did not strike out. He has now gone 139 consecutive plate appearances without striking out.

The headliner of the system was Lucas Sims and his career-high-tying 10 strikeout performance against the Lookouts. He again was not spectacular with walks, but the box score doesn't tell you that all 3 happened consecutively as he seemed to run out of steam somewhat in the 4th inning. In 14.2 IP this season Sims has struck out 26 batters, a number that leads the minor leagues by 4 strikeouts. The bullpen struggled and allowed 3 runs in 3.1IP, but Bradley Roney ended it nicely with a scoreless inning pitched. Roney has not allowed a run this season and has struck out 6 batters in 3.1 IP.

Next Game: 4/18 vs (4-7) Chattanooga Lookouts @ 8:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Chris Ellis (1-0, 1.59 ERA)

CHA: DJ Baxendale (1-1, 3.27 ERA)

Chris Ellis is making his 3rd start tomorrow, hoping to duplicate the results of his first rather than his second. Though he only allowed 2 runs, Ellis was shaky the last time out against Montgomery, and will want to regain the control he showed in game 1. He will be opposed by DJ Baxendale, who has had his struggles with Mississippi. In 2 games against the Braves last season he was 0-1 with 14 hits, 7 runs, and 3 walks allowed in 12.2IP.

(6-5) Carolina Mudcats 3 vs. (5-6) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4

Box Score

Swanson's Player Page

  • Dansby Swanson, SS: 1-4, .341/.408/.477

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 0-3, RBI, .175/.255/.225

  • Enderson Franco, SP: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 10.64 ERA

  • Wes Parsons, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K. 4.50 ERA

The Mudcats were quiet in this one, with no outstanding not drastically poor performances in the game. Carolina scored 3 in the bottom of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead over Myrtle Beach, but were unable to hold on. They allowed 1 run in the next half inning, then allowed Myrtle Beach to score 3 in the 7th to give them the lead they would hold until the end. Dansby Swanson did record a hit on the day and has now hit safely in 9 of his 11 games as a Brave, and has only failed to reach base in one of the 11. Swanson is 10th in the league in batting average and leads the Carolina League with 6 doubles.

Enderson Franco had his best start as a Brave (kind of an empty compliment) but wasn't really all that sharp and allowed 6 hits and 4 walks in 4.2IP while striking out 4. Batters are hitting .462 against Franco this season, a number that would lead the Carolina League in hitting. It's not all bad news for Franco though, as a .571 BABIP-against seems a little fishy. Of the 5 outs that Evan Phillips recorded today 4 were by way of strikeout, and hitters this year are just 1-21 with 2 BB against Phillips. He was a 17th rounder out of UNC Wilmington last year and could be pushed aggressively especially given those numbers.

Next Game: 4/18 vs (7-4) Salem Red Sox 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

CAR: Ryan Lawlor (1-0, 2.00 ERA)


Ryan Lawlor will take the ball in the opener against Salem tomorrow night, and he has been great this season. In 2 starts batters are hitting .194 against Lawlor, and has struck out 11 batters in 9 innings. His first start of the season was against the stacked Salem Roster, and he allowed only 1 hit and 1 run, while holding the prospect trio of Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers to 0-10 with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts.

(4-7) Rome Braves 5, (3-8) Asheville Tourists 12

Box Score

  • Ray-Patrick Didder, CF: 1-3, 2 BB, SB, .355/459/.613

  • Ronald Acuna, DH: 1-5, .295/.340/.318

  • Bradley Keller, RF: 2-5, 2 2B, RBI, .292/.292/.583

  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 12.71 ERA

Asheville jumped on Rome early in this one and left no doubt as to who the better team was today. After 4 innings it was 9-1 in favor of the Tourists, and though Rome scored 4 runs in the 7th and 8th innings there was no way it was going to be enough to overcome the deficit. Every player in the lineup except for Erison Mendez recorded a hit, with Bradley Keller, Luke Dykstra, and Alejandro Salazar recording multi hit games. Bradley Keller is now 7 for his last 11 with 2 doubles, a triple, and a home run after starting the season 0-13. Statistically Lucas Herbert has struggled this year despite a lot of hard hit balls, but he was able to get a double today, his second extra base hit of the season.

Touki Toussaint was not very good today, and was just unable to miss bats during the game. He didn't manage a strikeout while walking 4 and allowing 4 hits and 5 runs in 1.2IP. I wouldn't be too worried, as a player as raw as Toussaint will go through these ebbs and flows as a prospect, and especially with his wildness he is prone to hideous showings. On the positive side, Matt Custred broke out after a rough intro to the season, with 2 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk. When he can keep the ball in the strike zone he has been difficult to hit with a .111 BAA, but he has also walked 6 batters in 5.1 IP.

Next Game: 4/18 at (4-7) Augusta GreenJackets @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Mike Soroka (0-0, 0.90 ERA)


Mike Soroka will take the hill tomorrow as the hottest pitcher in the system, with 2 consecutive stellar appearances. His last outing was a 6 inning, 1 hit gem, but he made his season debut against the GreenJackets an outing prior. In that game he pitched 4 innings, allowed 4 hits and a run and struck out 7 batters while allowing only 1 walk. Soroka is perhaps the quickest rising star in the system, and another great showing will really put a spotlight on the Canadian phenom.