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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Rob Whalen is quietly destroying AA hitters

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Rob Whalen is doing work down in Mississippi despite being snubbed for an All-Star spot

Rob Whalen Garrett Spain

Gwinnett Braves 0, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 1

Box Score

  • Ozzie Albies, SS: 1-4, .238/.289/.357
  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-3, .261/.365/.357
  • Joel De La Cruz, SP: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.89 ERA

Gwinnett’s offense struggled to just 4 hits as they fell to Scranton 1-0. Joel De La Cruz was excellent over 7 innings as he allowed just 5 hits and a walk to go along with one earned run. De La Cruz is going to see his name bounce back and forth on rosters this year given that he isn’t a prospect in the sense that you have to worry about the number of options he has, but if he continues to pitch well he could very well find some chances with the big league bullpen in his future.

On offense, there was not much to see as Gwinnett only managed four singles on the night against Phil Coke and the rest of the Indianapolis pitching staff. Luckily, two of the four hits on the night came from Ozzie Albies and Rio Ruiz who are two batters that the Braves hope to get contributions from in the near future.

Next Game: 6/20 hosting Indianapolis @ 7:05 PM EST

Probable Starters: Gwinnett - Casey Kelly, Indianapolis - Chad Kuhl

Mississippi Braves 8, Birmingham Barons 3

Box Score

  • Dansby Swanson, SS: 2-4, 3 runs, 1 RBI, .242/.328/.382
  • Dustin Peterson, LF: 2-5, RBI, run, .284/.350/.437
  • Rob Whalen, SP: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2.16 ERA

Rob Whalen continues to make the Braves’ trades with the Mets look really lopsided and lineup backed him with 8 runs to push Mississippi to an 8-3 win. Whalen has been unreal of late as he has given up just two earned runs over his last 6 starts including zero over his last three starts. Steve Kent came and gave up a couple earned runs in less than an inning of work before Madison Younginer restored order and pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

On offense, Mississippi got contributions from up and down the lineup with 6 different batters driving in runs and 7 different batters collecting hits. Dansby Swanson was among them as he recorded two hits while scoring three runs for Mississippi as he tries to get back on the hot streak he was on to start his career in Mississippi. Dustin Peterson, unfazed by his hit streak ending yesterday, continued his torrid hitting with two more hits and an RBI to bring his average on the season closer and closer to .300. If Peterson continues to hit like this, he will be pushing for a promotion to Gwinnett given how awful their outfield currently is as well as to give the Braves a look at how he would fair against more advanced pitched.

Carolina Mudcats 3, Wilmington Blue Rocks 4

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 0-2, 2 BB, .233/.333/.352
  • Tanner Murphy, C: 2-2, 2 BB, .146/.229/.234
  • Ryan Clark, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 6.20 ERA

Ryan Clark and the Mudcats lost a close one as the long ball continues to plague Clark in the Mudcats’ 4-3 loss. Clark honestly was not too bad in this game and while he has struggled at times after his aggressive promotion to Carolina, he has had a pretty steady if somewhat unremarkable start to the 2016 season. However, he is also giving up well over a hit an innings and now has given up 12 homers in 13 games this season which is not exactly where you want to be. He is going to have to get guys to make weaker contact if he is going to succeed down the road. Taylor Lewis pitched two scoreless innings while Chase Johnson-Mullins has given up a total of one run in his past 10 appearances with another scoreless outing on this night.

On offense, it was a struggle as Carolina had 6 hits but only one went for extra bases and that was double from cleanup hitter Sal Giardina. With Joey Meneses getting the night off, the Mudcats couldn’t really get much going without him in the lineup. Braxton did go hitless, but he walked twice to continue his impressive production at the plate of late after starting the year struggling quite a bit.

Rome Braves 2, Greensboro 8

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 0-4, 1 run, .252/.299/.372
  • Wigberto Nevarez, 1B: 2-4, 1B, .231/.302/.308
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 4.43 ERA

Touki Toussaint was great, but the bullpen faltered yet again as Rome was taken down 8-2. Touki seems to have really figured something out as he struck out 6 over 6 innings in this game and now has given up a total of one earned run over his last 3 starts while only walking 4 batters over that span. Beyond that, in his last ten starts he has not given up more than three earned runs and while one of them was a start where he couldn’t escape the first inning, he seems to really have made a big step in his development. Sadly, Matt Custred and Chad Sobotka combined to give up 7 runs (5 earned) and turned the game in to a blowout with almost the entire infield turning in to a comedy of errors with three errors on the night.

Very little again to report on offense as Rome struggled to bring runners home despite getting 8 hits on the night. Austin Riley scored on a wild pitch despite going hitless in the game while only Yeudi Grullon and Wigberto Nevarez registered multihit games for Rome. Its to be expected the offense would struggle system wide though given the All-Star games that are about to be played and many of the system’s best hitters heading to them, but its a shame to see Touki’s fine effort wasted nonetheless.