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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 6/3: Prospect Starters Dominate

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Rome swept a double header thanks to 2 back to back brilliant starts by Max Fried and Patrick Weigel, while Lucas Herbert exploded at the plate. Rob Whalen also continued his streak of successful starts.

Max Fried
Max Fried pitches for Rome
Garrett Spain

(25-30) Gwinnett Braves 4, (24-32) Durham Bulls 5

Box Score

Erick Aybar, SS: 1-4, RBI, .250/.250/.250

Jace Peterson, CF: 1-3, BB, .200/.304/.275

Ozzie Albies, 2B: 1-4, RBI, .231/.268/.355

Manny Banuelos, SP: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 3.14 ERA

The GBraves suffered through over 2 hours of rain delays, and finally lost this one 5-4. There were a lot of players playing in positions they really don’t belong, with Ozzie Albies making his first career start at second base, Jace Peterson patrolling center, and Erick Aybar being on the field at all. Aybar was relatively spectacular actually managing a hit in his first rehab start. Jace Peterson now has his second best hitting streak at any level this season, sitting with a hefty 2 games in a row. The GBraves had a huge second inning scoring 4 runs, but completely shut down following the ensuing rain delay that was probably a plot by the Bulls to ruin Gwinnett’s day.

Thankfully, Manny Banuelos’s rehab start was cut short by the rain, as he allowed 3 walks and threw 9 strikes on 22 pitches in his inning of work. It could have been worse, at least they didn’t move the reigning Pitcher of the Year to the bullpen to keep him in rotation. Oh wait, they did and he pitched out of the bullpen for the first time in his entire career. Wanna guess what he did? That’s right, he pitched 2 scoreless innings and struck out 3. Good going Tyrell, just keep fighting.

Next Game: 6/4 at (24-32) Burham Dulls @ 6:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: John Gant (3-0, 3.14 ERA)

DUR: Justin Marks (2-4, 4.20 ERA)

(25-29) Mississippi Braves 3, (30-24) Biloxi Shuckers 2

Box Score

Dansby Swanson, SS: 1-4, 2B, RBI, .272/.359/.440

Dustin Peterson, LF: 0-3, BB, .248/.317/.396

Mel Rojas Jr., CF: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .239/.288/.358

Rob Whalen, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2.88 ERA

A 3 run third was enough to take Mississippi to victory, and that was all the runs they got in the game. This was another rain lengthened game, with a 2:14 minute rain delay in the top of the 7th inning. Dansby Swanson doubled once in the game, but saw his OPS drop below the .800 mark for the first time since May 15. Dustin Peterson is going through one of his cold spells at the plate right now, and hasn’t hit good since the beginning of the season. Interestingly, his strike out rate has been dropping the entire time he has struggled at the plate, and he’s been the victim of a low BABIP. He also has seen at least 4 balls this season that should have been home runs but got held in by Trustmark Park.

Rob Whalen posted his best start of the season by game score with a 67, and could have done more were it not for that rain delay. He finished the 6th inning at just 74 pitches, but obviously had to be pulled after such a lengthy break. 5 of the last 6 starts he’s made dating back to May 7 have seen him post a game score of 60 or higher, and he is the only player in the system with six 60+ games. Kyle Kinman allowed a run in his one inning of relief, and then Brandon Cunniff finished off the game with a 2 inning save.

Next Game: 6/3 at (30-24) Biloxi Shuckers @ 8:10 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Victor Mateo (0-1, 5.28 ERA)

BLX: TBD

(21-31) Carolina Mudcats 3, (21-34) Frederick Keys 5

Box Score

Joseph Odom, C: 1-4, 2 RBI, .263/.322/.401

Braxton Davidson, RF: 0-2, 2 BB, .211/.301/.307

Ryan Gebhardt, 2B: 2-5, 3B, .294/.350/.373

Ryan Clark, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 6.00 ERA

Baseball, as we all are aware, is probably one of the weirdest and most anomalously driven games in the world. For a while, Joey Meneses was the hottest player in the system hands down, and suddenly that torched has been passed to fellow Mudcat Ryan Gebhardt of all people. In his past 8 games Gebhardt has hit the first home run of his career and is batting .406/.394/.594. The rest of the offense is not doing that so again the Mudcats lost and are ahead of only the Dash.

Ryan Clark was a really good pitcher for the first 5 innings of today’s game, but again got burned by staying in too long. He isn’t doing a great job of mixing it up, so while he is able to get outs for the first two trips around that third set of at bats is a doozy. That unfortunately spells out in big letters “MIDDLE RELIEVER”. David Peterson, who has been demoted two levels following an epic collapse this season at AAA pitched a scoreless inning. He was followed by Chase Johnson-Mullins who pitched a scoreless frame as well

Next Game: 6/3 at (26-28) Frederick Keys 6:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

CAR: Enderson Franco (3-2, 5.02 ERA)

FRD: Matthew Grimes (7-2, 1.21 ERA)

(21-33) Rome Braves 7, (22-32) Lexington Legends 7 Game 1

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 0-3, BB, RBI, .242/.288/.363

Jonathan Morales, C: 0-3, 2 BB, .275/.327/.371

Ray-Patrick Didder, CF: 2-3, 3B, 2 BB, .284/.387/.401

Patrick Weigel, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.03 ERA

(21-33) Rome Braves 6, (22-33) Lexington Legends 2 Game 2

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, RBI, .247/.292/.366

Lucas Herbert, DH: 2-4, 2B, .225/.277/.300

Ray-Patrick Didder, CF: 1-3, 2 BB, 3 SB, .285/.391/.400

Max Fried, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 4.73 ERA

Lucas Herbert played the hot hand in both of Rome’s games, going a combined 4-7 with a home run, double, and 3 RBIs. Ray Patrick Didder had 3 stolen bases in the second game of the double header and now leads the team with 16. The whole team contributed to the efforts on offense, with only Justin Ellison in game 2 not reaching base. Ellison had a good first game though, going 1-2 with 2 walks and a triple.

The real story was the starting pitching of Patrick Weigel and Max Fried. Weigel pitched the first complete game shutout for the Rome Braves this season, and only the 2nd in the entire system. In fact, the whole system only has 3 complete games this season. Weigel managed to complete all 7 innings on 76 pitches, so had the game gone longer he could have even extended his success. Max Fried didn’t go as deep in the game, but missed bats all game with his 8 strikeouts. That is his highest strikeout total as a Brave, and tied a career high. The last time he struck out 8 in a game was July 4, 2013. Importantly, he didn’t have that one poor inning that has plagued him all season, and held his stuff and success through an entire 83 pitch start. The walks were high, but command is usually the last thing to return for TJ recipients, so for now we’ll be satisfied with the stuff and health and let the control come later.

Next Game: 6/4 at (22-33) Lexington legends 6:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Ricardo Sanchez (3-4, 5.23 ERA)

LEX: Julio Pinto (1-2, 9.43 ERA)