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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 6/23: Allard strong, Muller battles command

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On the final day before all affiliates seasons are underway, we saw Kolby Allard throw another gem, while Kyle Muller had great results despite battling his command again.

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Sunday saw the Braves system win four out of five games, though we have more reason to worry about the recent command issues of Kyle Muller after this start. On the other side of things Kolby Allard had a great start again, following up the strong start I was able to watch in Lehigh Valley about 10 days ago and helping to make him a prospect of some note again.

It’s important to also note that today is the start of the season for the last minor league affiliate to get underway, as the GCL Braves start their season today at noon. This roster is just loaded with talent, as all of the top prep draftees are on this team along with some interesting international talent, and some college players who are intriguing.

Gwinnett Stripers 5, Syracuse Mets 1

Box score

  • Adam Duvall, RF: 1-3, BB, 2 RBI, HR, .903 OPS
  • Ryan LaMarre, LF: 3-4, 4BI, 2B, .797 OPS
  • Kolby Allard, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.75 ERA

This was another strong start for Kolby Allard, who followed up the start I recently caught at Lehigh Valley with another gem. In this one Allard went six innings, giving up just one run on three hits and a pair of walks while striking out five. Allard even picked off a runner at first base. While Allard will never reach the status he did at the peak of his prospect value, he has re-established himself as a prospect of some real value by adding some velocity as well as a cutter. Allard may never be a front of the rotation type of pitcher, but it’s not hard to see him being a solid #4 or 5 starter with the way he’s looked recently. Allard was followed by three scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the first two from Jonathan Aro, then Jose De Paula pitching the final inning.

At the plate Allard was helped by Adam Duvall crushing his 20th homer of the season, a two run shot in the first inning that gave the Stripers the lead to stay. Both Ryan LaMarre and Jack Lopez went three for four, with LaMarre having a double and a pair of singles and Lopez hitting three singles, as the only other real offensive standouts for Gwinnett. As for the other notables, Travis Demeritte came up as a pinch hitter and singled in two runs, while Alex Jackson drew a walk in his three trips to the plate.

Probable 6/24 Starter: Patrick Weigel

Mississippi Braves 5, Biloxi Shuckers 3

Box score

  • Drew Waters, LF: 2-4, 2B, R, .902 OPS
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 4 K, 3.09 ERA
  • Thomas Burrows, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.96 ERA

This pitchers duel between Kyle Muller and Trey Supak- one of the other top arms in the Southern League, was won by Muller. Unfortunately despite only giving up five hits and a run over his five innings, Muller again struggled with his command as he walked four and threw just 49 of his 86 pitches for strikes over those five innings of work. This is the second straight start that Muller has battled his command, and three out of four starts as he has walked five, one, five, and four batters over his last four starts that span 19.1 innings. Thomas Burrows came in to relieve Muller, and he was excellent again as he allowed one hit over the two scoreless frames and added three strikeouts to drop his ERA to 0.96 in Mississippi. After Bradley Roney allowed two runs in his inning of work, Jeremy Walker was set up for a save which he converted despite allowing a pair of base runners.

Drew Waters just keeps hitting, and he singled and doubled along with scoring a run in this one. Waters and Ryan Casteel, who hit two homers and batted in four runs, carried the Mississippi offense in this one as they combined to score as many runs as the Shuckers team by themselves. William Contreras was the only other player to reach base more than once, as he singled and walked in four trips to the plate. Cristian Pache was hitless with a pair of strikeouts in the win, and Kyle Muller added a single to raise his batting average to .273 on the season.

Probable 6/24 Starter: Tucker Davidson

St. Lucie Mets 7, Florida Fire Frogs 2

Box score

  • Andrew Moritz, RF: 3-3, BB, R, 1.163 OPS
  • Jefrey Ramos, LF: 3-4, R, .697 OPS
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 4.75 ERA

Nolan Kingham’s string of on and off performances keeps going. After another complete game shutout in his last outing, Kingham was hit for five runs over five innings of work on Sunday. Without it’s hard to know exactly what happened, though his usually strong groundball rate was a little more even than usual with five ground balls to four fly balls. Daysbel Hernandez relieved Kingham and went two scoreless frames. Walter Borkovich came next and gave up two runs in his inning of work, while Kurt Hoekstra threw a scoreless ninth inning to complete this one.

Andrew Moritz hasn’t seemed to have had much of a hard time adjusting to Florida after his recent promotion. Sunday saw Moritz go three for three with a walk in a perfect day at the plate out of the leadoff spot. Moritz wasn’t the only Fire Frog with three hits, as fellow corner outfield starter Jefrey Ramos went three for four and scored a run. Unfortunately that was all of the offense we saw here, as six of the nine Florida base runners in this game were Moritz and Ramos.

Probable 6/24 Starter: Off day

Rome Braves 8, Hagerstown Suns 4

Box score

  • Greg Cullen, DH: 2-3, BB, 2 RBI, HR, .779 OPS
  • Justin Dean, CF: 1-5, RBI, 3B, .808 OPS
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4.91 ERA

Rome scored early and kept the lead the whole way, using a solid start out of Alan Rangel and then three scoreless innings from the bullpen to hold off Hagerstown. Rangel gave up four runs- three earned, then was followed by a pair of innings out of William Woods and another from Ryan Shetter.

Greg Cullen continued to hit Low A pitching hard, going two for three with a walk and hitting his fifth homer of the year. After a slow start he’s got his OPS up to .779 on the year. Justin Dean is another player who keeps producing at this level, and he tripled and picked up an RBI in the win. Braden Shewmake added three singles, while Ariel Montesino singled and doubled, and Henry Quintero picked up a pair of singles.

Probable 6/24 Starter: Victor Vodnik

Johnson City Cardinals 3, Danville Braves 2

Box score

  • Cody Birdsong, 3B: 1-4, HR, .563 OPS
  • Zach Seipel, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 5.40 ERA
  • Miguel Jerez, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA

Danville got this win because of how well they pitched. Zach Seipel got the start and went five innings, allowing three runs in his season debut after pitching in Danville last year following his contract being signed. He was relieved by Miguel Jerez, who once again took advantage of lower level hitters with his advanced arsenal of secondary pitches, striking out five hitters in two perfect innings out of the pen. The final two innings came from Alex Aquino, who walked one and struck out two over the two scoreless innings.

Cody Birdsong hit his first pro homer to lead the Danville offense on a quiet day during this pitchers duel. Willie Carter had the only other RBI in the game, and the only multi-hit game came from catcher Brandon Chapman, who went two for four. Brandon Parker went one for four and had an outfield assist, throwing out a runner at second base.

Probable 6/24 Starter: Off day