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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Michael Harris homers, Justin Dean continues to show out

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A relatively busy, but tame day down in the minor leagues

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Gwinnett Stripers 0, Norfolk Tides 4

Box Score

  • Rafael Ortega, RF: 2-4, .913 OPS
  • Alex Jackson, C: 1-4, .881 OPS
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 5.31 ERA

Not much to write home about as Gwinnett was shut out by Chandler Shepherd and the Tides by the score of 4-0. Touki Toussaint got the start and unlike his previous outing, he struggled a bit with the first inning being particularly tough as four of the first five hitters reached base (one on an error). Touki threw 76 pitches and it seems like the Braves are trying to stretch him back out down in Gwinnett after some puzzling usage in the majors. Wes Parsons came in and gave up an unearned run and Corbin Clouse had his sixth scoreless outing in his last 10 appearances in the game’s final frame.

Nothing really doing on offense. With Travis Demeritte traded away and Adam Duvall promoted, Gwinnett had to rely on a stripped down lineup which didn’t end well. Rafael Ortega had two of the Stripers’ four hits with Alex Jackson chipping in a single as well.

Mississippi Braves 1, Tennessee Smokies 4

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-4, 2B, .823 OPS
  • William Contreras, C: 2-3, BB, R, .604 OPS
  • Kurt Hoekstra, SP: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1.42 ERA

Mississippi had their opportunities, but could not cash in to keep pace with the Smokies as they fell by the score of 4-1. Kurt Hoekstra got the start (that was not the start to a sentence I was expecting to write basically ever) and he struggled in his two innings of work although he has been lights out as a reliever for the Braves’ MiLB affiliates this season. Claudio Custodio threw four innings of relief after that and while things never got crazy out of hand, the offense just never really got going to give Mississippi a chance.

Speaking of that offense, Cristian Pache had a decent game with a pair of hits including a double. After a recent slump, Pache appears to be coming out of it as he is batting .297 over his last 10 games. It is worth noting that Pache has not homered since June 28th. William Contreras reached base three times including a pair of hits of his own. It has taken him a while to get going in Double-A, but he appears to have found his footing as he is batting .343 in his last 10 games.

Florida Fire Frogs 2, Clearwater Threshers 3 - Game One

Box Score

  • Andrew Moritz, LF: 1-3, RBI, BB, .641 OPS
  • Logan Brown, C: 1-4, R, .517 OPS
  • Brooks Wilson, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2.45 ERA

Florida Fire Frogs 6, Clearwater Threshers 0 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Kevin Josephina, 3B: 3-3, 2 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R, .704 OPS
  • Jefrey Ramos, LF: 2-3, 3 RBI, .646 OPS
  • Walter Borkovich, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 4.46 ERA

Florida split their latest doubleheader against Clearwater by the scores of 2-3 and 6-0. Brooks Wilson had a strong start that ultimately went to waste as he went five strong innings. It has been a bit surprising to see him basically fully converted towards being a starter now, but the results have been quite good as he owns a 2.45 ERA on the season. Walter Borkovich got the start in the other half of the doubleheader and threw three scoreless innings before the bullpen came in and finished the shutout out.

The big offensive performance of the day came from Kevin Josephina who had a three hit game including a pair of triples (you don’t see that very often). Jefrey Ramos had three RBIs in the Fire Frogs’ win and Andrew Moritz had strong games out of the leadoff spot in both halves of the doubleheader.

Rome Braves 5, Hagerstown Suns 3

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-4, 2B, BB, R, .815 OPS
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 1-3, RBI, BB, .832 OPS
  • Jose Olague, SP: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.72 ERA

Rome’s offense kept adding on runs slowly throughout the game and ultimately prevailed over Hagerstown by the score of 5-3. Jose Olague got the start and pitched into the sixth inning although the later innings of his outing did get a little hairy. Olague is very likely destined to be a minor league depth piece, but it was nice to see him bounce back a little bit after a pair of tough outings before this one. It is worth noting that Victor Vodnik made his return from the injured list (he was dealing with blisters we believe) and threw a pair of scoreless innings of relief in his return.

On offense, Justin Dean just keeps hitting as he had another multi-hit game, his 25th on the season. It will be interesting to see how aggressive they are with Dean in 2020 as he has put together a strong first season of pro ball and is 22 years old. Braden Shewmake reached base twice and his OBP still hovers near .400. It was another tough night for Shea Langeliers as he went 0-4. He has looked better of late, but it would be nice for him to end the season on a hot streak after his early struggles as a pro.

Danville Braves 3, Pulaski Yankees 4

Box Score

  • Ray Hernandez, 1B: 1-3, BB, 2B, RBI, .516 OPS
  • Cody Birdsong, DH: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .515 OPS
  • Ricky DeVito, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.32 ERA

Danville lost in the bottom of the ninth as Pulaski walked off against Justin Yeager by the score of 4-3. Ricky DeVito had a decent start as he gave up a run on a hit and a pair of walks in three innings of work. Ray Hernandez reached base a couple of times as did Cody Birdsong who had a pair of hits including a double. Bryce Ball did not play as (we think) he is dealing with a minor injury from an awkward slide a couple of games ago.

GCL Braves 2, GCL Twins 3

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, DH: 2-4, HR, RBI, .995 OPS
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 1-3, RBI, BB, .460 OPS
  • Chad Bryant, SP: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 8.04 ERA

The GCL Braves fells to their Twins counterparts by the score of 3-2 on Thursday. Michael Harris connected for his second home run of his career and his OPS hovers near 1.000 (he currently ranks third in the league in OPS). Mahki Backstrom made his return after missing a few games and struggled as he went 0-4 with three strikeouts.