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Arizona Fall League Recap: Braves prospects struggle in opening week

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Peoria got toasted with an 0-4 start to the season, and Atlanta’s prospects had a part in those pains

Glendale Desert Dogs v. Peoria Javelinas Photo by Norm Hall/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Arizona Fall League kicked off last Wednesday, and the Peoria Javelinas got off to a roaring start with an 0-4 week. No Atlanta Braves prospects had a particularly good week, and Shea Langeliers has yet to appear in a game. That latter point, reports of him at Braves workouts, and the lack of any report of him actually being in Arizona leads me to believe he is currently on the Braves taxi squad and will not play until their postseason run ends. This is speculation as we have no official word on that, so take that with a huge grain of salt, but at the moment that seems the most likely circumstance. There is also a report that Drew Lugbauer is going to be added to Peoria’s roster, though that has yet to come to fruition.

Jesse Franklin

2 G, 1-8, HBP, 3 K

Franklin only found his way into two games in the shortened week and he didn’t do particularly well overall. In his first action of the week he singled in the first inning, which drove in the go ahead run to put Peoria up 2-1. He was also hit by a pitch in the fifth inning to reach base for the second time but was stranded there. Peoria ultimately lost 11-9 with him grounding out in the ninth inning. In his second game Franklin struggled with two strike outs, and infield pop out, and a ground out.

Luke Waddell

2 G, 1-7, 2 BB

Luke Waddell had a better week at the plate and reached base in both games without striking out. He managed one hit in five at bats in the first game, but in his second he was one of the productive members of the Javelinas lineup. Waddell walked to lead off the sixth inning of that game, and then came around to score on a double to make the game 2-1. Waddell walked again in the top of the 8th to represent the tying run, and stole second base to put himself in scoring position, but the Javelinas stranded him there and ended up only coming away with one run in a 2-1 loss.

Jake Higginbotham

2 G, 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K

Jake Higginbotham was the only Braves pitcher to appear in a game twice, and he had struggles in each. In the opener Higginbotham was brought in with one runner on in the ninth inning and one out with the job of sending the game to extra innings. He did not do that, and without recording an out walked all three batters he faced to bring in the winning run in a 6-5 game. His second game was a bit more in the right direction but still not his finest work. He was brought in in the 8th inning with two runners on and Peoria trailing 4-2. He immediately allowed a run scoring hit and after recording his first out allowed his other inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly. An infield single marked the second hit against him before he got out of the inning with his third fly out.

William Woods

3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 HR

Game three was Braves fest for the Javelinas, and hoo boy did they regret that. William Woods was the best of the three pitchers, and if you see the line above you know that's not a good sign. Woods allowed a home run to the first batter he faced, on the first pitch, but to be fair it was Lars Nootbar — a player who spent significant time at the major league level this season and had success there. Woods settled down to finish the retire the next three batters in order and record a strikeout, but that wasn't a sign of things to come unfortunately. He allowed another solo home run in the second inning and allowed his first walk of the game. In the third he allowed two walks, hit a batter, and allowed a base hit, but was helped out on an outfield assist on the base hit to keep a run from scoring. He ultimately recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning, but suffice to say it was a less-than-stellar debut.

Victor Vodnik

3 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3 HR

Vodnik came into this outing with a chance to protect a 4-2 lead, but an implosion in the fifth led to him taking the loss. He too allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the fourth inning, and the inning didn’t get much easier from there. He walked the next guy, but got a double play that was critical in keeping the game close. He allowed a single and hit a batter with two outs, but was able to escape the inning thanks to a strikeout. The fifth inning was a continuation of the first and went sideways quickly, Vodnik allowed a leadoff single, then after a strikeout allowed a walk, an RBI single, and then a three run home run to blow the game open. Vodnik finished the inning with a fly out and strikeout. Vodnik allowed another home run in the sixth inning and then finished his outing off with a strikeout.

Indigo Diaz

1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

It's not really a good sign when I have to put a home run slot in the pitchers’s stat line. Diaz allowed two hits to lead off the seventh innings, and then after a strikeout for the first out allowed Nootbar’s second home run of the game to push the deficit to 11-6. He also allowed a two out double but got a strikeout of Nolan Gorman to end the inning.