The long-awaited return of Minor League Baseball was worth it. There was plenty to watch, too much in fact, in Week 1, when the four Atlanta Braves’ affiliates combined to go 14-10. Let’s get ready for Week 2 with a look ahead at each series.
Gwinnett vs. Louisville — May 11-16
Last week: Stripers went 5-1
Last week’s rotation: Kyle Muller, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Tucker Davidson and Connor Johnstone
Bombs away. The Gwinnett Braves bats have come out alive, ending the week with Orlando Arcia’s three-home run Sunday. He already has five home runs one week into the season. Johan Camargo and Travis Demeritte also had big home run weeks with three blasts apiece. Kyle Muller went twice last week — and struggled mightily — so expectations would be for Kyle Wright to get things started against Louisville. However, the Braves haven’t announced a Tuesday starter as of this typing, so that could mix things up. Bryse Wilson, Tucker Davidson and Connor Johnstone looked sharp in their ‘21 debuts, with neither Wilson nor Johnstone allowing a run.
Mississippi Braves at Biloxi Shuckers — May 11-16
Last week: 2-4
Last week’s rotation: Hayden Deal, Nolan Kingham, Mitch Stallings, Odalvi Javier, Victor Vodnik, Matt Withrow
It was an ugly start to the week as the M-Braves dropped four in a row to start the season. They quickly righted the ship and walked away winners of their last two. While there were some impressive performances from the bullpen — Troy Bacon, Jake Higgenbotham, Brandon White, nor Brooks Wilson allowed a run last week — Vodnik’s start was something to get excited about. Though he wasn’t perfect and allowed quite a few base runners, he touched 98 on that fastball and allowed no runs in his debut. Both Nolan Kingham and Mitch Stallings came out looking strong, but both imploded in the fifth and fourth, respectively. Hopefully they can string along longer starts.
Shea Langeliers had a two home run day, but also threw out all three baserunners that tried to steal on him. He was drafted as a defensive-first catcher, and he showed why in the early going.
Rome Braves @ Greensboro — May 11-16
Last week: 4-2
Last week’s rotation: Bryce Elder, Tanner Gordon, Ricky DeVito, Jared Shuster and Alan Rangel
There is so much to like on this Rome team, but it starts with Michael Harris. A Talking Chop favorite since he was drafted, Harris has picked up a lot of steam and delivered in his first week. He had seven hits last week to go with five RBI and was perfect on the bases, while showing off his arm in the outfield. Cody Milligan, Shean Michel and Logan Brown all hit well last week as well. On the bump, while all eyes were on last year’s draft picks Bryce Elder and Jared Shuster, Ricky DeVito delivered a gem in his debut. He’ll need to harness the command, but his splitter was just plain filthy. He may be a reliever or swingman if he can’t get the command down, but if DeVito isn’t on your watchlist by now, he should be.
Augusta GreenJackets @ Myrtle Beach — May 11-16
Last week: 3-3
Last week’s rotation: Alec Barger, Darius Vines, Tyler Owens, Chad Bryant, Joey Estes and Roddery Munoz
Welcome to the organization, GreenJackets. Let’s get right to it. Roddery Munoz took the mound on Sunday and captured the attention of the Braves Universe. He was consistently pumping 97-99 with his fastball, but I’ll let our own Garrett Spain gush over him when you listen to this week’s Road to Atlanta podcast. Tyler Owens, a pitcher we were very excited for, flashed his filthiness on some pitches as well, but got roughed up in his second appearance, so more to be seen.
At the plate, Willie Carter stole the show, but be sure to keep an eye on Bryson Horne and Cam Shepherd, two new faces to the Braves playing their first pro ball since signing out of college last year. Vaughn Grissom is also one we like to watch, especially in his transition to third with Shepherd at short.