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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Gwinnett rolls, Jared Shuster makes debut for Rome

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Abraham Almonte and the rest of Gwinnett went wild offensively on Friday evening

Pittsburgh Pirates v Atlanta Braves
Abraham Almonte had himself a NIGHT in Gwinnett
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Gwinnett Stripers 19, Charlotte Knights 1

Box Score

  • Abraham Almonte, RF: 3-5, HR, 6 RBI, BB, 4 R
  • Orlando Arcia, SS: 2-6, R
  • Jonathan Morales, C: 2-5, HR, 5 RBI
  • Johan Camargo, 1B: 2-3, 3 BB, 4 R
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

It appeared as though the Stripers decided to hog all of the offense amongst Braves’ affiliates on Friday as they absolutely annihilated Charlotte by the final score of 19-1. Before we get to the offense, big hat tip to Tucker Davidson who was cruising from the beginning in this game. The sole blemish on his outing was a solo homer that he gave up in his last inning of work and beyond that, his fastball was getting some ugly hacks and allowed him to work some quick innings. After his impressive performance, Chasen Bradford ended up pitching two innings of scoreless relief for Gwinnett to close out the game.

On offense, everyone seemed to get in on the action. Drew Waters had the night off with Ender Inciarte rehabbing and Ender did, in fact, get in on the fun with a double and an RBI. Old friend Johan Camargo got on base a ton with three walks and a pair of singles, but the offensive star of the night was Abraham Almonte....just like we all predicted. Almonte connected for a grand slam in the first inning off of Felix Paulino which got the rout started and...well, it just never stopped. Jonathan Morales connected for a three run homer late in the game to run the score up even more. The moral of the story: if you get a bunch of hits (18) and you also draw a bunch of walks (12), it likely that good things will happen.

Mississippi Braves 2, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 3

Box Score

  • Shea Langeliers, C: 1-4, 2B
  • Justin Dean, CF: 0-2, 2 BB
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-2, RBI, 2 BB
  • Odalvi Javier, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
  • Matt Hartman, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K

Tough night for Mississippi as they lose a close one to Pensacola 3-2 although they were somewhat fortunate for it to be this close. The pitching staff altogether gave up 12 walks in the game including five from starter Odalvi Javier in just three innings of work. Fortunately, Shea Langeliers is quite good defensively which helped a lot in the third inning when Javier couldn’t throw a strike to save his life. Him gunning out a runner at third to empty the bases saved at least one run as Javier would then walk three consecutive batters to load the bases before a fly out ended the inning. It was an adventure to be sure. Langeliers would help his pitching staff out again with a strike them out, throw them out double play again in the sixth inning to end the inning and get out of a mess left by Matt Hartman. Again, it was fortunate that the game was as close as it was...but rust is a real thing.

Offensively, Mississippi never really got much going. Their best chance for a big inning came in the second inning when they loaded the bases and Braden Shewmake took a pretty close pitch to draw a walk and force in a run. Unfortunately, Trey Harris, who pulled a ball in the at-bat that would have cleared the bases but landed just foul, ended up flying out to end the inning. Shea Langeliers connected for a double and Braden Shewmake drew a pair of walks although he is still looking for his first hit of the 2021 season.

Rome Braves 3, Winston-Salem Dash 8

Box Score

  • Shean Michel, DH: 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, 2 R, BB
  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-4
  • Beau Philip. SS: 1-3, SB, BB, R
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
  • Gabriel Noguera, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Rome was leading the game going into the bottom of the 5th inning, but a pair of three run innings for the Dash allowed the game to get out of hand as the Braves fell 8-3. Jared Shuster made his debut for the Braves and it was an interesting one before he was pulled at 56 pitches presumably because he was on a pretty rigid pitch count. His fastball was sitting 91-94 with a couple that were a touch higher and his changeup looked great. He threw some good breaking balls and some that were less great. Overall, for a first outing....not too shabby. We are going to be watching how his fastball performs in subsequent starts because while the velo was completely fine, it sure seemed like righties could see it well coming out of his hand. His changeup is one of the best pitches currently in the Braves’ minor leagues, though. Tanner Lawson had a bit of an adventure coming on in relief where he gave up three runs on three hits and three walks and Marrick Crouse failed to record an out in the seventh inning so Gabriel Noguera had to come in and get out of a mess.

Offensively, the star for Rome on this night was Shean Michel who had a pair of doubles and accounted for the majority of Rome’s offense on the evening. Very quietly, Michel is having a nice start to the 2021 season as he has a 1.413 OPS in a VERY small sample. Worth keeping an eye on him. Michael Harris has now hit safely in three of his first four games in high-A as he beat out an infield single on Friday evening while the only other hit for Rome was from Beau Philip who also stole a base and drew a walk in the game. The biggest problem for Rome was strikeouts as they amassed 16 of them thanks largely to Dash’s Jason Bilous who was mowing threw the Braves at points in the game.

Augusta GreenJackets 2, Columbia Fireflies 12

Box Score

  • Willie Carter, DH: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB
  • Stephen Paolini, CF: 0-3, RBI, BB
  • Cam Shepherd, SS: 1-4, E
  • Chad Bryant, SP: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
  • Gabriel Rodriguez, RP: 0.0 IP, 2 H, 6 R (4 ER), 4 BB, 0 K

A forgettable game for the Braves’ newest affiliate as Augusta got trucked by the Fireflies 12-2 on Friday evening. Chad Bryant got the start for Augusta and the Braves’ 25th round pick in the 2019 draft had some command issues, but also got plenty of swings and misses in his 3.1 innings of work. Overall, a solid effort. Unfortunately, Gabriel Rodriguez had a relief appearance to forget as he had three wild pitches and a balk to go along with four walks and a pair of hits to not only let an inherited runner score, but to put Augusta in a real pickle in the fourth inning as he failed to record an out. An error from Cam Shepherd at short didn’t help matters and James Acuna was unable to stop the bleeding as three more runs scored in the inning and just like that, eight runs crossed the plate in the inning and the game was functionally over.

Was another tough night offensively as Augusta failed to record an extra base hit on the evening and scattered seven singles throughout the game. The third inning looked promising after Stephen Paolini drew a bases loaded walk to drive in a run as did Willie Carter, but Bryson Horne flew out to end the inning and that was pretty much it for the GreenJackets’ offense on Friday. Early season low level minor league baseball can be a bit rough, but there are some intriguing pieces on this Augusta roster and it will be interesting to see how they develop over the course of the season.