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A look ahead at Week 8 at the Braves minor leagues: Spencer Strider keeps climbing and other standout performances

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NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 03 Vanderbilt v Clemson Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves had a winning week last week, with the four affiliates combining to go 11-9. The young Braves had a tougher time battling the rains than their opponents, having four games completely washed out.

There was some big news last week. Touki Toussaint made a start in Rome Tuesday and then Mississippi on Sunday and looked pretty good for dealing with the first injury of his career. “It felt good,” Toussaint told me after his start at Rome. “I got the butterflies. I’m still human. I thought I wasn’t going to get them. It was weird, I’d never been hurt. But I got those butterflies and knew it was time to compete.”

In other news, Kyle Muller made his MLB debut and Spencer Strider is moving on up once again. His meteoric rise continues, this week making the jump to Double-A.

More on Strider in a bit. Before we look ahead at Week 8, let’s look back on some standout performances.

Augusta:

  • Jared Johnson, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K
  • Darius Vines, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
  • Cam Shepherd, SS: 5-for-13, 4 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K

Rome:

  • Jared Shuster, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K
  • Spencer Strider, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 12 K
  • Jesse Franklin V, RF: 7-for-14, 3 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB

Mississippi:

  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
  • Hayden Deal, SP: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Justin Dean, CF: 7-for-20, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 SB

Gwinnett:

  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 6 IP, 5 H 1, R, 1 BB, 9 K
  • Kyle Wright, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 5 K
  • Orlando Arcia, SS: 5-for-21, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Augusta GreenJackets (19-22) at Charleston (26-14) — June 22-27

Last week: 2-3

Last week’s rotation: Joey Estes, Jake McSteen, Tanner Gordon, Jared Johnson and Darius Vines

Transactions: Jake McSteen added from Rome; Roddery Munoz, Javier Munoz; placed on IL; Ricardo Rodriguez activated from IL

As it turns out, Joey Estes is human. After striking out 18 and walking one in his past two scoreless starts, Estes got tagged for four runs on two home runs this week. It was the furthest he went in a game to date, and it was his worst start of the year, and wasn’t all bad considering. Darius Vines continues to impress, this time striking out 10 and walking none.

Augusta did score some runs this week, piling up 22 over five games. Bryson Horne helped with five hits and two RBIs, including his first professional home run.

Vaughn Grissom continues to be the prospect to watch here, though he didn’t have a spectacular week. He recorded four hits and drove in three while scoring three.

Rome Braves (20-20) at Aberdeen IronBirds (23-17) — June 22-27

Last week: 1-3

Last week’s rotation: Touki Toussaint, Jared Shuster, Alan Rangel and Spencer Strider

Transactions: Activated Luis Mora from inactive list and then placed him back on inactive list; Activated Tyler Ferguson; Promoted Mitch Calandra from Augusta

Rains limited the action, but it was more from the usual suspects. Jared Shuster, although still being worked back slowly, went the deepest he has all season, tossing four scoreless innings and striking out a career-high six. And then there is Spencer Strider. His fastball has been utterly dominant as he continues his quick rise up the ladder, striking out 12 in his most recent start. He now has 56 strikeouts in 30 innings. Freddy Tarnok had an uninspiring start, getting shelled for six runs in 1.1 innings pitched in relief of Touki Toussaint.

At the plate, Jesse Franklin remains on his month-long heater, just barreling up on anything thrown his way. He now has a team-high six home runs, 10 stolen bases and .819 OPS. Michael Harris is still very good at baseball. He had four more hits and is now slashing .326/.347/.457 on the year.

Mississippi Braves (25-17) vs. Tennessee (14-26) — June 22-27

Last week: 5-1

Last week’s rotation: Odalvi Javier, AJ Puckett, Jose Rodriguez, Nolan Kingham, Hayden Deal and Touki Toussaint

Transactions: Sent Touki Toussaint on rehab assignment; Placed Riley Unroe on IL; Activated Tyler Neslony and Emmanuel Ramirez from IL

That’s two 5-1 weeks in a row for the red-hot M-Braves. The pitching was rather superb last week. AJ Puckett is quietly becoming an interesting pitcher, striking out six over five scoreless to bring his season ERA to 2.21. Jose Rodriguez has found his groove back in Mississippi as well, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball and striking out eight. Nolan Kingham has been on absolute fire, allowing just three runs in June and one over his past three starts. He’s also struck out 11 and walked none over his past two starts.

Shea Langeliers had a quiet week, but made sure to end it in style, giving the M-Braves a walk-off win with his 10th home run of the season. Justin Dean continues to hit, raising his average to .260 on the season, which is remarkable considering he was hovering around the Mendoza Line to start the month. Braden Shewmake showed signs of life with his best week of the season, recording six hits with two doubles and a home run.

Gwinnett Stripers (21-20) at Norfolk Tide (15-24)

Last week: 3-2

Last week’s rotation: Bryse Wilson, Connor Johnstone, Kyle Wright and Jasseel De La Cruz

Transactions: Kyle Muller, Ty Tice called up to the Atlanta Braves; Jacob Webb sent to Gwinnett from the Atlanta Braves; Bryse Wilson called up and sent back down to Gwinnett

Kyle Muller made his big-league debut this week, first in relief and then in a much more impressive start on Monday. Muller went four innings, allowing just one run and striking out three. That left the Gwinnett rotation thing, leaving Connor Johnstone to make two starts as an opener in a five-game week. Bryse Wilson had another strong showing and is all but certain to see some time in Atlanta regularly in the not so near future.

Drew Waters again was out of the lineup, battling through his early season injuries. Cristian Pache had a three-hit week, swiping a base, but is striking out quite a bit on his return from injury. He struck out at least twice in every game he played last week. Orlando Arcia continues to rake, now hitting .315 with .960