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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Ricky DeVito, Darius Vines twirl gems

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DeVito’s splitter was on, while Vines pitched with superb command in a pair of brilliantly pitched games.

Atlanta Braves RHP prospect Ricky DeVito. Wayne Cavadi | Talking Chop

(15-10) Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 6, (14-11) Gwinnett Stripers 2

  • Drew Waters, LF-CF: 2-for-5, 2B, .262/.361/.429
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-for-3, R, .333/.333/.333
  • Orlando Arcia, SS: 2-for-4, .320/.388/.612
  • Jasseel De La Cruz, SP: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 3.12 ERA
  • Shane Greene, RP: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA

Box Score

At one point this was a very close game thanks to some really solid pitching from Jasseel De La Cruz who scattered three hits, and three walks over five innings of work giving up just one run. On the season De La Cruz is up to a 10.9 K/9 rate, while working just over two (2.08) per nine innings as well. While he’s never had horrible control his 2.08 walks per nine is the second lowest of his career and he’s really looking like someone that could make an impact in Atlanta sooner than later. He’s consistently shown a high-90s fastball with a great slider, limited walks, and has big strikeout numbers which is a beautiful match for an elite reliever, however the Braves will continue to try and develop that third pitch in hopes of keeping him as a starting pitcher.

De La Cruz left the game up 2-1 thanks to a two-run first inning courtesy of a Jonathan Lucroy single that scored Cristian Pache and Orlando Arcia. Pache singled in his first at-bat and showed some refinements in his swing.

With Gwinnett leading 2-1, the recently acquired Tanner Roark came in and ran into trouble giving up eight hits, and five earned runs in just two innings of work giving the Jumbo Shrimp a 6-2 lead that they would not relinquish. Shane Greene also made an appearance in the game and needed just 18 pitches to get through a scoreless inning. Dylan Lee worked the final inning of the game, striking out two, and lowering his ERA to 1.69 on the season while also increasing his strikeout rate to 12.66 per nine. He still hasn’t allowed a walk on the season.

Offensively, outside of the first inning the Stripers could not scrape together the hits to score runs. Drew Waters went 2-for-5 with a double, but also was caught stealing for the fourth time this season. Orlando Arcia continued his fine hitting to start the season going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Arcia’s OPS on the season now sits right at 1.000. Travis Demeritte continues to get on base, going 0-for-2 but picking up a pair of walks and now has an OPS of 1.159 on the season.

(12-13) Mississippi Braves 3, (16-9) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4

  • Justin Dean, CF: 0-for-4, .192/.352/.329
  • CJ Alexander, 3B: 1-for-4, HR, .209/.274/.433
  • Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 2-for-4, R, .321/.424/.464
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.33 ERA
  • Josh Graham, RP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 1.46 ERA

Box Score

Another well pitched game resulting in a loss thanks to some unfortunate work from the bullpen. Nolan Kingham got the start for Mississippi and wasn’t sharp allowing eight hits and needing 90 pitches to complete 4 2/3 innings, but he kept Mississippi in the game by allowing just two earned runs. He left the game trailing just 2-1 thanks to this CJ Alexander homerun.

The homer was Alexander’s fifth on the season which is a career-high. While the hit tool is lagging just a bit behind, you’re beginning to see flashes of why he was such an intriguing prospect when he was drafted.

Mississippi went up 3-2 in the in the seventh inning after a wild throwing error by the Blue Wahoos allowed Drew Lugbauer, and Jefrey Ramos to score. Unfortunately that lead did not hold long as Pensacola tied it in the bottom of the inning off of Emmanuel Ramirez, and then retook the lead in the bottom half of the eighth inning off of Brooks Wilson.

Of note, Shea Langeliers threw out another base runner which puts him right at an absurd 50% caught stealing percentage. He has had a fantastic start to the season both with he bat, and defensively and looks to cement himself as a top level prospect by midseason.

(15-10) Rome Braves 3, (14-11) Bowling Green Hot Rods 2

  • Kevin Josephina, DH: 3-for-4, R, HR, .299/.329/.433
  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-for-4, R, 2 SB (7), .355/.371/.484
  • Jesse Franklin V, RF: 1-for-3, HR, RBI, R, .205/.241/.295
  • Ricky DeVito, SP: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.66 ERA
  • Luis Mora, RP: 1.0 IP, 0 R, 3 BB, 0K, 0.00 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Box Score

An brilliantly pitched game for Rome resulted in a late, exciting win for the Braves. Ricky DeVito was on the mound to start and was sharp. He needed just 49 pitches, of which 33 went for strikes, to navigate three scoreless frames. I was focused on DeVito who showed his brilliant splitter, along with a nice curve to go with his mid-90s fastball. He kept the Bowling Green hitters off-balance with his three pitch mix and looked good.

DeVito threw just 49 pitches but the game was delayed so that could have factored into the decision to pull him early. His bullpen brothers didn’t let him down, however, pitching well enough to give Rome the win.

Rome actually went up in the fourth, after DeVito was pulled, thanks in large part to Michael Harris II who hit a rocket of a single, stole second, stole third, and then came into score thanks to a Bryce Ball sacrifice fly.

To nobodies surprise, Harris won Rome’s Player of the Month award yesterday, so him basically willing himself to score was right on cue. He led High-A in batting average, and hits.

Luis Mora came in following DeVito and immediately loaded the bases in his Mississippi debut before settling down and getting out of the jam without allowing a run to score. Coleman Huntley, and Trey Riley worked the middle innings and gave up a combined two runs to tie the game up at two runs a piece. With the game tied at 2-2, Braves right-fielder Jesse Franklin V picked a fantastic time to hit his first professional homer to give the lead back to Rome.

Indigo Diaz pitched a perfect ninth inning while striking out two, needing just twelve pitches, to preserve the win for Rome and to pick up his third save of the season. Indigo’s numbers are eye-catching and his time in Rome will likely be over in the very near future.

(15-10) Charleston RiverDogs 0, (11-14) Augusta GreenJackets 1

  • Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 0-for-2, 2 BB, .258/.351/.376
  • Willie Carter, RF: 2-for-3, .342/.455/.493
  • Ricardo Rodriguez, C: 1-for-3, HR, .250/.373/.446
  • Darius Vines, SP: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 1.89 ERA
  • Lisandro Santos, RP: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 0.00 ERA
  • James Acuna, RP: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 3.86 ERA

Box Score

Darius Vines had it going last night with a brilliant pitching performance striking out nine over six scoreless innings. His curveball had fantastic bite and rendered hitters completely useless against it. He combined it with some fantastic command of his fastball and that was all she wrote for Charleston who were able to just scrape together two singles and a double against the Augusta pitching staff. The lone extra-base hit that Vines gave up he almost immediately erased by picking him off of second, so safe to say that Vines wasn’t messing around at all last night.

After Vines, Lisandro Santos had just one walk over two innings to keep the game scoreless. He ended up picking up the win thanks to a Ricardo Rodriguez homer in the bottom of the seventh inning which accounted for the only run of the game. Rodriguez is having a solid season in A-ball collecting an .816 OPS on the season. James Acuna pitched the ninth and made things a little interesting by walking a runner, giving up a stolen base, and giving up a hit but managed to get through the inning and preserved the win.

Of significant note was Braulio Vasquez who continued his very strange, odd season. The DH went 0-for-2, and picked up a walk and two stolen bases. It is notable because Vasquez has more stolen bases (19), than hits (14). His previous high in stolen bases for his career was 12 in 47 games back in 2017. His legend is beginning to grow just like Randy Ventura.