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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Grissom, Franklin Hit Home Runs

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Jesse Franklin is on one and hit his eighth home run of June on Wednesday night.

College World Series - Vanderbilt v Michigan - Game Two Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

It was a rather ugly day around the farm, but there were still some big performances from Atlanta Braves prospects to talk about. Jesse Franklin stayed absolutely scorching hot with another home run in Rome, and he wasn’t the only one to go deep with Vaughn Grissom putting one out for his second home run of the year. Mississippi was led to a win by another strong offensive day from Braden Shewmake and a shutout performance by Nolan Kingham.

(21-21) Gwinnett Stripers 3, (16-24) Norfolk Tides 9 Game 1

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 0-3, .239/.286/.457
  • Drew Waters, LF: 0-3, .265/.363/.393
  • Johan Camargo, DH: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, .319/.417/.513
  • Jose Rodriguez, SP: 0.2 IP, 7 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 10.38 ERA
  • Dylan Lee, RP: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1.42 ERA

Yikes. So Gwinnett got us started in the double header by using Jose Rodriguez, who has been really good this season and was promoted from Mississippi in the wake of all of what 2021 has done to the MLB Braves. He allowed eight runs and recorded two outs. Not ideal in a double header. Dylan Lee filled up innings for Gwinnett going a scoreless and hitless 2 13 innings to keep the pitching staff together. Lee has been fantastic for the Stripers this season with a 1.42 ERA and 2.39 FIP in 19 innings. His 1.4% walk rate is the lowest in all of Triple-A and the fourth lowest in minor league baseball. Victor Arano set down all six batters he faced in relief, and Mitch Horacek pitched the final inning and allowed the ninth run on a home run.

The first 11 Stripers batters of the game went back to the bench empty handed, but an Orlando Arcia walk in the fourth finally broke up the perfect game. Johan Camargo followed that by crushing the first pitch he saw for a home run, his fifth of the season, to make the game 8-2. That was all the excitement until the 8th when Gwinnett strung together a couple of hits with Orlando Arcia driving in Jonathan Morales for the third Stripers run. Jason Kipnis led off the 7th with a double and Ryan Goins followed with a single, but neither run came across to score. Drew Waters went 0-3 in the first game, and counting game two of this series he’s 0-8 with four strikeouts since returning from his injury, though he does have three walks in that span. Cristian Pache has been abysmal since his big game on June 10th, possibly due to the hamstring that has been bothering him, and in the 8 games in that span he is 3-22 with a double, three walks, and 12 strikeouts.

(21-22) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (17-24) Norfolk Tides 5 Game 2

Box Score

  • Orlando Arcia, 3B: 0-4, .310/.375/.567
  • Drew Waters, LF: 0-2, 2 BB, SB .261/.367/.387
  • Johan Camargo, 1B: 1-3, BB, .319/.417/.513
  • Connor Johnstone, SP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 6.69 ERA
  • Thomas Burrows, RP: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.86 ERA

Connor Johnstone has started five of the last 11 games for Gwinnett, and while none have been more than this 2 23 innings today it seems pretty clear that this level of workload is not doing him any favors. Today that manifested in a four run first inning, and while he held together over the final 1 23 with only one more run allowed I think it’s about time for them to do what they can to get him a break. Thomas Burrows was fantastic in relief with three strikeouts, though he only threw 13 strikeouts on 25 pitches over 1 13 innings. Yoan Lopez pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout and since coming over to Atlanta he has a 2.16 ERA in 8 13 innings. Jesse Biddle pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

After the top of the first inning when they let a double from Jason Kipnis go to waste the Stripers never even got the tying run up to the plate at any point in the game, easily falling to the Tides in a double header sweep. Drew Waters took two walks in the game, and he continues to excel in that regard with a 10.8% walk rate in 139 plate appearances this season. The Stripers had a huge chance in the fifth inning to chip away at the lead when the first two batters of the inning reached on singles, but after two strikeouts and an error to load the bases Orlando Arcia popped out in to end the threat. Gwinnett put up two runs in the sixth inning, and threatened a bit in the 7th with a Drew Waters leadoff walk, but the book was closed pretty easily on this game.

Next Game: 6/24 @ (17-24) Norfolk Tides 5 @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: TBD

NAS: Zac Lowther (0-2, 3.98 ERA)

(26-18) Mississippi Braves 3, (15-27) Tennessee Smokies 0

Box Score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 1-1, HBP, RBI, .241/.323/.292
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, .165/.221/.309
  • Shea Langeliers, C: 0-3, BB, .234/.340/.516
  • Nolan Kingham, SP: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2.29 ERA
  • Emmanuel Ramirez, RP: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 8.10 ERA

A big game from Braden Shewmake and another fabulous start by Nolan Kingham was enough for Mississippi to take another win and move to eight games over .500. Mississippi’s offense really struggled for the most part in this game, but Shewmake did not and his first hit came on a one out triple in the second inning. A hit batter and walk actually loaded the bases in the inning, but two strikeouts stranded those runners and the Braves would have to wait a bit for the offense to get going. The next time up they loaded the bases on walks and Shewmake came through with the big hit of the game by doubling to score two runs. Trey Harris followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0, and with Nolan Kingham on the mound they didn’t need anything else. That’s a good thing too, because only three more batters reached base in the game. Braden Shewmake has made a marvelous resurgence after his rough start, and over the past 15 days he is hitting .280/.345/.560 with three home runs, a 14.5% strikeout rate, and a 148 wRC+.

Nolan Kingham has been the most reliable pitcher in the system this season and he spun another strong start with 7 13 innings of shutout ball. He walked the first and last batters he faced, but none in between with the worst of his innings coming when he allowed two hits in the third. Kingham allowed only one extra base hit. Over his past three starts he has pitched 22 innings without allowing a run, with only the two walks today and 17 strikeouts. He leads the minor leagues in innings pitched this season with 55 in nine starts. After that one out walk in the 8th things got a bit interest when Emmanuel Ramirez allowed an infield single to bring the tying run to bat, but he got out of it by retiring the next two batters. Once again the Smokies got the tying run to the plate in the ninth when they reached on a strikeout and wild pitch and drew a walk against Ramirez, but he was able to put out the fire and close out a Mississippi win.

MIS: TBD

TNS: TBD

(21-21) Rome Braves 2, (24-18) Aberdeen Ironbirds 3

Box Score

  • Michael Harris, CF: 1-3, BB, RBI, .322/.344/.452
  • Bryce Ball, 1B: 0-4, BB, .200/.347/.348
  • Jesse Franklin, RF: 1-4, HR, BB, RBI, .295/.343/.543
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. 6.00 ERA
  • Indigo Diaz, RP: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0.90 ERA

This was a bit of a frustrating game for Rome as they certainly had opportunities to win it, but they did not and got walked off in the 11th inning. Rome immediately jumped out to a lead in the game thanks to Cody Milligan, who led off with a hit, then reached third on a stolen base and ground out before being brought home on a deep Michael Harris sacrifice fly. The next run came via Jesse Franklin, because of course it did, as he ripped an opposite field solo home run to put Rome up 2-0. That was all of what Rome did for the game, though they threatened a once late. The middle innings were doldrums as they only had two hits, but in the 7th Franklin and Brett Langhorne drew walks to put the go ahead runs on base. Neither came home and the final seven batters of regulation were retired easily. Rome had two opportunities to score in extra innings but failed both times, the first due to two strikeouts. In the 11th they loaded the bases on walks, but couldn’t come through with a hit to break the game open and Aberdeen got a run in the bottom of the inning.

Freddy Tarnok, despite his struggles in his second game, has been absolutely electric since returning from an injury and this start was him getting back on track. He dominated with only one hit allowed through this start and eight strikeouts, a number that tied the season high he set two games ago and gives him 19 in 9 innings this season. Tarnok is still not crisp with the location of his pitches but his stuff has been fantastic and lingering doubts about him are quickly being snuffed out as he looks better than ever. Mitch Stallings gave up the lead by allowing two runs in the sixth inning, raising his ERA on the season to 5.21. Zach Daniels pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.37 over 19 23 innings this season. Kasey Kalich danced around trouble with three walks and two hits allowed in two innings. He loaded the bases in the 10th inning, but got two force outs at home and a strikeout to escape a stressful inning unharmed. Indigo Diaz pitched the 11th inning and struck out the first two batters he faced, but he allowed a base hit that scored the extra runner and handed him his first loss of his career in pretty brutal fashion.

Next Game: 6/24 @ (24-18) Aberdeen Ironbirds @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jared Shuster (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

ABD: Kevin Magee

(19-24) Augusta GreenJackets 3, (28-14) Charleston Riverdogs 5

Box Score

  • Braulio Vasquez, DH: 0-3, BB, SB, .173/.325/.255
  • Willie Carter, RF:1-4, SB, .323/.418/.436
  • Vaughn Grissom, 3B: 1-5, HR, RBI, .288/.394/.378
  • Jake McSteen, SP: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1.86 ERA
  • Alec Barger, RP: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.71 ERA

It’s Low-A baseball so you know things got weird, like nine errors in a game and a player scoring from second on defensive indifference weird. First three innings for the Greenjackets nothing really went down, but they broke through on the board in the fourth when a double from Victor De Hoyos scored Willie Carter to put them in the lead. Augusta went hitless from the fifth through seventh innings and Charleston took a lead in that time, but Augusta had an answer in the 8th. Cade Bunnell lead off the inning with a walk, but that didn’t factor in as a he tried to go first to third on a pickoff error and was thrown out at third. Two pitches later Vaughn Grissom tied it up with a home run. The wheels fell off in the bottom of the 8th and Augusta gave up three runs, but they had a chance to tie it in the top of the ninth. Braulio Vasquez reached base with two outs on a walk, then advanced to second base on defensive indifference. On the next pitch he advanced to third on defensive indifference and scored on a wild pitch on the play to make it 5-3. Cam Shepherd walked and Cade Bunnell reached on an error to put the tying run on base, but Grissom struck out to end the game and Augusta came up empty.

Jake McSteen made the start for Augusta and pitched pretty well, with 6 strikeouts over 4 23 innings. The only run he allowed was unearned and he turned the ball over to Alec Barger in the 5th inning. Barger closed out the fifth with a fly out, then after a leadoff walk in the 6th got a strikeout and a double play. The seventh inning wasn’t as kind as a fielding error and a single had Barger in trouble with no outs and his day was closed as he struck out a batter for the first out of the inning. Ben Thompson came in to relieve Barger, and while he did allow the unearned run to score on a sacrifice fly he kept it there at 2-1. Thompson imploded in the eighth however, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk to take the loss.

Next Game: 6/23 @ (28-14) Charleston Riverdogs @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

AUG: TBD

CSC: Taj Bradley (4-2, 2.73 ERA)