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Braves MiLB preview: Hot-hitting prospects get ready for Week 11

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The Atlanta Braves minor-league teams went a combined 15-12 in a busy week. Here are the prospects that stood out and a look ahead to next week on the farm.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves minor-league affiliate went 15-12 last week. There was a lot of extra baseball as Rome and Gwinnett made up some rainouts from June. Braves fans were rewarded by a no-hitter and two of their top offensive prospects catching fire, putting up one of their best weeks of the season thus far.

Before we look ahead, let’s take a look back. Here are some of the prospects that shined last week.

Augusta GreenJackets:

  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 13 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K
  • Joey Estes, SP: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K
  • Bryson Horne, 1B/DH: 7-for-18, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI

Rome Braves:

  • Jesse Franklin V: 4-for-26, 3 HR, 6 R, 4 RBI
  • Darius Vines, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K
  • Logan Brown, C: 7-for-23, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Mississippi Braves:

  • Justin Dean, CF: 6-for-18, 6 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB
  • Bryce Elder, SP: 7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K — No Hitter
  • Trey Harris, RF/DH: 7-for-21, 4 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI

Gwinnett Stripers:

  • Drew Waters, OF: 8-for-20, 3 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 9-for-27, 4 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Kyle Wright, SP: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K — CG shutout

Now on to the week ahead. Augusta looks to stay hot, while Rome hosts a big series against Greensboro. Here’s what’s in store.

Augusta (28-31) at Charleston RiverDogs (40-18) — July 13-18

Last week: 4-2

Last week’s rotation: Tanner Gordon, Jared Johnson, Chad Bryant, Joey Estes and Miguel Pena

Transactions: Activated Peyton Williams from IL; transferred Brent Burgess to 60-day IL

That’s two big weeks in a row for the GreenJackets, matching their 4-2 record from the previous week. That’s thanks to some red-hot pitching from Tanner Gordon and Joey Estes atop the rotation. Gordon had a big week and has now allowed just one earned run of his last four starts, striking out 26 over that span. Estes came out of the gates on fire but hit a little three-game speed bump. He has rebounded nicely with two strong starts, allowing just one earned run over 13 innings.

At the plate, it’s the usual suspects. Bryson Horne continues to get comfortable at the plate, recording a hit in every game he played last week including his sixth home run of the season. Willie Carter belted his fifth home run of the season and drove in four last week. And of course, Braulio Vasquez had five hits last week, which turned into five stolen bases giving him 31 on the season.

Rome (32-28) vs. Greensboro Drive (35-25) — July 13-18

Last week: 3-5

Last week’s rotation: Alan Rangel, Darius Vines, Coleman Huntley, Mitch Stallings, AJ Puckett, Freddy Tarnok and Jake McSteen

Transactions: Added Jake McSteen from Augusta, AJ Puckett from Mississippi, and Mitch Horacek from Gwinnett; Activated Luis Mora; Placed Michael Harris II on the temporary inactive list for the MLB Futures Game

What an absolutely brutal week for the Rome Braves who had to pay eight games in six days against the top team in the division. A 3-5 record isn’t all that bad considering the toll it had on the lineup and pitching staff.

Darius Vines had another good start, proving to be a nice arm in the system. I was on hand for another impressive Freddy Tarnok start — we’ll have a live-look write-up later this week — despite only lasting 4.2 innings. His pitches are very impressive, it’s just a matter of harnessing consistent command before he becomes dangerous. Indigo Diaz made two appearances last week and proved to be human, allowing a run to score. Of course, he also struck out seven in his three innings pitched.

This may come as a surprise, but Jesse Franklin V homered this week. Three times to be precise. And they aren’t cheapies either, he is simply annihilating baseballs. Bryce Ball had four extra base hits and each one was absolutely crushed. Michael Harris II was out for a bulk of the week as he prepared for the Futures Game, but should be back for a huge series this week.

Mississippi (37-23) vs. Tennessee Smokies (24-32) - July 13-18

Last week: 5-1

Last week’s rotation: Spencer Strider, Hayden Deal, Odalvi Javier, Victor Vodnik and Bryce Elder

Transactions: Activated Victor Vodnik from IL; released Chris Nunn; traded Tyler Neslony to Chicago White Sox

The M-Braves are now all alone with the best record in Double-A South and the second-best in all of Double-A as arguably the hottest team in all of Minor League Baseball. They put the exclamation point on another 5-1 week with a combined no-hitter from Bryce Elder and Daysbel Hernandez.

Spencer Strider had a beautiful start to begin the week, going 5.1 innings while allowing just one run and striking out 11. However, he only lasted 0.2 innings on Sunday, allowing five runs without recording a strikeout. There is no word of injury yet, but obviously an uncharacteristic start like that needs to be monitored.

At the plate, everyone is clicking. Justin Dean and Trey Harris — see their stats above — are proving to be tricky table setters atop the lineup. Drew Lugbauer is hitting .360 in July with a 1.040 OPS to raise his season OPS to .922, one of the best marks in all of Double-A. He launched his seventh home run of the season last week as well. Wendell Rijo is having a silly July, hitting .382 with a 1.138 OPS and had another home run last week. And what’s a week without a Langeliers bomb. Shea Langeliers launched his 14th home run of the season and caught a no-hitter, continuing his run as one of the top catching prospects in all MiLB.

Gwinnett (26-34) at Charlotte Knights (25-33) — July 13-18

Last week: 3-4

Last week’s rotation: Nolan Kingham, Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Kyle Muller and Jose Rodriguez

Transactions: Travis Demeritte sent on rehab assignment in FCL; Johan Camargo recalled to Atlanta

It’s impressive that Waters had the week he had, considering he missed a couple of games while away at the Futures Game. There he added another hit and a walk for a big week. And speaking of impressive, how about the combined performance from Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright in a doubleheader on Thursday. Toussaint went six innings of two-run ball, striking out 11 and walking one while Wright tossed a complete game shutout.

While we’re on the impressive talk, Kyle Muller returned — hopefully briefly — to Gwinnett and looked sharp. He went six innings, allowing two runs and struck out 11 with no walks. It certainly was a solid week for the young pitchers.

William Contreras also returned to Gwinnett this week. The exciting, young catcher played three games and had three hits — two of which were doubles — two runs scored and an RBI. He’s progress will be worth watching in hopes of a quick return to Atlanta.