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Braves minor league preview: The Jesse Franklin Show highlights Week 9 and a look ahead Week 10

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The Atlanta Braves minor-league affiliates went a combined 13-11 last week. Let’s look at some hot prospects and what’s ahead for Week 10.

Atlanta Braves MiLB prospects take BP in Rome. Wayne Cavadi

If it were on network television, The Jesse Franklin Show would be stealing all the ratings. The Atlanta Braves outfield prospect celebrated July 4th weekend with his own fireworks show.

Just how hot is Franklin? We sat down to discuss his red-hot June — one in which he hit eight home runs — on Friday. By Sunday, he had added three more home runs to his resume.

Before we get into Week 10, let’s look back at some standout prospect performances from Week 9.

Augusta GreenJackets:

  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 5.2 IP, 2 H, R, 1 BB, 10 K
  • Bryson Horne, 1B/DH: 6-for-21, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Joey Estes, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K

Rome Braves:

  • Jesse Franklin, RF: 8-for-26, 3 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBI
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 10 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 13 K
  • Jared Shuster, SP: 5 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K

Mississippi Braves:

  • Shea Langeliers, C: 7-for-19, 2 HR, 5 RBI
  • Trey Harris, RF: 6-for-24, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 8-for-21, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR

Gwinnett Stripers:

  • Drew Waters, OF: 6-for-26, 2 2B, 1 HR. 2 SB
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K

Now, let’s look ahead at what’s in store on the Braves farm this week.

Augusta (24-29) vs. Myrtle Beach Pelicans (24-29) — July 6-11

Last week: 4-2

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

Transactions: Vaughn Grissom, Malcom Van Buren placed on the 7-day IL; Chad Bryant, Brandon Parker activated from IL

Jake McSteen is becoming a pitcher to watch. He opened and closed the week with a win, going 13 combined innings, allowing just two runs while striking out 11 and walking two. Keep in mind, he is a bit older — being a 25-year-old college arm out of Nebraska — but he is clearly handling the competition he is facing. Tanner Gordon is amid a little hot streak, tossing his second-straight scoreless outing. He also struck a season-high 10 batters, doubling up his next closest total.

Willie Carter continues to be the king of swing in Augusta. He’s now slashing .305/.403/.421 on the season with a 133 wRC+. Cade Bunnell is racking up the extra base hits, now with a team-high 13 doubles and seven home runs. He has a fantastic walk rate (49 in 51 games) but has struck out 81 times in 167 at bats. Until he can make more contact consistently, he will be a boom or bust low-level bat.

Rome (29-23) vs. Bowling Green (34-18) — July 6-11

Last week: 5-1

Last week’s rotation: Freddy Tarnok, Alan Rangel, Jared Shuster, Mitch Stallings and Darius Vines

Transactions: None

Jesse Franklin’s torrid run is showing no signs of slowing down. He now has a .916 OPS and a 143 wRC+ on the season. Overall, all the bats were alive last week. Michael Harris had a monster seven-RBI game and had eight hits during the week. Four were doubles and one was grand slam, so if you’re worried about the power coming along, there seems to be little reason to continue with that.

Freddy Tarnok was very sharp to open the week and was a victim of the long ball in his final game, allowing three home runs on Sunday. Still, he is striking out High-A hitters in bunches and it is fun to see. But let’s give the Rome bullpen some love. Kasey Kalich picked up another save and has allowed just one earned run in his last six appearances. Indigo Diaz had two more scoreless appearances, striking out the side in his first inning of work and then, surprisingly, retiring all six batters he faced on Sunday... without recording a strikeout. Trey Riley pitched another 1.1 scoreless innings and hasn’t allowed a run in five-straight appearances now. And lastly, Zach Daniels had two more scoreless appearances and hasn’t allowed a run since May 27.

Mississippi (32-22) vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (33-21) - July 6-11

Last week: 3-3

Last week’s rotation: Bryce Elder, Spencer Strider, Hayden Deal, Odalvi Javier and A.J. Puckett

Transactions: Bryce Elder promoted from Rome; Activated Sean McLaughlin; Transferred Josh Graham to the 60-day IL

It’s a battle for first place in the South this coming week. There is something with the Michigan bats in the Atlanta Braves system this summer. Drew Lugbauer is having a resurgence in Mississippi and had two more doubles and five more RBI last week. Although he still hasn’t seen a pitch he doesn’t like, striking out 36 percent of the time, his OPS is an impressive .850 and he’s posting a 135 wRC+. Braden Shewmake’s hot streak continued its momentum into July. The shortstop is now on a nine-game hitting streak, with five of those games coming in the multi-hit variety.

The starting rotation, which had been pretty hot in June, all struggled this week. Bryce Elder bounced back from a tough Double-A debut on Tuesday — one in which he allowed four runs in four innings — to close the week with five strong innings, allowing one run and striking out five. Brooks Wilson is a real bullpen piece everyone should be watching. He had two more scoreless outings this past week, striking out three and now has a 1.54 ERA on the season. Troy Bacon has also been much improved this season, with two more scoreless outings of his own, lowering his ERA to 1.64.

Gwinnett (23-30) vs. Nashville Sounds (33-19) — July 6-11

Last week: 1-5

Last week’s rotation: Nolan Kingham, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Jose Rodriguez and Jasseel De La Cruz

Transactions: Sean Newcomb, Kyle Muller assigned to Gwinnett; Trevor Kelley placed on 7-day IL; Orlando Arcia promoted to Atlanta

There were not many highlights this week for Gwinnett. The big news was Orlando Arcia getting the call and promptly delivering in his first game in the Atlanta Braves lineup. Bryse Wilson had a much-needed strong start — he was the only Stripers’ starter to silence the Durham Bulls excellent bats this past week. Jasseel De La Cruz and Nolan Kingham had arguably their worst starts of the season.

Reliever Dylan Lee has earned himself some of the spotlight. He tossed three innings this past week, allowing one run and striking out three. He now has a 1.96 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP.

Drew Waters ended the week very well. He closed the week 6-for-13 with two doubles, a home run and two stolen bases. More importantly, he struck out just twice in those 13 at bats. Cristian Pache had five hits this past week, but still struggled with the strikeouts, striking out 10 times in the final four games of the week.