Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Atlanta Braves Minor League Report! It is well known that the Atlanta Braves are in the middle of an organizational rebuild. With that being said, John Coppolella has done a masterful job of drafting and acquiring top-notch talent. Baseball America had six Braves prospects in their mid-season top 100 prospects for all of baseball. The team at Last Word on Sports has developed this weekly report to keep you update on how all the Braves prospects are developing! (The number in parenthesis indicates that players prospect ranking. All rankings are specific to the top 30 prospects in the Braves organization.)
Atlanta Braves Minor League Report – Week 1
Gwinnett Braves (AAA): The Gwinnett Braves finished the week with a record of 4-3. Gwinnett is led offensively by third baseman Rio Ruiz (15th). Ruiz began the week on a 1-for-16 skid with seven strikeouts and one run. Ruiz broke out of his slump on Thursday night going 2-2 with two walks and five RBI. Ruiz’s two hits for the night were a double and his tenth home run of the season. Ruiz finished the week going 7-for-27 with three runs scored, one home run, two doubles, nine strikeouts, and nine RBI.
Pitcher Chris Ellis (16th) struggled in his two starts this week. Ellis gave up four earned runs on four hits and four walks in five innings of work in his first outing. Ellis did add five strikeouts against the Rochester Red Wings. In his second start, Ellis gave up six runs, five earned, against Durham Bulls. Ellis added seven more strikeouts to his total for the season, but he certainly has work to do in terms of consistency.
Aaron Blair, who is no longer ranked in the top thirty of the Braves prospects, had a rough start against the Buffalo Bisons. Blair did pick up a win while going five innings, but he allowed three runs on six hits and one home run. Command was an issue for Blair as he issued four walks against just three strikeouts.
Tyrell Jenkins (Unranked) picked up a win with five scoreless innings against Durham on Friday. Jenkins allowed five hits and three walks while striking out four. Reliever Shae Simmons, still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, logged three scoreless outings with a line of three innings, two hits, and four strikeouts.
Mississippi Braves (AA): The Mississippi Braves finished the week without a win and a 0-7 record. The offensive was a struggle most of the week. The record, however, does not do justice to the starting pitching for Mississippi. Shortstop Ozzie Albies (2nd) posted another solid week at the plate going 8-for-20 with one RBI, two runs, one triple, one double, and two strikeouts. Dustin Peterson (18th) struggled for the Braves with just two hits (2-for-10 on the week) to go with one run, one RBI, two strikeouts.
Patrick Weigel (28th) had a solid Double-A debut against the Biloxi Shuckers. Weigel allowed two runs on two hits over 5.1 inning. Weigel also suffered from some control issues with four walks, but he also struck out seven men in his debut. Unfortunately, Weigel was saddled with the loss in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel. He has posted at least seven strikeouts in each of his last five starts. Weigel finished the week with a start against the Chattanooga Lookouts that was equally impressive as his debut. Weigel took the loss as he surrendered three runs on five hits and a home run, but he was able to complete seven innings with seven strikeouts. Look for his electric arm to make more noise for the Braves for the rest of 2016 and beyond.
Lefty Sean Newcomb (3rd) posted the third straight quality start for Mississippi. Newcomb went six innings without allowing a run on two hits with four walks to five strikeouts. Newcomb received a no-decision for his efforts as the Braves were shutout by the Shuckers 2-0. Akeel Morris (27th) came on in relief of Newcomb and took the loss. Morris allowed two runs on three hits in two innings of relief. Morris did add two strikeouts in his outing.
Michael Mader (Unranked) went seven strong inning against Biloxi in his third appearance for Mississippi. Mader allowed a lone run on two hits while striking out five Shuckers. Mader has been fantastic since joining the Braves as part of the Hunter Cervenka deal. He has a 0.90 ERA to go along with seventeen strikeouts in twenty-three innings of work. Mader did take the loss as the Braves were shutout in consecutive games by the Shuckers.
Max Povse (20th) hurled seven fantastic innings against the Shuckers allowing just two runs. Povse surrendered seven hits and a walk, but was able to strikeout four Shuckers. Povse was unable to log a win as the Braves fell 3-2, but was not credited with a loss as he received a no-decision.
Lucas Sims’ (14th ranked) turn at the rotation came on Friday night against the Shuckers. Sims allowed just two earned runs but appeared to struggle through the five innings he worked. Sims gave up four hits, including one long-ball, and walked three batters.
Carolina Mudcats (Advanced-A): The Mudcats finished the week with a record of 2-3. The Mudcats are led by Travis Demeritte (9th) and Braxton Davidson (24th). Demeritte finished put together a solid week with a line of 7-for-22 with six strikeouts. Demeritte continues to show some pop with one home run and two doubles. He also added one walk, three runs, and two RBI. Davidson had an up-and-down week. Davidson went 5-for-17 at the plate with two runs and four walks but added eight strikeouts. Starter Wes Parsons (Unranked) turned in a fantastic outing for the Mudcats. He held the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to one run in seven innings on two hits and a walk while notching seven strikeouts.
Rome Braves (A): The most successful team this week was the Rome Braves with a 6-1 record. Manager Randy Ingle notched his 1,500 victory on Monday, August 22nd. The leaders for Rome’s offense were third-baseman Austin Riley (13th) and Anfernee Seymour (19th). These two combined to go 16-for-43 with two home runs, seven RBI, 11 runs, and four steals. The highlights, however, belong to Rome’s pitching staff.
Kolby Allard (4th ranked prospect) continued the tear he has been on. Allard went eight strong innings in his first start of the week while allowing two runs on seven hits. Allard allowed just the fourth home run against him this year while striking out four without issuing a single walk. Allard was just as impressive in his second start this week. Allard struck out nine without a walk in five innings of a rain-shortened game. He picked up the win with a lone earned run to his credit on five hits.
Max Fried (11th) followed Allard’s start by going six strong innings. Fried allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out six against just two walks.
Nineteen-year-old Ricardo Sanchez (25th) continued with the theme of “quality pitching” in his turn of the rotation. Sanchez posted seven strong innings against the Kannapolis Intimidators. Sanchez picked up the win by yielding just one unearned run on four hits and three walks. He also struck out nine batters marking the third time this season he has struck out at least nine.
Touki Toussaint (10th) had one turn at the rotation this week, and he made the most of it! Toussaint allowed a single earned run on five hits and three walks. The highlight for Toussaint has to be his nine strikeouts, his highest total in a game since late-July.
Danville Braves (Rookie ball): The Danville Braves had an up and down week with a 3-4 record. Starting pitcher Ian Anderson (5th) was roughed up a bit in his start against the Bluefield Blue Jays. Anderson allowed five earned runs in four innings of work. Anderson did strikeout four and issued two walks. Anderson finished the week with a bounce-back effort against the Kingsport Mets. Anderson allowed four hits but no runs with five strikeouts in four innings of work. Anderson is certainly showing flashes of potential and will continue to grow in the coming months.
Another nineteen-year-old pitching prospect in the Braves organization, lefty Jaret Hellinger (Unranked), posted a strong start on Tuesday against Bluefield. Hellinger went six innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and three walks while posting two strikeouts.. The lefty has now allowed two or less runs in six of his past seven starts.