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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: 8/14

Gwinnett's Yohan Flande pitched seven strong innings on Wednesday evening.


Durham Bulls 2, Gwinnett Braves 6

  • Jose Constanza, LF: 2-4, R, BB
  • Todd Cunningham, CF: 1-4, R, 3B (5), RBI
  • Ernesto Mejia, 1B: 2-4, R
  • Phil Gosselin, 2B: 2-4, R
  • Stefan Gartrell, DH: 1-3, R, BB, K
  • Joe Leonard, 3B: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • Jose Yepez, 1-4, 2B (7), 2 RBI
  • Yohan Flande: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 8:4 GO:FO, 99p-65s
  • Ryan Buchter: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 0:0 GO:FO, 23p-13s
  • Mark Lamm: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1:0 GO:FO
Gwinnett toppled the Durham Bulls Wednesday night by a final score of 6-2, outhitting them 10-3. Everyone chipped in to contribute on the offensive side — Jose Constanza, Ernesto Mejia, and Phil Gosselin all collected a couple of hits on the evening. Todd Cunningham and Jose Yepez collected the only extra-base hits of the game for the Braves, lacing a triple and a double, respectively. Yohan Flande threw seven strong innings, allowing two runs — none of which were earned — on three hits and four walks, punching out seven. The lefty has excelled in his last ten starts, posting a 1.98 ERA with a 35:11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 50 innings of work. Ryan Buchter *only* collected one strikeout in one inning of work, a surprising fact given his recent strikeout binge in which he has struck out 25 batters in 15 innings of work, an incredibly torrid pace. Mark Lamm recorded two strikeouts in an inning of work, closing out the game. The big righty from Vanderbilt has pitched fairly well for Gwinnett, holding opponents to a .258 average while posting an 18:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16.1 innings of work.

Mississippi Braves 3, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 2 (14 innings)
  • Greg Golson, CF: 1-4, R, 2 BB, 2 K, 2 SB (2)
  • Christian Bethancourt, C: 2-6, 2B (19), BB, K, E (throw, 11)
  • Tommy La Stella, 2B: 2-4, 2 R, HR (3), RBI, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Edward Salcedo, 3B: 1-7, 5 K, E (throw, 26)
  • Jose Martinez, RF: 3-7, 2B (16), K
  • Christian Marrero, 1B: 3-6, RBI
  • Gus Schlosser: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 9:1 GO:FO, 85p-50s
  • Juan Jaime: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0:2 GO:FO, 11p-5s
  • Shae Simmons: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0:0 GO:FO, 20p-11s
  • Ronan Pacheco: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1:0 GO:FO, 13p-6s
  • Pat Egan: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3:0 GO:FO, 41p-26s
  • Gary Moran: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 4:0 GO:FO, 37p-26s
  • Ryne Harper: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2:0 GO:FO, 11p-7s
Mississippi beat the Blue Wahoos in a marathon of a game, outlasting Pensacola 3-2 in 14 innings. Christian Bethancourt added another couple of hits to his impressive 2013 resume, including his 19th double and 15th walk of the season. Tommy La Stella reached base four times, smacking his third home run and tallying his 26th walk in a Mississippi uniform, bringing the second baseman's slash to .339/.412/.463 with a 26:27 walk-to-strikeout ratio in just over 250 plate appearances. Right fielder Jose Martinez also notched a double, his 16th of the year. Edward Salcedo had a night to forget, going 1-7 with five strikeouts and notching his 26th error in the field. Gus Schlosser pitched masterfully through six innings, allowing only one hit and three walks, striking out four and inducing nine groundouts. Shae Simmons blew a save opportunity, allowing two runs to cross under his watch. Gary Moran pitched very well in three innings of relief in extras, striking out four. Ryne Harper finally nailed down the game in the 14th inning, striking out one and collecting his ninth save of the season.

Wilmington Blue Rocks 6, Lynchburg Hillcats 4
  • Matt Lipka, CF: 1-5, R
  • Daniel Castro, 2B: 1-4, BB, K
  • Josh Elander, LF: 2-4, R, 2B (9), BB, K
  • Elmer Reyes, SS: 2-4, R, 2B (24), RBI
  • Levi Hyams, DH: 1-4, 2B (8), RBI, K
  • Greg Ross: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 7:5 GO:FO
  • Robert Fish: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1:0 GO:FO
  • Nate Hyatt: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1:1 GO:FO
With former Vanderbilt standout Sam Selman on the mound, Wilmington beat Lynchburg 6-4. Selman, a second round pick in the 2012 draft, struck out seven Lynchburg batters in five innings of work, but the projectable lefty also walked four and allowed five hits. Josh Elander and Elmer Reyes each had a couple of hits, one of which was a double, while designated hitter Levi Hyams also added a two-bagger of his own. Greg Ross battled, striking out six in seven innings of work, but the big righty allowed six runs, five of which were earned, on nine hits and a walk. Robert Fish and Nate Hyatt each worked an inning of scoreless relief.

Savannah Sand Gnats 2, Rome Braves 3

  • Kyle Wren, CF: 3-4, RBI, K
  • Jose Peraza, DH: 1-4
  • Eric Garcia, SS: 1-4
  • Casey Kalenkosky, C: 1-4, 2B (12)
  • Daniel Carroll, LF: 1-3, 2 R
  • Felix Marte, RF: 2-3, R, 2B (8), 2 RBI
  • Jason Hursh: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 5:2 GO:FO
  • Jose Lugo: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 3:1 GO:FO
  • Eric Pfisterer: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 4:1 GO:FO
Rome beat the Sand Gnats by a final score of 3-2. I was behind the plate for this game in order to see Jason Hursh throw in-person for the first time. (Warning: I'm about to dive into some scouting notes, so if you merely wish to read about the game, jump to the next paragraph.) Overall, I was pleased with his performance. The righty is listed at a generous 6'3" — I'd say he's closer to 6'1". He's an impressive athlete with a very well-developed lower half, creating a strong, sturdy base. He utilizes a high leg kick and carries his momentum well into footplant, allowing his hips and butt to lead the way. He lands softly on a firm, yet flexed front leg and gets fairly good extension out front, though he does exhibit some spin off toward first base. He delivers the ball from a true three-quarters arm slot, utilizing a long, smooth arm action. Due to the length of the arm action and the arm circle, Hursh's arm can come through a tad late at times, creating a small bit of arm drag on occasion and hindering the efficacy of his breaking balls (more on this in a second). Also, lefties have the added benefit of picking up the ball easily out of Hursh's hand due to his arm's path. Luckily, Hursh will never have to rely on sheer deception to get outs as he climbs the ladder. The 21-year-old sat 92-94 and touched 95 MPH with great sink and arm-side run on his fastball. The pitch is especially deadly when placed on the hands of right-handed hitters. He displayed decent command and control of the offering outside of a short rough patch he encountered in his final inning of work. He worked down in the zone with the pitch, inducing at least three of his groundouts via the fastball. Outside of his plus fastball, Hursh also flashed an above-average changeup with great arm-side sink and fade, which played extremely well off of the fastball. He also threw two breaking balls — a mid- to upper-70s curveball that featured decent depth and 10-4 break along with a short-breaking, mid-80s slider. The curveball flashed in warmups, but he struggled to keep the pitch down in the zone during game action, eventually scrapping it in favor of the harder slider. The slider did not feature a ton of depth, but the hard, late bite elicited both swings and misses and weak contact from the Sand Gnats. The slider was better than the curveball in this particular viewing, but due to his ability to spin average to above-average curveballs in warmups, it's easy to dream on the pitch.

The game itself was fairly close throughout. On the offensive side of things, Kyle Wren collected three hits, including a bunt single in which he got down the line in 3.75 seconds, while Casey Kalenkosky and Felix Marte roped a double apiece. Though Carlos Franco's line doesn't show it, he hit at least two balls that were absolutely roped yet failed to find holes. Hursh threw three innings, allowing three hits and one walk while failing to record a strikeout. 29-year-old Jose Lugo threw a couple of innings, allowing a couple of hits and a run, while pitchability lefty Eric Pfisterer, an undrafted free agent out of Duke, collected the four-inning save, allowing no hits and one walk, striking out three.

Elizabethton Twins 4, Danville Braves 3
  • Victor Reyes, LF: 2-5, R, 2B (2), K
  • Victor Caratini, 3B: 1-4, BB, 2 K
  • Bryan De La Rosa, C: 2-3, 2B (4), RBI
  • Alejandro Piloto, DH: 2-4, R, 2B (6)
  • Blake Brown, RF: 1-2, 2B (4), RBI, 2 BB, CS (2)
  • Jackson Laumann, 1B: 1-3, K
  • Michael Flores: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 2:2 GO:FO
  • Tyler Brosius: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1:0 GO:FO
  • Dakota Dill: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 0:3 GO:FO
Elizabethton polished off Danville for the fourth game in a row, beating the Braves 4-3. The recently promoted Victor Reyes had a couple of hits, including a double, while Bryan De La Rosa went 2-3 with a walk and a double, his fourth of the season. Blake Brown and Alejandro Piloto also contributed doubles to the offense. Lefty Michael Flores missed plenty of bats, fanning eight in five innings, but allowed three runs on four hits and a walk. Despite a 4.33 ERA, Flores has held opponents to a .217 batting average while striking out over ten per nine innings of work. His walk rate has increased this year, but the bat-missing ability is indeed intriguing. Tyler Brosius and Dakota Dill pitched two innings apiece to finish off the game, combining to allow four hits and one run in four innings of work, striking out seven.

GCL Tigers 9, GCL Braves 4
  • Hector Garcia, DH: 3-5, K, CS (3)
  • Connor Oliver, CF: 1-3, R, BB, SB (5), CS (1)
  • Cody Livesay, CF: 1-1, RBI
  • Jose Morel, RF: 2-5, RBI
  • Tanner Murphy, C: 1-3, R, K, PB (4)
  • Dylan Manwaring, 3B: 1-4, 3 K
  • Fernelys Sanchez, LF: 3-3, R, 2B (7), BB, SB (4)
  • Reed Harper, SS: 1-1, R, 2B (11), RBI, BB
  • Abraham Espinosa: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 7:4 GO:FO
  • Jorge Zavala: 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2:0 GO:FO
  • Blaine Sims: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 4:0 GO:FO
  • Steven Schils: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1:1 GO:FO
The GCL squad outhit the GCL Tigers 13-12, but the Tigers took advantage of their offensive opportunities, beating the Braves 9-4. Fernelys Sanchez had one of his best games in professional baseball, going 3-3 with a double, a walk, and his fourth stolen base. The 16th-rounder from 2012 has always tantalized with his tools, but injury recovery has limited his consistency in his second season in the GCL. Hector Garcia also contributed three singles while Reed Harper, a substitution in the game, smacked a double and took a walk. The pitching staff struggled against the Tigers' offense, allowing twelve hits, two home runs, seven earned runs, and three walks.

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