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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap -7/22/15

Tough night for the upper minors while Connor Lien continues to impress down in Carolina and the GCL Braves sweep a double header.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(48-49) Gwinnett Braves 2 vs. (52-46) Rochester Red Wings 4

Box Score

  • Sean Kazmar, 3B: 2-3, 2 runs, 1 BB, .277
  • Todd Cunningham, RF: 2-3, 2 2B, 1 RBI
  • Tyrell Jenkins, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2.94 ERA
  • David Peterson, RP; 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K

Tyrell Jenkins pitched well, but one inning where the Red Wings strung together some hits and a couple of defensive miscues led to the Braves losing, 4-2. While Jenkins' line looks reasonable, he actually pitched much better than that, but unfortunately most of the offense for Red Wings came in the fifth inning and that ultimately led to 3 runs. Still a strong start for Tyrell, although 0 strikeouts is certainly less than inspiring. The Braves' offense was also a bit sparse, although Todd Cunningham seems to be breaking out of his post-demotion funk with 6 hits in his last 3 games. He also accounted for the only extra-base hits for Gwinnett as the team scattered a bunch of singles other than that, including one for each of Jose Peraza and Mallex Smith. Daniel Castro had a rare rough night in the field as he had a pair of errors, one of which led directly to a run.

(49-45) Mobile BayBears 2 vs. (49-45) Mississippi Braves 1

Box Score

  • Sean Godfrey, CF: 2-5, 1 3B, 1 run, .220/.256/.280 (.284 avg overall in MiLB this season)
  • David Rohm, RF: 2-4, .240/.313/.284
  • Greg Ross, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4.87 ERA
  • Jason Hursh, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 5.29 ERA

Tough loss for Mississippi as they lose a pitchers' duel at home, 2-1. Greg Ross and the bullpen were outstanding in this game, but Ross was again the hard luck loser. Greg has allowed 2 runs or less in his last five starts, but he only has a 1-2 record to show for it (which is more of an indictment of wins and losses as a stat than anything else). Jason Hursh has now officially transitioned to being a bullpen prospect (adjust your rankings accordingly) and he has done well there thus far, although we definitely need a larger sample size than 5 games before any real conclusions can be drawn. As for the offense, they struggled to get 7 hits with Sean Godfrey's triple being the only extra-base hit for the team. After a promising month of June, Rio Ruiz has begun to slip at the plate again and hasn't reached based in 4 games while striking out 8 times in that span. Its looking more and more like he will start next year repeating AA to see if he can get his issues worked out.

(48-48) Carolina Mudcats 7 vs. (45-51) Winston-Salem Dash 1

Box Score

  • Connor Lien, CF: 2-4, HR(7), 3 runs, .300/.346/.434
  • Jacob Schrader, 1B: 1-5, HR(10), 3 RBI, .248/.290/.452
  • Brandon Barker, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2.77 ERA
  • Kyle Kinman, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 0.87 ERA (in high-A)

Connor Lien is continuing his reign of terror as the Mudcats blew this game open late and won 7-1 over the Dash. Lien hit a solo homer in the 3rd inning to give the Mudcats the lead, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. The Mudcats got contributions from just about everyone really, but Jacob Schrader's 3-run shot in the top of the ninth is really what blew the game wide open. However, those would prove to just be insurance runs as Brandon Barker was again excellent for Carolina. Since being promoted to Carolina, he has sported a 2.77 ERA with a 38/13 K/BB ratio and lately the strikeouts have been increasingly frequent. Josh Outman had another successful rehab stint while Kyle Kinman lowered his ERA at Carolina to 0.87 with two innings of scoreless relief.

(42-53) Rome Braves 1 vs. (42-51) Lexington Legends 11

Box Score

  • Ozhaino Albies, SS: 0-4, .326/.386/.429
  • Joseph Daris, LF: 1-2, 1 run, .279/.346/.420
  • Sean Furney, SP: 4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 3.09 ERA
  • Alec Grosser, RP: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 5.33 ERA

Rome probably wishes that this game never happened as they were routed by the Legends, 11-1. Ozhaino Albies is in a bit of a funk as he is hitless now in his last 3 games, the longest such drought of his young career. He also made an error in the field, but really the entire offense had a rough day as they could only muster 4 hits. If a team is going to have a rough day on offense, that makes watching your pitching staff struggle even worse, but that is precisely what happened in this game. Sean Furney had a very rough game and this season has been a bit of a mixed bag for him. He was not good in a short stint with Carolina and has been inconsistent at Rome, although he had been good in his previous 6 starts. Alec Grosser is, like Hursh, adjusting to his new role as a bullpen pitcher and thus far that has gone much better than his stint as a starter. He currently sports a 2.79 ERA as a reliever and while sample size is an issue, his command seems to be better in the role. Most of the rest of the bullpen struggled in this one and overall, this is a game to forget if you are a Rome fan.

(13-15) Danville Braves 2 vs. (12-14) Johnson City Cardinals 0

Box Score

  • Leudys Baez, LF: 3-4, 2 RBI, .295/.304/.464
  • Ian Hagenmiller, 1B: 1-4, 1 2B, .102/.131/.136
  • Ryan Lawlor, SP: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0.90 ERA
  • Chase Johnson-Mullins, RP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3.86 ERA

Pitching ruled the day in this one as Danville beat Johnson City 2-0. Leudys Baez continued his strong work at Danville, driving in both of Danville's runs in this game. Someone needs to have a chat with Baez about taking a walk here and there, as he has walked just twice in 25 games. Ian Hagenmiller's double accounted for the only extra-base hit for the Braves, but the story of this game was the pitching. Ryan Lawlor was again outstanding and he has given up just 2 earned runs in 6 games for Danville. 26th rounder Ben Libuda had a strong first appearance at Danville after a short stint in the GCL and Chase Johnson-Mullins came in an got the save with 2 innings of scoreless relief.

(9-17) GCL Astros 1 vs. (9-16) GCL Braves 2 - Game One

Box Score

  • Angel Perez, 2B: 2-4, 2 RBI, .250/.311/.268
  • Bradley Keller, LF: 2-3, 1 run, .314/.410/.392
  • Andrew Thurman, SP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Gabino Avalos, RP: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 5.73 ERA

(9-18) GCL Astros 4 vs. (10-16) GCL Braves 6 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, DH: 1-2, HR, SF, 2 RBI, ..241/.330/.407
  • Bradley Kelly, CF: 2-3, 2 2B, 1 run, .314/.410/.392
  • Juan Yepez, 1B: 1-3, HR, .308/.411/.474
  • Dilmer Mejia, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 5.82 ERA

The doubleheader against the GCL Astros was a good one for the Braves as they swept it 2-1, 6-4. One of the more surprising developments was seeing Andrew Thurman back in the GCL after being reactivated for Carolina last week. One wonders if he is having trouble coming back from injury, but no word yet as to whats going on. Game one saw a pitchers duel as Thurman and Gabino Avalos combined to throw 7 strong innings and Dalton Geekie came in and got the save. Game two saw Austin Riley hit his 4th home run of the season. Austin has really come on strong of late, although one would hope that he can remedy that 31.9% strikeout rate. Bradley Keller had 4 hits split between the two games and has been quite good this season in rookie ball. Juan Yepez got his first homer of the year and is putting up a slash line that could get him promoted sooner rather than later.

*quick Randy Ventura update from the Dominican Summer League: he has hit safely in 8 of his past 10 games and is up to 39 steals on the year in 34 games, compared to 5 caught stealing and 17 strikeouts. He has also made 12 outfield assists on the season. While his numbers look great, keep in mind that they are in the DSL so they are inflated a bit given the level of competition. That being said, the kid is fast, just turned 18, and one would think would be heading stateside soon to get a good look

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