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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 8/12: Pitching reigns supreme, Austin Riley is good

The Braves minor league affiliates went 4-2 as their pitching ruled the day...with a little help from the usual suspects..

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(63-54) Gwinnett Braves 11 vs. (62-57) Charlotte Knights 1

Box Score

  • Mallex Smith, CF: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 runs, 2 SB (22 at Gwinnett), .250/.292/.322
  • Cedric Hunter, LF: 3-6, 1 2B, HR(11), 4 RBIs, .275/.318/.420
  • Christian Bethancourt, C: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 runs, .329/.362/.482
  • Greg Smith, SP: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2.23 ERA

Gwinnett started the scoring early and did not take their foot off the gas the entire game as they routed Charlotte 11-1. The pitching was excellent in this one as Greg Smith had his second straight start giving up just one run while Jason Hursh had yet another scoreless relief appearance. Hursh's ERA as a reliever is now under 2 and looks to be positioning himself to be aa valuable bullpen piece for Atlanta in 2016 and beyond. As for the offense, it came from a variety of sources on this day. Mallex Smith reached base 4 times, stole two bases, and scored two runs. Cedric Hunter, who has very quietly had an excellent season at Gwinnett, hit his 11th home run of the year and had 4 RBIs. Daniel Castro added 3 hits and 3 RBIs while Christian Bethancourt added his sixth straight multi-hit game. Only Luis Mateo was held hitless among the lineup regulars in this one and it was good to see such a strong performance on both sides of the ball.

(60-54) Mississippi Braves 2 vs. (59-55) Mobile BayBears 1

Box Score

  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-4, 2 RBI, .218/.325/.274
  • Kevin Ahrens, 1B: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 run, .242/.322/.367
  • Greg Ross, SP: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3.98 ERA

Mississippi used a strong pitching performance again by Greg Ross and a 2-run single by Rio Ruiz to beat Mobile 2-1. Rio came up big in the 7th for Mississippi as his 2 RBIs would prove to be the difference in the ball game. No Brave would get more than one hit in the game and Kevin Ahren's double was the only extra base hit on the night. However, despite a couple defensive miscues, the Braves took advantage of their 5 hits and pushed two runs across which is all the pitching staff would need. Greg Ross has been quite good for Mississippi of late, giving up two runs or less in his last 9 starts. Kyle Kinman and Tyler Jones combined to lock down the end of the game.

(59-56) Carolina Mudcats 4 vs. (53-62) Wilmington Blue Rocks 0

Box Score

  • Connor Lien, RF: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 run, 2 SB (30), .292/.345/.430
  • Johan Camargo, SS: 3-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 run, .263/.320/.346
  • Andrew Waszak, SP: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.55 ERA

Andrew Waszak pitched 7 scoreless innings and led the Mudcats to a 4-0 victory over Wilimington. Andrew bounces back and forth a bit between long relief and starting, which speaks to his versatility as he has been good in both roles. The offense was provided primarily by Johan Camargo who had 3 hits and 2 RBIs to pace the Mudcats. No other Mudcat player would have more than 1 hit, although Connor Lien made the most of his time on the base paths as he had 2 stolen bases in the game to bring his season total to 30. Dustin Peterson had another hitless game to continue what has been a miserable second half for him.  Reed Harper and Carlos Franco also had RBIs for Carolina and the 4 runs the offense scored would be more than sufficient due to yet another strong pitching performance in the Braves' minor league system.

(47-67) Rome Braves 3 vs. (66-48) Savannah Sand Gnats 12

Box Score

  • Braxton Davidson, RF: 1-5, 1 RBI, 3 K, .244/.390/.370
  • Tanner Murphy, C: 3-4, HR(5), 2 RBI, .192/.277/.291
  • Touki Toussaint, SP: 4 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 6.33 ERA
  • Alec Grosser, RP: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 0 K, 6.30 ERA

Touki Toussaint had an uneven start and the bullpen let the game get away from them as Rome fell 12-3. Touki gave up 4 earned runs in just 4 innings of work. He gave up just 4 hits and 2 walks, so he did get a bit unlucky to give up as many runs as he did. However, Alec Grosser has not demonstrated that he can throw a strike as he had 5 walks, 1 hit, and 6 earned runs on his line before he had pitched a full inning. Its safe to say that we think that Grosser shouldn't be threatening any top prospects lists any time soon. Tanner Murphy had 3 hits including his 5th home run on the year. His slash line isn't great, but he has been improving at the plate of late and with some measure of power he is worth keeping an eye on for the future as he is just 20 years old. Braxton Davidson did have an RBI in this one, but he also struck out three times which is certainly less than ideal.

(23-25) Danville Braves 5 vs. (28-21) Princeton Rays 4

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, .343/.477/.657 (at Danville)
  • Jose Morel, LF: 4-5, 1 2B, 2 runs, 1 RBI, .310/.384/.379
  • Kurt Hoekstra, SS: 3-5, HR(2), 2 RBI, .259/.355/.388
  • Mike Soroka, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1.64 ERA

Danville topped Princeton 5-4 after Austin Riley (of course it was) drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th inning. Austin reached base three times and while I don't see a home run in the box score, based on his performance of late its possible thats a typo (only kind of kidding). One thing to note is that since his promotion to Danville, his strikeout rate is below 20% and his error total is somewhat inflated by a disaster of a game where he had 4 of the 11 errors committed in the game total. Kurt Hoekstra hit his 2nd homer of the year while Jose Morel had a 4 hit game that saw him score two runs as well. Mike Soroka continued his run of excellence in rookie ball as he allowed one run in 4 innings of work to bring his ERA down to 1.64 on the year thus far while only walking 4 batters total. This draft class for the Braves (especially when you factor in late round gems like Matthew Custred) has the potential to be really special.

(25-15) GCL Tigers 11 vs. (18-25) GCL Braves 5

Box Score

  • Bradley Keller, CF: 2-5, 1 run, .319/.377/.468
  • Elias Arias, LF: 1-5, 2 RBI, 1 run
  • Jose Pina, RF: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, .274/.297/.358

Tough game for the GCL Braves as they fell to the Tigers 11-5. Bradley Keller had yet another productive game at the plate going 2-5 and the offense as a whole was very balanced. 7 of the 9 players in the lineup got hits while no one failed to reach base at least once in the game. However, of the Braves nine hits, only one was for extra bases so they had to get runs the hard way in this one. The pitching staff had a forgettable evening, giving up 17 hits and 11 runs as a staff. Giving up only one walk is encouraging, but they weren't fooling anyone in this game and the Tigers took advantage of virtually every scoring opportunity.

Quick Randy Ventura Update - Slashing .340/.429/.415 with 49 stolen bases and has hit safely in 8 of his past 10 games down in the Dominican Summer League.

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