The Braves got off to a hot start on Wednesday, plating five runs in the first inning and sending starter Julio Teheran to the plate before he took the mound. That early lead would be more than enough for Teheran, who pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts. Brandon Phillips exited the contest after an apparent groin strain in the second, but after the game Brian Snitker told reporters that his second baseman is day-to-day and is expected back in the lineup by Friday.
In case you missed it, the Braves High-A affiliate Florida Fire Frogs scored 22 runs on Tuesday, with several of the club’s top prospects playing a large role in the onslaught. Mike Rosenbaum of MLB.com featured four Braves on his top prospect performers from Tuesday, with Ronald Acuna, Austin Riley, and Alex Jackson representing the Fire Frogs and Max Fried representing Double-A Mississippi.
Together, the trio of Braves prospects accounted for eight of Florida's 18 hits, going 8-for-17 with four extra-base hits, eight runs scored and nine RBIs.
With all the pitching in the Atlanta system, very few things can catch the attention of the fan base more quickly than the words “power hitter” being used to describe a Braves prospect. Alex Jackson has become just that in his early days as a Brave, or at least he has shown it with more regularity than ever before, and David O’Brien of the AJC has taken notice. He shares several John Hart quotes with regards to Jackson as well, all of which make it sound as though the Braves are extremely happy with what they are seeing from their young prospect.
Jackson, still just 21 years old, went 3-for-6 Wednesday and hit his seventh home run of the season for the high-A Florida Fire Frogs, tying him for the overall minor league home-run lead. The sturdily built Californian is hitting .338 with a .364 OBP, .676 slugging percentage and 16 RBIs through 18 games while splitting the catching and DH duties with Jonathan Morales, another catching prospect the Braves are high on.
When I asked Hart how big Jackson is, he replied, “6-2, probably 220. Strong. He’s got the strongest grip strength in the organization, by far. He’s a strong, physical kid. He’s what a catcher looks like – big, strong, physical kid.”
Baseball is without doubt an international game, and the major leagues feature players from a wide variety of backgrounds and birthplaces. On Wednesday the Pirates inserted African-born infielder Gift Ngoepe into their game against the Cubs to make his debut. The rookie’s first at-bat came against Jon Lester, against whom he grounded a single up the middle to become the first African-born player to ever record a hit in the major leagues.
Corey Seager hit an absolute missile on Wednesday to tie Joey Gallo of the Rangers for the longest home run hit so far this season. Here are all the nerdy details for those of you who are into that sort of thing:
Seager's home run came on a 92.2-mph fastball from Cueto, had an exit velocity of 108.9 mph and a launch angle of 26 degrees that took it nearly halfway up the bleachers in center field at AT&T Park.