clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Rio Ruiz Homers Twice

Rio Ruiz hit the game winning home run in both halves of Gwinnett’s double header, while 2 catchers also went yard and Randy Ventura swiped some more bags.

MLB: Atlanta Braves-Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

(13-8) Gwinnett Braves 2, (9-11) Pawtucket Red Sox 1

Box Score

Mel Rojas Jr., LF: 2-2, 2 2B, RBI, BB, .259/.308/.395

Ozzie Albies, 2B: 0-3, .267/.292/.400

Rio Ruiz, 3B,: 1-3, HR, RBI, .218/.265/.359

Andrew Albers, SP: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.12 ERA

(14-8) Gwinnett Braves 3, (9-12) Paawtucket Red Sox 1

Box Score

Mel Rojas Jr., RF:1-4, .259/.305/.388

Ozzie Albies, 2B: 0-4, .255/.280/.383

Rio Ruiz, 3B,: 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, .232/.276/.402

Enderson Franco, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1.00 ERA

Power has been hard to come by for Rio Ruiz this season, but the last week has seen him hit all 3 of his home runs in the season. Today could not have been a better time for him to get 2 of those, with his home run in the first being a go ahead and eventual game winner for Gwinnett. The GBraves switched over to the home side of the scoreboard as a makeup for a game they lost at Coolray Field, and Ruiz again played the hero with a walk off 2-run homerun to give the Braves a sweep. His play raised his slugging percentage by more than 80 points, and made up for the struggles that most of lineup has faced. Ozzie Albies has highlighted those going hitless in his last 3 games with 5 strikeouts, lowering his OPS from .749 to .663 in the process. This is the first time in Albies career he has gone 3 straight games without reaching base. Ryan Howard is showing why no team really wanted him, as he’s now batting .190 with no extra base hits in his 6 games in Gwinnett. Today was the second time in Rio Ruiz’s career that he has homered in 2 consecutive games (the first since 2013) and is the first time he has hit 2 home runs in one day in his career.

Gwinnett ran out the two most lackluster starting pitchers they could, and wouldn’t you know it they threw together 2 of the best pitching performances of the season for the team. For Andrew Albers this was his 3rd start of the season, and was his longest performance. He kept the ball on the ground and out of the strong winds and got 8 ground ball outs. He turned the game over to David Peterson, who was strong in 1.1 perfect innings and struck out 2 batters. Enderson Franco has now turned in 2 straight impressive starts for Gwinnett, this one consisting of 5 shutout innings. Again Franco was able to work the outside corner with a good fastball, and the PawSox hitters weren’t able to square him up. Rhiner Cruz pitched a scoreless 6th inning with 3 strikeouts, one of those reaching on a wild pitch, and got a ground out for the other out. Jason Hursh struck out 4 batters in his 2 innings of work, though he did allow the only run of the game, and has now struck out 16 batters in 13.1 IP of work this season with only 2 walks allowed. Sam Freeman pitched the final inning before the walkoff, and lowered his ERA on the season to 0.96.

Next Game: 4/30 @ (9-12) Pawtucket Red Sox @ 1:35 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.19 ERA)

PAW: Hector Velazquez (1-0, 2.79 ERA)

((11-12) Mississippi Braves 2, (13-10) Tennessee Smokies

Box Score

Travis Demeritte, 2B: 1-4, RBI, .244/.330/.385

Kade Scivicque, C: 2-4, HR, RBI, .314/.368/.412

Jared James, LF: 2-4, .235/.293/.397

Matt Withrow, SP: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2.08 ERA

It took a little bit, but we finally saw the first home run as a Brave from Kade Scivicque. Unfortunately, the MBraves couldn’t string together much more offense and were shut out after going up 3-1 in the 3rd inning. . Travis Demeritte struck out twice in this game, but ran his hitting streak to 4 in a row. Demeritte had bottomed out at a .206 average on the season, but has since pushed that up near his career average. Demeritte hit a double for the second straight game, and drove in his first run since the 15th. With that double, Demeritte moves into a tie for second in the Southern League in that category. Carlos Franco drove in his 18th run of the season, which leads the Southern League with a 4 RBI gap between he and second place. The Braves were shut out in the walk column, which hurt them again despite outhitting the Smokies, and are now last in the Southern league in walks drawn.

Matt Withrow tossed another solid outing with his 5 innings today, and his ERA is now second best among MBraves starters at 2.08. Withrow has struggled to put up more than 5 innings in a game, averaging exactly that number last season, and while he is doing the same this season much of that is limited pitch count. He is finishing starts better than last season and is leaving his relievers clean innings to work with. Philip Pfeifer’s was the main pitching aspect of the game that caused the MBraves to go down. Pfeifer worked a scoreless 6th and recorded the first 2 outs of the 7th, but then allowed the next 4 batters to reach base including a bases-loaded walk. Bradley Roney was brought in in relief and allowed a bases-clearing triple that ended up being all the Smokies need, and then went on to pitch 2 clean innings following recorded the final out in the 7th. Roney struggled in Florida as part of his rehab, but didn’t walk anyone and struck out 2 batters in his outing today.

Tomorrow’s game with Tennessee has been postponed.

(10-13) Florida Fire Frogs 1, (13-10) Lakeland Flying Tigers 2

Box Score

Ronald Acuna, CF: 1-4, RBI, .289/.337/.482

Austin Riley, 3B: 1-3, .242/.287/.389

Jonathan Morales,C: 0-4, .295/.345/.372

Drew Harrington, SP: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2.54 ERA

After exploding for 18 runs in game 1 of the series the Fire Frogs offense was held well in check this game, only managing 4 hits the entire game. Ronald Acuna was one who could not be slowed, and moved his hitting streak to 9 straight games. He is hitting .375/.419/.625 in that span, with 16 hits and 10 RBIs. Ray-Patrick Didder had been showing signs of life at the plate with a 5 game hitting streak, but couldn’t extend that tonight. He did walk and score a run, and despite his sub-Mendoza performance has a respectable .333 OBP with his 15.6% walk rate.

Tyler Neslony hd one of the hits tonight, and in his 13 games of action has a 1.156 OPS and nearly .500 OBP. His double today was his 6th on the season, and he has more extra base hits (8) than singles right now.

Drew Harrington went out for the Fire Frogs and once again put up a solid start for them. Thought it wasn’t enough to get Florida a win in this one (Harrington was charged with the loss as well), Harrington is 5/5 this year in holding opponents to 1 or fewer walks and has done so in all 6 career starts. His 6 strikeouts in this one are a career high, and he once again kept everything on the ground with 7 ground ball outs over his 6 innings. Mauricio Cabrera worked his second rehab game out of the bullpen, and held Lakeland down preventing them from scoring a run in his 2 innings of work. He did however walk 2 of the 9 batters he faced, throw 2 wild pitches, and only manage to throw 18 of his 34 pitches for strikes. Sean McLaughlin finished out the game with a perfect 9th and one strikeout. He only used 9 pitches in the inning.

Next Game: 4/30 vs (13-10) Lakeland Flying Tigers 5:05 PM ET

Probable Starters


LAK: Luke Dowdy (1-1, 3.06 ERA)

(16-7) Rome Braves 6, (10-14) West Virginia Power 1

Box Score

  • Juan Yepez, 3B,: 2-3, BB, RBI, SB, .329/.375/.506
  • Randy Ventura, RF: 2-3, BB, 2 SB,, .373/.434/.413
  • Tanner Murphy, C: 1-3, HR, BB, 3 RBI, .262/.400/.405
  • Bryse Wilson, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.38 ERA

The South Atlantic League’s finest rolled once again to victory, moving their record to a league-best 16-7 with 5 wins in their last 6 games. In fact no affiliated baseball team has more wins than Rome right now, though 3 minor league teams and 2 major league teams are tied with 16. Randy Ventura also continued on his path of destruction, stealing his 12th and 13th base of the season to now lead the South Atlantic League. He’s been efficient as well, with only 1 caught stealing, and is second in the league in batting average and OBP. Tanner Murphy his his first home run of the season, and despite only batting .262 has fairly well proven he can handle Low A pitching with 11 BB to 7 K on the season. Juan Yepez extended to a 5 game hitting streak with his 2 today. He seems to be inspired by all of his speedy teammates, and has stolen 3 bases in 4 attempts this season after having just 3 stolen bases in his previous 85 career games. Rome now leads the South Atlantic League in stolen bases and is tied for the 3rd least caught stealing on the season, so they are taking small ball and turning into a great season.

Another day, another show of pitching dominance by the Rome Braves, whose league leading team ERA is more than half a run better than the second best team. Today was Bryse Wilson’s turn to shut down the Power, and he responded with 5 great innings. The only blemish on his record was a 4th inning home run that came on the only fly ball Wilson allowed in the game. He recorded 9 outs on ground balls and worked through his 5 innings on 76 pitches. The home run he allowed was the first of his career, and he has been the picture of consistency with exactly 5 strikeouts in 4 of his starts and exactly 2 walks in 4 of them. Oriel Caicedo stopped in for 4 shutout innings, dropping his ERA on the season to a team leading 1.14. He hasn’t allowed multiple runs in an outing this entire season, and hasn’t done so since August 14th of last season.

Next Game: 4/30 vs (10-14) West Virginia Power 2:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jeremy Walker (0-1, 3.31 ERA)

WV: Luis Escobar (2-1, 3.22 ERA)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power