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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 7/2: Jenista debuts in Rome, Wright and Anderson pitch well

Some strong pitching performances were the highlights from Monday’s action in the Braves’ farm system.

MLB: Atlanta Braves-Media Day Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Gwinnett Stripers 3, Durham Bulls 14

Box Score

  • Sean Kazmar, SS: 1-4, HR, RBI, .216/.256/.284
  • Rob Brantly, C: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, .214/.244/.289
  • Michael Mader, SP: 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 5.40 ERA

We won’t linger here long as Gwinnett got thumped by Durham by the score of 14-3. Sean Kazmar and Rob Brantly each went deep and Phil Gosselin had a pair of hits out of the leadoff spot. Rio Ruiz extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single and is currently batting .372 over his last 10 games. Overall, a very respectable performance from the offense.

However, the pitching was....not as respectable. Michael Mader failed to escape the third inning and Gwinnett was down 11-0 by the end of the 4th inning. Andres Santiago came on in relief of Mader and the results were more of the same as he gave up five runs in 1.1 innings of work. Chad Bell and Jason Hursh stopped the bleeding for three innings before position player and all-around good guy Sal Giardina (a catcher for those following along at home) pitched the final frame and gave up three earned runs.

Mississippi Braves 0, Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 3 - Game One

Box Score

  • Tyler Neslony, RF: 2-2, BB, .235/.277/.296
  • Brandon Downes, LF: 1-3, SB, .229/.270/.429
  • Enderson Franco, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 3.75 ERA

Mississippi Braves 6, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 3 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Travis Demeritte, LF: 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, .223/.326/.393
  • Luis Valenzuela, 3B: 3-4, 2B, 2 runs, .295/.318/.389
  • Kyle Wright, SP: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.18 ERA

Mississippi got back on track and salvaged a split of their doubleheader with Pensacola by the scores of 0-3 and 6-3. The pitching was very solid overall. Enderson Franco was his usual steady self as he gave up three runs in six innings of work. While he isn’t a prospect at this point. Franco is the kind of guy you want in your organization because he gives quality innings and can do so at basically any level of the minors if need be. Kyle Wright was very similarly solid with a three-run outing of his own. The outing looks worse than it really was as Wright was in control for the vast majority of his start, but made a bad pitch in the second inning that turned into a two-run homer.

On offense, the first game was a bit of a disaster outside of Tyler Neslony reaching base three times. The second game was significantly better with Brandon Downes connecting for a two-run homer and Travis Demeritte doing the same. It is worth noting that Alex Jackson has not played the last couple of days. No word if there is an injury issue in play there and its possible that he just needed a couple of days in the hopes of turning around his season which has been a disappointment so far.

Florida Fire Frogs 3, Jupiter Hammerheads 2

Box Score

  • Jared James, LF: 1-3, BB, run, .228/.296/.386
  • Kurt Hoekstra, 1B: 1-4, 2 RBI, .234/.288/.262
  • Ian Anderson, SP: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 3.17 ERA

Ian Anderson turned in his best start of the season and Florida hung on to beat Jupiter by the score of 3-2. Ian was electric in striking out 11 batters over six scoreless innings including two of the last three batters he faced and limiting the walks was an added bonus. He also reached the 100 pitch plateau for the first time this season and has given up two earned runs or less in 10 of his last 11 starts this season. His numbers are a bit wonky this season, but that has more to do with rain shortening some of his starts than anything he has done wrong. Mauricio Cabrera nearly let Jupiter steal a win as he allowed two more runs to score under his watch and his ERA in the minors this season currently sits at 8.89.

The big blow on offense came from a two-run single off the bat of Kurt Hoekstra, but beyond that the Fire Frogs offense was very quiet. In fact, that had more runs (3), than they did hits (2) in the game.

Rome Braves 1, Kannapolis Intimidators 2

Box Score

  • Greyson Jenista, RF: 1-4, 3B
  • Riley Delgado, SS: 1-3, .332/.379/.409
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 5.27 ERA

Alan Rangel pitched well and 2018 second round pick Greyson Jenista made his full season debut as Rome fell to Kannapolis by the score of 2-1. Rangel found himself in a bit of trouble at times with some less than timely walks, but the breaking ball was working well for him and avoided any damage. The defense was a struggle for Rome in the later innings with a bad throw on a force attempt from Jean Carlos Encarnacion leading to a run and some sloppiness overall costing Rome a chance to win.

On offense, it was a relatively quiet night although Greyson Jenista announced his arrival to Rome in a loud way with a triple in his first at-bat. I was there at this particular game and can attest that even though he got under it, the contact was loud and he very nearly hit the ball out anyways. William Contreras drew a walk and impressed with his eye and patience at the plate. Even more impressive was his work behind the plate (aside from a dropped foul pop-up right at the netting) as he looked athletic and he has a cannon for an arm which was on full display when a runner got a good jump on a stolen base attempt and still was out by a mile.

Danville Braves 5, Bristol Pirates 3

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-5, SB, 2 runs, .286/.352/.367
  • CJ Alexander, DH: 0-2, 3 BB, run
  • Jose Montilla, SP: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2.08 ERA

Danville backed up some solid pitching with some manufactured runs (drawing 11 walks in a game is generally pretty helpful) as the Braves took down Bristol by the score of 5-3. The newly promoted CJ Alexander did not record a hit in the game, but walked three times and helped set the table for the few hits that Danville did have in the game. Brendan Venter had one of those hits and also drove in a pair of runs. It is worth mentioning that there were THREE games yesterday that resulted in Braves affiliate wins where the team won by having more runs than hits in the game. Minor league baseball is fun.

GCL Braves 8, GCL Pirates 0

Box Score

  • Trey Harris, RF: 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, run, .241/.405/.310
  • Ray Hernandez, 1B: 2-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, .241/.389/.517
  • Albinson Volquez, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2.45 ERA

This was the third game that had more runs than hits and it was arguably the most impressive towards that end as the GCL Braves shut out the Pirates’ rookie ball affiliate 8-0 despite only recording 5 hits. A pair of errors and a few walks helped the cause, but the Braves simply did a great job capitalizing on their scoring chances. Ray Hernandez had a pair of extra base hits including a homer and drove in four runs and Trey Harris drove in three of his own. The pitching staff did an excellent job for the most part with Volquez, Alex Camacho, Alex Aquino, and Victor Calavieri combining for the shut out. The nine walks versus six strikeouts was a bit unsightly, but overall a strong performance nonetheless.

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