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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Drew Waters and Cristian Pache Are Currently Exceeding The Hype

While Drew Waters and Cristian Pache continue to amaze, Austin Riley could be on the verge of a season breakout.

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

Gwinnett Stripers 1, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 2

Box Score

  • Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, 2B, E
  • Adam Duvall, DH: 2-4, 3B, RBI
  • Ryan LaMarre, CF: 2-3, 2B, BB, K, CS
  • Sean Newcomb, SP: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K

For the first two innings, we got the good side of Sean Newcomb. He was throwing strikes and batters couldn’t square up on him. He ran into quite a bit of trouble in the third inning though when he walked the leadoff guy who came around to score on a double. Newk managed to walk three batters and left the bases stranded. He wasn’t fooling anyone in the fourth either, but managed to get three quick outs on five pitches. There were moments where Newk looked like an ace. One particular batter he located two fastballs and dropped a beauty of a curve that froze the batter for strike three. There’s nothing to really glean from this start as it was like so many of his starts.

Gwinnett’s offense managed nine hits and three walks. More than enough base runners to win a game. However, the Braves were unable to come through with a timely hit. Raffy Lopez in particular left six men stranded today. For the past several games, Austin Riley was just getting under balls to make long fly outs. Today he connected with one for a double and a line drive single. He has cut down on the strikeouts over the past few games, so it feels like he’s due to break out at any moment. However, a few walks would help his cause.

Mississippi Braves 5, Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds) 3

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, RF: 3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, K
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-3, HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, K, E
  • Jonathan Morales, C: 1-2, 2 BB (Allowed 2 SBs vs 1 CS)
  • Connor Johnstone, SP: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Josh Graham, RP: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

What a friendly rivalry that Drew Waters and Cristian Pache have right now. You can tell that they both want to make things happen with the bat and glove. Tonight was a treat as Waters collected three hits including two doubles. Not to be outdone, Pache walked twice and hit a 9th inning home run. Cristian Pache now has a nine-game hitting streak. He has two games where he’s walked twice (though the only games he has walked), and and has homered in two straight! His stat line for the season is ridiculous. About the only thing these two could be doing better is reducing the strikeouts. On a sour note, CJ Alexander has been placed on the 7-day IL due to a right elbow injury.

After giving up runs in 3 of his 4 relief appearances at Gwinnett, Connor Johnstone got demoted to AA. He was back starting and pitched ok. The bullpen came in and kept the lead which allowed Josh Graham to close things out, picking up a save in the process.

Florida Fire Frogs 2, Daytona Tortugas (Reds) 7

Box Score

  • Riley Delgado, 3B-SS: 3-4
  • William Contreras, C: 1-4, RBI, 2K, PB
  • Greyson Jenista, DH: 1-4, RBI
  • Izzy Wilson, RF: 0-4, K, 2 SB, E
  • Keith Weisenberg, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 5 ER (6 R), 2 BB, 5 K

The Fire Frogs and Keith Weisenberg faced off against former Brave legend Randy Venture and a top 2018 draft pick Jonathan India. Those two went 3-for-8 with two walks and scored four runs. Weisenberg didn’t have much luck today. He was getting the groundballs you want, but they were just finding holes. Outside the double that cleared the bases, everything else was hit on the ground. The bullpen came in and did a solid job allowing one run over the final five innings.

Yet another team where the offense was stifled from scoring despite getting plenty of runners on base. Riley Delgado did his thing getting three hits, but he never came across home plate. Contreras, Jenista and Ramos have been the 3 - 5 hitters most of the season and they all have an OPS under .700. If this offense is going to start clicking, those three need to produce way more than they are right now.

Rome Braves 0, Greenville Drive (Red Sox) 4

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 0-3, 2 BB, 2 SB
  • Ricardo Rodriguez, C: 3-4, 2 2B
  • Trey Riley, SP: 4 IN, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
  • Victor Vodnik, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • Kurt Hoekstra, RP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

The lack of clutch hitting and some questionable base running doomed the Braves. While Rome was shut out, they had multiple opportunities to score. In the third, Rodriguez hit a two-out double followed up by Jose Bermudez singling. However, with runners on the corners and two outs, Bermudez tried to steal second but was thrown out ending the inning. Rodriguez reached on an error to start the seventh. Carlos Paraguate followed with a double, but Rodriguez was gunned down at the plate. Rome loaded the bases in the ninth, but Justin Dean struck out to end the inning.

On the mound, Trey Riley lacked fastball command. He was leaving pitches up and caught too much of the plate. Greenville knew he was a bit wild and that made it easier to lay off his slider. He allowed six hits and four runs to go along with three walks. All four runs came in the third inning where he did a good job escaping a bases loaded, nobody out situation to limit the damage. Reports were that Victor Vodnik was 96-100 mph tonight (stadium gun). Also, the Kurt Hoekstra pitching experiment continued and the results have been impressive so far. Hoekstra allowed a hit but struck out the side in a scoreless inning. For the season Hoekstra has thrown 7 1/3 innings and has 16 strikeouts to go along with just two walks.

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