Before I get to the recap, I just wanted to say a couple of things since this is my last MiLB recap of the 2019 season. This has been my fifth season truly covering the Braves’ minor league system and things have changed a lot in those five seasons. When I first started, it was just a couple of us (shout out to Garrett to helping me make it through that season) desperately trying to survive the year and get these recaps covered without killing ourselves. Now, there is a really robust and awesome staff on the minor league side and I cannot remember the last time (its been at least a few years) that a minor league recap was missed and only a handful of times it was late. We’ve been able to do that because of all of you, our readers. Not only has your continued support allowed us to expand the staff here at Talking Chop to what it is now, but the success of the site drives us each day to make sure you all have what you want and need. As it turns out, you guys really love some minor league baseball and for that I am eternally grateful.
I also want to thank Kris Willis for being the best boss on planet Earth. There are great writers here at TC and everyone has their favorites, but Talking Chop absolutely would not exist if not for Kris constantly striving to make the site better, driving us, and making sure we don’t go off the rails too much (he is mostly successful with the last part). If you love Talking Chop and the community here, make sure you thank him. I also want to thank the MiLB staff for surviving yet another season. Recapping 4-6 games every single day is a lot of hard work. I often bristle at folks just calling TC “just a fan site” who “aren’t experts” and that is because that implies that there isn’t real, hard work being done. These guys live and breathe minor league baseball, they have all made contacts with scouts/coaches/players, and they are all driven to cover the crap out of the minor leagues and provide the best information about the Braves farm system out there. I couldn’t ask for a better team of guys and I would put them up against anybody. So to Garrett, Matt, Aaron, Wayne, and Gaurav...thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys are the best
Now that that is all out of the way, here is the recap for today.
Gwinnett Stripers 3, Durham Bulls 2
- Adam Duvall, RF: 2-3, 3B, HR, RBI, 2 BB, .967 OPS
- Drew Waters, CF: 1-5, HR, .747 OPS
- Austin Riley, LF: 1-5, 2B, 1.018 OPS
- Jonathan Morales, 1B: 3-4, RBI, .702 OPS
- Kyle Wright, SP: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 4.17 ERA
Gwinnett took down Durham thanks to a strong start from Kyle Wright and some timely home runs. Wright going seven innings was definitely a positive development and he has looked sharp of late. While the walk numbers haven’t been awesome, he has given up two earned runs or less in five of his past six starts for Gwinnett. Our own Wayne Cavadi was on hand for this one and liked what he saw out of Wright although, true to form, it definitely appeared as though Wright began to labor in the latter portions of his start. The Braves’ newest acquisition, Caleb Thielbar, made his debut for Gwinnett and threw two scoreless innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts to close the game out.
For the Gwinnett offense, the bad news was that the team went 2-15 with runners in scoring position which was why they weren’t able to blow this game wide open despite 11 hits and four walks in the game. On the plus side, they were still able to do some damage thanks to five extra base hits including solo home runs from Drew Waters and Adam Duvall. Duvall in particular was a terror as he had a triple and two walks to go along with his 32nd home run in the minor leagues this season. Austin Riley had a double as he continued his rehab assignment and Johan Camargo’s 13 game hitting streak sadly came to an end.
Mississippi Braves 2, Chattanooga Lookouts 9
- William Contreras, C: 3-4, 2B, R, .643 OPS
- Connor Lien, CF: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .790 OPS
- Jonathan Aro, SP: 3 IP, 7 H, 5 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 3.45 ERA
Not much to talk about here as Mississippi got walloped by Chattanooga by the score of 9-2. Mississippi has been pretty well ravaged by promotions, the injury to Kyle Muller, and the trade of Joey Wentz, so this was just one of those nights where they had to figure it out on the mound. Jonathan Aro struggled in three innings of work and Kurt Hoekstra, who has been fairly lights out as a position player turned reliever, gave up four unearned runs to put the game out of reach.
There were some positive things on the offensive side of the ball. William Contreras had a three hit game (his first since 8/7) and is now batting .333 over his last 10 games. Riley Unroe, Conor Lien, and Alejandro Salazar each had multi-hit games for Mississippi as well. Unfortunately, the combination of the pitching staff’s struggles, four errors in the game, and going 1-7 with runners in scoring position proved to be too much to overcome.
Florida Fire Frogs - Cancelled
Rome Braves 8, Asheville Tourists 4
- Bryce Ball, 1B: 2-4, RBI, R, .967 OPS
- Jeremy Fernandez, LF: 2-5, R, .615 OPS
- Ricky DeVito, SP: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 3.78 ERA
Rome continued their offensive resurgence of late as they routed Asheville by the score of 8-4. Ricky DeVito, the Braves’ 8th round pick in the 2019 draft, made his fourth start for Rome and was mostly successful on Saturday. A really costly throwing error by catcher Ricardo Rodriguez in the third inning cost Rome a couple of runs, but overall it was a strong outing from Ricky. Tanner Lawson threw three innings of scoreless relief with three strikeouts to bring his season ERA down to 2.14 and Kasey Kalich slammed the door in the 9th. Kalich has had an excellent pro debut with just three earned runs allowed in 21.2 innings to start his professional career with 24 strikeouts.
As for the offense, it was a balanced attack from the entire lineup that was responsible for this win as five different Rome players drove in runs on Saturday. Bryce Ball had yet another two hit game for Rome (if you want to read more about Bryce, feel free to give this write-up on him from a few days ago a read) which gives him 11 multi-hit games through his first 19 games in full season ball. Juan Morales and Ricardo Rodriguez each drove in a pair of runs for Rome.