There was not a whole lot of greatness going down on the farm system for the Atlanta Braves, with a handful of solid performances dotted across an otherwise rough day. Bryson Worrell produced the most impactful offensive showing in Augusta’s win, while Tanner Gordon showed signs of improvement for Gwinnett.
(23-31) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (38-16) Norfolk Tides 5
- Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, .306/.399/.468
- Braden Shewmake, 2B: 0-2, 2 BB, .211/.276/.408
- Tanner Gordon, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 10.48 ERA
- Ty Tice, RP: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 7.97 ERA
Gwinnett has run into Triple-A’s best team this series, and tonight was a rough one for them. Early the Stripers had a major scoring opportunity, as they loaded the bases in the third inning with no outs. Forrest Wall singled to score one run and tie the game up, but three strikeouts in the inning stranded the bases loaded and wasted Gwinnett’s only strong rally. Joe Hudson added a run on with a solo home run in the fifth inning to take the lead in the game, but ultimately the Stripers pitching would falter late and the offense couldn’t support them. Braden Shewmake drew two walks in this game and after starting the season with an abysmal 3.3% walk rate has maintained a 15.4% walk rate along with an 18.5% strikeout rate over his 15 games.
Tanner Gordon allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in this game, but he caught fire soon after and mowed through the Tides lineup. Through five innings he allowed only one more hit and a walk, but erased both of those runners via pickoff and double play, respectively. His best inning was his two strikeout fourth, but things started to get hairy once he went the third time through the order. After allowing a walk in the sixth inning to flip the lineup over he gave up a double to the leadoff man which led to two runs following a sacrifice fly and another double. Gordon got a 1-2-3 seventh inning from the bottom half of the order to finish off one of his better Triple-A starts. Ty Tice took over in the eighth inning, and he allowed two runs in his lone inning of relief which provided the cushion Norfolk needed to easily seal the victory. Back to Gordon, he has been mostly bad since moving to Triple-A but in his recent starts has begun to show more competitive performances. Gordon’s changeup is a distant third pitch for him so he projects more in a middle relief role anyways, so those third time through the order struggles are expected and I don’t think they really impact how I value him. As long as he can start games well his fastball and slider are good enough to land him a low-leverage major league role.
(21-26) Mississippi Braves 3, (17-31) Birmingham Barons 5
- Javier Valdes, DH: 1-3, HBP, .300/.439/.556
- Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 2-4, RBI, .231/.351/.546
- Landon Stephens, RF: 3-4, 2B, RBI, .220/.346/.402
- Alan Rangel, SP: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 4.22 ERA
- Victor Vodnik, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.50 ERA
Mississippi’s pitching staff only allowed six hits in this game, but they came in bunches along with walks and it led to them allowing five runs in a loss to the Southern League’s worst offense and pitching staff. The Braves got only one runner on base in the first four innings, finally getting their break when Javier Valdes reached via error to lead off the fifth inning. Drew Lugbauer brought him home with an RBI single for Mississippi’s first run, and Landon Stephens would end up driving in Lugbauer to get the Braves within a run of the Barons. Valdes and Lugbauer singled consecutively in the sixth inning to give the Braves a chance to tie it, but Valdes was thrown out trying to swipe third base on a double steal and the rally fizzled from there. Mississippi wasted a leadoff double from Stephens in the seventh inning, then in the eighth struck out three times in a row after the first two batters of the inning reached base. Ultimately in the ninth the Braves got another run on hits from Stephens and Justin Dean, but went down 5-3 in the game. The single for Valdes extended his hitting streak to eight games and his on base streak to 19 and he has been the best bat in the Southern League by wRC+ this season.
Alan Rangel was well in control of this game for three innings, the only baserunner coming on a single from our old pal Tyler Neslony, but things got out of hand quickly in the fourth inning. Neslony led off with his second hit of the game, and after allowing a walk Rangel gave up a go-ahead two run double. Rangel gave up another hit and a run in the inning before a walk would cut his outing short and bring in the bullpen. Domingo Gonzalez kept things in check for the next 1 1⁄3 innings, but Trey Riley had the sixth inning and the Barons took back all of Mississippi’s progress. Riley struggled, walking two batters as his control of the zone wavered, and he allowed two runs on two hits before getting out of the inning. Victor Vodnik pitched two scoreless and hitless innings, but walked three batters and only landed 16 of his 35 pitches for strikes.
(23-25) Rome Braves 0, (21-23) Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
- Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 0-3, BB, .222/.359/.365
- Ignacio Alvarez, DH: 0-4, 3 K, .267/.416/.336
- David McCabe, 3B: 0-2, 2 BB, .300/.462/.300
- Luis Vargas, SP: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 5.89 ERA
Two hit shutouts are never fun for an offense, but despite those struggles the Rome Braves had their opportunity to win this game. The Braves drew seven walks in the game, but went 0-7 with runners in scoring position, including three critical strikeouts with the bases loaded. The most surprising was the struggle of Ignacio Alvarez, who struck out three times in the game. Alvarez has had two such games in the past week after having only one in his first 67 career games.
Luis Vargas allowed three runs in four innings, but the first of those came with a bit of misfortune. The Hot Rods got the benefit of two infield hits to lead off the second inning, and Vargas ended up allowing one of those to score with two outs when he hit a batter then walked the run in. Bowling Green definitely earned the next two, however, clubbing a double and triple in the third inning to extend their lead to 3-0. The Rome bullpen shut out the rest of the game, with JJ Niekro allowing a single in the fifth inning for the only hit the relievers allowed. Despite keeping it close the offense didn’t take advantage of their chances.
(26-22) Augusta GreenJackets 4, (18-30) Charleston RiverDogs 3
- Bryson Worrell, RF: 2-4, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, .238/.373/.524
- Tyler Collins, CF: 0-3, .209/.295/.261
- Jhancarlos Lara, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 4.32 ERA
- Nolan Martinez, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 3.23 ERA
The Augusta GreenJackets are as hot as any team in the Carolina League, and they cap off the day with a win that gets them within two games of the division lead. It’s their fourth straight win and extends their trend of road success as they move to 16-8 away from home this year. Bryson Worrell started it off with a solo home run in the first inning, but the GreenJackets fell behind 3-1 in the bottom of the inning and that score held for much of the game. Worrell’s hit accounted for the team’s lone run until the sixth inning, when Ethan Workinger brought the GreenJackets a step closer with a leadoff bomb of his own. The GreenJackets went into the ninth needing a rally, and Justin Janas drew a walk to start that rally off. Worrell followed with a triple to tie the game at three runs, then got a gift to tie the game up. With the pitch clock winding towards zero the RiverDogs pitcher rushed and never paused as he came set, leading to a balk call that brought Worrell home for the go-ahead run.
Jhancarlos Lara is an underrated talent in this system, but his biggest flaw was on display in this game as he walked five batters and only threw 33 of his 71 pitches for strikes. Lara walked the first two hitters of the game, but Nick Clarno threw out one of those trying to steal to get Lara his first out. Lara then allowed two hits to score a run before being called for consecutive balks to force two more runners home. He too never came fully paused, though he didn’t have the pitch clock as an excuse in these cases. Lara tightened it up a bit and would avoid further damage in the game as he went four innings, but his command was just never there and in total he was called for four balks. Lara is just 20 years old and was an international signing in 2021. He sits 95-98 with his fastball and has some projection left in his frame. He pairs that fastball with a hard slider that while inconsistent does flash solid movement and strikeout potential. Nolan Martinez was lock down in relief, striking out six batters over six innings to send the game to the ninth. Elison Joseph kept the ball in the strike zone in the bottom of the ninth, and with that saw success and pitched a perfect inning to record the save.