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Braves Minor League Recap:Max Fried rehabs, Alvarez homers twice

Max Fried pitched three scoreless innings in his second rehab start

Houston Astros v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves system had its ups and downs on Saturday, with the most notable performances coming in a loss in Rome. Max Fried made his second rehab appearance and pitched three innings, while offensively Nacho Alvarez kept his power surge going as he led the hitters in the system.

(38-50) Gwinnett Stripers 7, (44-45) Memphis Redbirds 3

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, 2B: 0-4, BB, .316/.397/.461
  • Braden Shewmake, SS: 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, .233/.310/.435
  • Allan Winans, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.81 ERA

Braden Shewmake was a huge piece to Gwinnett’s win, twice coming up with huge hits to lead the team in RBI. Shewmake’s first was a solo home run in the second inning, which tied the game and gave Shewmake 11 on the season. Shewmake already has three home runs in nine July games, matching his total from May and June combined. Gwinnett took their first lead in the fifth inning behind Forrest Wall, who tripled to score Hoy Park and then made it home on a ground out to put the Stripers up 3-2. Memphis tied the game in the bottom of that inning, and it stayed at 3-3 for the next two innings before the Stripers broke through in the eighth. Shewmake had a two run double that put the Stripers on top for good, and Park and Joe Hudson each added RBI hits to extend the lead to 7-3. Vaughn Grissom went 0-4 at the plate, but drew a sixth inning walk that extended his on base streak to 12 games.

Allan Winans struggled with leadoff hitters in this game, and the first batter he faced ripped a triple before scoring on a wild pitch. Winans struck out the next two hitters — his only strikeouts of the game, but the leadoff man struck again in the second inning. Winans allowed a solo home run to Moises Gomez, giving the Redbirds the lead right back after Gwinnett had tied it up. Winans allowed two more leadoff hits, but those times got double plays to erase them from the board. Still in the fifth inning the Redbirds were able to get on the board once again. With two outs Winans allowed a hit and a walk before a base hit from Masyn Winn tied the game a three runs. After Winans completed his six Joe Harvey took over, and he certainly made the game interesting. Harvey allowed three hits in the seventh inning to load the bases, but he got a key strikeout of former Striper Kramer Robertson for the second out before Winn lined out to end the inning. A leadoff double in the eighth had Harvey in trouble again, but he managed to escape and Grant Holmes threw up a dominant ninth to close the game out.

(39-42) Mississippi Braves 3, (46-36) Chattanooga Lookouts 11

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, CF: 2-3, BB, .364/.478/.564
  • Cal Conley, 2B: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .217/.295/.275
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 3 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.18 ERA
  • Hayden Harris, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1.35 ERA

A rough inning for Tanner Gordon turned to a tough game for Mississippi. Cody Milligan has returned to the roster seemingly not missing a beat, and he led off this game with a base hit. He was then thrown out trying to extend the play to a double, and the Braves had a big inning behind him that could have been bigger. Cal Conley and Luke Waddell each followed with hits and an error loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Javier Valdes would put Mississippi on top with a sacrifice fly, but the inning would go no further and Mississippi didn’t string together another rally until late. Conley doubled to score two runs in the top of the eighth inning, making it an 8-3 game, and those were the last runs Mississippi would score.

Gordon cruised through the first two innings of this game, as Chattanooga got a leadoff bunt single in the first but didn’t do anything else against him. Just as it seemed he was locked in the second time through the order gave him fits, and Chattanooga put up a seven spot in the third inning. Gordon allowed six hits, including a two out home run which capped the scoring, and his day would end after he threw 36 pitches in the inning. Mississippi turned to Hayden Harris to fill innings and he stayed sharp, striking out six batters over the next three innings. Harris allowed only one run, unearned, and lowered his ERA to 1.35 on the season. His strikeout rate on the season sits at 40.1%, which is in the top 1% of all minor league pitchers with 30 or more innings pitched.

(38-45) Rome Braves 5, (42-40) Jersey Shore BlueClaws 8

Box Score

  • Ignacio Alvarez: 2-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .296/.413/.419
  • Keshawn Ogans, DH: 2-4, 2B, HR, .250/.367/.391
  • Max Fried, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA

It may have been an exciting day for Rome, but it was also a disappointing one as it ended with them blowing the game in the ninth inning. The most exciting part of the day was the second rehab appearance for Max Fried, and it’s safe to say Fried against High-A hitters was never meant to be a contest. Fried was dominant across three scoreless innings, striking out three batters and allowing no runs. He ended up throwing fewer pitches (30) than his first rehab start in Gwinnett, but it also speaks to there being a limit in how many times the Braves were going to let him get up and down.

Ignacio Alvarez was the other exciting factor in this game, and ever since he has started to lift the ball to his pull side the power numbers have skyrocketed. Alvarez homered in his first two plate appearances of this game, and he has notched five home runs across his past 12 games. While we’ve long known the natural strength was there for Alvarez to hit for power like this, it’s been fascinating to see the speed of the turnaround and if he can keep hitting for power without a significant uptick in strikeouts like he has done the sky will be the limit. Outside of Alvarez, however, the offense was struggling and Jersey Shore was able to claw back into the game and tie it in the eighth inning. Rome would answer through, with Keshawn Ogans and Bryson Horne homering in the eighth inning to put the Braves back on top.

After Fried left the Braves turned to Patrick Halligan to fill up innings the rest of the way, and he did well for three innings and helped the Braves hold a 3-1 lead going into the eighth inning. Here, Halligan had a downturn and after a two out home run he walked two batters in a row which led to his removal. Peyton Williams needed one out to hold onto the lead, but allowed a double to the first batter he faced which tied the game. Williams got the assignment to close out the game in the ninth, and it was a disaster for him. Williams did get two strikeouts, but also issued two walks and hit a batter to load the bases. He then allowed a game-tying two-run single then a go-ahead two-run triple before finally being pulled from the game. Rob Griswold should have stopped the bleeding, but Bryson Horne couldn’t handle the play and Jersey Shore added an eighth run on a fielding error. Rome’s offense went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth, sealing a disappointing finish.

(39-43) Augusta GreenJackets 8, (36-46) Fayetteville Woodpeckers 0

Box Score

  • Justin Janas, DH: 4-4, 2B, BB, RBI, .307/.393/.411
  • Jeremy Celedonio, RF: 3-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, .189/.338/.392
  • Samuel Strickland, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2.94 ERA

Augusta put it on the Woodpeckers on Saturday, with Jeremy Celedonio and Justin Janas bringing the lumber in a blowout win. Celedonio led the way with his two home runs, accounting for three RBI, and with that performance he moves to second in the Carolina League in home runs. Celedonio also struck out twice in the game, and 63.2% of his plate appearances this season have had one of the three true outcomes. Justin Janas is a pretty harsh step in the opposite direction and went 4-4 in the game. Janas has had two four-hit games this month and so far has more multi-hit (26) games than zero (23) hit games.

Samuel Strickland has been a consistent performer for the GreenJackets staff this season, and he was able to blank the Woodpeckers across five innings in this one. Strickland allowed five hits in the game and the sequences favored him well, as they weren’t stacked on top of each other and the biggest threat came following a leadoff double in the fifth inning. Strickland forced a ground ball and got a good pick from Francisco Floyd at third base before a strikeout and another ground out to Floyd ended that threat. Landon Harper had much the same sort of performance, throwing three scoreless innings of relief with the only baserunner being a hit in the seventh inning. Jason Franks pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close the game and the GreenJackets pitching staff did not issue a walk in the game. They threw 117 pitches, of which 89 were strikes (76.15).

(13-15) FCL Braves 5, (12-16) FCL Rays 3

Box Score

  • Diego Benitez, DH: 1-4, 2B, BB, .234/.301/.362
  • Douglas Glod, CF: 0-4, .267/.427/.522

The FCL Braves only had three hits in the game, but that was all they needed as many came in timely fashion. The Rays loaded the bases on walks in the fourth inning, so a double from Wilfrank Graciano cleared the bases and gave the Braves a lead. Luis Sanchez brought in Graciano to make it a four run inning, enough for the Braves to come away with a win. Diego Benitez had a hit and a walk in the game, but so far July has not treated him very well. Drew Lugbauer went 0-3 in his rehab appearance.

(9-19) DSL Braves 8, (18-10) DSL LAD Mega 3

Box Score

  • Luis Guanipa, CF: 2-5, .289/.407/.467
  • Mario Baez, 2B: 3-4, 2 RBI, .305/.396/.400
  • John Gil, SS: 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI, .264/.398/.391

There were a few rough games there for Guanipa after he left that game early at the end of June, but he seems to be getting back on track again as he has hits in consecutive games. Guanipa had two hits and scored two runs in this game, but it was the lineup around him coming to life that made the difference. John Gil led the way with three RBI, two coming on a double in the first inning. Mario Baez also had a three hit game to push his batting average over .300 for the season and he stole three bases.

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