Max Fried’s third rehab outing was the news of the day for the Atlanta Braves minor league system, but elsewhere they had success with some home runs from their top hitting prospects. Luis Guanipa got on the board with his first in over a month as he continues to be the best players among the rookie level affiliates.
(40-52) Gwinnett Stripers 1, (59-32) Norfolk Tides 5
- Vaughn Grissom, 2B: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .322/.397/.471
- Braden Shewmake, SS: 0-2, 2 BB, .231/.313/.426
- Max Fried, SP: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 5.79 ERA
Max Fried’s shaky rehab outing and the failure of the Stripers to come through with big hits doomed them to an 5-1 loss. The best of days from the offense came from the bat of Vaughn Grissom, whose two-hit performance also led to the only Gwinnett run. Grissom drove in Braden Shewmake with a seventh inning double in a game that was pretty much all but over at that point, adding to Grissom’s career-high in doubles in a season. Grissom has had multiple hits in four straight games, and has seven multi-hit games out of his past eight.
Max Fried’s surprising enemy was the home run ball, as he allowed two of them over his 3 1⁄3 innings of rehab work. Fried struggled with his fastball command throughout the start, and when using it as his primary pitch the Tides were able to jump on him and knock him around a bit. However, results aren’t important here as the most important milestones were his 65 pitches thrown and four times getting up and down to pitch. They’ve been bumping Fried about 15 pitches and an inning per start, so if he can have success next time out at around 80 pitches and five innings he could be ready to make his following start for the big league club. Even now it’s possible they have seen enough to bring him up if they are willing to let him work with those limits in his next start.
Daysbel Hernandez has been absolutely wonderful out of the bullpen since returning from his 2022 Tommy John surgery, showing much better results than his first dip into Triple-A. In 14 games between Double-A and Triple-A he has yet to allow a run while striking out 26 batters and walking only five in 16 2⁄3 innings. In this outing he struck out all five batters he faced and has struck out seven of the nine Triple-A batters he’s seen. For a team in need of relief help (which is really any contending team at every point of every season) Hernandez could be a player worth giving a shot. Prior to his injury they believed in him enough to have him on the 40 man roster and his absurd slider has proved better than ever, so call up in the second half should be seen as a reasonable option if this sort of play continues.
(40-45) Mississippi Braves 1, (49-37) Tennessee Smokies 10
- Luke Waddell, SS: 2-4, HR, .307/.416/.469
- Drew Lugbauer, DH: 1-2, 2 BB, .280/.401/.628
- Alan Rangel, SP: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 5.97 ERA
It wasn’t a pretty outing for Alan Rangel and the Mississippi Braves, who got trounced as Tennessee ended the game with ten unanswered runs. Luke Waddell had the Braves feeling good in the first inning, clubbing his seventh home run of the season to set a career-high. Waddell has hit six of those home runs since June 14th, during which time he’s hit .343/.421/.574 with more walks than strikeouts. This was the last of the good feelings for Mississippi as the offense scuffled soon after and the pitching staff had a horrible day of it.
Alan Rangel had his struggled early in the game, loading the bases in the first inning on two walks and a base hit. He escaped there, but then opened up the second inning by allowing another hit. Rangel put together his best stretch of the day by striking out the next three hitters, but his third inning would see the game slip away quickly. Rangel got the first out of the inning, but three straight batters reached base and a run scored to tie the game. After a fly out for the second out of the inning Rangel would issue a walk to load the bases, then in one swing the game was broken wide open as Jordan Nwogu hit a grand slam to put Tennessee on top.
The Mississippi bullpen was a bit of a wreck in their own right, starting with Ty Tice who has come down from Triple-A and not seen the success he had hoped to. Tice allowed three runs in this outing and so far has a 3.95 ERA for the M-Braves. Victor Vodnik struggled with his command mightily, issuing three walks in the seventh inning and allowing a run to score. Walks have been a consistent plague on Vodnik’s otherwise sparkling season, as he has now allowed 24 in 39 2⁄3 innings.
(41-46) Rome Braves 5, (42-39) Hickory Crawdads 3
- Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 1-3, 2B, RBI, .295/.408/.417
- David McCabe, DH: 1-2, HR, 3 RBI, .281/.377/.438
- Darius Vines, SP: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 4.00 ERA
Hits were limited for both sides in this game, but both still scored a reasonable amount and this seven inning game was a nice, close affair. The sides combined for two hits halfway through the game, and on the Braves side Darius Vines was rolling along nicely. Vines had eight strikeouts over four innings, and save from a little blip with two walks in the second inning was in complete control of the game. The offense finally rewarded him in the fourth inning, with Drake Baldwin leading off the frame with a double. David McCabe cleared it all off and gave the Braves a two-run lead when he smacked his fifth High-A home run and 13th overall this year. The inning continued with a one out walk to Keshawn Ogans and he would score the third run of the game on a double from Ethan Workinger.
Things seemed to be going swimmingly for the Braves to this point, but then an old foe showed against Darius Vines in the form of late home runs in otherwise fantastic outings. Vines walked the leadoff man in the fifth, but then came back with a strikeout for the first out. A hit fell in with one out to put runners on the corners and then the fatal blow, a three-run home run, ended Vines’s day on a very sour note. Rome once again needed a response on offense, and Ignacio Alvarez would bring that. Alvarez doubled in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing around Geraldo Quintero to score the tying run. David McCabe would end up scoring Alvarez on a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and that two run lead was enough for Rome to close out a win.
(42-45) Augusta GreenJackets 10, (38-46) Fredericksburg Nationals 4
- Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 2-4, HR, BB, 3 RBI, .198/.294/.332
- Jeremy Celedonio, RF: 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, .198/.338/.414
- Jared Johnson, SP: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 4.11 ERA
While not the lead run-producer for the team in this easy win, the game ball may deserve to go to Bryson Worrell. Worrell reached base four times on three hits and a walk, and stole a total of four bases in the game. Beyond Worrell the offense was smooth and in control, with Ambioris Tavarez having a big day at the plate. Tavarez’s fifth inning three-run home run was the go-ahead blast in the game as the GreenJackets really got going following this. Tavarez left the game early after being ejected after striking out swinging in the eighth inning. The other home run of the game came in that eighth inning as Jeremy Celedonio cranked his 15th of the year to drive in three runs. Celedonio is certainly not a contact hitter — he has the fifth most total strikeouts in all of minor league baseball — but his power is immense and he sits second in the system for home runs this season.
Jared Johnson can be a fun arm for the GreenJackets, topping out in triple digits with a low-90’s slider, but he can also have innings like his fourth today. Johnson was near untouchable for Augusta and didn’t allow any hits in his outing, but he also threw 14 straight balls in the fourth inning before finally getting a batter to pop out for the first out which ended his day. Up until that point Johnson had managed his control and walks well, at least well enough for a player who projects as a reliever, but he showed that when it goes south it can go in a hurry. Johnson has struck out 66 batters in 46 innings this season but has issued 37 walks. Nick Martinez allowed two inherited runners to score in the inning, but beyond Johnson the team had no trouble with walks or runs. Chad Bryant pitched three scoreless innings and struck out five batters in relief.
(14-18) FCL Braves 2, (13-19) FCL Rays 7
- Diego Benitez, SS: 1-4, 2B, .227/.292/.345
- Douglas Glod, CF: 1-4, 2B, .250/.393/.472
The FCL Braves saved their best for last, but it was far, far from as good as the Rays best as they kind of got stomped. Douglas Glod and Diego Benitez each had a double and scored a run in the ninth inning, the only runs scored for the FCL squad on the day.
(10-21) DSL Braves 2, (26-8) DSL Angels 10
- Luis Guanipa, DH: 1-4, HR, .265/.380/.451
- Mario Baez, SS: 1-4, .315/.395/.426
The DSL angels are a buzz saw, so it’s no surprise that the Braves did not have a great time. The one player who did was Luis Guanipa, who hit a leadoff home run in the game. While Guanipa has had his shared of ups-and-downs in recent weeks, he still remains in the top 10% in the league in both isolated power and stolen bases. That home run was his first since June 13th as he’s slowed down especially this month after leaving a game early at the end of June. The strikeout surge seems to have settled down a bit as he has only two over his past five games (26 PA). 19 year old Jeiki Beltran was the only pitcher on the team to enjoy his day, striking out five batters over 2 2⁄3 innings with no hits, walks, or runs.