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Braves Minor League Recap: Grissom, Baldwin, Tavarez star on Sunday

Three of the top hitting prospects in the Braves system had three hits on Sunday in Vaughn Grissom, Drake Baldwin, and Ambioris Tavarez.

Drake Baldwin
Credit: Garrett Spain - Battery Power

Sunday saw the Braves system have a winning record on the day, but even more important were the offensive standouts. Vaughn Grissom, Drake Baldwin, and Ambioris Tavarez all recorded three hits on the day with Landon Stephens hitting two homers and Baldwin and David McCabe each hitting one. Overall that was just half of the eight homers that batters in the Braves system put up on the day.

St. Paul Saints 11, Gwinnett Stripers 5

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 3-4, BB, 2 2B, R, RBI, .316/.394/.465
  • Yolmer Sanchez, 2B: 2-4, BB, 2 2B, R, RBI, .243/.377/.381
  • AJ Smith-Shawver, SP: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 5.87 ERA

On paper this looked like a potential pitchers duel among highly rated prospects as AJ Smith-Shawver was matching up with Twins prospect Simeon Woods-Richardson, but things didn’t work out as planned. In total 16 runs would score, with Gwinnett giving up 11 of those 16 runs. Smith-Shawver struggled with his command as he made it just three and a third while getting tagged for seven runs (six earned), on five hits and four walks - including a pair of homers. Lucas Luetge relieved AJSS and went a scoreless inning and two thirds, and then Roel Ramirez and Beau Burrows would each allow two runs to score with Ramirez pitching two innings and Burrows one.

Vaughn Grissom had a strong day at the plate to give Gwinnett something noteworthy, as he went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and walked to reach base four times in his five trips to the plate. Filling in for Braden Shewmake, who left with an injury on Saturday, Yolmer Sanchez went 2-4 with a walk and a pair of doubles to leave him one hit in one fewer at bat shy of matching Grissom’s line for the day as each had a run scored and batted in. Daniel Robertson was the third Striper with a multi-extra base hit game, as he went 2-4 with a double and triple, and Joe Dunand added a double to go with a single and stolen base.

Mississippi Braves 9, Biloxi Shuckers 2

Box Score

  • Landon Stephens, RF: 3-4, 2 HR, 2B, BB, 4 R, 2 RBI, .238/.363/.510
  • Luke Waddell, SS: 3-4, BB, 2 RBI, .309/.429/.470
  • Tanner Gordon, SP: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 3.14 ERA

Tanner Gordon opened this one on the bump and turned in five solid innings, allowing a pair of runs on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out four. Gordon has been especially strong since the calendar flipped to June, as five of his six starts between Mississippi and Gwinnett have been good - minus his first start following the demotion from Gwinnett. This lowers his ERA in Double-A to 3.14. After Gordon a string of relievers pitched a scoreless inning to close out this one-sided game, from Ty Tice to Domingo Gonzalez, to Kyle Wilcox, and finally Victor Vodnik.

A day after Jesse Franklin clobbered Biloxi pitching another Braves outfielder put up a video game stat line. This time is was Landon Stephens, who had three extra base hits, including a pair of homers, as he went 3-4 with a walk, four runs scored and two batted in. Luke Waddell had a big game as well, going 3-4 with a walk and two batted in. Cade Bunnell and Hudson Potts also homered, with Potts picking up a double just like Stephens did - and Jacob Pearson as well. Overall five different Braves reached base at least twice - Stephens, Potts, Pearson, Waddell, Bunnell - and a sixth scored two runs in this game (Cal Conley).

Bowling Green Hot Rods 5, Rome Braves 4

Box Score

  • Drake Baldwin, DH: 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .207/.335/.384
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-3, HR, BB, .288/.396/.425
  • Geraldo Quintero, 2B: 0-1, 3 BB, .240/.322/.319
  • Ian Mejia, SP: 4 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 4.25 ERA

The Braves turned to Ian Mejia for half of a double header and the 2022 draft pick was able to go four innings, surrendering five runs on 10 hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Jose Montilla and Miguel Pena combined to go three scoreless innings of relief to finish off the shortened game, with Montilla going two and one for Pena.

A couple of the Braves early draft picks from last year stood out at the plate on Sunday, as both Drake Baldwin and David McCabe homered. Baldwin went 2-4 with a pair of runs and a pair of RBI as he hit his ninth homer of the season. McCabe hit his third in his first 22 games since being promoted, and his 11th of the season overall. Another 2022 draftee who had a good game at the dish was Kevin Kilpatrick, who was hitless in two at bats, but walked twice and scored a run. Geraldo Quintero was hitless in his lone at bat, but did draw three walks, and Stephen Paolini went 2-3 and stole a base.

Rome Braves 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 6

Box Score

  • Drake Baldwin, C: 2-3, 2B, BB, R, .213/.355/.384
  • Brandon Parker, RF: 2-2, HR, R, 4 RBI, .206/.296/.341
  • Tyler Owens, SP: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 2.60 ERA

Tyler Owens started the other half of the double header and lasted three innings, giving up a pair of runs on three hits and two walks with two strikeouts. JJ Niekro followed with the next two innings and allowed four runs, but picked up the win anyway, and Peyton Williams pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the save and struck out five batters for the six outs he recorded.

At the plate Drake Baldwin had a second strong game for the day, going 2-3 with a double and a walk and brought his line on the day to 4-7 with a walk, homer, double, three runs scored, and two batted in. However the real star in this one was Brandon Parker, who made the most of his two at bats by going 2-2 with a homer and four RBI. Ethan Workinger added a 2-3 game that included a walk, two runs, and two RBI. Bryson Horne and Keshawn Ogans each added doubles in the win. Overall seven spots in the lineup had a hit and an eighth reached base with a walk, while the ninth managed to score a run, so everyone in the lineup contributed to this win.

Augusta GreenJackets 8, Columbia Fireflies 5

Box Score

  • Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 3-5, 2 R, RBI, .213/.322/.312
  • Jair Casanova, LF: 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, .201/.313/.331
  • Jared Johnson, SP: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 4.19 ERA
  • Samuel Strickland, RP: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2.92 ERA

The start went to Jared Johnson, who went three and two thirds and allowed two runs on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts. Estarlin Rodriguez followed with the next inning and a third and allowed two runs in the process. That’s when Samuel Strickland came in and pitched a dominant outing from the pen. Strickland went four innings and allowed just one unearned run on just one hit with two walks and four strikeouts.

As good as Strickland was on the mound, Jair Casanova was even better at the plate. The still just 19-year-old outfielder went 2-4 with a homer, double, and four RBI to lead the Augusta offense. He wasn’t alone as a standout for Augusta’s offense, as 19-year-old shortstop Ambioris Tavarez went three for five with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. EJ Exposito and Nick Clarno each added two hit games, with Exposito having five at bats and Clarno four to reach their pair of singles.

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