clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Braves Minor League Recap: Michael Soroka strikes out nine

Soroka was efficient with his pitches and struck out nine batters in 4 2⁄3 innings.

Atlanta Braves v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves love to draft pitching, and that focus paid off on Saturday evening as the affiliates all had fantastic pitching performances (if you choose to ignore the GreenJackets existing tonight). Michael Soroka was on the mound for Gwinnett and struck out nine batters, while a shutout in Florida has the complex league team on the verge of a playoff berth. First round pick Hurston Waldrep was also in action, but the analysis will be limited by the lack of a video feed in Hickory.

(54-63) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (68-51) Durham Bulls 3

Box Score

  • Jesus Aguilar, 1B: 1-3, 2B, BB, RBI, .315/.425/.485
  • Drew Lugbauer, DH: 2-4, RBI, .318/.318/.500
  • Michael Soroka, SP: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 3.24 ERA

The Gwinnett pitching staff put up a valiant effort, but with only two runs of support it wasn’t enough to topple the Bulls. Michael Soroka had a solid start on the mound and got off to an impressive start by retiring the first eight batters of the game with five coming on strikeouts. The offense provided him no runs to that point, so when he gave up a solo home run with two outs in the third inning the Stripers found themselves trailing. The middle of the order stepped up in the fourth inning, and it was sparked by a single from Braden Shewmake with one out. Jesus Aguilar, Gwinnett’s hottest hitter, then tied the game with a double and scored the go ahead run on Drew Lugbauer’s subsequent single. Soroka provided a shut down inning with a perfect fourth and two strikeouts.

A bunt single off of Soroka in the fifth inning was just the second baserunner of the game, but it would come back to hurt him and the Stripers as after two strikeouts Soroka gave up a base hit which scored the runner. This also ended Soroka’s day as he was only given 73 pitches to work with. He did not leave due to any injury as Gwinnett already had Brian Moran warming up to replace him, so it seemed they had planned to limit Soroka’s action on the day. Moran finished out the fifth inning, then pitched two fantastic innings of his own to send it into the eighth still tied at 2-2. Forrest Wall led off in the eighth with a bunt single and stole second base, but strikeouts from Dalton Guthrie, Shewmake, and Lugbauer ended the inning with the go ahead run stranded. Seth Elledge then allowed a go ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth and the Stripers offense couldn’t come through in the top of the ninth.

(50-61) Mississippi Braves 3, (59-54) Biloxi Shuckers 1

Box Score

  • Luke Waddell, SS: 2-3, BB, .285/.392/.423
  • Cody Milligan, CF: 4-5, RBI, .242/.317/.442
  • Domingo Robles, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 3.73 ERA

Mississippi’s pitching staff rocked in this game, though it would get a bit too tight in the ninth inning. Domingo Robles started things out by striking out the side in the first inning and the offense wasted no time by capitalizing on their first turn at the plate. Cody Milligan led off with his first of four hits on the day, and then Cal Conley and Luke Waddell both had hits. This drove in Milligan for the game’s first run, and with two outs Javier Valdes came through with an RBI double to score Conley. Robles needed no more support to keep the game in check, as he went five innings on the mound and only allowed one hit. Mississippi added a run on in the fourth inning, with Milligan driving in Drew Campbell to put the Braves up 3-0.

It may have just been a Saturday, but it was all about Domingo for Mississippi as they had Domingo Gonzalez come in as the first reliever for Robles. Gonzalez continued the strong work with two more scoreless innings, matching Robles’s total with four strikeouts while himself allowing only one hit. Trey Riley got into trouble with a hit and a walk in the eighth inning, but got Jackson Chourio to ground into an inning-ending double play to keep the shutout intact. The Braves turned to the veteran Ty Tice to close out the game in the ninth inning, and Tice made sure we would all have to sweat this one to the last pitch. After getting a pop out to open the inning Tice allowed a walk, but he came back with a strikeout to send the Shuckers down to the last out of the game. He then allowed two consecutive hits which ended the shutout and more importantly put the tying run on first base. Tice fortunately then had to face Felix Valerio, who holds the lowest OPS in the Shucker’s lineup, and he got him to ground out to Cal Conley to end the game.

(53-60) Rome Braves 5, (58-49) Hickory Crawdads 2

Box Score

  • Keshawn Ogans, SS: 2-4, BB, RBI, .259/.355/.392
  • David McCabe, 3B: 0-2, 3 BB, .302/.414/.491
  • Hurston Waldrep, SP: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1.23 ERA

With Hickory not being able to afford the standard 2007 Walmart camcorder to run an MiLB tv stream with, we are unfortunately left wondering just what first round pick Hurston Waldrep did to strike out five batters in his second High-A start. Waldrep had a slight bit of trouble in the first inning and allowed a run on a hit and a walk, but he retired nine of the last ten batters he faced in the game with five coming via strikeout. Waldrep handed a 4-1 lead over to the Rome bullpen, who had no issue shutting down the Crawdads. Tyree Thompson pitched 3 13 innings of relief, with the only run allowed coming unearned. Jared Johnson closed out the final two innings scoreless to win the game.

Rome’s offense relied on an outburst in the second inning, responding to Hickory’s early run with a four run inning. The Braves loaded the bases with one out in the inning, then got help from Kevin Kilpatrick Jr.’s speed to do the rest. Kilpatrick beat a potential double play to first base to score the first run on a force out, then pulled off a double steal with Andrew Keck for the second run before scoring on another stolen base and an error. Geraldo Quintero walked and advanced to second base on that error to be scored by Keshawn Ogans on an RBI single. Rome added their final run on an RBI triple from Stephen Paolini. David McCabe did not have a hit on the day, but he did extend his on base streak to 21 games by drawing three walks. In that time pitchers have pretty much given up on pitching to him with McCabe running a 23.2% walk rate and only a 10.5% strikeout rate in that span. His overall line makes him the hottest hitter in the system as he has hit .315/.474/.548 in those 21 games.

(52-60) Augusta GreenJackets 3, (53-56) Fredericksburg Nationals 11

Box Score

  • Cam Magee, SS: 3-5, 2 2B, .193/.281/.316
  • EJ Exposito, 3B: 2-3, HR, BB, 2 RBI, .218/.334/.348
  • Adam Shoemaker, SP: 1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 6.41 ERA

The pitching in the system was mostly fantastic on Saturday evening, and I say mostly because this was not a fun one. Adam Shoemaker has had a string of promising starts, but this was not one of them as he could not find the zone at all. Shoemaker hit two batters and walked three more, and just when it seemed he could get out of the inning and regroup in between innings and error from Will Verdung scored two runs and extended the inning. Shoemaker ended up throwing 37 pitches, ending his night very early and putting a lot of strain on the bullpen. Landon Harper kept things in control as he allowed only one run across three innings, but the game quickly got out of hand when he departed. Cory Wall allowed five runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach, and for good measure Estarlin Rodriguez allowed two more in the seventh before he finished out the rest of the game.

Cory Magee had a strong game at the top of the order, which was much needed as he has struggled for Augusta since having a good first few games. Magee led the team with three hits, but there wasn’t much production behind him and he scored only one run on a ground out in the third inning. Most of Augusta’s runs came from EJ Exposito, who had an RBI single in the sixth inning and then a home run in the eighth to at least boost his numbers a bit. Jace Grady had a single in the third inning which extended his hitting streak to six games.

(29-23) FCL Braves 1, (24-28) FCL Rays 0

Box Score

  • Isaiah Drake, CF: 1-3, BB, 2 SB, .227/.301/.288
  • Riley Gowens, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.29 ERA
  • Mitch Farris, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.00 ERA

Back to some good pitching, the FCL Braves clawed out a win against the Rays and remain half a game up for the wild card spot in the league playoffs and move to half a game back in the division with two games remaining. Draftees Riley Gowens and Mitch Farris were the stars of the pitching staff, each providing three innings of scoreless relief work. The Braves got an inning each with two strikeouts from undrafted free agents Ryan Bourassa and LJ McDonough before Miguel Hernandez closed out the shutout in the ninth inning. Both sides were scoreless until the seventh inning when Will King led off the inning with a double. A wild pitch advanced him to third base where a sacrifice fly would bring him home. Diego Benitez and Douglas Glod were each hitless in the game, while Isaiah Drake had a solid showing at the top of the lineup by reaching base twice and stealing two bases.

(15-35) DSL Braves 4, (21-30) DSL Athletics 1

Box Score

  • Luis Guanipa, CF: 0-2, 2 BB, .244/.368/.393
  • Mario Baez, SS: 1-4, .316/.396/.429

Finishing off the theme of good pitching the DSL Braves allowed only one run, and that was enough for them to win over the Athletics. They took an early lead thanks to an error as a fielding error helped score Mario Baez and Junior Garcia in the first inning. They got their other two runs in much the same way, with a throwing error on a John Gil stolen base attempt letting him and Mario Baez score to take a 4-0 lead. Luis Guanipa had two walks at the top of the lineup and has four walks over his past four days.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Battery Power Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Atlanta Braves news from Battery Power