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Braves Minor League Recap: Four 2023 signees debut in Augusta

Kade Kern and Drew Compton had big days for the GreenJackets

COLLEGE BASEBALL: APR 29 Illinois at Ohio State Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There weren’t exactly many wins to speak of in the Atlanta Braves farm system, but at least their were some new faces. Augusta’s roster revamp started out with a loss to Columbia, but the new players contributed well to the team. Darius Vines is back in action for Gwinnett, and he seems to be working his way back from injury quite well.

(46-57) Gwinnett Stripers 6, (49-54) Indianapolis Indians 0

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 1-4, RBI, .316/.394/.466
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 2-3, 3B, 3 RBI, .223/.302/.414
  • Darius Vines, SP: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0.90 ERA

A strong start from Darius Vines, along with a certain amount of luck, allowed Gwinnett to cruise to a win over Indianapolis. Early on in this game Vines looked tremendous, showing little sign of issue after missing most of the year with a shoulder injury. He relied heavily on his changeup throughout the game and across the first three innings was carving through the Indianapolis lineup. His reliance on his changeup was influenced by his struggling slider, which he struggled to land at all and ended up having to be mostly shelved even as he tried to get a feel for it later in the game. As the game drifted the second time through the lineup Vines started to miss location a bit and fortunately avoided the heart of the plate and any home runs. He ended up issuing three walks in the game, all in the final three innings of the game, and his velocity began to decline as well as it seems he is still working his stamina back into shape. Regardless, he looked solid and once he can fully stretch back out he looks ready for an opportunity if a need arises in Atlanta.

The Stripers offense looked rough in the early going this game, but they managed bloop singles from Hoy Park and Luke Williams in the fourth inning which got a rally started. Braden Shewmake followed with a what should have been a hard hit yet routine flyout to right field, however the right fielder badly misplayed the ball and it sailed past him. Both runners came around to score to give Gwinnett the lead and Shewmake was able to motor around for a triple. Gwinnett would break the game open with a three run seventh inning, starting with an RBI double from Dalton Guthrie which scored Daniel Robertson. Vaughn Grissom timed his lone hit of the game well to score Guthrie on a single and after the Stripers loaded the bases Shewmake capped scoring off with a sacrifice fly. Guthrie has hit quite well for Gwinnett since the Braves picked him up, and with players returning from the injured list necessitating 40 man spots he may be making the decision to keep him or not more difficult.

(43-53) Mississippi Braves 1, (51-46) Montgomery Biscuits 3

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, CF: 1-3, .303/.414/.459
  • Luke Waddell, 2B: 1-2, BB, .300/.406/.443
  • Alan Rangel, SP: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 5.75 ERA

(44-53) Mississippi Braves 3, (51-47) Montgomery Biscuits 2

Box Score

  • Cody Milligan, LF: 1-3, .303/.414/.459
  • Cal Conley, 2B: 2-2, .222/.308/.286
  • Hayden Deal, SP: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.16 ERA

Alan Rangel cannot catch a break, as no matter whether he pitches well or not it seems he is never on the winning side of a game. Today he had a decent outing, allowing two earned runs over 5 13 innings, yet the Mississippi offense threw out an atrocious performance and Rangel slipped to 1-12 on the season. Make no mistake, Rangel has overall been awful this season, but with this he falls to 1-2 with three no decisions in games he pitched five or more innings with two or fewer earned runs allowed. Drew Campbell had a pulse at the plate, and despite all of their struggled Mississippi still found a chance to win this game in their last at bat. Drew Lugbauer led off with a walk, Cal Conley followed with a single, and with one out in the inning Campbell’s second hit of the game drove in Mississippi’s first run. Campbell and Conley also pulled off a double steal, putting the tying run in scoring position, but Hudson Potts and Beau Philip struck out to end the game.

Mississippi was one the right side of the second close battle on the day, as the pitching staff didn’t allow an earned run in their game two win. Mississippi had only managed three hits in the first five innings, but they had a fortunate sequence in the third inning with Cal Conley leading off with a double. After Conley stole third base Arden Pabst snuck a ball into left field which gave the Braves an early lead. Hayden Deal ensured they stayed on top in the game as he went four scoreless innings in his spot start on an efficient 51 pitches. Trey Riley was called on for the fifth inning and this is when the game got a bit worrying. Riley allowed a leadoff single, then an error from Luke Waddell tied the game and put the go ahead run in scoring position. A hit batter and force out would put runners on the corners with two out and Montgomery either made a huge miscalculation or went creative to get the go ahead run home. Junior Caminero took off from first base and was thrown out by quite a fair distance, but stopped in between first and second and got in a rundown to allow the runner to score from third base. This ended up not mattering, as Mississippi came back to win in the end. Cody Milligan led off the sixth inning with a double and a walk from Tyler Tolve put the go ahead run on base with one out and the middle of the lineup up to bat. Drew Lugbauer popped up on the infield, but Jesse Franklin ultimately delivered the clutch hit. This scored Milligan easily, and when Franklin got caught up between first and second base it got a bit weird. Franklin stayed in the rundown for a few beats, and when Tolve broke for home the Biscuits made a terrible throw towards the plate, allowing all runners to advance safely and give Mississippi the lead. Kyle Wilcox closed out the game in the seventh inning, lowering his ERA on the season to 1.29.

(44-54) Rome Braves 5, (51-47) Greenville Drive 6

Box Score

  • Ignacio Alvarez, SS: 1-5, .288/.404/.409
  • David McCabe, 3B: 1-3, 2 BB, .302/.400/.491
  • Patrick Halligan, SP: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.67 ERA

Rome and Greenville needed extra innings to decide their outcome, but unfortunately for Rome they would not come out on top in this one. Neither side had anything working in the early innings, but in the fourth the Braves got on top first thanks to an error that put Justin Janas on base. Ethan Workinger would make Greenville pay with an RBI double, though the Drive quickly answered in the bottom of the inning. Down 4-1 after the fifth inning the Braves had their work cut out for them, and it was once again Workinger who came through. Workinger singled to score Geraldo Quintero in the sixth inning, and then two innings later Workinger was in the mix again. David McCabe led off the eighth inning with a walk and Quintero followed with a single, putting runners at the corner with Quintero representing the tying run. The duo would pull off a double steal to score the first run of the inning and Workinger came through with a game-tying two-out single to make it 4-4. Rome took the lead on a sacrifice fly from Workinger in the tenth inning.

Don’t let the final line fool you, for what Patrick Halligan’s role on this team is he did a good job until it fell apart late in his outing. Halligan has been pulled between the rotation and bullpen a good bit this year, and in this outing he had a phenomenal start to the game as he struck out seven batters over three scoreless innings. Halligan looked to be rolling, but he was pushed a bit too deep in the game and the Drive started to make contact in the fourth inning and put up two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings. After this Hunter Riggins and Jonathan Hughes closed out the rest of regulation, with each covering 2 13 innings in the game. Hughes was unfortunately not successful in extra innings, and on the first pitch of the tenth he allowed an RBI triple which made a Drive win nearly assured. Hughes got a pop out to shortstop which gave him a chance, but after an intentional walk the game was left in the hands of Miguel Pena. Pena did what he hoped and forced a ground ball, but it was such a slow roller down the third base line that no one had a play at any base and Greenville ultimately scored the winning run.

(45-52) Augusta GreenJackets 3, (51-46) Columbia Fireflies 9

Box Score

  • Ambioris Tavarez, SS: 1-4, BB, .195/.297/.338
  • Drew Compton, 1B: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, .667/.800/1.000
  • Kade Kern, RF: 2-4, 2 outfield assists, .500/.500/.500
  • Jhancarlos Lara, SP: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 5.24 ERA

It’s a new day for Augusta as the roster got a refresh, but the results weren’t too foreign as they got stomped by Columbia. Jhancarlos Lara struggled mightily as he couldn’t locate at all, and the four walks he allowed contributed to him allowing three runs over 4 13 innings. Nolan Martinez had the assignment to fill innings and save the bullpen as much as possible, and that went well until the seventh inning when he allowed four runs and had to be pulled from the game himself. Giomar Diaz was then tasked to finish out the game, and Augusta finally found someone who could get some outs. Diaz covered the final 2 13 innings of the game and allowed only one run, while striking out a season high of five batters. Some of that was due to a, shall we say, generous ninth inning strike zone, but nonetheless he had a solid outing primarily centered around his sweeping slider.

The offense is where the biggest changes were, as four draftees/signees made their Augusta debuts and all batted in spots two through five in the order. The offense didn’t have a good day overall, but it wasn’t really the fault of the new players who accounted for five of the team’s seven hits. Drew Compton was the best of the group, and that should really be expected going forward as he is an older player from Georgia Tech who should have no trouble with Single-A level pitching. Compton had two hits and drew two walks in the game, but only scored one run as the offense behind him struggled. Kade Kern had two hits of his own, and also helped prevent the blowout from growing as he had two outfield assists in his debut.

We did a round up of all of the players who were promoted to Augusta, including first round pick Hurston Waldrep link. For those of you who like to get out to games Waldrep is scheduled to make his debut with Augusta this Saturday, and sixth round pick Lucas Braun is scheduled for Sunday. Both are looking at a pitch limit of around 45-50 pitches so you’ll want to catch them early, but both are exciting additions.

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