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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Kyle Muller strikes out 11, Vodnik returns

Kyle Muller did not miss a beat upon his return to Gwinnett

Atlanta Braves v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Braves’ affiliates had an up and down night on Friday evening while going 2-2 overall. Mississippi snagged a walk-off win thanks to Justin Dean and Wendell Rijo while Drew Waters and Joey Estes showed out. Lets get into the games (apologies for the less than robust recap today. With the draft coming up, there is only so much time in the day).

Gwinnett Stripers 1, Nashville Sounds 3

Box Score

  • Drew Waters, LF: 4-4, 2B, RBI, .765 OPS
  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-4, SB, .706 OPS
  • Kyle Muller, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, 4.34 ERA

Kyle Muller looked like a guy that wants to be back in the major leagues and definitely looked the part, but the Gwinnett offense failed to convert on their chances and fell by the score of 3-1. Other than the fourth inning when things go away from him a bit, Muller continued to look good in striking out 11 batters in six innings of work. The big number to circle here with Muller: zero walks. The strides he has made with his command are the reason why he has found so much success in Atlanta and why he is likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Despite the final tally being just a single run, there were still some standout offensive performances from a pair of outfield prospects you may have heard of. Drew Waters continued his hot hitting with a four hit game. After a rocky start to the season that was further hampered by injuries, it definitely looks like Drew has his feet under him of late. Cristian Pache had a nice game as well with his third straight multi-hit game in addition to swiping a bag. Unfortunately for Gwinnett, going 2-11 with runners in scoring position in a tight game is....less than ideal.

Mississippi Braves 5, Pensacola Blue Wahoos 4

Box Score

  • Justin Dean, CF: 2-3, 2 BB, SB, .735 OPS
  • Jefrey Ramos, DH: 1-3, HR, RBI, BB, 2 R, .577 OPS
  • Victor Vodnik, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2.60 ERA

Victor Vodnik made his return from the injured list and Mississippi walked off Pensacola 5-4 in what was a very good and back-and-forth game. Vodnik had been on the mend and dealing with a back injury, but his return was a good one as he allowed just a solo home run in three innings of work. Keep an eye on how quickly the Braves stretch him back out as a starter given that we suspect that it may take a few starts to get him back to normal. Matt Withrow did good work out of the bullpen again although a couple of inherited runners that were his responsibility (well, sort of since there was an error involved) scored thanks to a rare rough outing from Troy Bacon. Brandon White continued to be nails as he closed out the game with two scoreless innings.

The offense was a well-rounded effort with four different M-Braves driving in runs in the game. Justin Dean made sure to give Mississippi plenty of opportunities with runners on base as he reached base four times. He also set up the game-winning run with a clutch stolen base in the ninth inning. Jefrey Ramos connected for another home run and Braden Shewmake continued his amazing season turnaround as he extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

Rome Braves 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 9

Box Score

  • Jesse Franklin V, CF: 1-4, 2B, R, .882 OPS
  • Logan Brown, C: 2-4, 2B, RBI, .582 OPS
  • AJ Puckett, SP: 3.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 5.02 ERA

The start of a short stretch where Rome will be without Michael Harris due to the Futures Game did not go well as the Braves fell by the score of 9-5. AJ Puckett was sent down to Rome presumably because of the need for a roster spot for Victor Vodnik and the trip back to Rome did not go well at all. We are just going to chalk this one up to the rigors of minor league travel was not good and definitely out of character for what we have seen from Puckett so far. The Rome bullpen combined to throw 5.2 innings and gave up a pair of earned runs.

Despite Harris’ absence, Rome’s offense held their own as three different Rome hitters (Logan Brown, Kevin Josephina, and Andrew Moritz) had multi-hit games. Shean Michel had an RBI triple in the game and Jesse Franklin had yet another extra-base hit, although it was just a double. We assume that he is just trying to give his opponents some hope before ruthlessly snatching it from them in the coming days.

Augusta GreenJackets 6, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1

Box Score

  • Cade Bunnell, SS: 4-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB, .843 OPS
  • Braulio Vasquez, 2B: 2-3, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB, .682 OPS
  • Joey Estes, SP: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 2.33 ERA

Joey Estes was dominant over seven innings on 89 pitches as Augusta easily beat Myrtle Beach by the score of 6-1. We are now firmly in the realm of when should the Braves promote Estes to Rome given that, despite the fact that he is still a teenager, he is looking very dominant for the level. Eight of the 11 starts he has made for Augusta have resulted in him giving up one earned run or less. The three other starts were a three game stretch in June where he looked human, but still didn’t give up more than four earned runs. In short, he is quite good.

On offense, Augusta utilized their strategy of draw a bunch of walks and hope the situational hitting works out and they did just that. A lot of the table-setting was done by Cade Bunnell out of the leadoff spot who had a four hit game while driving in a pair of runs himself. Not bad for a 40th round pick from the 2019 draft. Braulio Vasquez added his fourth home run of the season in addition to pushing his stolen base total to 30 in 42 games.

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