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Braves MiLB preview: William Contreras highlights hot prospects and a look ahead to Week 12

Atlanta Braves catching prospect William Contreras hit .462 to lead the Gwinnett Stripers to an undefeated week. Let’s look back and then ahead in this week’s MiLB preview.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets - Game Two Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves affiliates went a combined 10-14 last week, with the bulk of those wins came from an undefeated week from the Gwinnett Stripers. The lower minors struggled mightily as Rome and Augusta combined to go 1-11.

We have some new prospects to track. Be sure to keep up with all of the Braves draft pick signings with our Talking Chop tracker.

Before we get to the week ahead, let’s look at some of the top performances around the Braves farm system last week.

Augusta GreenJackets:

  • Willie Carter, LF: 4-for-21, 6 RBI
  • Roddery Munoz, SP: 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Gabriel Rodriguez, RP: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 9 K

Rome Braves:

  • Jared Shuster, SP: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 10 K
  • Jesse Franklin V, OF: 5-for-18, 2B, 3B, 6 RBI

Mississippi Braves:

  • Bryce Elder, SP: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K
  • Trey Harris, RF: 7-for-22, 1 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI
  • Justin Dean, CF: 6-for-21, 5 R, 2 SB

Gwinnett Stripers:

  • William Contreras, C/DH: 12-for-26, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 R, 12 RBI
  • Drew Waters, OF: 6-for-24, 3 2B, 6 R
  • Travis Demeritte, OF: 8-for-18, 3 HR, 8 RBI

Augusta (28-37) at Columbia FireFlies (31-32) — July 20-25

Last week: 0-6

Last week’s rotation: Jared Johnson, Chad Bryant, Joey Estes, Roddery Munoz and Tanner Gordon

Transactions: Rolddy Munoz assigned to Augusta from FCL; activated Vaughn Grissom and Roddery Munoz from the IL

The GreenJackets had some tough luck losses to start the week, scoring quite a bit of runs in their first three games. They closed the week getting outscored 36-2. It was not pretty.

Vaughn Grissom returned to action after a brief IL stint. The young infielder went 3-for-8 in three games, driving in one and swiping two bases. He struggled at shortstop on Saturday, making three errors in the 22-0 blowout. There wasn’t much hitting, as the runs became scarce after Thursday.

Roddery Munoz also returned from the IL and had a good start, allowing no runs over 3.2 innings. Jared Johnson’s struggles continued this week. The young righty only lasted four innings across two starts, as eight runs scored — albeit only four earned — on his watch.

Rome (33-33) vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods (34-21) — July 20-25

Last week: 1-5

Last week’s rotation: Jared Shuster, Darius Vines, AJ Puckett, Freddy Tarnok, Alan Rangel and Jake McSteen

Transactions: Promoted Justin Yeager to Rome

Rome had a rough week last week and now head to first place Bowling Green to try and right the ship. There were some high points, despite the 1-5 week. Jared Shuster returned to the mound. The Braves are clearly keeping close tabs on his innings, but he went four strong this week, allowing no runs or walks and striking out five. Freddy Tarnok wasn’t at his best and still struck out ten, showing just how filthy his arsenal is if he can find consistency with it. AJ Puckett pitched seven shutout innings in Rome’s only victory of the week.

At the plate, Jesse Franklin was somewhat human this week and still drove in six runs. Michael Harris returned from his MLB Futures Game hiatus and had three hits and three RBI. Per our own Garrett Spain, Harris is striking out just 14.7 percent of the time over his past 46 games, a number that puts him in rare air with names like Wander Franco... and he’s just 20 years old. Former DII baseball player Brett Langhorne finished the week with three-straight two-hit games and is hopefully heating up heading into the next series.

Mississippi (40-26) vs. Biloxi Shuckers (19-45) - July 20-25

Last week: 3-3

Last week’s rotation: Hayden Deal, Odalvi Javier, Victor Vodnik, Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider

Transactions: Promoted Indigo Diaz; placed Jefrey Ramos and Kurt Hoekstra on the IL; sent Riley Unroe on rehab assignment to FCL; activated Hendrik Clementina

Despite the .500 week, Mississippi remains in first place not only in the South Division, but all Double-A South. The M-Braves will look to extend their four-game lead playing against the worst team record-wise in the league.

Spencer Strider had another strong performance, going five innings, allowing just one run and striking out six. Bryce Elder is becoming quite the interesting pitcher to watch. He’s now 3-0 in July, allowing just three runs over 19 innings. He hasn’t been perfect, walking nine over that span, but he’s starting to look like a real bulldog that could be a nice big-league piece one day soon. Indigo Diaz made his Double-A debut this week. He made two scoreless appearances and struck out four in three innings.

Trey Harris is back on track and had yet another big week. He now has seven multi-hit games in July and is on a six-game hitting streak. Harris is slashing .328/.371/.552 for the month. Shea Langeliers had three two-hit games himself this week, as his OPS sits at .848 on the season. He’s also thrown out 20 of 39 stolen base attempts and is just an absurdly sound defensive catcher. Justin Dean had at least one hit in every game he played this week. He also had a pair of stolen bases and continues to lead Double-A South, now with 19.

Gwinnett (32-34) vs. Norfolk Tide (24-38) — July 20-25

Last week: 6-0

Last week’s rotation: Touki Toussaint, Kyle Muller, Kyle Wright, Jasseel De La Cruz, Tanner Roark and Jose Rodriguez

Transactions: Activated Travis Demeritte from the IL; Johan Camargo optioned to Gwinnett; placed Ryan Goins on temporarily inactive list; Kyle Muller and Sean Newcomb recalled to Atlanta

What a week for the Stripers, as they become the first Braves affiliate to run the table in 2021. Gwinnett scored 56 runs this week, and while the bats were obviously afire, there were certainly some solid pitching performances.

Touki Toussaint was strong once again as he works his way back to the Atlanta Braves rotation, probably this coming week. He went six innings allowing two runs with seven strikeouts. Kyle Muller tossed four scoreless in his warmup before returning to the Braves rotation, also this week. Bryse Wilson piggy-backed Muller and threw five solid innings on one-run ball.

Of course, the bats were alive and well. William Contreras had a video-game-like week, hitting .462 with three home runs and 12 RBI. He and Alex Jackson are rotating at catcher and DH. Jackson had two home runs and drove in 12 of his own this week. Travis Demeritte is looking healthy and pretty much anyone that swung a bat this week had a plethora of hits. Drew Waters is locked in and continues to have a big July. He’s slashing .333/.385/.600 this month with 14 runs scored, two home runs, 10 RBIs and four stolen bases.

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