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Braves MiLB Preview: Mississippi hoping to not fall off without Michael Harris

The Braves’ Double-A affiliate is not going to have to make do without the organization’s top prospect.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The rest of the Mississippi Braves are going to have to pull some extra weight with Michael Harris getting promoted to the big leagues late last week if they want to continue to hang in the race for the Southern League title after a 5-1 week. The rest of the Braves’ affiliates had mediocre showing last week with pitching shortcomings being the primary cause.

Here’s your weekly look back at the week that was and what lies ahead for the young Atlanta Braves minor leaguers.

Gwinnett Stripers (24-24)

Last week: 3-3

Last week’s rotation: Bryce Elder, Nolan Kingham, Huascar Ynoa, Kyle Muller, Connor Johnstone, Touki Toussaint

Next week: vs. Louisville, May 30 - June 5 (off day Tuesday)

It was a decidedly medium week for the Stripers thanks to some rough starts from Bryce Elder (with Brad Brach’s total bullpen implosion making his line look worse) and Touki Toussaint being easy issues to point to. Phil Gosselin was particularly hot at the plate for Gwinnett with Braden Shewmake being on the opposite end of the spectrum as he has just one hit in his last five games.

Gwinnett next draws Louisville who has the International League’s third worst record as they come to Gwinnett. The Stripers have to hope that Drew Waters will be able to continue his production of late (and can stay on the field) as he has hit safely in eight of his last nine games and now sports an .840 OPS on the season.

One area to keep an eye on in Gwinnett is the bullpen as the Braves are clearly looking for solutions to their newfound depth issues there. William Woods has been dealing with a minor ankle injury and if he comes back soon, he could play his way back to the big leagues quickly. Victor Vodnik has been excellent since finally being converted to a reliever and could be in play as well.

Mississippi Braves (23-22)

Last week: 5-1

Last week’s rotation: Alan Rangel, Freddy Tarnok, Darius Vines, Tanner Gordon, Jared Shuster

Next week: vs. Montgomery, May 30 - June 5 (off Tuesday)

Mississippi had an excellent week as they went 5-1 against Pensacola. Hendrik Clementina was the star of the show for Mississippi last week as he has reached base in 13 straight plate appearances before getting the day off on Sunday. Jared Shuster was excellent yet again in his start and given that Mississippi’s next opponent is the Montgomery Biscuits who are the worst team in the Southern League, he is in line for another opportunity for a strong start this week.

The biggest news for Mississippi is that they just lost their best player for the best possible reason. Michael Harris getting promoted to the big leagues so quickly was a shock to basically everyone, but it also is a pretty serious blow to Mississippi’s lineup that is already missing Jesse Franklin V.

Fortunately, Montgomery isn’t exactly a team that is likely to punish teams that are not at full strength. They also could be a good opponent for some of Mississippi’s pitchers to find some success with examples including Freddy Tarnok coming off a rough start and Indigo Diaz really struggling to find consistency out of the bullpen.

Rome Braves (26-19)

Last week: 3-3

Last week’s rotation: Luis De Avila, Roddery Munoz, Dylan Dodd, Andrew Hoffmann, Royber Salinas,

Next week: vs. Bowling Green, May 31 - June 5

A meh week from Rome last week allowed a red-hot Hickory team to pass them in the South division and kept them from making up ground on division-leader Bowling Green. Since being promoted to high-A from Augusta, Royber Salinas has found more difficulty with his command as more advanced hitters are not willing to just swing at anything. However, he has had several really good games where he has racked up the strikeouts including on Saturday where he struck out 13 and him rounding into form could be really helpful against a strong Bowling Green team this coming week.

For the 2022 season, Rome and Bowling Green have been very close to each other in terms of run differential and their prowess in their home parks. Fortunately for Rome, they will be playing a home stand this go around with a real shot to take over first place in the South Atlantic League South division. Ideally, it would be great if Vaughn Grissom could turn things around after a lackluster May which saw him slash .238/.333/.440 although he has shown more signs of life over the last week or so.

Augusta GreenJackets (23-22)

Last week: 2-4

Last week’s rotation: Jordano Perez, AJ Smith-Shawver, Kris Anglin, Landon Leach, JJ Niekro,

Next week: vs. Kannapolis, May 31 - June 5

It was a rough week last week for Augusta as they managed just two wins against a pretty tough Myrtle Beach squad. Generally speaking, it is hard to win when you give up 27 runs over the course of three games which is exactly what happened in the first three games of the series. Kris Anglin and AJ Smith-Shawver are going to be looking to bounce back while JJ Niekro is going to try and keep the good times rolling.

All good things must come to an end as Brandol Mezquita’s on-base streak ended last week. He has been a key cog for a GreenJackets’ offense that has often struggled to take advantage of runners on base, so hopefully he can get a new streak started. Fortunately, instead of the first place Pelicans, Augusta has drawn the 18-27 Kannapolis whose pitching staff has struggled this year and who have lost nine of their last 10 games.