The promotion of Vaughn Grissom this past week has left the Atlanta Braves system a lot worse for wear in terms of overall intrigue, but with all of the 2022 draft class now debuted save injured players there are quite a few players worth keeping an eye on going forward. Playoff chases are starting to wind down across the minor leagues and Rome remains firmly entrenched in a spot while the other teams have faded off and seem likely to be missing out on postseason action.
Gwinnett Stripers (53-58)
Last week: 3-3
This week: vs. Memphis Redbirds, August 16-21
Uncertainty in the big league club’s rotation and the injury to Braden Shewmake has taken a cut out of the Gwinnett roster in the past couple of weeks, but they should be seeing a strong roster rolling out over the next week against the Memphis Redbirds. Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller, Bryce Elder, Freddy Tarnok, Darius Vines, and Jared Shuster all currently sit on the Triple-A roster with chances to make starts for Gwinnett his week. Tarnok has been strong since his promotion to Gwinnett, holding a 2.03 ERA and .188 batting average against. This week will be a test for the entire pitching staff as Memphis is the International League’s top offensive team by OPS and home runs.
Mississippi Braves (49-59)
Last week: 2-4
This week: vs. Pensacola, August 16-21
Mississippi has been the team most impacted by major promotions and after a rough week in Tennessee they will head home to take on a strong Pensacola Blue Wahoos lineup. Mississippi led the Southern League second half standings for a while but have since fallen to five games behind first place after going 3-7 in their last ten games. Offensively the loss of Vaughn Grissom hurts but this is still a fairly deep lineup with the potential to put up big games as shown in their 16-14 comeback victory last week. Justyn-Henry Malloy continues to be a strong option in the middle of that lineup, and with the pop of Drew Lugbauer and Landon Stephens behind him they can put up crooked numbers quickly. Cody Milligan had a strong week last week and will hope to carry that down the stretch as he continues to get plate appearances in the leadoff spot. The name to watch, however, is Javier Valdes who came up from Rome to post a 1.158 OPS last week.
The pitching staff at Mississippi has been gutted, but Dylan Dodd continues to be a steady force at the top of that rotation. While he hasn’t been as dominant as he was towards the end of his sting in Rome he has continued to put up solid start after solid start and always give the Braves a chance to win. Roddery Munoz had a quite poor Double-A debut and will be looking to bounce back in a big way this week.
Rome Braves (65-43)
Last week: 4-2
This week: vs. Greensboro, August 16-21
Six years ago on an early April afternoon the Rome Braves all first introduced to a young Canadian pitcher that would go on to be one of the top pitchers in the world just a few short years later. Now Mike Soroka returns to Rome for a different reason, taking the first step towards a hopeful rebuild of his once promising career. Tuesday night Soroka will be starting his first rehab game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers after being shelved for the past two season due to Achilles surgeries. If you’re in the area and can come out to the game this is a great opportunity to show support for a player who still has a bright future and to take a look at a few others that have come on our radar this season. Cal Conley has been a force in Rome’s lineup this season and has planted himself along with new addition Geraldo Quintero as part of the next wave of infield prospects who will start moving up lists soon. 2021 17th round pick Tyler Tolve has come into his own in recent weeks and led all Rome hitters with a 1.304 OPS last week
Augusta GreenJackets (56-50)
Last week: 4-2
This week: vs. Charleston, August 16-21
Augusta is the team that we will all be keeping an eyes on this week as it will be our first chance to take a look at a slew of new position prospect draftees. Third round pick Drake Baldwin and fourth round pick David McCabe are the top additions to the team and both had solid debuts with an OPS just short of .800. Later round picks EJ Exposito and Keshawn Ogans were the surprise starts of their debut weeks, with Ogans hitting .429 and cracking his first professional home run. Lineup mainstays Stephen Paolini and Kadon Morton have started to surge in the past month, with Paolini playing the best baseball of his career right now. The pitching staff for Augusta is a bit more questionable as of right now. AJ Smith-Shawver left a start early on August 5th, and while he remains on the active roster they did skip his start last week and it is unclear if he will make one this week. Beyond that the starting rotation is suspect, with Samuel Strickland giving Augusta some solid innings but not really presenting as a top prospect in the system.