This week proved to be a very busy one for the Atlanta Braves farm system. The week began with a number of early season promotions! Ronald Acuna and Luiz Gohara were promoted to Double-A Mississippi, and Patrick Weigel was promoted from Mississippi to Triple-A Gwinnett. Another important but somewhat overlooked promotion was the move of Anfernee Seymour from Rome to the Advanced-A Florida Fire Frogs. Each of these prospects is primed for a strong season, and Acuna especially continues to play like a man on fire. Lucas Sims is the organizational pitcher of the week, and Acuna is named player of the week for the second time in three weeks! (Prospect ranking listed in parenthesis. All rankings taken from MLB.com’s Atlanta Braves Prospect Watch Top 30.)
Weekly Atlanta Braves Farm Report: Braves Prospects Receive Promotions
Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A)
The Gwinnett Braves went an even .500 last week with a record of 4-4. The pitching was up and down all week. The pitching staff allowed eight total runs in the team’s four victories but allowed 27 runs in the four losses. Sims (18th) was incredibly effective in picking up two wins for Gwinnett to bring his record to a perfect 4-0 in 2017. He finished the week with six plus innings of shutout work and 10 strikeouts. Sims’ total line for the week was 13 innings, seven hits, three walks, and 14 strikeouts with just a lone earned run allowed. Sims has now lowered his season ERA to 2.16 and has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his first seven starts.
Third baseman Rio Ruiz (22nd) posted another strong push for a promotion to Atlanta. Ruiz entered the week with a .228 batting average, but raised his average nearly 40 points to .264 at week’s end. He finished the week with a line of 12-for-32 with a home run, one triple, three doubles, five runs scored, and four RBI. Third base has been a position of need for Atlanta ever since Chipper Jones retired and Chris Johnson flamed out after one strong season. Ruiz may not be a long-term solution, but it is about time for management to give him a shot.
Mississippi Braves (Double-A)
The story of the week comes from Mississippi where the Double-A Braves went 5-3. Mike Soroka (fourth) posted six perfect innings in a fantastic outing. Soroka finished his start against the Mobile BayBears with a shutout in six and two-third’s innings with five strikeouts, one walk, and one hit allowed. Fellow teenager Kolby Allard (third) contribute two sterling outings this week. Allard picked up two wins with a combined line of 11 innings pitched, five hits allowed, five walks, seven strikeouts, and a lone earned run given up. His season ERA has been lowered to 1.23, and it is becoming time to wonder when Allard, and Soroka, may pitch themselves into a promotion. It is more than likely that management will be especially patient with such young arms. Fans, however, are loving these performances from the young studs in Atlanta’s system.
The story of the week across the entire Braves farm system was Acuna (seventh). Acuna’s promotion to Double-A made the headlines, but it is what Acuna did with that promotion that stole the show. The young outfielder had three hits in his debut for Mississippi with a home run and three RBI. Acuna finished his first week in Double-A with a line of 14-for-25 with two home runs, a triple, 10 RBI, and six runs scored. The numbers speak for themselves, and the legend of Acuna will continue to grow over the coming months.
Florida Fire Frogs (Advanced-A)
The Florida Fire Frogs went 4-3 on the week with a decent showing from their pitching staff. Southpaw Ricardo Sanchez (19th) looks to have rebounded from a rough start to the season. Sanchez allowed two earned runs over five innings this week, but he struck out eight men against just two walks. This week marked Sanchez’s fourth consecutive start of allowing two or less runs, and he has lowered his season ERA to 3.55.
Catching prospect Alex Jackson (23rd) continues to dominate in Florida. Jackson posted eight extra-base hits this week alongside seven RBI. Jackson now boasts a .599 slugging percentage over 35 games this season. Seymour (30th) was among those who flourished in the middle of a promotion this week. Seymour finished the week with a .476 average (10-21) in his first week at Advanced-A. He added on two doubles, scored five runs, and drove in one run. The speedy Seymour is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. His transition to the outfield appears to have helped him figure out the offensive side of things. Speed still kills, and Seymour’s speed can change a game in an instant.
Rome Braves (Single-A)
The Rome Braves finished the week with a record of 2-5. Rome continues to struggle in an inconsistent and sometimes anemic offense. Lefthander Joey Wentz (13th) had a solid week over two outings. Wentz took one loss and a no-decision this week, but he was fantastic with two earned runs over nine innings with 13 strikeouts. Wentz is off to a hot start in his first professional season with 37 strikeouts and a 5.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first seven starts.
Outfielder Cristian Pache (14th) found his stride in Rome with a hot week. Pache had two extra-base hits and four RBI alongside a 10-for-23 show with three runs scored. It is difficult to tell what type of player Pache will turn into, but it would not be unlikely for him to develop more power over time. The good news is that Pache is looking more and more comfortable in Rome, and all while competing at 18-years old.