Welcome to another edition of the report on the Atlanta Braves farm system by the team at Last Word on Baseball! This week was a busy one with three players receiving a call to join the big league club! Pitcher Lucas Sims and 2B Ozzie Albies both made their Atlanta debuts this week while Max Fried was called up to work out of Atlanta’s bullpen. Lefty Andrew Albers is the Player of the Week after recording 15 shutout innings over two starts. (Prospect rankings listed in parenthesis. All rankings taken from MLB.com’s 2017 Atlanta Braves Top-30 Prospects list. Also be sure to check out LWOB’s mid-season top-20 list of Braves Prospects.)
Weekly Atlanta Braves Farm Report: Ozzie Albies Debuts in Atlanta
Sims (19th) made his MLB debut Tuesday against the Dodgers. It was a tall task for the young righty, but Sims performed well. He did take the loss, but he finished six innings with six hits, three earned runs, and three strikeouts without issuing a walk. Albies (second) also made his debut alongside Sims against the Dodgers. He has appeared in five games so far with mixed results. Albies is batting .143/.333/.357 with three runs scored and three RBI. His first hit was a three-run home run in a losing effort, but Albies looks well on his way in MLB. Fried (10th) was promoted on Saturday but did not make an appearance out of the bullpen.
Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A)
The Gwinnett Braves posted a record of 2-4 this week. Gwinnett’s offense scored two or fewer runs four time this week. The southpaw Albers (unranked) was nearly untouchable. Albers picked up a win this week with 15 innings pitched, 11 hits, no earned runs allowed, 13 strikeouts, and one walk. Luiz Gohara’s (eighth) second start in Gwinnett went much better. The big lefty completed six innings with five hits, one earned run, one walk, and eight strikeouts. He is putting together quite a season across three different levels.
The legend of outfielder Ronald Acuna (first) continues to grow. The young outfielder went 9-for-21 with two RBI and three runs scored this week. Acuna has thrown common sense to the wind as he has improved his numbers at virtually every stop this season. He is now slashing .341/.426/.580 with a 1.005 OPS, four home runs, and 16 runs scored at Gwinnett. Acuna has even seen some time as Gwinnett’s leadoff man since the departure of Albies to Atlanta.
Mississippi Braves (Double-A)
The Mississippi Braves suffered a tough week going winless in eight tries. Mississippi is now 11 games back and looks like a long shot to return to the playoffs this year. Touki Toussaint (15th) posted a strong start in his first Double-A appearance with six innings pitched, four hits, two unearned runs, and four strikeouts. Tyler Pike (unranked) ended the week with a quality outing. Pike went six innings with two unearned runs on five hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts.
Catcher Alex Jackson (17th) is off to a slow start in Double-A. Jackson has just two hits over his first seven games with a double, an RBI, two runs scored, and 11 strikeouts in 23 at-bats. He posted strong numbers at Advanced-A, and it is likely just a transition phase for the power-hitting catcher. One cause for concern is the number of strikeouts early on for Jackson. Third baseman Austin Riley (11th) is starting to find his footing in Mississippi. He had eight hits this week which brought his average up to .256 with a .304 OBP, three home runs, and nine runs scored.
Florida Fire Frogs (Advanced-A)
The Florida Fire Frogs went 2-3 this week. Consistent results have still eluded the Fire Frogs as they sit with a season record of 38-64. 2017 draft pick Kyle Wright (fourth) made his Advanced-A debut this week. The righty threw two shutout innings without allowing a hit and recording one strikeout. The short outing is to be expected for Wright this season after a heavy workload at Vanderbilt. Still, it is good to see solid results from the young pitcher.
Speedster Anfernee Seymour (25th) recorded his first Fire Frogs home run and logged a hit in all four games he played this week. Catcher Brett Cumberland (27th) raised his batting average in Florida to .301 with five hits, two doubles, and three RBI. His now hitting .301/.397/.407 over his first 34 games in Florida.
Rome Braves (Single-A)
The Rome Braves posted an undefeated week with a record of 7-0. The team finished the week on a 10-game win streak to pull them within four games of the Charleston RiverDogs for a postseason appearance. The staple of Rome’s play is yet again a strong pitching staff. Lefty Joey Wentz (ninth) was the star this week with two strong starts. Wentz picked up two wins with a combined line of 14 innings pitched, five hits, three earned runs, two walks, and 17 strikeouts. He now holds a 2.43 ERA with 124 strikeouts to just 33 walks in 107.1 innings pitched. Bryse Wilson (22nd) also picked up a win this week with six strikeouts in six shutout innings.
Catcher/first baseman Drew Lugbauer (unranked) responded well to a promotion from Danville. Lugbauer jumped out of the gate in Rome with eight hits, three doubles, a triple, two RBI, and six runs scored in his first five games. Lugbauer was an 11th round draft pick for the Braves out of the University of Michigan. He is slugging .576 in 34 games over two levels for the Braves. A natural catcher, Lugbauer has been playing at first for Rome with Lucas Herbert (unranked) serving as Rome’s everyday catcher.
Danville Braves (Rookie Level)
The Danville Braves had a strong week with a record of 5-1. They are now above .500 for the season with a record of 23-20. Lefty Kyle Muller (13th) went four innings and allowed three hits, two earned runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. Fellow southpaw Jaret Hellinger (unranked) threw five innings of two-hit, one-run ball to pick up his second win of 2017.
Outfielder Drew Waters (20th) posted seven hits with three RBI and two runs scored this week. He is now slashing .258/.355/.333 in Danville. SS Kevin Maitan (sixth) has continued to slump a bit with just two hits on the week and a .205 average and 13 strikeouts over his past 10 games. Waters and Maitan are competing at 18- and 17-years old respectively. The fact they have made it to Danville at this point is impressive enough. The results will come in time.
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