Welcome to another edition of the weekly report on the Atlanta Braves farm system from the team at Last Word on Baseball! This week was an intriguing one for Atlanta’s minor leaguers with many top pitching performances. Sean Newcomb stole the headlines on Saturday with an impressive MLB debut. Mike Soroka, Lucas Sims, and Ian Anderson also posted impressive outings this week. Soroka is the pitcher and top performer of the week for Atlanta. Cristian Pache is the position player of the week. (Prospect ranking listed in parenthesis. All rankings taken from MLB.com’s Atlanta Braves Prospect Watch Top 30.)
Weekly Atlanta Braves Farm Report: Sean Newcomb Debuts for Atlanta
News broke earlier this week that Newcomb (fifth) would make his debut on Saturday for Atlanta. Newcomb was stellar all day. He finished six and one-third of an inning with just four scattered hits, two walks, and a single unearned run allowed. Newcomb struck out seven and looked sharp with 70 strikes in 96 pitches. Unfortunately, he was credited with a loss despite his impressive performance. Newcomb was filling in for the injured Bartolo Colon, but it is hard to imagine a scenario where Newcomb will not continue in Atlanta’s rotation barring a setback or injury.
Gwinnett Braves (Triple-A)
The Gwinnett Braves finished the week with a record of 3-4. The second half of the week featured Atlanta’s pitching prospects in full force. Patrick Weigel (15th) picked up his second Triple-A win with six solid innings that yielded one earned run on three walks and three hits with six strikeouts. Fans were treated to an intense match-up featuring top prospects on Saturday evening. Sims (18th) faced off against Lucas Giolito, the fourth ranked prospect for the Chicago White Sox. Giolito battled all night, but it was Sims who stole the show. Sims pitched eight shutout innings with three hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts.
Outfielder Dustin Peterson (17th) is still trying to find his way in Gwinnett. Peterson began the week just 1-for-10 over his first two games. He leveled off and went 7-21 with a run and an RBI the rest of the way. He does have 23 hits over his first 22 games this season, but Peterson is still trying to find his power groove with a .329 slugging percentage so far in 2017.
Mississippi Braves (Double-A)
The Mississippi Braves posted a strong record of 5-2 this week. Mississippi was led by Soroka (fourth). Soroka picked up his seventh win and finished the week with two shutout appearances. Soroka’s line for the week was 15.0 innings pitched, seven hits, one walk, and 13 strikeouts. He is one of the top pitching prospects in the Southern League despite competing at 19 years old. Soroka is fifth in ERA (2.45), tied for third in innings pitched (69.2), and third in WHIP (0.98). Soroka, and six of his Mississippi teammates, were named Southern League all-stars this week.
— Mississippi Braves (@mbraves) June 7, 2017
The other big story out of Mississippi continues to be one Ronald Acuna (seventh). Acuna posted a down week for his standards with just four hits in seven games; however, it was reported that Acuna was named to the Southern League all-star team despite playing in just 31 games for Mississippi. The young outfielder holds a .508 slugging percentage, .901 OPS, 12 extra-base hits, and 14 steals at the Double-A level.
Florida Fire Frogs (Advanced-A)
The Florida Fire Frogs continue their struggles with a record of 2-4 this week. The Fire Frogs possess some top talent, but the results continue to elude them. Touki Toussaint (11th) continues one of the more confounding seasons in recent memory. Toussaint made it through five and two-thirds in his most recent outing with just a lone earned run despite issuing five walks. He now holds an ERA of 6.32 and a record of 1-7 on the season. Toussaint possesses the eighth worst WHIP in the Florida Sate League (1.49), but he also is tied for fifth in most strikeouts (66).
Infielder Alay Lago (unranked) posted a strong week for Florida. The 25-year-old Cuban posted three multi-hit games and had a hit in every game played this week. For the week, Lago went 8-19 with a home run, three runs scored, and four RBI. Third baseman Austin Riley (12th) also provided a spark for Florida with a two-hit, three-run game that featured his ninth home run of the season.
Rome Braves (Single-A)
The Rome Braves struggled this week with a record of 2-4. Anderson (sixth) had an up-and-down week. The young righty started off with a four-run outing that saw him strikeout seven over five and a third. Anderson’s second start of the week went much better as he completed six shutout innings with five walks. Anderson’s first full professional season has been rocky at times, but there is no denying the potential he possesses. Anderson has struck out 73 batters in 56 innings over 12 starts. He does have a 4.15 ERA, but Anderson has yet to allow a home run this year and has allowed just one in 96 professional innings. Anderson’s ability to limit home runs and strikeout batters should bring his ERA down over time.
Catching prospect Lucas Herbert (28th) provided a spark for Rome this week. Herbert played in just three games this week, but he contributed five hits, two doubles, and four RBI for Rome. Pache (14th) continues to impress at just 18 years old. Pache added three multi-hit games, seven hits total, with four RBI and three runs scored this week. Brett Cumberland (29th) added his ninth home run of the year this week, but he finished this week on an 0-for-12 streak with six strikeouts.