Check out the Atlanta Braves Minor League action from Week 6 in this week’s Farm Report.
The Atlanta Braves are still getting some great performances from some of their top prospects, though, there’s still a few that haven’t quite lived up to their ranking — just yet.
Need a refresher?
(21-16) Gwinnett Stripers (AAA)
Week 6 Record: 4-3
The Week At A Glance
It was another solid week for Gwinnett, winners of three-straight as they closed out the week.
After finishing up their series on Monday with a win versus the Durham Bulls, the Stripers played a 3-game set with the Buffalo Bisons — the team that Vlad Jr. (MLB’s #1 prospect) played out a short stint with this season and currently rosters Cavan Biggio (Blue Jays #12 prospect).
The Bisons took two of three from Gwinnett, then next on the docket for the Stripers was the Pawtucket Red Sox — where Michael Chavis (Red Sox #3 prospect) played earlier this season before his big league call-up.
Gwinnett swept the weekend series with Pawtucket, ending Week 6 on a high note as the Stripers won by a score of 4-1 on Sunday from eight team hits and a strong 6-inning start from pitcher Andres Santiago (now 2-2).
Here’s a clip of a few long balls that the Stripers hit on Friday:
Week 6 Takeaways
1. Austin Riley has reached new heights:
If there was ever any doubt whatsoever whether or not third baseman Austin Riley was the future hot corner for the Atlanta Braves, I believe he’s destroyed those concerns through the first 36 games of 2019.
Folks, he’s coming.
He has been playing in the outfield for Gwinnett (mostly left field) since Friday, an obvious demand from the Atlanta Braves front office as they look to find some way to implement him into the big league lineup.
His numbers are ridiculous at the moment, and so far he’s already hit 14 home runs, more than he hit last season in 75 games, and six less than he did in 129 games back in 2016 with Rome.
Riley has figured it out it seems. He’s running a K-rate almost 10% below his career mark and walking around 3% more than last season. This isn’t luck either, his current BABIP is one of the lowest figures of his career.
There will be more on Riley in the coming days, as an article almost has to be written about his gains this year, so I don’t want to spoil too much.
I’m still hoping Donaldson breaks out and enjoys a great season (he’s been fine), but I think Austin Riley has done all he can do and deserves a shot at third base in 2020, or a spot somewhere this season.
Here’s that pretty swing from the right side…
2. It’s time do something with Adam Duvall:
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece on Adam Duvall, reporting on his fantastic start to the 2019 campaign. I also noted that he could potentially be worth something as a trade piece.
Our newest member of the writing team, Andrew, dove deeper into that topic with his piece Friday.
My particular piece stemmed from comments made by several ‘regulars’ of our site a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it was an interesting topic. It seems that the opinions are basically split down the middle in terms of what to do with Duvall.
Some want to trade him and some want to keep him and call him up. I honestly don’t feel strongly either way, but I do feel like a decision needs to be made very soon.
My article went out on May 1, and at that time, Duvall was tearing it up to the tune of a .312 batting average, 7 doubles, and 8 home runs. Oh yeah … he only had five more strikeouts than walks (12 BB / 17 K) during that 25-game span.
Well, from May 2 to May 12 (10 games), Duvall hit just .222 (8-for-36) with 2 homers and 2 doubles. In that span, he has 12 strikeouts and six walks. That stretch of performance isn’t terrible, but it’s apparent he’s trending downward.
With the way Duvall has approached hitting in the past, it won’t take long for him to be in a bad place performance-wise. The Atlanta Braves need to do something with him before that happens.
*Note: That second homer he hit in the past 10 games came in the last game of Week 6, on Sunday.
3. Bryse Wilson is not impressing:
As the #10 prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization, Bryse Wilson has yet to get things going consistently on the mound. I wrote about Wilson last month regarding my concern of his poor start to the season, and he hasn’t really done anything to make those concerns go away.
Wilson is currently running a 5.74 ERA through six starts (though his FIP is 4.94) and even though his 30 strikeouts and 7 walks are fine, his six home runs given up are a tad concerning since he’s never really had a problem with the long ball.
Bryse has only made one big league start and it wasn’t great (3.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 3 K, HR). He made a relief appearance four days before that start, though it was just one inning of work. I was hoping for more from him.
*Note: Bryse Wilson’s last start was Friday. His line: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.
Players of the Week
(3B) A. Riley: .296 BA, 4 HR, 2B, 8 RBI
(SP) K. Allard: 2 W, 12 IP, 5 ER, 10 K, 3 BB
As you’ve read above, Austin Riley is really a no-brainer for this week. He’s turned it up a notch even after a strong start earlier in the season.
Here’s a fun fact, Riley already has four 2-homer games in just 36 games played. He’s got hits in 6 of his last 10 with five of those six being of the multi-hit variety. There’s your 2020 big league third baseman … or maybe 2019 outfielder?
One start doesn’t make a season, but Kolby Allard‘s most recent outing on Saturday was a big improvement compared to previous starts 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, BB, 7 K). However, the pitching in Gwinnett was rather weak in Week 6.
Allard was less effective on Monday (his first start of the week) with 3 earned runs and three strikeouts. Hopefully the most recent start is the beginnings of something positive from here on out.