Atlanta Braves Week 16 Farm Report: Gwinnett’s offense has awakened again
Our own version of “Bryce” in Danville
Bryce Ball wasn’t a high draft pick – not even close (taken in the 24th round of last month’s Draft). However, he’s been one of the best since becoming a pro.
The Dominican Braves offense has evolved from small ball to a much more formidable unit, as they’ve turned their offense around lately.
(14-18) Danville Braves
Danville put together a solid Week 16, going 4-3 thanks to several draft picks from June. Despite having an above-average offense, the D-Braves have lacked in the starting pitching department, and enter this week in last place in the Appy East division (6.5 GB from 1st).
Four 2019 draft picks led Danville’s offense last week, ignited by last month’s 9th rounder, second baseman Cody Milligan. Milligan hit .375 and stole 2 bases, while also slapping a double and knocking in a run. Over his last 10 games, the Kansas native is batting .368.
First baseman Bryce Ball, hit 2 homers and a double last week, also plating 6 runs (he has 19 XBHs in his first 27 professional games, including 10 homers); outfielder Conner Blair, 15th round pick, finished with 5 RBI and a homer; and 10th round pick, Brandon Parker, slugged a home run and a triple, knocking in 5 runs as well.
Mitch Stallings and Alec Barger led the starting pitching rotation. Stallings went 5.2 innings on Wednesday, striking out four and walking two while allowing just 3 hits.
Barger had a poor start on Monday (5 earned runs), but bounced back on Saturday, when he struck out six and allowed just one run from two hits, in 4.2 innings.
Stallings has a 1.67 ERA in 4 starts and two appearances this season, between the GCL Braves and Danville; while Barger carries a 4.24 ERA in six starts with the D-Braves.
Relievers Alex Camacho and Kenny Wells led the bullpen. The former struck out six in 3 total innings last week, while the latter struck out four and allowed a run, in the 2.1 innings he accrued.
(8-12) GCL Braves
The Gulf Coast Braves went 4-2 in Week 16, featuring a walk-off win on Monday, when the Braves’ Darling Florentino (former Florida Fire Frogs player) hit a sac-fly to left field to win the game, 4-3 in 13 innings over the Pirates.
Outfielders Michael Harris and Brandol Mezquita led the Braves’ offense, hitting .421 and .368, respectively. Harris finished the week with a double and a stolen base, while Mezquita hit a home run, knocked in 2 runs and also stole a base.
Shortstop Vaughn Grissom also hit well, batting .272 last week and belting a homer. Vaughn led the team with 4 RBI in Week 17.
Pitching was a weak spot for the GCL Braves last week. Starter/reliever Chad Bryant opened the week with a start on Monday, tossing a 3-hitter and striking out six, in a 5.2-inning outing. He allowed 2 runs on Monday. Then on Saturday he made a 3-inning appearance, allowing 4 hits.
Starter Zach Seipel pitched well also, making a start on Wednesday and striking out five in 5 innings. Seipel allowed just a single hit and walked one.
(20-23) DSL Braves
Winning 5 of their last 10, the DSL Braves have been an up-and-down team seemingly all season, though the offense has generated more power lately, as the first couple weeks of the season was a chore when it came to runs.
Pitching-wise, the Dominican Braves have a few solid arms. Reibyn Corona pitched a fantastic outing on Tuesday, striking out six in 6 innings and allowing just 4 hits in his scoreless start. Corona has a 4.09 ERA in 5 starts and 4 appearances for the Braves.
Jorge Bautista was another useful arm in Week 16. Bautista made a 6-inning start on Friday, allowing just one run from 2 hits and striking out four. He’s running a 3.96 ERA in 8 starts and one relief appearance this season.
Relief pitcher Ronaldo Alesandro worked a total of 3.1 innings last week, striking out five and walking two, as he allowed a run and a hit.
The Braves’ lineup was rather spread out in terms of production. Outfielder Deivi Estrada went 11-for-23 (.478 BA) and plated 5 runs. Estrada also hit 2 doubles and stole four bags for the Braves.
Randi De La Cruz only played in 4 games, but he played well when in the lineup, hitting .333 and slugging a homer plus a double, good for 3 RBI in his 15 at-bats last week.