Braves Minor League Recap: Braden Shewmake stays hot for Gwinnett
By Eric Cole
It was another tough day for the Atlanta Braves' minor league affiliates on Sunday as they went a combined 1-3. Braden Shewmake did continue his recent hot streak, JR Ritchie had himself a brutal inning for Augusta, and Nacho Alvarez had a good game at the plate. Lets get into the games.
Gwinnett jumped out to an early lead, but saw that lead slip away in route to a 5-3 loss. Nick Margevicius, who the Braves signed on a minor league deal at the beginning of April, got the start for Gwinnett and was reasonable enough. He struck out five batters in three innings of work, but he also gave up three runs on eight hits during the same time period. It was his first appearance of the season so we will cut him a bit of slack for now. Roddery Munoz appears to have fully been transitioned into a bullpen arm at his point and he struggled in his two innings of work as he gave up a run on two hits and two walks with no strikeouts.
Braden Shewmake appears to be making things interesting at the shortstop position especially with Vaughn Grissom struggling defensively in the big leagues. Aside from being an excellent defensive player, after a strong game on Sunday, Shewmake is 10-21 with three doubles, two homers, and five stolen bases. Nick Solak had another multi-hit game for Gwinnett and he has three of those in his last four games.
Mississippi was the lone winner on Sunday in the farm system as they took down the Biscuits by the score of 3-2. Domingo Robles got the start for the M-Braves and he was good overall with five strikeouts in five innings of work, although the three walks were less than ideal especially for him. The bullpen would bend, but not break the rest of the way.
There wasn't a ton of offense for Mississippi yesterday, but Hudson Potts came through with runners on when they needed him to as his two-run double with the bases loaded in the fourth inning proved to be the most consequential play in the game. Cade Bunnell's RBI single the next inning proved to be the difference in the game.
The Rome offense came to play, but their pitching staff struggled mightily in their 10-5 loss to Hudson Valley. Luis Vargas was Rome's starter and he largely kept the game manageable with a 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K line, although that is far from a great appearance overall. Unfortunately, the Rome bullpen gave up eight runs (four of which were earned...the Rome defense was not a highlight, either) and that was that.
Offensively, we did have some good news. Nacho Alvarez, who had just two hits in his previous five games, had a three hit game plus a walk for good measure. It still would be nice to see him impact the ball more, but its hard to complain about reaching base four times in a game. Under the radar, Stephen Paolini is off to a nice start to the season in limited playing time (there are a lot of outfielders on Rome's roster fighting for playing time) and yesterday was another good game with a couple hits an a RBI.
Finally, we have the GreenJackets who were on the wrong side of a six run inning that proved to be the difference in their 8-4 loss. JR Ritchie got the start for Augusta and started the game with three scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Unfortunate, the fourth inning was not nearly as kind as he would only record one out and he would allow the first six batters he faced to reach base. Some of what was happening was just some rotten batted ball luck and its possible he was focused on working on certain pitches, but it still wasn't great.
On offense, Tyler Collins had a double, 2 RBI, and a walk. He also didn't steal a base which, for him, is noteworthy given that he reached base twice in the game. David McCabe continued his recent hot streak as he connected on an opposite field, solo home run. Early in the season, I was not enamored with McCabe's approach or swing, but he seems to be finding his stride a bit lately and getting that raw power of his to play in games.