Braves Minor League Recap: Lugbauer goes yard on a tough day for Braves prospects
By Eric Cole
It was a tough day down in the minors for the Atlanta Braves as their affiliates went a combined 0-3 with a rainout. Nolan Kingham threw six strong innings for Gwinnett, Drew Lugbauer went yard for Mississippi, and Ian Mejia put together a nice start for the Rome Braves.
With Vaughn Grissom getting called backup to the big leagues to fill in for the injured Orlando Arcia, the Gwinnett offense is decidedly lacking and it showed yesterday as they lost by the score of 3-0. Nolan Kingham did his job on the mound as he through six innings of one run ball. Kingham played a hybrid bullpen/starter role last year in the minors and it is unclear as to what role he should play as he isn't a guy that misses bats enough, but does have games where he gets enough soft contact to go deep into games.
As for the offense, well...there was not much of it. Braden Shewmake did have a two hit game which was nice to see given his less than stellar start to the season. Charlie Culberson also contributed a bit as he had the Stripers' only extra base hit yesterday with a double.
Down at Double-A Mississippi, things were even tougher as the squad fell by the score of 8-3. Alan Rangel got the start for Mississippi and while he did have eight strikeouts (his strikeout numbers the last couple of years have been quite good), he also gave up three home runs which was less good. If you are looking for a bit of a silver lining, Victor Vodnik (who struggled this spring and who has struggled in general to stay on the field) had a clean relief appearance with a pair of strikeouts.
Offensively, if it weren't for Drew Lugbauer, things would have looked pretty dire. Fortunately, he did connect on a three-run homer in the seventh inning to make things look a bit more reasonable. Lugbauer continues to have stretches where he looks like a legitimate hitting prospect with real power, but then he will disappear for long stretches as well. Still a guy to keep an eye on, but consistency will be key for him. Sadly, Cody Milligan's reign of terror came to an end last night as his hitting streak to start the season was snapped with a rough 0-4 day with three strikeouts. He did, however, have an outfield assist, though, which was nice to see.
Rome lost a tight game to Bowling Green to round out the minor league slate by the score of 3-2. Ian Mejia put together another nice performance on the mound with five innings where he gave up two earned runs while striking out seven batters. Sadly, one mistake thrown by reliever Brent Burgess in the eighth inning turned into a solo homer that proved to be the difference in the game.
On offense, Nacho Alvarez had another hit to run his hitting streak to start the season to five games. His .478 OBP to start the season seems pretty good. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. had another hit as well as an outfield assist to continue his strong start to the season. Keshawn Ogans had a multi-hit game out of the ninth spot in the lineup. Finally, we have the source of the only two runs that Rome scored yesterday and that was courtesy of Bryson Horne who hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning (he also struck out three times).
Postponed - Rain sucks
This was a bummer as Spencer Schwellenbach was supposed to make his second appearance of the season. Hopefully they just let him throw today.