Braves Minor League Recap: Milligan continues hot start, Baldwin with three hits
By Eric Cole
Down in the minor leagues for the Atlanta Braves, their farm affiliates put up another 1-3 slate but still had some strong performances from their prospects. Vaughn Grissom had a couple hits, Cody Milligan continued his strong work down in Mississippi, and Drake Baldwin put up a nice batting line for Rome.
Gwinnett lost by the score of 10-7 primarily due to a rough start out of Domingo Robles. He only pitched into the fourth inning and seven runs on seven hits and three walks which is decidedly not great. The bullpen ended up giving up three more runs and that wasn't great because Gwinnett's offense ended up putting up four runs in the bottom of the ninth which would have won the game if the relief corps had locked things down.
For the offense, Forrest Wall had the biggest knock of the game in the bottom of the ninth when he connected on a grand slam which also happened to be his first home run of the season. Vaughn Grissom had a pair of hits to keep his season OPS north of 1.000. Joe Hudson added a solo home run and Yolmer Sanchez had a pair of doubles while driving in two runs.
Mississippi got the Braves' sole win down in the minor leagues as they took down Chattanooga by the score of 9-5. Beau Burrows got the start for Mississippi and the Braves' minor league signing from this past offseason performed well with 3.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Burrows is a former 1st round pick coming off a really tough 2022 season, so there is some upside here.
On offense, it was just another day of Cody Milligan having a strong day at the plate as he reached base three times and scored three runs. Beau Philip had his best game of the young season with a double and a home run while driving in four runs. Luke Waddell, who has looked good so far after having his 2022 season shortened due to injury, reached base three times, drove in a run, and added a stolen base.
Rome had a tough night on the pitching side as they ended up falling by the score of 9-5. Sam Strickland did end up striking out six batters, but he also gave up five runs when things fell apart in the fourth inning which is less than good. Four more runs given up by the bullpen later and Bowling Green had pulled away enough to secure the win.
However, the top of Rome's lineup continued their strong start to the season. Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. had a pair of hits including a double, stole two bases, and added a walk. He has been arguably the most impressive hitter for Rome so far in 2023. Drake Baldwin had a three hit night along with a walk and drove in a pair of runs. Finally, we do have yet another Nacho Alvarez highlight as he reached base three more times and drove in a run.
There was decidedly little offense in this game as Augusta ended up falling 1-0, but the story here was the Braves' young pitchers who threw in this one. Adam Shoemaker got the start for the GreenJackets and after coming of a season last year where he struggled to stay healthy as well as his ability to throw strikes, he pitched quite well in three scoreless, hitless innings with four strikeouts. Shoemaker is one of those guys that has a frame that you can lose sleep dreaming about projecting him, so he is definitely worth keeping an eye on him. After that, Seth Keller took the mound and almost matched Shoemaker with three scoreless innings and four strikeouts of his own (he did give up a couple hits, though).
As for the offense, well...things weren't so hot as Augusta only managed two hits on the day. Ambioris Tavarez had a pretty nice spot in the leadoff spot at least as he had a double, a walk, and a stolen base. Tavarez has a lot of moving parts in his swing and he sets up at the plate a little weird, but there is a lot of physical ability there.