The Atlanta Braves' farm system affiliates were busy on Tuesday night after an off day on Monday and went a combined 1-3. Michael Soroka made more progress down in Gwinnett as he looks to try to make his way back to the big leagues while Didier Fuentes made his full season debiut at just 17 years old.
The Stripers fell by the score of 4-1 with a rough appearance from Richard Lovelady being the difference in the game (not to mention a lack of offense), but there were some positives to take away from the pitching staff. Michael Soroka went four innings and 69 pitches while only giving up one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five batters. His velocity and spin looked good and his stuff passed the eye test, so no complaints with the work he is putting in right now. Also of note, Roddery Munoz came out of the bullpen for Gwinnett after getting promoted to Triple-A just a day earlier. It is entirely possible that this move could be signaling that he is getting looked at for a spot in the big league bullpen in the short-term, but for now we are just keeping an eye on his usage.
Not much to talk about on offense with this club at the moment as they managed just one run on three hits yesterday. Braden Shewmake is at least back playing again after being out for a couple games and he did have a double and a RBI. Vaughn Grissom's seven game hitting streak to start the season was broken up yesterday as he went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Still, a 1.037 OPS to start the season is pretty sweet although that comes with all of the usual small sample size caveats.
Mississippi was the lone winner in the farm system last night as they took down Chattanooga by the score of 5-2. Luis De Avila was on the mound for Mississippi as was pretty good over four innings as he gave up one run on two hits and three walks while striking out five batters. It certainly wasn't the most efficient start for De Avila and he struggled to find the strike zone, but again it was his first start of the season. Hayden Deal and that cutter of his came out of the bullpen and gave up a run over a pair of innings, but he also struck out four batters.
Luke Waddell did good work at the plate for Mississippi as he got a hit, walked twice, and drove in a pair of runs. Cody Milligan just keeps raking as he had another double as well as a walk out of the leadoff spot. He won't be able to sustain that 1.193 OPS that he has through the first few games of the season, but he is a much better hitter than he is given credit for and he is also incredibly versatile defensively. Cade Bunnell got in on the fun as well with a pair of doubles while driving in a pair of runs as well.
Rome ended up falling by the score of 7-3 to Bowling Green, but there were some positives on both sides of the ball. Luis Vargas got the start for Rome and he went two innings and gave up a run while striking out three batters. The rest of the pitch performances were less than great as the bullpen trio of Rolddy Munoz, Ryder Jones, and Peyton Williams each gave up at least one run which ultimately put the game out of reach for the Braves.
Rome got multi-hit games out of Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. (whose speed and athleticism has stuck out early this season), Geraldo Quintero, and Adam Zebrowski. Kadon Morton connected for his first home run of the season in the sixth inning to make the game close again. If he can demonstrate a better hit tool this year, he is going to open some eyes with the rest of his tool kit. Nacho Alvarez had another hit and RBI as well. We are still waiting for him to impact the ball with more authority, but his bat to ball skills as well as his strike zone awareness are quite good.
The GreenJackets lost by the score of 6-5, but last night was exciting as we got our first look at 17 year old Didier Fuentes who got the start for Augusta. Fuentes pitches out of a low arm slot and his fastball has a ton of running life on it while currently being a low 90's offering. He struggled to hit his spots last night, but he also got some silly swings and misses on both his fastball and his sweeping slider. His final line ended up at 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 4 K. He is definitely still raw, but there is a lot to work with here. A tough relief appearance from Cedric De Grandpre proved to be the difference in the game as he gave up four earned runs in 3.2 innings of work, although he did also strike out six batters so it wasn't all bad.
On offense, Tyler Collins keeps running like a man possessed. He drove in a run on a sac fly and only reached base once on a walk, but he still ending up stealing two more bases (he is up to four through two games). It would be nice if he drove the ball more, but he is fun to watch once he is on base. Justin Janas had a pair of hits including a double and drove in a run and Ethan Workinger had another big time hit as his two-run single in the sixth gave the GreenJackets some life again.