Braves 2021 Farm Report: Alan Rangel and Joey Estes pitch Rome and Augusta to victory

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System-wide, offense was rather quiet down on the Braves farm on Thursday as even Gwinnett only managed four hits in its loss versus Nashville. However, despite the bats scuffling a bit, yesterday featured some strong pitching performances… especially at the lower levels of the organization. 

With another weekend of Braves minor league baseball upon us, here’s Thursday’s farm report…


AAA – Gwinnett Stripers (9-6)

L, 3-1 vs. Nashville 

  • SP, J. Rodriguez – 3 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K
  • RF, T. Demeritte – 2 for 4, HR, RBI
  • RP, T. Burrows – 3 IP, 2 H, ER, 6 K


Following a four-game hitting streak that featured a 9 for 14 (.642 AVG) torrid stretch — of which also included five XBH — at the plate, prospect outfielder Drew Waters finally returned to earth with a hitless performance in Thursday’s loss. However, outfield mate Travis Demeritte is still in fantasy land as he provided the Stripers with its only run, slugging a solo-homer in the 7th for his fifth long ball of the season…


Demeritte also added a single in this one, though other than a couple of base-hits by Orlando Arcia and Travis Snider, Gwinnett’s offense was held in check by Nashville, including 12 strikeouts in five innings from Sounds starter Eric Lauer (a former 1st round pick). 

Jose Rodriguez made his first start of the season for the Stripers last night, albeit his last relief appearance actually consisted of more innings. Rodriguez struck out the side in the 1st and then proceeded to work around a pair of doubles and three walks in the 2nd and 3rd before giving way to Thomas Burrows, who then struck out five of the first six batters he faced. An RBI single off the bat of former Brave Jace Peterson in the 5th was Burrows’ only mistake as he left the ballgame with the game tied after six innings. However, lefty Mitch Horacek surrendered a two-run homer to former top Brewers prospect Keston Hiura in the 8th, giving Nashville the late-game lead and eventual win. 



AA – Mississippi Braves (6-9)

Game 1: L, 3-1 vs. Chattanooga 

Game 2: W, 3-1 vs. Chattanooga 



  • SP, H. Deal – (L), 4 ⅔ IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
  • CF, J. Dean – 1 for 3, R, 2 SB
  • RP, B. Wilson – 2 ⅓ IP, H, BB, 3 K

Game 1 of Mississippi’s double-header was a rough one for the offense as the M-Braves picked up just three hits overall, with all of them coming in the first four innings. On the bright side, speedy outfielder Justin Dean scurried around the bases in the 4th, eventually scoring off a wild pitch after stealing both second AND third…


For Chattanooga, it was a one-man show offensively. Outfielder Narciso Crook was responsible for two of the Lookouts’ three runs in the win.

Hayden Deal started Game 1 for Mississippi and seemed to be cruising after giving up a 1st-inning run…


However, two-straight singles to lead off the 5th, followed by a hit-by-pitch, resulted in the hook for Deal, despite him immediately bouncing back and getting back-to-back strikeouts. And the two earned runs for Deal are a bit misleading as well, given Brooks Wilson relieved him with two on and two outs, and then allowed a two-run double to the first batter he faced. 



  • SP, M. Withrow – 3 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K
  • 1B, G. Jenista – 1 for 2, HR, 2 RBI
  • 3B, R. Unroe – 3 for 3

In Game 2, Mississippi waited until the 6th inning to do… well… really anything. Three of the M-Braves six total hits in this one came in the 6th, while down 1-0. First, it was a lead-off home run by Jalen Miller to tie it…


Following a walk by Justin Dean, a popout by Braden Shewmake and a strikeout by Trey Harris… the next hit came from a two-run homer off the bat of Greyson Jenista, giving Mississippi a 3-1 lead…


Lastly, recently demoted infielder Riley Unroe added the third hit (and his third knock of the game) by poking a single to right. 

Matt Withrow started Game 2 and was limited to just 52 pitches, working around a fielding error, two singles and a walk in his three frames to help maintain his 0.75 ERA this season. Luis Mora and Troy Bacon pitched the final four innings, with Bacon earning the win as he’s now tossed 8 ⅓ scoreless frames so far in 2021. 



A+ – Rome Braves (9-6)

W, 2-1 vs. Bowling Green

  • SP, A. Rangel – 4 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 7 K
  • CF, M. Harris – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI
  • RP, T. Riley – 3 IP, 6 K


Down 1-0 in the 3rd, with runners on the corners, Rome pulled the old double-steal out of its small-ball playbook… and it worked to perfection as Shean Michel scored from third while Cody Milligan was thrown out trying to take second. 

Knotted up at one apiece for the next four innings, neither team could muster anything, until Michael Harris became the hero in the 8th with a go-ahead, RBI double…


For Harris, that’s now a .368 AVG through his first 14 games this season, to go with six XBH, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. 

While the offense was rather quiet on Thursday, Rome’s pitching was absolutely dominant. First, starter Alan Rangel did his thing, despite dealing with base runners throughout his entire outing (four singles, a double and a walk). Rangel struck out seven overall, but then was replaced by Trey Riley who proceeded to punch out six Bowling Green batters in three hitless innings. Keeping the bullpen perfect in this one, Indigo Diaz worked the final two frames in hitless fashion, striking out four for the win. 



A – Augusta GreenJackets (7-8)

W, 3-2 vs. Fayetteville 

  • SP, J. Estes – 5 IP, 3 H, R, 8 K
  • SS, C. Shepherd – 1 for 3, BB
  • RP, J. Yeager – (S), IP, H, 3 K


This one didn’t really get going offensively until the 6th when both Fayetteville and Augusta scored a pair of runs each, with the latter’s coming from an RBI single by Willie Carter and then a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. The GreenJackets added its third run the very next inning due to two costly errors by the Woodpeckers, allowing Braulio Vasquez to not only steal second base (from an errant throw by Fayetteville’s catcher) but also come all the way around to score (from another errant throw, this time by Fayetteville’s center fielder). Those three runs was all Augusta needed on Thursday. 

We had ourselves a classic Single-A pitcher’s duel between Augusta’s Joey Estes and Fayetteville’s Angel Macuare, who combined, both tallied 15 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. In fact, Macuare didn’t allow a single hit in his five-inning outing, and Estes’ allowed run was unearned given it came after a fielding error by third baseman Cody Birdsong.

The 19-year-old Estes — a 16th round pick by the Braves in 2019 — is now up to 17 punch outs in 12 innings this season, spanning three starts, and his ERA sits at a stingy 1.50. 

Estarlin Rodriguez and Justin Yeager worked out of the GreenJackets bullpen in Thursday’s win, with Rodriguez notching the victory after four strikeouts in three innings. Yeager earned the three-out save, which is his third of the season as he’s now tallied six scoreless frames so far in 2021. 

As of Thursday night, minor league probables for Friday include: Victor Vodnik for Mississippi and Bryce Elder for Rome. Both Gwinnett and Augusta’s starters have yet to be announced. 



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