Braves 2021 Farm Report: Gwinnett drops fourth straight while Jesse Franklin homers twice for Rome

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Today Braves Country wakes up having won two of three against the Dodgers this past weekend. I’m not sure there’s anything that can top that, but there was still some action worth covering down on the farm Sunday. 

Week 4 of the 2021 minor league season is now complete, and most teams have played exactly 25% of the regular season schedule.

Here’s a recap of Sunday’s games…


Gwinnett Stripers (15-15)

L, 6-3 vs. Jacksonville

  • SP, J. De La Cruz – (L), 4.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, BB, 6 K, HR
  • 3B, S. Kazmar – 1 for 4, HR, RBI
  • CF, D. Waters – 1 for 4, 2B


Jasseel De La Cruz tried to do it all on Sunday, and after pitching around a pair of singles resulting in an early 1-0 deficit for Gwinnett, the righty slapped a 1-1 pitch out to right field, knocking in Travis Demeritte and tying things up.


But unfortunately for Cruz, save for the 3rd inning, the prospect pitcher dealt with base runners throughout his entire outing. Luckily, veteran Sean Kazmar got a hold of a 1-0 pitch left over the middle. His home run tied the game up at three apiece.


However, Cruz’s day ended with one out in the 5th inning as Jacksonville led off with back-to-back hits, the second being an RBI triple. Reliever Jesse Biddle got the final pair of outs, but the Stripers entered the 6th down 4-3.

A double by Drew Waters in the 6th and a single by Jonathan Lucroy in the 9th were the only hits Gwinnett managed for the rest of the game. Reliever Jesse Chavez allowed the Jumbo Shrimp to tack on two more runs, one being a homer in the 6th and the other a sac-fly in the 7th. 

Hitting cleanup and yesterday’s right fielder, Travis Demeritte, finished 1 for 4 with a run and two strikeouts. Demeritte leads the offense with a 1.094 OPS this season. 


Mississippi Braves (15-15)

W, 4-3 vs. Pensacola 

  • SP, N. Kingham – 6 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, K, HR
  • CF, J. Dean – 1 for 3, 3B, RBI, SB
  • DH, W. Rijo – 1 for 4, 2B, RBI 


Mississippi’s win on Sunday wasn’t very action-filled, and the M-Braves ended up needing an error from Pensacola to go up in the 8th for the win.


But perhaps the big takeaway from last night’s victory is the continued success of righty pitcher Nolan Kingham.


Despite his pitch-to-contact approach on the mound, the 24-year-old Kingham now has three-straight outings in which he’s allowed two or fewer runs, and his three-hitter on Sunday tied a season-best for him in hits allowed. I’ll have an updated Braves 2021 Top 30 Prospect List coming out this week, and Kingham has earned himself a spot.

Other than Kingham’s performance, though, Mississippi’s lineup generated most of its production in what was a three-run 6th inning. First, it was Riley Delgado’s RBI groundout, followed by an RBI triple by Justin Dean.


And then Wendell Rijo kept the momentum going by knocking in Dean with a double.


Other than a base-hit by Jalen Miller, that was all the M-Braves could manage on offense.

In other news: Riley Unroe led off and manned shortstop for Mississippi, while it appears prospect Braden Shewmake had the night off. 



Rome Braves (15-15)

L, 7-2 vs. Bowling Green 

  • SP, A. Rangel – (L), 4 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, BB, 5 K, HR
  • RF, J. Franklin – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI
  • DH, R. Delgado – 2 for 4, 2B


Neither Rome nor Bowling Green managed a hit until the Hot Rods exploded for four runs in the 4th with a triple, an RBI single, and a three-run home run. It’s a shame, too, because R-Braves starter Alan Rangel was pitching well on Sunday, and given his struggles so far in 2021, he really needed a good performance. 

But outfielder Jesse Franklin V did his best to get Rome back in this one. Last year’s 3rd round pick by the Braves homered in both the 5th and the 7th, but the rest of the lineup only combined for four hits.

Two of those hits were from Riley Delgado, while the other two came from Kevin Josephina and Brett Langhorne. 

One notable performance for Rome last night, and a guy I’ve named here quite a bit in 2021, was 22-year-old righty Indigo Diaz. The former 27th round pick pitched the last two innings of the R-Braves loss and tallied five strikeouts to go with three hits allowed. This season, the kid has allowed just one run from five hits in 15 ⅓ innings, good for a cool 0.59 ERA. 

The two-hit night for Franklin was needed as he’s now up to only a .220 AVG for the 2021 campaign.


Augusta GreenJackets (13-17)

W, 9-7 vs. Charleston

  • SP, D. Vines – (W), 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K, HR
  • RF, L. Parker – 1 for 4, HR, 2 RBI, SB
  • DH, W. Carter – 3 for 4, RBI, R, BB


Darius Vines pitched a strong game yesterday, and Augusta’s lineup broke out for 12 hits to barely hold on for the win. Four different GreenJackets batters finished with multi-hit games, and Willie Carter’s three hits on Sunday pushed his season AVG to .344.

Carter got started early with a 1st-inning RBI single, and following a five-run 5th, Augusta held a commanding 6-1 advantage as the team went to the bullpen in the 6th. That 5th featured another single by Carter, a two-run homer by Brandon Parker, and a base-hit by Stephen Paolini as the onslaught chased Charleston’s starter. But the GreenJackets weren’t done, and versus the RiverDogs’ reliever Ben Brecht, Augusta added on with another two-run homer, this time by Braulio Vasquez, as well as a double by Cade Bunnell. 

But Charleston climbed back with three runs in the 6th and a run in the 7th, making it 9-6 entering the final frame. GreenJackets reliever Benjamin Dum allowed a lead-off homer by the RiverDogs in the 9th, but he bounced back by getting a strikeout and, after surrendering a walk and a single, induced the game-ending double-play to preserve the win. 


It’s Monday, so no Braves minor league action today, and unfortunately, no Braves MLB action either. Days like today shouldn’t be legal.

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