If you’ve followed the Braves minor league system at all this season, then I’m sure you’re well aware of just how talented the organization’s Double-A affiliate has been so far. And honestly, it probably shouldn’t be too surprising either, given just how loaded this 2021 M-Braves club is. Braves prospects such as outfielder Trey Harris, catcher Shea Langeliers, shortstop Braden Shewmake and first baseman/outfielder Greyson Jenista are littered throughout the team’s lineup; with guys like Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, and Daysbel Hernández, the team also has a dangerous group of pitchers. In terms of the sheer amount of Top 30 prospects within the Braves system, it’s safe to say that Mississippi easily rosters the most talent.
Still, though, the M-Braves did more than just simply win on Saturday. In a game against their division rival — the Pensacola Wahoos — Mississippi pulled off something they haven’t done in two seasons: they no-hit the Wahoos.
Ranked tenth on my latest Braves Top 30 prospect list, righty Bryce Elder tossed an absolute gem in just his third Double-A start, striking out six in seven innings last night. The 22-year-old righty struggled with some control issues throughout the outing, walking four batters in all, but he did a nice job of spreading out those free passes and ended up containing the Blue Wahoos lineup beautifully. In all, Elder threw 89 pitches (44 strikes) on Saturday and was a machine when it came to inducing ground-ball outs, as he generated 10 from the Pensacola offense.
Once Elder left the game, and the M-Braves had already led 6-0 through seven, prospect reliever Daysbel Hernández entered. Hernández has been a bit inconsistent this season, but he wasn’t about to ruin the team’s no-hit bid Saturday night. The 24-year-old righty led off the eighth with a walk but then set down the next three batters. In the final frame, Hernández induced a flyout from the lead-off batter before striking out the next two batters to end the game and preserve the no-hitter.
Together, both Elder and Hernández combined for 10 strikeouts and five walks in nine innings of work. The impressive start for Elder now gives him a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings with the M-Braves and a solid 2.66 ERA in 61 total innings between both Rome and Mississippi. This kid is sure to climb the prospect rankings if he can even somewhat keep this kind of pitching going throughout the rest of the year. Meanwhile, Hernández improves to a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings with Mississippi this season, after posting a 9.64 ERA in 4.2 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett to start the 2021 campaign.
The M-Braves offense only tallied six hits on Saturday, with Trey Harris scoring on a wild pitch in the first and then slapping a two-run double in second, followed by a two-run homer from Justin Dean in the fourth. Wendell Rijo also tallied two hits in the game, and Drew Lugbauer and Jacob Pearson each finished with a hit. The win on Saturday puts Mississippi at 37-23 overall, which is the second-most wins among the entire 30-team Double-A level. The M-Braves now lead the Blue Wahoos by three games in the South Division.