Over the last two days the Braves have added ten brand new young players to its organization, with rounds 1-10 of the 2021 MLB Draft completed so far. But during this entire draft process, don’t forget… this Atlanta minor league system is already a pretty talented group. That was confirmed on Monday when, for the second week in a row (pitcher Bryse Wilson and outfielder Jesse Franklin V won the awards last week), the system featured two players among MiLB.com’s Player/Pitcher of the Week award, as both Mississippi’s Bryce Elder and Augusta’s Tanner Gordon took home Pitcher of the Week for last week’s games.
For the Double-A South league, the 22-year-old Elder was an evident favorite after he and M-Braves reliever Daysbel Hernández teamed up to complete a combined no-hitter just this past Sunday versus Pensacola — the first no-hitter for Mississippi in two years, since both Ian Anderson and Jeremy Walker pulled it off in 2019. In that seven-inning start for Elder, the righty walked four and struck out six, while needing just 89 pitches to complete the outing. Per Game Score (79), it was the best start of Elder’s 2021 season, despite being only his third time pitching at the Double-A level. Lately the former University of Texas star and fifth-round pick has become much more comfortable pitching for the M-Braves. After struggling in his debut, Elder has allowed just one run in his last 12 innings with Mississippi, including 11 strikeouts. Overall, he’ll enter his next start with a 2.66 ERA in 61 total innings between both Rome and the M-Braves in 2021. If we weren’t already sure then… we certainly are now — Elder is sure to be a big time prospect in the Braves system. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how far he goes this year.
Gordon takes home Pitcher of the Week honors for the Single-A East League, where the 23-year-old righty has dominated with Augusta. The former sixth-round pick had a two-start week last week, starting for the GreenJackets on both Tuesday and this past Sunday, allowing just one run combined and striking out 11 in 13 innings.
Tue, July 6 – 7 IP, 3 H, ER, 6 K
Sun, July 11 – 6 IP, H, BB, 5 K
Total – 13 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 11 K
Last week Gordon pitched to a 0.69 ERA and held opposing batters to just a .237 OPS, as it’s pretty evident he’s ready for another shot in High-A. The Indiana University alum began his 2021 campaign with an assignment in Rome, and he pitched well during his first few outings. However, in 22 total innings with the R-Braves from May to early June, Gordon allowed a 5.32 ERA, so the Braves sent him down to the GreenJackets. Since pitching for Augusta, Gordon has been one of the best starting pitchers among the entire Single-A level, currently sporting a 1.95 ERA in 32.1 innings so far. He doesn’t qualify for any leaderboards, given he hasn’t accrued enough innings with the GreenJackets, but Gordon has posted an ERA even better than teammate and prospect Joey Estes. This kid’s success really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Gordon has been an above-average minor league starter essentially his entire pro career. In 78.1 career innings, the righty has a 3.10 ERA with 10 strikeouts per nine and just three walks per nine. This could be Gordon’s year to make some noise, and get back some of the attention he had when he was drafted two years ago.
Both Elder and Gordon are incredibly talented pitchers. Congrats to them both!
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