When last we checked on the Braves Farm and their AA affiliate, the Mississippi Braves, it was bleak. The men from Pearl were rocking a 5-10 record and there was very little good to report. While it still isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, the team is playing really well right now, rattling off 5 wins in a row. Their current record still sucks, but not as sucky as before (14-18). As we all know, the farm isn’t producing much corn right now, but there are still players worthy of celebration this month.
Braves Farm: Mississippi Braves Players of the Month: Hitters
- Cody Milligan: 60 PAs, 16H, 6 2B, 1 HR, 9BB, 5 SB (1 CS), .988 OPS
- Javier Valdes: 74 PAs, 18H, 4 2B, 4 HR, 12BB, .994 OPS
- Drew Lugbauer: 100 PAs, 5 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 15BB, .766 OPS
Cody Milligan was off to a remarkable start but was injured on 4/22 and hasn’t been back since. It was unfortunate timing as I’m sure he was eyeing a Triple-A promotion. Hopefully he’ll come back, continue producing, and get that promotion. His skillset of being able to play all OF positions, as well as 2B would be welcomed on many big league teams.
Javier Valdes is an interesting “prospect” (in ( ) because he’s 24 and I’m a stickler that 24 year olds shouldn’t be allowed to be prospects anymore). He played all over the place in college, but has been only a catcher in the Braves organization. Valdes has an offensive skillset that bodes well for MLB success: lowish K-rate, high bb-rate, serious power. All his skillsets are showing up this year and I’d wager a guess that we’ll start hearing more about him soon.
Drew Lugbauer, aka Slugbauer is a fun player to watch, but is doomed to be labeled Quad-A. His .766 OPS is carried by a high walk rate and some monstrous power, but his K-rate is just unplayable. When he’s not walking, he’s striking out nearly 50% of the time, and that’s a big ol’ yikes.
Braves Farm: Players of the Month: Pitchers
- Domingo Robles: 27 IP, 1.30 ERA, 9BB, 36K, 1.07 WHIP
- Luis De Avila: 29 IP, 2.59 ERA, 10BB, 28K, 1.27 WHIP
- Alec Barger: 10 games, 0.00 ERA, 14 IP, 7BB, 18K, 0.93 WHIP
- Coleman Huntley: 10 games, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 18K, 4BB, 1.54 WHIP
- Jake McSteen: 10 games, 2.77 ERA, 13 IP, 14K, 3BB, 0.92 WHIP
- A.J. Smith-Shawver: 7 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 BB, 9K, 1.14 WHIP
Robles is a LHP that was let go by the Cardinals org and scooped up by the Braves this past offseason. Since becoming a Brave, his strikeouts have went through the roof and his average velo has went up a couple of MPHs. With the increase in velo and the spike in his K-rate, he could be someone Alex lets test out the bigs.
De Avila was scooped from the Royals org back in 2022’s offseason and has seen a spike in Ks, but is still giving up loud contact. Unlike Robles, I feel De Avila doesn’t have the stuff to make it in the bigs.
Barger is putting it together this year and doing it with a whole lot of strikeouts. The Braves moved him to the bullpen fully in the early months of the 2021, and while he put up better numbers, he was still getting a lot of the plate and hitters were teeing off. The next year was more of the same. This year has been different and he’s looking like a guy that could find his way in an MLB bullpen.
I don’t know much about Huntley, but I’d like to know more. He got his first taste of pro ball in 2021 at the age of 28 and is now 30 years old and putting up some really solid K/BB numbers. If you’re a guy like me, who loves a good story, Huntley’s someone to watch!
Like Huntley, McSteen got his start in pro ball late (25 y/o) and is now a pure reliever. As a lefty, he’s good at what most lefties are good at, which is getting lefties out. Unfortunately, with the new rules, guys like McSteen are not as desirable.
Smith-Shawver is the cream of the crop in this group and if anyone were to make the jump directly to the bigs from this group, my money would be on him with Robles as the runner up. While he doesn’t seem to have Strider’s pitching intellect, he’s the closest thing the Braves have to an ace in the farm.
Thanks for reading on the Mississippi Braves top players. ! If you missed our first installment, here’s the Gwinnett Stripers Players of the Month!
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