06 Jun

eye on …

Javier Valdes is one of the three catchers on the Mississippi Braves’ roster. He’s not the one on Atlanta’s Top 30 prospects list, but he is the leading hitter — at .302 — on the active roster. The M-Braves take a 24-26 record into tonight’s Southern League series opener (6:35) against rival Biloxi at Trustmark Park. The M-Braves’ slumbering bats perked up a bit during a series at Birmingham, where they won four of six and scored 36 runs. Valdes was one of the hotter hitters on that trip, going 4-for-11 with a homer and three RBIs. He has six homers, 13 RBIs and 15 runs in 29 games while sharing catching duties with Tyler Tolve (the Braves’ No. 29 prospect who is batting .170) and veteran Arden Pabst (.143). Valdes, 24, a Miami native, was a 21st-round draft pick out of Florida International in 2019. He batted .263 with 11 homers at High-Class A Rome a year ago and earned a late promotion to Mississippi, where he hit .231. Atlanta’s system is a little thin in the catching department, so Valdes’ stepped-up performance this season has no doubt been a welcome sight. Valdes is in tonight’s lineup, batting seventh as the DH, against Biloxi, which comes in with a 26-25 record. The Shuckers’ roster is loaded with top Milwaukee prospects, including outfielder Jackson Chourio, the No. 2 prospect in all of the minors. He is batting .253 with eight homers, 32 RBIs and 13 stolen bases. Biloxi leads the season series 5-4. P.S. Billy Hamilton, the ex-Taylorsville High star, is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte. The veteran outfielder stole two bases and scored two runs in three games for the Chicago White Sox before suffering a hamstring injury.

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