17 Apr

m-pressive start

Ten games in, the Mississippi Braves’ young rotation looks like a team strength. And that’s a good strength to have. Each of the five starters has an ERA of 3.52 or better – four are under 2.50 – for a team that is off to a 6-4 start. The M-Braves begin a five-game homestand against Mobile tonight at Trustmark Park. Mike Soroka, 19 years old and Atlanta’s No. 4 prospect (by MLB Pipeline), is 2-0 with an 0.77 in his Double-A debut. Kolby Allard, also 19 and the No. 3 prospect, has a 1.80 in two starts. No. 15 prospect Patrick Weigel, 22 and the only starter with any Double-A experience before this year, has a 2.00; No. 8 prospect Max Fried is at 3.52; and Matt Withrow, 23 and in his first full pro season, has a 2.45. Weigel is slated to start tonight, followed by Allard, Withrow, Fried and Soroka. Akeel Morris, a grizzled vet at 24, has been perfect as a closer: no runs allowed, three saves in three appearances. The bullpen has let a couple of games get away – including blowing a 7-0, ninth-inning lead last Thursday at Tennessee – but the staff ERA of 3.07 is still pretty darn good. Kade Scivicque, Joey Meneses, Luis Valenzuela and Carlos Franco are batting .300-plus, and the team is second in the Southern League in runs (44) and homers (eight). Ten games in, it looks like a competitive club. … Biloxi, meanwhile, is 4-6 after a 1-4 homestand at MGM Park, hampered by an anemic offense that is last in the league in batting (.191) and ninth in runs (28). A 2.40 staff ERA has kept the Shuckers afloat.

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