08 Mar

save the date

One month from today, the Mississippi Braves, defending champions in the Double-A South, will take the field for the 2022 season opener against visiting Montgomery. The centerpiece of the team is expected to be the center fielder, Michael Harris II, Atlanta’s No. 1 prospect per Baseball America. Braves instructor Greg Walker called Harris “a special talent” in an mlb.com story posted Monday, and 2021 M-Braves catcher Shea Langeliers labeled Harris “an unreal athlete” in the same piece. Harris, 6 feet, 195 pounds, hit .294 with seven home runs and 27 steals at High-A Rome last season. A lefty hitter and thrower, he also won a Gold Glove. He was a two-way prospect at Stockbridge (Ga.) High, but the Braves drafted him as a hitter in the third round in 2019, and he has not disappointed. Pearl has likely seen the last of Langeliers, the Braves’ ’21 minor league player of the year, but several other M-Braves who were on the field for the title-clinching victory last September could be back. Among them: sluggers Drew Lugbauer, Greyson Jenista and C.J. Alexander and speedsters Justin Dean and Trey Harris. Other highly rated prospects who could move up from A-ball include outfielder Jesse Franklin V, a former Michigan star who hit .244 with 21 homers, 61 RBIs and 19 bags at Rome, and 6-3 shortstop Vaughn Grissom, who batted .319 with seven homers and 16 steals in A-ball. He played most of the season at Low-A Augusta. The top-rated pitching prospect who might make it to Pearl is Ryan Cusick, a 6-6, 235 right-hander drafted in the first round last summer out of Wake Forest. Pegged as the Braves’ No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, he pitched in six games at Augusta and struck out more than two batters an inning. Joey Estes, the No. 14 prospect, went 3-6 with a 2.91 ERA at Augusta. … April 8 will be here soon. Regardless of what happens with MLB, the M-Braves and Biscuits will hook up at Trustmark Park. Something to look forward to.

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