30 Apr

see how they run

The Mississippi Braves, back home tonight for the first time in 16 days, have not been winning consistently, but Angel Flores’ club has been consistently aggressive on the basepaths. The M-Braves (7-14) have stolen 47 bases, tied for most in the Southern League, and have six players in the top 15 on the individual steals list. Maybe this approach will start to pay dividends for a team that has shown little power at the plate. Cody Milligan, in his third year with the Double-A M-Braves, has 10 steals, as does newcomer Geraldo Quintero. M-Braves veteran Justin Dean, who is batting .308, has swiped nine bags. Nacho Alvarez, the highly regarded shortstop prospect batting .292, has seven, Cal Conley six and Keshawn Ogans five. However, all this thievery has not translated into a bunch of runs thus far. The team is seventh in the eight-team league with 65. The M-Braves’ pitching has been solid enough: 3.64 ERA. Left-hander Luis De Avila (0-3, 5.82) will start tonight’s opener at Trustmark Park against Pensacola, a Miami affiliate which features former Mississippi State star Tanner Allen, hitting .273 with a homer and eight RBIs. Milligan comes in hot for the M-Braves, having hit .360 last week. … Of note: Southern Miss alum Hurston Waldrep (0-3, 5.68), Atlanta’s No. 2 prospect, is slated to start Game 3 on Thursday, and J.J. Niekro (1-2, 3.92), son of former big leaguer Joe, is set for Friday.

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