27 Jul

spotlight on …

Mississippi Braves Cal Conley and Jesse Franklin V are Atlanta’s No. 11 and No. 12 prospects, according to mlb.com’s rankings. Neither has really lived up to his billing. If the M-Braves (8-14) are to make a playoff push in the second half of the Southern League season, more production from those two would certainly be a big help. Conley, a 5-foot-8 shortstop/second baseman, is batting .214 with a .299 on-base percentage. A top-of-the-order bat, he has 42 runs and 14 RBIs in 89 games. Franklin, an outfielder regarded as one of the top power hitters in Atlanta’s system, has 10 home runs in 52 games. But he is batting .230 (.297 OBP) and has struck out 74 times (13 walks) in 196 at-bats. This is an M-Braves team with good pitching (the 4.00 ERA leads the league) and power (their 105 homers ranks third). What’s needed is more quality at-bats, more contact in clutch situations. The team ranks first in the SL in strikeouts (by batters) and last in runs. There is a correlation. The M-Braves lost to Pensacola 4-3 on Wednesday night at Trustmark Park, striking out 14 times and going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That was a winnable game. The M-Braves are two games — two losses — into a 12-game homestand that presents an opportunity to make a run in the SL’s South Division. Some hitters need to step it up. Conley and Franklin, the top prospects, would seem to be logical candidates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: