The list starts with Brian Snitker — who has gone on to achieve a measure of fame — and will conclude in 2024 with Angel Flores. The Atlanta Braves have named Flores manager of the Double-A Mississippi Braves, who’ll end their 20-year run at Trustmark Park in Pearl this summer. Flores, who played minor league ball in the Detroit system, managed the High-Class A Rome Braves last season and previously served as a coach on Bruce Crabbe’s M-Braves staff in 2022. “I am well aware that this is the team’s last year in Mississippi, and our goal is to make it a special one for the city that has opened its arms to us for so long,” Flores said in a release from the M-Braves. Snitker, the award- and World Series-winning manager of the big-league Braves, was the team’s first skipper back in 2005. He was followed by Jeff Blauser, Phillip Wellman, Rocket Wheeler, Aaron Holbert, Luis Salazar, Chris Maloney, Wyatt Toregas/Dan Meyer, Crabbe and Kanekoa Texeira. Wellman managed the 2008 Southern League championship team, and Meyer, who replaced Toregas at midseason in 2021, skippered that club to the franchise’s only other pennant. At Rome last year, Flores managed several top Braves prospects who could be in Pearl this season, among them David McCabe, a corner infielder/DH; catcher Drake Baldwin; shortstop Ignacio Alvarez; and infielders Keshawn Ogans and Gerald Quintero. … The M-Braves will begin the 2024 season on the road on April 5 and play their home opener on April 9 against Biloxi.
On the day when the Atlanta Braves clinched a National League playoff berth with a victory at Truist Park, there was also a clinching at Trustmark Park, home of the Braves’ Double-A club. But it wasn’t the Mississippi Braves who celebrated on Sunday — it was the visiting Tennessee Smokies, who rallied late to beat the M-Braves 6-4 and clinch the second-half title in the Southern League North. One of the key players for the Smokies — a Chicago Cubs affiliate — is former Southern Miss star Walker Powell, who is 11-6 with a 3.57 ERA. The league leader in wins and WHIP (1.07), he pitched brilliantly in a no-decision against the M-Braves last week. The M-Braves finished their 2023 home schedule before an announced crowd of 2,113 with a 32-36 record. They are 26-37 (last in the SL South) in the second half and 59-72 overall with a series left at Pensacola. … There will be a clinching this week at MGM Park in Biloxi, where the Shuckers and the Montgomery Biscuits, two of the hottest teams in the minors, will play a six-game series that’ll decide the second-half title in the SL South. The Biscuits (Tampa Bay) have won 10 straight games and lead the Shuckers (Milwaukee), who’ve won nine of 10, by 1.5 games. … Among other clinchings in the minors on Sunday, Binghamton (New York Mets) claimed a second-half division title in the Double-A Eastern League with a 10-0 win at Hartford. Ex-Mississippi State standout Rowdey Jordan went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs for the Rumble Ponies. The third-year pro is hitting .227 with 13 homers, 58 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. P.S. Kudos to Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, the skipper of the original M-Braves club in 2005, who has had the big Braves in the postseason six straight years, winning the World Series in 2021. Six former M-Braves played in Sunday’s 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.