Braves Spring Training Notebook: March 8

Santana, young pitchers carrying five-game win streak

Danny Santana went 5-for-5 this week with his first homer of the spring, bringing his average to .500. (Associated Press)

By Dan Reiner / Gwinnett Stripers | March 8, 2018 5:00 PM

Despite a 6-4 loss to the Houston Astros Thursday, the Atlanta Braves have won four of their last five games due to a recent power surge and some strong pitching performances.

A look at the week's scores:

March 5-8

3/5: Braves 7, Pirates 5
3/6: Braves 5, Blue Jays 1
3/7: OFF
3/8: Astros 6, Braves 4

Here's a look at notable performances from top Braves prospects and former Gwinnett players:

At the plate

Outfielder Danny Santana, fighting for a spot on the big league roster, continued to impress this week. He went 4-for-4 on Monday with two runs scored, a steal and a solo homer off the Pirates' Dovydas Neverauskas in the eighth inning. He's now batting .500 this spring (11-for-22) (Week totals: 2 games, 5-for-5, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB).

Top prospect Ronald Acuna cooled off a bit after a red-hot previous stretch, going 2-for-7 this week with two strikeouts over two games. He was hit by a pitch on Monday by the Pirates' Trevor Williams and left the game in the fifth inning, but returned to action Tuesday.

Christian Colon, another Major League candidate, ripped a bases-clearing double on Monday off Williams. The infield utility man leads the Braves with nine RBIs this spring and is hitting .333 (Week totals: (2 games, 2-for-6, 3 RBI).

Infielder Rio Ruiz, who's seen time at both first and third bases this spring, is batting a paltry .161 so far (5-for-31). But he did crush his first homer of the spring on Tuesday; a solo shot off the Blue Jays' Joe Biagini (Week totals: 3 games, 1-for-10, 1 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI).

Rising third base prospect Austin Riley hit his second long ball of the spring on Tuesday off the Jays' Al Alburquerque in the sixth inning (Week totals: 2 games, 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI).

2017 Gwinnett first baseman Carlos Franco is making a name for himself this spring after hitting his second homer in limited playing time. It came off Toronto's Tim Mayza (Week totals: 1 game, 2-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI).

Longtime Gwinnett infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. picked up his first hit of the spring Thursday after starting the slate 0-for-10.

On the mound

Reliever Rex Brothers continued his struggles this spring after he went 0.2 innings against the Pirates and gave up a homer to outfielder Jordan Luplow, bringing his spring ERA to 12.27 (Totals: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR).

Meanwhile, rising prospect Mike Soroka continued to shine this spring with a solid outing against the Blue Jays. In his second inning of work (6th inning), Soroka got Aledmys Diaz to ground out on the first pitch, then struck out Yangervis Solarte and Gift Ngoepe on three pitches each, finishing the inning in just seven pitches (Totals: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 SO).

Matt Wisler followed Soroka's performance with two strong innings of his own, keeping his spring earned run average at 0.00 (Totals: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO).

Spring Training Roster Moves

The Braves traded for infielder Ryan Schimpf in exchange for cash on Monday. Schimpf went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his Braves debut at designated hitter Thursday against the Astros. In a corresponding move, pitcher Josh Ravin was outrighted to Gwinnett; he went 1.0 scoreless inning with two strikeouts Thursday.

Check GoStripers.com every Monday and Thursday this month for a new Braves Spring Training Notebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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