2019 Season in Review

M-Braves surpass 3 million fans, 1,000 wins and place three on Postseason All-Star Team, including MVP

By Chris Harris / Mississippi Braves | September 5, 2019 10:50 AM

SEASON SUMMARY: The Mississippi Braves concluded their 15th anniversary season in Central Mississippi with a 64-75 overall record, finishing fourth in the Southern League South Division. While the club missed out on the postseason for the third-straight season, the 2019 campaign saw the 3 millionth fan enter Trustmark Park, 1,000th franchise win, third no-hitter in club history, record three postseason All-Stars and the first Southern League Most Valuable Player.

  • Despite finishing 11-games below .500, the M-Braves only had a -8 run differential this season (491-483). The club went 10-13 in April, 14-15 in May, 15-13 in June, 14-14 in July, 9-20 in August and was the only Southern League team to go 2-0 in September. The M-Braves were 33-37 at Trustmark Park, 31-38 on the road, 19-27 in one-run games, 13-15 in day games, 51-60 in night games, 16-15 in shutout games and 7-7 in extra-inning games. The M-Braves were 9-17-1 this season in series', 36-45 vs. South Division teams, 27-30 against North Division foes, 39-38 when playing NL style baseball and 24-37 when playing with the DH.    
     
  • The Mississippi Braves once again featured some of the top pitching talent in Minor League Baseball, which led to the Southern League's top ERA at 3.22. It ranked third in all of Double-A baseball, falling only behind Arkansas (3.10) of the Texas League and Bowie (3.19) of the Eastern League. M-Braves starters ended the year with a 3.22 ERA, 49 quality starts and 686 strikeouts in 677.1 IP. The bullpen posted a 3.26 ERA for the season and was 35-for-47 in save opportunities.

8.25% INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE: The club saw 163,841 fans at Trustmark Park, pushing the all-time total to 3,030,737. The M-Braves celebrated the 3 millionth fan for Braves baseball at Trustmark Park on Aug. 14. Clinton, MS native Matt Baker (and son Wyatt attending his first game) was the 3 millionth fan and was given a prize pack that included 2020 M-Braves Season Tickets and 2020 Atlanta Braves tickets.

  • The M-Braves saw an attendance increase of 8.25% in 2019, over the 2018 season, drawing 2,482 fans per game. The season was capped by an average attendance of 3,009 during the month of July and 2,639 in the season's second half. The Apr. 23 day/night doubleheader with the M-Braves and Biscuits at 10:35 am, and Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State in the Governor's Cup at 6:00 pm saw a single-day attendance record of 13,022. The Governor's Cup drew a Trustmark Park record crowd for baseball at 8,639.

1,000 MISSISSIPPI BRAVES WINNERS: The Aug. 24, 3-2 win over Biloxi, was the 1,000th all-time win for the Mississippi Braves since 2005.

 

DREW WATERS NAMED MVP: OF Drew Waters was named the league's Most Valuable Player after leading the Southern League in several offensive categories, despite a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett on Aug. 5. In 108 M-Braves games, the 20-year-old finished the season by leading the league in batting average (.319), hits (134), doubles (35), triples (9) and extra-base hits (49). He finished among the top 10 in slugging (2nd, .481), OPS (2nd, .847), total bases (3rd, 202), runs (T-5th, 63) and OBP (8th, .366).

 

Video: Waters crushes a homer for Mississippi

  • Waters became the first M-Brave to claim the MVP award and first for the franchise since Ryan Klesko and Javy Lopez won league MVP in 1991-92 for the Greenville Braves. Waters was the youngest, at 20, to win MVP since Montgomery's Delmon Young claimed the honor in 2005.
  • Waters became the first player in the Southern League and Double-A baseball to the 100-hit mark on Jun. 30 and the first player in MLB and MiLB to 120 hits on Jul. 13 in his 89th game. The Woodstock, GA native ended the season with 134 games between Mississippi (108), and Gwinnett (26) ranked among the MiLB leaders in doubles (T-3rd, 40), hits (5th, 163), at-bats (6th, 163) and games (T-7th, 134).
     
  • Waters is just the second M-Brave to claim the Southern League batting title, joining Ozzie Albies, who claimed the award after batting .321 in 2016. He became only the fourth in franchise history, joining Doc Estes (1984, .341), Napolean Calzado (2004, .359) and Albies.
     
  • Waters finished the season with four four-hit games, 14 three-hit games, and 44 multi-hit games.
     
  • Waters had a league-best 18-game hitting streak that began on Jun. 4, batting .417 (30-for-72) with eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, nine RBI, 12 runs, four walks, and a .462 OBP. The streaks were the longest this season in the Southern League, and the on-base streak was third-longest in club history. Waters has extended his streak 14 times during his first at-bat.  

  • Waters also had a 30-game on-base streak which was second-longest in the Southern League, that began on May 23, batting .388 (45-for-116) with 10 doubles, six triples, two home runs, 13 RBI, 21 runs, seven walks, and .437 OBP. The M-Braves record for on-base streak was 40 games set by Cristian Bethencourt in 2013.
     
  • Overall in 2019, Waters hit .309 (163-for-527) with 40 doubles, nine triples, 56 extra-base hits, seven home runs, 52 RBI, 80 runs, 39 walks, 16 stolen bases, .360 OBP, .459 slugging and .819 OPS.

POSTSEASON AWARDS: The M-Braves placed a club-record three players on the Southern League Postseason All-Star team with Drew Waters and Cristian Pache being named to the outfield and LHP Tucker Davidson being the top left-handed pitcher.

  • The Atlanta Braves top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, OF Cristian Pache, finished the season ranked among the Southern League leaders in extra-base hits (T-2nd, 47), triples (T-2nd, 8), doubles (4th, 28), OPS (6th, .814) and total bases (9th, 186).  
     Video: Mississippi's Pache goes yard
  • Over 130 games between Mississippi (104) and Gwinnett, Pache hit .277 (135-for-487) with 36 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 61 RBI, 50 runs, 43 walks, eight stolen bases, .340 OBP, .462 slugging and .802 OPS. Pache's top month was April batting .321 (27-for-84) with seven doubles, four triples, two home runs, 13 extra-base hits, 11 runs, six walks, four stolen bases, .363 OBP and .934 OPS. Pache was named a Southern League All-Star after batting .291 over the season's first half with 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs, 21 walks, .348 OBP and .854 OPS.
     
  • Pache had five straight multi-hit games, April 27-May 2, going 10-for-19 with three doubles, a triple, three RBI and two runs scored. He also had an 11-game on-base streak April 27-May 8, batting .375 (15-for-40) with six multi-hit games, three doubles, a triple, home run, five RBI, four walks and four runs scored.
     
  •  LHP Tucker Davidson broke onto the scene for a breakout 2019 season and earned top left-handed pitcher honors in the Southern League. At the time of his promotion to Gwinnett on Aug. 5, he led all of Double-A baseball and was sixth in MiLB, among qualified pitchers, with a 2.03 ERA after 21 starts. In the Southern League, Davidson ranked 5th in strikeouts (122), 7th in opponents' batting average (.224), 7th in WHIP (1.20) and 9th in IP (110.2). Over Davidson's final four M-Braves starts (all wins), the Texan has a 1.38 ERA, allowing just four runs in 26.0 innings, 27 strikeouts, six walks.
     
  • Overall in 2019, Davidson ended the season by ranking fourth in MiLB with 2.15 ERA. Over 25 starts between Mississippi (21) and Gwinnett (4), Davidson was 8-7 with a 2.15 ERA (31 ER/129.2 IP), 134 strikeouts, 54 walks, 1.25 WHIP and .234 opponent's batting average. Davidson was named to the Southern League All-Star Team after going 2-4 with a 1.61 ERA (12 ER/67.0 IP), 72 strikeouts, 32 walks, 1.21 WHIP and .206 opponent's batting average over 13 starts.
  • Davidson set a new career-high with 10 strikeouts on Jun. 13 vs. Mobile over 5.1 innings in a no-decision. He matched a career-high twice with 8.0 innings pitched and recorded the best start of his career on Saturday, May 18 at Birmingham with 8.0 innings of shutout baseball, five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He didn't allow an earned run over 16.2 innings from June 13-30.

CASTEEL JOINS 20 HOME RUN CLUB: 28-year-old 1B Ryan Casteel led the club and ranked T-2nd in the league with 21 home runs and had three multi-homer games this season. His three-homer game on Jul. 3 was the first in M-Braves history. Casteel has already moved into seventh place on the M-Braves all-time home run list. His home run on Aug. 24 at Biloxi made Casteel just the second M-Brave to record 20 homers in a season, joining Ernesto Mejia (26) who did it in 2011. Casteel was also the only Southern League player with 20 home runs and 20 doubles.

 

Video: Braves' Casteel notches first career three-homer day

  • Casteel ended the season ranked among the league leaders in HR (T-2nd, 21), RBI (2nd, 73), slugging (3rd, .477), extra-base hits (T-7th, 44) and OPS (8th, .811).
     
  • Casteel went 4-for-5, with three home runs, a double, four runs, five RBI in the 14-13 loss on Jul. 3 at Pensacola. The three homers and four runs were a personal career-high, and five RBI's matched a career-high. The Chattanooga, TN native had two-homer games on Jun. 23 at Biloxi and Aug. 7 at Jacksonville, giving him a total of six in his career. Casteel opened the season on the Rookie-Danville roster and was activated on Apr. 18 when C.J. Alexander was placed on the Injured List. He hit his first home run on Apr. 22 vs. Montgomery off of Rays No. 2 prospect Brendan McKay (solo shot) and hit second home run two days later on Apr. 24 vs. Montgomery. Casteel hit in 20 of first 24 games and went 4-for-6 with two doubles and two runs on Jun. 20 at Biloxi, his first four-hit game since 2015. Casteel logged an eight-game hitting streak, April 20-April 29 (.367, 4 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 5 R, 3 BB, .424 OBP) and a 10-game hitting streak, May 11-May 23 (.333, 2 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R, 6 BB, .442 OBP).
     
  • Overall, Casteel hit .263 (108-for-411) with 21 doubles, two triples, 21 home runs, 73 RBI, 47 runs, 43 walks, .334 OBP, .477 slugging and .811 OPS in 118 games.
     
  • Casteel's 73 RBI were the most by an M-Brave since Dustin Peterson had 88 in 2016 and ranks as third-most for an M-Brave during a single-season.

ANDERSON PACED THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE IN STRIKEOUTS: Atlanta Braves top pitching prospect RHP Ian Anderson was promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett on Aug. 5. At the time of his promotion, the Rexford, NY native was tied for second in all of Minor League Baseball with 147 strikeouts over 21 starts, averaging 11.9 SO/9 IP. The New York native and third-overall overall pick in the 2016 draft led the league in strikeouts and ranked fourth with a 2.65 ERA. Over his final six starts beginning with the combined no-hitter on Jun. 28, Anderson went 2-0 with a league-best 1.39 ERA (5 ER/32.1 IP), six walks, 48 strikeouts, .185 BAA and 0.87 WHIP.

 

  • At season's end, Anderson made 26 starts between Mississippi (21) and Gwinnett (5), going 8-7 with a 3.38 ERA (51 ER/135.2 IP), 172 strikeouts, 65 walks, 1.25 WHIP, and .210 opponent's batting average. Anderson posted an 11.4 SO/9 IP ratio. Anderson finished tied for fourth place in all MiLB with 172 strikeouts. Anderson finished third in the Southern League with 147 strikeouts on the season.

MULLER TIME: LHP Kyle Muller became the second Southern League pitcher and third in Double-A baseball to reach 100 strikeouts on Jul. 4. Muller's season was cut short due to a calf injury, but the 21-year-old still ranked among the Southern League leaders in starts (T-6th, 22), complete games (2nd, 2) and strikeouts (8th, 120). Muller finished the season 7-6 with a 3.14 ERA (39 ER/111.2 IP), 120 strikeouts, 68 walks, 1.33 WHIP and .208 opponent's batting average.

 

Video: Braves' Muller gets ninth strikeout

  • Muller was named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for his performance from May 20-26. In two starts, the Dallas, TX native went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA, giving up just one run on six hits in 12.2 innings, walking four and striking out 17. Muller allowed just three runs over 33.1 innings pitched and five starts during the month of May, going 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA, 11 walks and 33 strikeouts.

HISTORY MADE ON JUNE 28: Ian Anderson and Jeremy Walker combined for a nine-inning no-hitter on Friday, Jun. 28 vs. Jackson on the night that the M-Braves saluted the Jackson (MS) Generals with retro Generals jerseys. It was the third no-hitter in team history. The last was a combined no-hitter from Julio Teheran and Tyrelle Harris on Aug. 2, 2010, vs. Mobile. The first and only individual no-hitter came from the late Tommy Hanson on Jun. 25, 2008, vs. Birmingham. Anderson's 14 strikeouts over 7.0 innings in the game matched Hanson's single-game team record set in the same game. Over 2,069 games, the M-Braves have never had a no-hitter of any kind thrown against them.

 

Video: M-Braves' Walker completes no-hitter

 

 

 

 

SIX MLB DEBUTS FROM M-BRAVES ALUMS IN 2019: M-Braves alums went on to make their MLB debuts in 20019. OF Travis Demeritte made his MLB debut for the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 2 at Texas becoming with 146th M-Braves alum to move to make their Major League debut. LHP Jeremy Walker (7/26/19), RHP Huascar Ynoa (6/16/19), OF Austin Riley (5/15/19), C Alex Jackson (4/7/19) and RHP Jacob Webb (4/16/19) all made MLB debuts this season for the Atlanta Braves.

 

Watch: Youtube Video

 

JULY PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: M-Braves OF Greyson Jenista and LHP Tucker Davidson were named the Mississippi Braves Players of the Month for July. Jenista hit .333 (27-for-81) over his first full month at the Double-A level with three doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI, 10 runs, nine walks, two stolen bases, and a .402 OBP. Davidson was 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA (8 ER/28.0 IP), seven walks, 33 strikeouts, and a .232 opponents' AVG.

 

TOP 30 PROSPECTS ON THE ROSTER: The 2019 M-Braves club saw 14 of the top 19 prospects in the Atlanta Braves farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, appear with the club. Those included OF Cristian Pache (1), OF Drew Waters (2), RHP Ian Anderson (3), LHP Kyle Muller (7), C William Contreras (8), INF Braden Shewmake (9), RHP Huascar Ynoa (10), OF Greyson Jenista (11), RHP Patrick Weigel (12), LHP Tucker Davidson (13), RHP Jasseel De La Cruz (14), LHP Thomas Burrows (16), OF Trey Harris (18), INF C.J. Alexander (19).

 

ROSTER TURNOVER: A total of 51 players appeared in games during the 2019 season for the M-Braves. The roster saw lots of turnover during the final month of the season. Only 12 of the 24 players that finished the season on the active roster were active on Aug. 4. OF Cristian Pache, OF Drew Waters, RHP Ian Anderson, LHP Tucker Davidson, RHP Ben Rowen, LHP Tyler Matzek, LHP Phil Pfeifer, and C Jonathan Morales were promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett. LHP Kyle Muller, INF C.J. Alexander, and INF Daniel Lockhart were placed on the Injured List, and INF Luis Valenzuela was released, and RHP Brandon White was transferred to High-A Florida. Also, LHP Joey Wentz was traded to Detroit on Jul. 31. The club used 10 different starting pitchers in August.

 

THE FIRST 2019 DRAFT PICK IN DOUBLE-A: On Aug. 16, SS Braden Shewmake was promoted to Mississippi from Low-A Rome, Atlanta's second first-round pick (21st overall) in June's MLB draft. Shewmake was the first 2019 draft pick to reach Double-A for any club. In 51 games, the Texas A&M product was batting .318 (64-for-201) with 18 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 39 RBI, 11 stolen bases and .389 OBP over 51 games. Atlanta's first selection was Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers at ninth overall. He is currently playing for Low-A Rome. Shewmake hit .217 (10-for-46) with seven runs, one RBI, four walks and two stolen bases over 14 games for the M-Braves.

 

 

LIEN TIES DEMERITTE ON ALL-TIME HOME RUN LIST: Connor Lien hit nine M-Braves home runs in 2019, moving him to 32 over his career, tying him with former M-Brave Travis Demeritte on the club's all-time home run list. Lien hit two home runs on Apr. 19 at Chattanooga, his third career multi-homer game and third in three games, and then had another two-homer game against Chattanooga on Aug. 29, his fourth career multi-homer game and third in three games.

 

  • Lien finished the season by ranking among M-Braves all-time leaders in games played (2nd, 339), home runs (T-1st, 32) and at-bats (4th, 1,042).

PFEIFER TRANSFORMING HIS CAREER: 26-year-old LHP Phil Pfeifer averaged 10.7 SO/9.0 IP this season between Mississippi Florida and Gwinnett and had 159 strikeouts in 30 games, 18 starts, and 133.1 innings. In four starts for Mississippi from Aug. 4 to Aug. 20. The Vanderbilt product posted a 1.17 ERA (3 ER/23.0 IP), 29 strikeouts, six walks, .195 BAA and 0.96 WHIP in the four starts.

  • Pfeifer logged double-digit strikeouts three times this season, including a career-high 17 strikeouts on Jul. 18 at Palm Beach.

THE COMPLETE GAME KING: RHP Nolan Kingham threw the first nine-inning complete game for the M-Braves on Sept. 1 vs. Chattanooga since 2015 and led Minor League Baseball with four nine-inning complete games and three complete-game shutouts. The 22-year-old finished the season ranked second in Minor League Baseball in innings pitched, logging 165.1 between Low-A Rome, High-A Florida and Mississippi.

 

CLUB RECORD NINE MULTI-HOMER GAMES: The M-Braves set a club record with nine multi-homer games in 201: Connor Lien (4/19 at CHA, 8/29 vs. CHA), Luis Valenzuela (4/15 at CHA), Ray-Patrick Didder (4/28 at MOB), Andy Wilkins (5/10 vs. PNS), Ryan Casteel (6/23 at BLX, 7/3 at PNS (3-homer game) 8/7 at JAX), C.J. Alexander (8/7 at JAX) all have multi-homer games this season. The previous season-high was five in 2007 and 2008.

 

ANOTHER 25 STOLEN BASE SEASON FOR DIDDER: Aruba native INF/OF Ray-Patrick Didder stole 28 bases this season and was 21-for-23 in stolen base opportunities in 59 games during the second half, ranking second in the league over that period. Also in the second half, Didder has a .365 OBP, seven doubles, a home run, eight RBI and 26 walks. He finished the season ranked fourth in the league with 28 stolen bases and second in HBP (15). Didder has been HBP 114 times in his career and 102 times since the 2015 season.

 

 

THE JULY TURNAROUND: The M-Braves finished July 11-3 over their last 14 games after a 3-11 beginning to the month. The Braves ended July, 14-14, batting .244 and posting a 3.44 ERA. Starters had a 2.99 ERA.

 

THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER: The M-Braves finished August with a 9-20 overall record. The 20 losses matched for the most during a month in club history (April 2008 & July 2017), and most in August. The M-Braves had the Southern League's second-best ERA in August at 3.27, while the offense ranked last in the league with a .211 batting average and 2.5 runs per game.

 

THREE MLB REHABS IN 2019: RHP Kevin Gausman made a rehab start for the M-Braves on Jul. 11 allowing one unearned run on three hits over 6.0 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. OF Ender Inciarte was with the M-Braves July 7-8, going 2-for-5 with a run and stolen base. LHP Dallas Keuchel started for the M-Braves on Jun. 15, tossing 7.0 innings of three-run baseball, striking out four and walking one in a no-decision against Mobile.

 

 

 

YOUNG GUNS: The 2019 roster contained seven players that when they played their first game were 21-years-old, or younger. OF Drew Waters was the youngest (20, 12/30/98), followed by OF Cristian Pache (20, 11/19/98), RHP Ian Anderson (21, 5/2/98), C William Contreras (12/24/97), INF Braden Shewmake (21, 11/19/97), LHP Kyle Muller (21, 10/7/97), LHP Joey Wentz (21, 10/6/97) and RHP Jasseel De La Cruz (21, 6/26/97).

 

HE'S A PITCHER NOW: RHP Claudio Custodio was Mississippi's most consistent player in 2019. The 28-year-old made 31 appearances, six starts, for the M-Braves, going 5-4 with a 2.61 ERA (23 ER/79.1 IP), 67 strikeouts, 23 walks, 1.05 WHIP and .214 opponent's batting average. Custodio joined the club from Low-A Rome on Apr. 20 and posted a 1.89 ERA in May, 3.77 ERA in June, 2.20 ERA in July and 2.92 ERA in August. The former Yankees farmhand also contributed offensively with a .286 batting average, three runs scored and two stolen bases.

 

THE COMEBACK KID: RHP Bradley Roney missed nearly two full seasons due to injury, but the Southern Miss product returned to the mound in 2019. After beginning the season once again on the M-Braves Injured List, Roney started his campaign in Florida before being transferred to the M-Braves roster from High-A Florida on Jun. 20. In eight appearances for the FireFrogs, beginning on May 19, he posted no record, but allowed no runs over 14.1 innings with three walks and 18 strikeouts, holding the opposition to a .149 batting average. Roney returned to the M-Braves and went 1-0 with a 2.96 ERA (9 ER/27.1 IP), three saves, 42 strikeouts, 11 walks, 1.13 WHIP and .204 opponent's batting average. Roney allowed just three earned runs over last 14 appearances and 19.2 IP (1.41 ERA), six walks and 32 strikeouts since Jul. 21.

 

DON'T FORGET ABOUT WENTZ: LHP Joey Wentz was traded to Detroit on Jul. 31, but made a significant impact on the M-Braves roster. From Jun. 26 to Jul. 14, Wentz posted a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) with 35 strikeouts and just 11 walks. Over that period, the 21-year-old lefty led the league in strikeouts (35) and opponents' batting average (.165) among qualified pitchers. His 1.11 ERA ranked second, only trailing Jackson's Joel Payamps (0.86). He's struck out at least eight in each of the four outings. In 20 M-Braves starts, Wentz was 5-8 with a 4.72 ERA (54 ER/103.0 IP), 100 strikeouts, 45 walks, 1.31 WHIP and .239 opponent's batting average. After the trade, Wentz went 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA (6 ER/25.2 IP), 37 strikeouts, four walks, 0.94 WHIP and .213 opponent's batting average in five starts for Double-A Erie.

 

Video: Braves' Wentz fans his eighth

 

DON'T LET THE NAME FOOL YOU: RHP Jeremy Walker logged the first three saves of his career in an All-Star first half. In 21 games, one start for the M-Braves, Walker walked just five batters in 58.2 IP. He led the team with a 0.8 BB/9.0 IP. Overall, he was 1-6 with a 2.45 ERA (16 ER/58.2 IP), 57 strikeouts, five walks, 1.04 WHIP and .245 opponent's batting average.

 

 

THE UNOFFICIAL MAYOR OF PEARL: RHP Jason Hursh appeared in his sixth season for the M-Braves and ended the season as the club's career leader in wins (20), innings pitched (365.1), games (144), games started (41) and strikeouts (240).

 

MIDSEASON ALL-STARS: The M-Braves had seven All-Star selections for the Jun. 18 game at Biloxi. Outfielders Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are joined by pitchers Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson, Jason Hursh, Kyle Muller, and Jeremy Walker.

 

 

ANDERSON AND PACHE START THE FUTURES GAME: RHP Ian Anderson, and OF Cristian Pache both started the SiriusXM Futures Game on Jul. 7 in Cleveland. Anderson tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning for the NL squad, striking out MLB's top prospect, Wander Franco to start the game. Pache led off and played centerfield, finishing 0-for-4 at the plate.

 

Video: Braves' Ian Anderson chalks up 14th K

 

FIVE-GAME SWEEP OF JUMBO SHRIMP: The M-Braves swept a five-game series from Jacksonville, May 1-5, just the fourth, five-game sweep in club history. The Southern League went to the five-game series format in 2008; the last came Aug. 22-26, 2014 vs. Birmingham. During the five-game series sweep of Jacksonville, M-Braves pitchers held the Shrimp to just three runs over 46 innings, with 49 strikeouts, holding them to just a .173 batting average.

 

RECORD-SETTING 14-13 LOSS TO PENSACOLA ON JULY 3RD: The M-Braves tied a Southern League record with 13 extra-base hits on Jul. 3 at Pensacola. The 20 combined extra-base hits and 75 total bases set a new league record. Ryan Casteel became the first M-Brave to record three home runs in one game while the team's five total home runs, combined nine home runs, 39 total bases, 13 extra-base hits, 20 combined extra-base hits and 36 combined hits all set new M-Braves records.

 

M-BRAVES TO THE ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE:  Greyson Jenista, 1B/OF, Trey Harris, OF, Connor Johnstone, RHP; Bradley Roney, RHP; Garrison Schwartz, OF; and Brandon White, RHP will represent the Atlanta Braves on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster for the Arizona Fall League. Each appeared in at least one game for the M-Braves in 2019. Jenista will be playing first base in Arizona, but that's mostly just to get him regular at-bats; no permanent position change is in the works. Harris went from an off-the-radar, 32nd-round senior sign in 2018 to hit his way to Double-A in his first full season.

 

SO LONG TO "THE HANK" AND MOBILE BAYBEARS: The M-Braves and BayBears met for the final time on Jul. 31 and ended the 15-year series 144-176. The South Division foes met 20 times in 2019 with the season series finishing in a 10-10 record. The BayBears will relocate to Madison, AL and become the Rocket City Trash Pandas in 2020. The BayBears joined the Southern league in 1997.

 

THIRD-MOST TALENTED TEAM IN MILB:  MLB Pipeline ranked all 120-full season Minor League teams before the season, and the M-Braves roster ranked as the No. 3 most talented squad in MiLB. Triple-A Gwinnett was ranked fifth.

 

LEWALYNN RETIRES AFTER 48 YEARS IN BASEBALL:  Mississippi Braves pitching coach Dennis Lewalynn retired after 48 seasons in professional baseball and 37 years as a coach. The 66-year-old Lewalynn was the eighth overall selection in the 1972 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Pensacola, Florida native pitched for the Dodgers from 1975 to 1979, Texas Rangers in 1980 and Cleveland Indians from 1981 to 1982. Dennis began his coaching career in 1983 with the Dodgers and would eventually serve as a pitching coach or coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Atlanta Braves organizations. Lewalynn's pitching staffs have consistently been at the top of the charts over his career, including this season, where the Mississippi braves led the Southern League with a 3.24 ERA.

 

 

HAMMER TIME: Jackson, MS native Chris Maloney "Hammer" returned for his second season as M-Braves manager in 2019. Maloney, 57, the seventh skipper in franchise history attended Jackson's St. Joseph High School and went on to play collegiate baseball at Mississippi State University, graduating in 1983.

 

 

  • In his first two seasons at the helm, Maloney has guided the M-Braves to a 131-146 record. Maloney ranks eighth among active minor league managers with 1,481 wins (1,481-1,396 overall record, .515 winning percentage) and has guided his clubs to winning records in 11 of 22 seasons and league championships in 1993 (Savannah Cardinals, South Atlantic League) and 2009 (Memphis Redbirds, Pacific Coast League).

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

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