Biloxi Shuckers to play at 6:35 pm tonight at MGM Park
TODAY’S GAME: The Mississippi Braves (ATL) continue a 12-game road trip tonight with game two of a six-game road series against the Biloxi Shuckers (MIL) at MGM Park (1-0). The M-Braves are 4-3 on the current road trip after splitting the first series at Pensacola, 3-3.
MAGNOLIA STATE RIVALRY: The Magnolia State rivals meet 30 times this season (18 at MGM Park and 12 at Trustmark Park). The M-Braves are 3-4 against Biloxi this season, 55-62 since their first season in 2015, and 29-36 at MGM Park. Mississippi hasn’t won a season series against Biloxi since going 14-9 in 2017.
THREE ROUND-TRIPPERS BACK 10-6 WIN ON TUESDAY TO GET BACK ABOVE .500: For the second time on this road trip, the M-Braves have pushed their record above .500. Homers from Drew Lugbauer, Shea Langeliers, and Wendell Rijo helped the M-Braves win the series opener in Biloxi on Tuesday night, 10-6. The Braves hit 10 runs for the third time this season, and the second time in Biloxi, getting four runs in the second inning, which included Langeliers’ league-best eighth long ball. Jalen Miller led the offense by finishing 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. Starter Hayden Deal came away with a no-decision in his sixth start, allowing two runs on six hits over 4.0 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. Kurt Hoekstra just activated on Tuesday, worked a scoreless fifth inning and got the win.
AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: The 23-year-old Shea Langeliers leads the league in OPS (.1004), slugging (.610) and home runs (8), T-5th in extra-base hits (12) and total bases (50), 6th in OBP (.394), and T-10th in RBI (16). Justin Dean leads the league in stolen bases (10) and T-8th in walks (15). Brandon White is 3rd in saves (5). Nolan Kingham is T-1st in starts (6), T-2nd in innings pitched (33.0), and T-6th in winning percentage (.667).
USING THE LONG BALL: The M-Braves have 31 home runs so far this season, ranking 3rd in the Double-A South (BIR, 42/RCT, 43). Of the 114 runs scored this season, 55 have come via the home run ball (48%). Shea Langeliers leads the league with eight homers, which is T-5th in all of Double-A.
• The M-Braves have scored 20 runs and hit eight home runs over the last two games played in Biloxi, May 16, and Tuesday night. Overall, 14 of the 31 games have been hit at Biloxi this season.
• On the pitching side, M-Braves hurlers have served up just 16 home run balls, the fewest in Double-A. Braves pitchers have the 3rd-best ERA in the league at 3.67 but have walked the most batters in the league at 146 this season.
LANGELIERS SINCE MAY 25: Over his last 10 games, Langeliers is batting .359 (14×37) with two doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI, 10 runs, three walks, and a 1.227 OPS.
LANGELIERS AGAINST PENSACOLA/AA-SOUTH: In 10 games, the Baylor product is batting .257 with two doubles, five home runs, seven RBI, seven runs scored, four walks, and a 1.093 OPS. Against the rest of the league in 14 games, Langeliers is batting .286 with two doubles, two home runs, six RBI, nine runs scored 10 walks, and a .921 OPS.
SIC’ EM…: The three-homer game he hit on Wednesday at Pensacola was the first of his pro career and first since hitting three home runs for Baylor during the 2019 NCAA tournament against Nebraska-Omaha. He ended up with three home runs and an NCAA-record 11 RBI in the 24-6 Bears win. The four hits and four runs matched career highs.
SOLID DEFENSE: The M-Braves lead the Double-A South with a .981 fielding percentage, just 20 errors in 31 games and 1st with 32 double plays turned (also 2nd to Midland’s 34 in all Double-A baseball). M-Braves catchers have given up only 16 stolen bases, which is 2nd-fewest in the league (Birmingham, 15) and T-4th in all of Double-A baseball. Shea Langeliers is 13-for-24 in catching opposing base stealers, 54%, which leads all of Double-A baseball and is 2nd in the minors. His 13 caught stealings and 23 assists are 2nd in MiLB.
m-braves finish SECOND homestand 8-4: The M-Braves went 3-3 against Chattanooga and 5-1 against Montgomery to finish a successful 8-4 homestand from May 18-30. With Sunday’s win, the M-Braves are 14-12 in extra-inning games since the new rule of a runner at second base was installed in 2018.
GRAND SALAMI TIME: Langeliers’ grand slam last Thursday night against Montgomery was the first by the M-Braves since Luis Valenzuela blasted one in Chattanooga on April 15, 2019. The grand slam was the first by a Braves player at Trustmark Park since Carlos Martinez hit one on June 12, 2018. The M-Braves have hit just four grand slams since 2014. For Langeliers it was his first professional home run and first since hitting a pair during the Cape Cod League during the summer of his freshman year at Baylor.
FIRST ROUND PICKS AND PROSPECTS: The squad features both of Atlanta’s first-round selections from the 2019 draft in catcher Shea Langeliers (#9) and shortstop Braden Shewmake (#21). They represent the third and fourth-ranked prospects in the organization, according to MLB.com and Langeliers is #64 on the MLB.com Top 100 and sixth-ranked catching prospect in baseball.
• Overall, the M-Braves feature eight of the Braves’ Top 30 prospects. After Langeliers and Shewmake, OF Trey Harris (#14), RHP Victor Vodnik (#15), RHP Daysbel Hernandez (17), INF Greyson Jenista (#19), INF C.J. Alexander (#20) and OF Justin Dean (#26) are among the Top 30.
BRAND NEW COACHING STAFF: The 17 newcomers on the Opening Day 28-man roster joined an entirely new coaching staff, all having major league experience. The M-Braves are led by manager Wyatt Toregas and is joined by hitting coach Einar Diaz, pitching coach, former Braves first-round pick Dan Meyer and coach Devon Travis.
• Toregas, 38, is a former catcher who played in 22 major-league games across two seasons with Cleveland (2009) and Pittsburgh (2011). After spending the previous five minor-league seasons managing in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, the upcoming campaign will be his first with the Braves, including most recently with High-A Bradenton in 2019. in fives seasons, Toregas holds a 293-263 (.527) record as a skipper entering the 2021 season.
150 MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUTS: Despite no season in 2020, the M-Braves saw their 150th player make their major league debut. Starting in 2005, the 150 include 32 All-Star Game appearances, 11 Silver Sluggers, 12 Gold Gloves, 11 World Series champs, two Rookies of the Year, and one MVP.
• In 2020, William Contreras, Joe Odom (SEA), Ricardo Sanchez (STL), Cristian Pache, Ian Anderson, Patrick Weigel, Bruce Zimmermann and Tucker Davidson. The first was Brian McCann back in June, 2005.
WELCOME TO THE DOUBLE-A SOUTH: In MLB’s new structure for the 2021 season, the M-Braves will be part of the Double-A South. The eight-team circuit consists of eight former members of the Southern League, split into two divisions. Mississippi will be in the South Division along with the Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee Brewers), Montgomery Biscuits (Tampa Bay Rays), and Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Miami Marlins). The North Division will consist of the Birmingham Barons (Chicago White Sox), Chattanooga Lookouts (Cincinnati Reds), Rocket City Trash Pandas (LA Angels), and Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs).
• The M-Braves will play the South Division in 80 of the 120 games this season. In a shedule quirk, the M-Braves will not play the new Rocket City Trash Pandas this season. The clubs were scheduled to meet during the first series of the 2020 season.
2019 SEASON IN REVIEW: 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.