Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
While Huntsville (MIL) has been in first place in the Southern League North all season, the Tennessee Smokies (CHC) are closing quickly and now have a record of 20-14. The club has won four games in a row, including ten of eleven, and is now just two games back in the standings.
Mobile (ARZ) and Montgomery (TB) are tied for first in the South at 19-15, but both teams have struggled recently. The Mississippi Braves have played well, going 8-2 in their last ten ballgames and have a four-game winning streak. The Atlanta-affiliate sits just two games out in the standings.
Tennessee’s recent surge has been spearheaded by Cubs mega prospect Kris Bryant. The power-hitter connected for four long balls this week, giving him a Southern League leading nine homers this season. He drove in 12 runs, including six RBI Wednesday, and scored nine times. The third baseman has improved his slash line to .328/.437/.630, which makes him the league’s top slugging percentage and third-best batting average. He also ranks first in the league in runs scored (28) extra-base hits (18) and total bases (75).
Second baseman Stephen Bruno had a string of six straight games with a double come to an end Thursday, but scored ten runs and drove in six for the Smokies this week. Outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha is 8-for-21 in his last five games and has driven in five runs in his last three.
Pensacola (CIN) had a nice offensive week, led by Juan Silverio, who is the league’s leader in batting average. The third baseman had four multi-hit games, including a homer, and now sits at .333/.378/.510. Shortstop Devin Lohman is 7-for-15 in his last four games.
The Mississippi Braves got nice offensive performances from a pair of infield prospects. Third baseman Kyle Kubitza had a pair of three-hit games, as well as two two-hit contests, pushing his line upwards to .270/.345/.430. Shortstop Elmer Reyes hit safely in five of seven games and drove in five runs.
Jackson’s (SEA) Ketel Marte is currently on a nine-game hitting streak. He ranks among the league’s leaders with a .312 batting average and is second with 39 hits this season.
Brewers outfield prospect Mitch Haniger has gotten hot after a slow start to the season. The 23-year old had four multi-hit games this week, and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. Teammate Nick Ramirez continued where he left off last week, and drove in seven runs for the Stars. The first baseman was 5-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI May 3.
O’Koyea Dickson hit two bombs on Cinco De Mayo, and drove in six runs for Chattanooga (LAD) Monday. Third baseman Daniel Mayora added six RBI of his own the following game with a 4-for-4 performance that included a homer. Oswaldo Martinez homered twice this week for the Lookouts.
The Birmingham Barons (CWS) have been on a dreadful stretch, but catcher Kevan Smith has produced at the plate in the last three ballgames. He homered twice, collected three RBI and scored four runs.
Tyson Brummett leads the league’s qualifying starters with a 0.49 ERA across six starts for Chattanooga. The 27-year old earned his third win of the season May 6 against Pensacola. In the game, he allowed one unearned run on five hits and struck out four.
Last week’s Southern League Week in Review cover boy, Chase Anderson, did not pitch for Mobile this week, but was instead called up to Arizona after posting a 0.69 ERA for the BayBears this season.
Drew Gagnon tossed seven scoreless innings in a victory over Jackson May 6. The 23-year old right-hander is now 3-1 with a 2.66 ERA over seven starts for Huntsville. Teammate Tyler Cravy earned his fifth win of the season a day earlier with six scoreless frames. Cravy is tied with fellow Star Brent Suter for the league’s lead in wins. Suter work seven scoreless innings of his own May 3, and followed up with another win May 8. He is 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
Michael Lorenzen worked seven strong innings Thursday night for Pensacola. He allowed one earned run on three hits, one walk, and one hit-by-pitch. He also allowed one earned in six innings May 3, and is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in seven starts this season.
The Braves got a third straight impressive start from right-hander Aaron Northcraft. In 5.2 innings May 5, the Arizona native allowed one earned run on four hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter to earn the win against Mobile.