SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The contingent of Braves prospects in the Arizona Fall League have impressed throughout the first half of the season, and the trend continued on Saturday.A trio of Braves' hitting prospects provided the bulk of the offense, while Max Fried showcased impressive stuff on the mound in Peoria's
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The contingent of Braves prospects in the Arizona Fall League have impressed throughout the first half of the season, and the trend continued on Saturday.
A trio of Braves' hitting prospects provided the bulk of the offense, while Max Fried showcased impressive stuff on the mound in Peoria's third straight win, a 10-4 victory over Salt River.
Fried, the Braves' No. 9 prospect, fired six scoreless frames, giving up just three hits and striking out five.
"Max is unbelievable," Braves catching prospect Alex Jackson said. "Being able to catch him during the year and then now, you can see just in the short span, where he's grown as a pitcher, being able to throw certain pitches in certain situations, having confidence with all his pitches and executing them. He's real fun to catch and he's going to be pretty good in the future."
Fried, who has a 0.47 ERA through four AFL starts (19 innings), commanded the zone well. Not only did he issue just one walk, but he threw 58 of his 82 pitches for strikes and kept the ball low, with 14 of his 18 outs coming via groundball or strikeout.
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"He was throwing all his pitches well, commanding everything," Jackson said. "He has a real good feel for every pitch and he's not afraid to throw it in any situation, so that makes it easier for myself and him -- being able to switch things up."
But before the lefty even took the mound, his organizational teammates helped stake him to an early three-run lead.
Peoria jumped all over Salt River's Tanner Scott (Orioles' No. 6) as each of the first three batters reached base and scored.
A day after Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1, MLB No. 5) stole the show with two homers in a 3-for-5 game, fellow Braves prospects Jackson and Austin Riley led the charge -- although Acuna was still very much involved.
Jackson has been raking in the AFL with 13 RBIs through 11 games after driving in two in a 2-for-5 performance. The Braves' No. 16 prospect kept up the torrid pace early as he capped the first with a two-run single -- driving home Acuna and Riley (Braves' No. 10).
"It's a big, big jump [to the team]," Jackson said of the early runs. "It allows us to be in a position where everyone wants to come out and hit and put the ball in play hard. I was just looking to get a pitch that I could handle and put a good barrel to it."
The 3-0 lead held until the fourth when the Javelinas broke the game open with a six-run frame.
After Jackson had made the impact early, this time it was Riley's turn to do the damage.
Luis Urias (Padres' No. 3, MLB No. 48) began the scoring with a two-run triple, but Riley highlighted the frame with a massive homer to left-center field.
The 20-year-old hammered a 74 mph curveball 410 feet with a 33-degree launch angle and a 105.3 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™.
Riley, who is batting .345 in the AFL and hit for the cycle on Thursday, finished 1-for-3 with four RBIs, while Acuna went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and is batting .378.
"It's fun to watch everyone succeed," Jackson said. "Seeing the guys that I played with this year, who were on my team, do what they've done and continue to do what they do, it's awesome to see. It's a fun atmosphere, we enjoy it and we all have a blast."
William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.