M-Braves release roster for 2021 season

Mississippi Braves unveil roster ahead of 2021 Opening Day

PEARL, Miss. - The Mississippi Braves are excited to announce the 2021 Opening Day Roster, set by the Atlanta Braves, ahead of their Double-A South opener against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at 6:35 pm at Trustmark Park. The 28-man roster features 17 players that will be making their M-Braves debut.

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, and Langeliers is #64 on the MLB Top 100 and sixth-ranked catching prospect in baseball. Overall, the M-Braves feature seven of the Braves’ Top 30 prospects. After Langeliers and Shewmake, OF Trey Harris (#14), RHP Victor Vodnik (#15), INF Greyson Jenista (#19), INF C.J. Alexander (#20) and OF Justin Dean (#26) are among the Top 30.

Returning M-Braves pitchers include RHP Josh Graham, RHP Kurt Hoekstra, RHP Nolan Kingham, RHP Sean McLaughlin, RHP Brandon White and RHP Matt Withrow.

Withrow, 27, will look to make his first M-Braves appearance since 2017 this season. The Texas Tech product has suffered injuries each season, including right shoulder impingement syndrome that kept him off the mound in 2018. Withrow made ten starts for the M-Braves in 2017, going 1-3 with a 4.47 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched.

Graham has appeared in more M-Braves games than anyone on the roster. In 80 outings, the Oregon alum is 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 103.1 innings pitched.

Returning position players include Alexander, Harris, Jenista, OF Tyler Neslony and Shewmake.

Harris was the 2019 Atlanta Braves Minor League Player of the Year and closed out the season in Mississippi. The Mizzou grad combined to hit .323 with 14 home runs, 73 RBI, eight stolen bases and 73 runs scored in 131 games between Single-A Rome and Florida and the M-Braves.

Neslony had a team-best .369 on-base percentage in 2019. Neslony has appeared in 226 M-Braves games since 2017 and holds a career .247 batting average with ten home runs and 86 RBI.

Newcomer LHP Hayden Deal will get the Opening Day start for the M-Braves. The 26-year-old was the High-A Florida Fire Frogs Pitcher fo the Year in 2019 and ranked fourth in the organization with a 3.24 ERA.

Kingham, Vodnik, RHP Mitch Stallings and RHP Odalvi Javier will round out the starting rotation. Kingham, 24, Made 27 starts between Single-A Rome, High-A Florida and Mississippi, going 7-12 with a 3.92 ERA. The Texas alum led all Braves’ minor leaguers in games started (27), innings pitched, complete games (4), and shutouts (3). Vodnik made four appearances this past spring for the big league Braves and went 1-0, with six strikeouts and no walks in 5.0 innings of work. He earned the win at Minnesota on May 26 with 2.0 scoreless innings on one hit, four strikeouts, and no walks.

Dean adds plenty of speed to the M-Braves lineup. The 24-year-old swiped 47 bases for Low-A Rome in 2019 and was the club’s Player of the Year, leading the league in runs scored (85), stolen bases, and triples (9). Dean has 63 stolen bases in 169 professional games.

The 17 newcomers join 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 Dan Meyer and coach Devon Travis.

2021 Mississippi Braves Roster

Pitchers (15): Troy Bacon, Hayden Deal, Josh Graham, Matt Hartman, Jake Higginbotham, Kurt Hoekstra, Odalvi Javier, Nolan Kingham, Sean McLaughlin, Luis Mora, Mitch Stallings, Victor Vodnik, Brandon White, Brooks Wilson, Matt Withrow.

Catchers (3): Hendrik Clementina, Shea Langeliers, Drew Lugbauer.

Infielders (5): C.J. Alexander, Greyson Jenista, Jalen Miller, Wendell Rijo, Braden Shewmake.

Outfielders (5): Justin Dean, Trey Harris, Tyler Neslony, Jacob Pearson, Jefrey Ramos.

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