Monday, July 29 - 7:05 p.m.
Rome Braves (16-20, 52-53)
Lucas Sims (77.1 IP, 3.03 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 25.9 K%, 9.7 BB%, .264 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (16-17, 54-48)
Joe Biagini (83.1 IP, 4.54 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 18.7 K%, 8.2 BB%, .313 BABIP)
Joe Biagini's most recent outing was one of his best whiff-wise, tying his season high with nine strikeouts over seven innings. He gave up three runs on six hits, so it was a solid outing for him, which had been a little tough to come by over the previous three starts. Biagini has fared much better at home this season for whatever reason, and after three rough outings on the road, the nine strikeouts against Asheville at Lake Olmstead last time out continued that trend.
Biagini had a solid changeup working, which generated many of his swinging strikes against a Tourists lineup with a few left-handed batters. As I've noted in the past, when he has a feel for his changeup and can throw the fastball for strikes, Biagini can be an effective starter deep into games.
Augusta will get its first look at Braves 2012 first-rounder Lucas Sims, who has had a solid full-season debut at 19 years old. Sims has avoided hard contact all year, posting a line drive percentage a tick below 15 percent while recording a low batting average on balls in play. He has done especially well at inducing infield fly balls, which has helped lower the BABIP.
Sims entered the season ranked fifth in the Braves system by Baseball America, but he popped up on Baseball Prospectus' midseason Top 50 at No. 50, showing that he's emerging as perhaps the best prospect in the team's system (was easily one of the best already). He's an athletic 6-foot-2 with a live arm that sits low-90s and touches 95. His curveball has tight spin and good break, and shows plus already. His changeup could become average with more development.
One of the biggest keys to Sims's development is repeating his delivery. He uses his body well and doesn't rely too much on his arm, but he has struggled to find his release point and repeat his finish at times, which has led to lapse in command. It hasn't been that often this season, though, which has been a big reason for his success.
Sims is coming off six scoreless innings on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts against Lakewood. This was after consecutive starts where he struggled throwing strikes and was knocked around for eight earned runs in 9.1 innings. He had a stretch earlier this season where he threw 13.1 scoreless innings, which earned his rotation spot.