Fried leads Braves quartet to 16 Ks in AFL opener

Fried leads Braves quartet to 16 Ks in AFL opener

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Braves' farm system is full of exciting young arms, and they were on full display as the Arizona Fall League got underway on Tuesday afternoon.

Braves prospects Max Fried, Touki Toussaint, Josh Graham and Corbin Clouse combined for 16 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings as Peoria topped Glendale 3-0.

• Gameday

"That's awesome," Fried said. "Everyone went out there, did their best and things went our way today."

Fried, the Braves' No. 9 prospect, set the tone early as he fanned each of the first four batters he faced and ultimately finished with seven strikeouts across three innings, throwing 35 of his 53 pitches for strikes. The 23-year-old struck out the side in the first but then got into a bit of trouble in the second.

Glendale loaded the bases via two hits and a walk, but after a quick mound visit, Fried got back on track and escaped the jam with a pair of strikeouts.

"It's just more about trying to go after guys, getting the ball in play and letting the defense work," Fried said. "I was trying to get a ground ball in that situation, but luckily for me, I was able to get a couple strikeouts."

Toussaint, the Braves' No. 14 prospect, not wanting to be outdone by his organization-mate, was also dominant. The 21-year-old right-hander walked the first batter he faced then retired six in a row -- four via strikeouts -- to finish two frames.

Touki Toussaint on the AFL

"I'm a competitor, so I saw him and I was like, 'all right I got to go out there and do my thing,'" Toussaint said. "You pull for each other. Before he went out, I was like 'do what Fried does.' We just tell each other 'do what you do.'"

After the duo of Top 30 prospects finished, Graham and Clouse came on and did more of the same. Graham, who threw 14 of his 21 pitches for strikes, gave up a hit and struck out two in one inning, while Clouse fanned three over two innings.

Not only was Toussaint motivated by Fried's outing, but he's consistently motivated by the copious amount of talent in Atlanta's system.

"It is exciting because you know you can't take anything off," Toussaint said. "Every day you have to bring your A-game. You're a competitor and that's what you look for."

Opposite the quartet of Braves' pitchers, Phillies No. 18 prospect Elniery Garcia put together a solid outing for Glendale, however one mistake -- to Red Sox No. 2 prospect Michael Chavis -- ultimately cost him.

Top Prospects: Chavis, BOS

Garcia, who gave up two runs over three innings, retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before running into trouble in the third. He allowed a pair of hits, including a line-drive single to Braves No. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna (No. 5 overall), before Chavis made him pay. The No. 92 prospect in baseball came through for the Javelinas with a two-out, two-run double. Chavis later added a single, finishing 2-for-4.

Acuna, who was named MLB Pipeline's Hitter of the Year for 2017, also went 2-for-4 for Peoria and was caught stealing in his first attempt of the Fall League season. The 19-year-old outfielder stole 44 bases in 64 attempts during the regular season while hitting 21 homers in 139 games across three levels.

William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.