AAA Tacoma Rainiers (33-40, Pacific Coast League)
Let's just go ahead and address the elephant in the room, okay? Taijuan Walker, after a stellar outing in his last rehab start, got shelled in his start last night. These things happen, but it's somewhat concerning to see Walker take such a dramatic step back after striking out 7 and only allowing 1 hit and 1 earned run in 6.2 innings in his last appearance. Walker made it 5.0 innings last night, striking out four batters and only walking one, but that's about as positive as his line gets. Walker surrendered 7 hits (two of which were home runs) and allowed 7 runs (6 earned).
News isn't much better on the Justin Smoak rehab assignment front. Smoak made his second rehab start last night, and went 1 for 6, which makes him 1 for 9 in his two rehab starts. Going 1 for 6 is never good, but going 1 for 6 with 3 strikeouts is significantly worse. The good news, I suppose, is that it's only his second start and he's still adjusting after coming back from his injury.
On the brighter side of things, Abraham Almonte is steadily improving and has now hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games. Almonte has hit 2 home runs and driven in 8 runs in that span. Infielder Gabriel Noriega has also been swinging a hot bat lately, having now hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games.
Starting pitcher Jordan Pries and relief pitcher Logan Kensing are a couple of pitching prospects to keep an eye on. Pries has only allowed one run in his last two starts and, since April 30th, he has a an ERA of 2.20. Since then, Pries has struck out 48 batters while walking 19, and has held opponents to a .222 batting average. Kensing has been very impressive as well, not allowing a single run in his last eight relief appearances (13.1 innings). In his last 13 relief appearances, he has an ERA of 0.76 and has limited opposing batters to a .181 batting average.
AA Jackson Generals (31-39, Southern League)
Despite losing their third game in a row, the Generals have some really hot bats on their roster. Outfielder Jamal Austin legged out a triple yesterday to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, while third baseman Patrick Kivlehan extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single. Shortstop Ketel Marte snapped his hitting streak just over a week ago, but he has still managed to hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games.
In his last 5 starts, pitcher Max Anderson is 2-0 with a .230 ERA. He has 20 strikeouts and 7 walks in that span.
Ketel Marte and pitcher Mayckol Guaipe represented the Generals on the South team in the Southern League All-Star game on Tuesday, and they represented them well. Marte went 2-5 in the leadoff spot, while Guaipe struck out 1 and allowed 1 hit in a 1.0 scoreless inning.
A High Desert Mavericks (34-37, California League)
D.J. Peterson is still really, really good. He hit his 16th home run of the season yesterday (his 14th since May 11th) and now has a .319 batting average. He has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games with 10 doubles, 7 home runs and 28 runs batted in during that stretch.
Immediately following Peterson's home run, right fielder Gabriel Guerrero hit his eighth homer of the year. Guerrero represented the Mavericks in the California League All-Star game. He was the designated hitter for the California League All-Stars and went 0-2 on the night.
Catcher Tyler Marlette also homered yesterday, extending his hitting streak to 5 games. During the streak, Marlette has recorded 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 5 runs batted in.
Pitcher Andrew Kittredge became the third consecutive Maverick to earn California League Pitcher of the Week honors. Tyler Pike (May 26-June 1) and Brett Shankin (June 2-8) were the last two Mavericks to earn the recognition. Kittredge was named Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 9th to June 15th, after allowing just 1 hit and striking out 10 in 6.0 scoreless innings over 2 relief appearances.
A Clinton LumberKings (30-38, Midwest League)
The LumberKings had their game postponed yesterday due to rain, but Zach Shank, Austin Wilson and Justin Seager are all hitting the ball quite well lately. Shank has managed to hit safely in 16 of his last 20 games, including 7 multi-hit games, 3 home runs and 8 runs batted in. Wilson is batting .375 with 4 doubles, 2 triple, 5 home runs, 19 runs batted in since May 30th. Justin Seager has recorded a base hit in 13 of his last 14 games and has hit 3 doubles and a home run while driving in 7 runs.
Short-A Everett AquaSox (1-6, Northwest League)
The AquaSox lost their 5th game in a row, but left fielder Philips Castillo and and DH Wilton Martinez each registered 3-hit games.
Infielder Chris Mariscal has hit safely in 5 of the 6 games he's played in so far, and relief pitcher Dylan De Meyer has 6 strikeouts while only allowing 2 hits in his 2 relief appearances (5.1 innings).
Rookie Pulaski Mariners (1-0, Appalachian League)
They Pulaski M's played their first game yesterday so there isn't really much to look at so far, but shortstop Nelson Ward (12th-round pick out of the University of Georgia) went 4 for 5 with a grand slam and 5 runs batted in. I am now expecting to do that every game.
Also worth noting that Ugueth Urbina's son, Ugueth Urbina, exists and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in relief for Pulaski.