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7/11 Minor League Wrap-Up

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- In his 1st start of the season, VSLer Yoervis Medina threw 5 sloppy no-hit innings against the VSL-leading Pirates, walking 5 and striking out 4.  He walked the leadoff batter in the 6th and the following batter, the redundantly named Henry Henry, reached on a Yidid Batista error at 2B before the tiring Medina got the hook in a tight 2-0 ballgame.  Kervin Montbrum kept the no hitter alive with a GIDP and a groundout, but gave up a one out single to Gemmy Gonzalez in the 7th to break it up.  Montbrum was sloppy himself in the 8th, walking two batters and surrendering an RBI double before getting lifted for Gerardo Esparza, who put a stop to that mess, then pitched a hitless 9th to seal the 2 hitter.

- DSLMs scrub Augusto Marte hit his 1st and 2nd home run of the season yesterday.  With a 127/286/270 line AFTER the two bombs, the future is probably the opposite of bright for Sr. Marte, so put that in the Fernando Tatis Two Grand Slams in One Inning category of rare feats.

- Kalian Sams started in center field yesterday for Pulaski.  Kalian Sams.  The bulky 6'3", 220 pound Dutch answer to Dave Kingman is alright in right field, but just about what you'd expect from such a guy in center.

Starter Brooks Mohr sidestepped this problem by striking out 7 over 6 innings and getting 9 additional outs via groundball over 6 frames, all but 2 outs via those methods... but Tommy Johannesen-Ells and Blake Nation weren't so fortunate.

- Also, I missed mentioning it yesterday, but shortstops Anthony Phillips and George Soto swapped places a few days back.  Phillips went from Pulaski (Rk+) to Everett (A-) while Soto went from Everett to Pulaski.  Soto ain't much, so the org decided to go with the old familiar Aggressive Promotion with Phillips, opting to challenge the teenage South African in short season A ball against more advanced competition out West, while seeing if a lower level can coax some more development out of the clunky Dominican Soto.

- Despite a reported shift in the wind in Pasco that's allowing a rare display of offense in Dust Devils Stadium... Dennis Freaking Raben and the Aquasox mostly continue to struggle with one of the toughest batter's eyes in all of minor league baseball.  Raben did bounce a ground rule [smack an] RBI double [into the gap] the other way over the LF wall (thanks to PascoJoe for going to these games and all he's reported back to us) but was 1 for 5 with a K to drop his average to a paltry .565.  Kevin Reynolds and Brandon Fromm did have 3 hit days for the Aquasox, but the rest of the lineup struggled, while the more accustomed Tri City Dust Devils lit up Aquasox pitching for 11 runs in the wind-free conditions.

I'm not sure why Aquasox manager Jose Moreno got ejected in the 2nd inning.  He allegedly argued a call, but given his ejection came after Bobby LaFromboise struck out a Dust Devils batter, the timing was strange.  Perhaps he had some carryover remarks from strikeout calls in the previous frames.

- The T-Rats hitters are dead last in the Midwest League in home runs (by a sizable margin: their 31 HRs makes them the only team with fewer than 40) and walks.

- After an ill-timed trial in High Desert, center fielder Daniel Carroll is back in Wisconsin, and picked up where he left off there with 2 hits and a stolen base, while starting in left field (Maximo Mendez remained in CF).  It's not that Carroll isn't talented enough for a promotion... it's just that giving him a promotion right after returning from a long injury layoff made it very hard to get into a rhythm, let alone adjust to more advanced competition.  He's a great talent and he'll likely be in High A ball before long.

- Something isn't right with reliever Joe Kantakevich.  Since his struggles in High Desert led to a midseason demotion, he's gotten pounded for 23 hits (in 45 ABs) and 16 runs in 10.2 innings in Wisconsin.  His 4 walks aren't encouraging but are hardly a harbinger to this kind of shellacking.  If that guy even hints at some sort of arm trouble, I'd shut him down immediately. If he's just turning to the suck pitch too often, however, then he's just got some work to do.  Ignorant Writer's Tip: When in doubt, throw lower.

The Mavs split a twin-bill last night, though they probably should have forfeited game 1 after 5, trailing 16-2 after Ricky Orta, Julio Santiago and Bradley Reid got shellacked in the 4th and 5th innings.  With the wind blowing 21 mph out to center field and Ricky Orta being a flyball pitcher... how could manager Jim Horner not have known what was going to happen?

-  Three new faces recently joined the High Desert Mavs.  Outfielder Geraldo Valentin was disposed of by the Royals org after flatlining in AA (though given the Royals' AA club is in the pitcher friendly Texas League, that's not a huge surprise), and the M's will see if dropping him down a level can revive the 25 year old's prospects.  He's got pop gun power, little patience, and can play several positions, but not very well.  So, basically, he's the Puerto Rican Bloomquist.  Coincidentally, the last time he was in High A ball, 2006, the Royals' High A affiliate was... the High Desert Mavericks.

Joe Simokaitis is a meh shortstop that can spell regulars at several other infield and outifeld positions.  The Cubs org drafted him in the 10th round of the 2005 draft out of Nebraska and, like Valentin, he has shown pop gun power and little patience.  He's flatlined in AA, and a what-can-you-do trial in AAA in 2007 showed little.  The Cubs finally gave up on him this year, and the M's picked him up to help out the Mavs' cast of scrap heapers, question marks, and Carlos Triunfel.  From his file photo, Joe Simokaitis is clearly a man who finds excitement in his life and career, with consistent moments of joy in his existence.


I have a feeling Jim Riggleman wouldn't like his body language.

Catcher Fernando Encarnacion isn't brand new: he did play 4 games with Peoria before getting shuffled over to High Desert.  The Reds didn't think much of him and let him go after injuries hampered much of his 2007.  He played a handful of games in the Gulf Coast League.

It'll be interesting to see how the Cal League and Mavs Stadium artifically inflates the numbers of these three punchless never-weres.  It's already started:  Simokaitis went deep for a solo shot in the nightcap and Valentin smacked a double.

- Speaking of reinforcements, the Tacoma Rainiers pitching staff needed them, and promises of free booze and strippers in Las Vegas netted them the following hurlers:

Randy Messenger:  The sizable 26 year old former Marlins reliever, dealt to the Giants last year for Armando Benitez and cash, was recently dropped by the Giants after 41 unimpressive relief innings with Fresno, with 4 HRs, 12 walks and 30 K for a 4.83 ERA.  The M's opened the door and let the 6'6", 270 pound hurler in (okay, they opened the garage door), and I like his chances of eventually helping the M's a lot better than Jared Wells, but that's not saying much.  At the least, he's in the Scott Shoemaker department of washed up MLB relievers that can help the Rainiers now.

Jason Kershner
:  This guy was actually thrown in by the Pirates in the Craig Wilson dead, which, while causing me worry that the player the M's send back might actually have decent value, gives the M's another goofy looking lefthander in the pen.  He was running a rather bleh 5.09 ERA in AA Reading of the pitcher friendly Eastern League over 28 innings, with 4 HR, 9 walks and 22 K.

- Give the M's credit for getting two AAA-caliber guys who consistently throw strikes and can whiff a few guys, because the Rainiers certainly need them, but these aren't high end talents by any means.  Both men pitched in yesterday's 11-6 loss, as PHAT ANDY 22's complete game was indeed needed: the Rainiers used 7 pitchers, as Mystic Tan only lasted 3 innings and a right-to-left 17 mph wind made conditions in already hitter-friendly Cashman Field even hitter-friendlier.

Speaking of which, five Rainiers had multi-hit games, as Prentice Redman had 4 hits, including a 2 run shot, and WLAD went deep twice.

- Speaking of WLAD, after 9 games, the WLAD in center field experiment hasn't been a complete [COATHANGER] after all, as WLAD has averaged a productive 2.52 outs per 9 innings in CF over 78.2 innings, and he hasn't made an error yet.

And speaking of outfielders, Nick Blasi's short Rainiers run is over, as he was powerflushed to make room in the Rainiers' overloaded outfield.

- Interesting fill-ins added to the Rainiers roster alongside Craig Wilson: catcher Fleming "Flaming Beans" Baez, and infielder Deybis Benitez.  Tuglett's promotion moved some guys up, necessitating the presence of Benitez to back up the middle infield, and Flaming Beans gets a pat on the head to work with Rob Johnson and Luis Oliveros.

- Rich Dorman's inability to get loose wasn't a random fluke: he's now on the 7 Day DL with right forearm tightness, joining Ryan Feierabend (forearm), Chris Jakubauskas (strained oblique) and Potatoes (famine*).  That pitching staff is more snakebit than Jake The Snake Roberts high on crack.

* - Okay, okay, back spasms

- Mark Kiger, in 6 plate appearances yesterday, did not put the ball in play once.  He struck out 3 times, and walked 3 times.  However, he also committed his 20th error of the season at SS, tying him for the league lead among shortstops with Birmingham SS Robert Valido, and accounting for 1/6th of West Tenn's 122 team errors (2nd in the Southern League to LOOK OUT... The Chattanooga Lookouts).

Now would also be a good time to mention that the DIAMOND JAXX lead the Southern League with 82 unearned runs.  The shortstop sees more ground balls hit his way than any other infielder.

Stats below the jump!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 2, VSL Pirates 1
VSLMs:  32-18... VSL Pirates:  34-15
(League:  255/338/345... 3.54 ERA)

Yoervis Medina:  5 IP, 0 H, 5 walks, 4 K (12 app, 1st start, 1.71 ERA, 31.2 IP, 1 HR, 10/26 BB/K)
Kervin Montbrum:  2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 walks (13 app, 4.85 ERA, 26 IP, 21/20 BB/K)
Gerardo Esparza:  1.1 IP, 3 K (10 GS +2, 0.98 ERA, 55 IP, 1 HR, 15/48 BB/K)
Carlos Ramirez:  0-2, sac fly RBI, K (309/381/392)
Jetsy Extrano:  2-4, double, R, K (255/337/362)
Michael Acevedo:  1-3, RBI, K (253/332/343)

Dominican:  DSL Phillies 7, DSL Mariners 6
DSLMs:  24-9... DSL Phillies:  11-20
(League:  235/338/320... 3.75 ERA)

Henry Perez:  3 IP, 6 H, (5 R) 2 ER, 3 walks, 4 K, wild pitch (5 GS +2, 2.54 ERA, 28.1 IP, 13/37 BB/K)
Fello Yan:  2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER (HR), walk, K (9 app, 5.93 ERA, 13.2 IP, 1 HR, 10/8 BB/K)
Anthony Fernandez:  3 IP, 2 H, 3 K (5 GS +4, 3.69 ERA, 31.2 IP, 15/26 BB/K)
Hector Mercedes:  2-3, solo HR, K (329/455/582)
Ameilis Carvajal:  3-5, K (250/400/355)
Mario Flores:  1-5, triple, RBI, K (321/448/390)
Angel Zapata:  1-4, RBI, K (220/298/230)
Augusto Marte:  2-4, solo HR, 2 run HR, K (127/286/270)

Rk-AZL:  The AZLMs had Friday off.  I'm guessing the kids had an early Friday curfew.

Rk+:  Pulaski 6, Kingsport 5
PMs:  15-8... KNG:  12-11
(League:  263/335/395... 4.36 ERA)

Brooks Mohr:  6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 7 K, wild pitch (5 GS, 2.28 ERA, 23.2 IP, 1 HR, 12/20 BB/K)
Tommy Johannesen-Ellis:  1.2 IP, 4 H, (3 R) 2 ER, 3 K, wild pitch, balk
Blake Nation:  1.1 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER, K
George Soto:  2-5, K
Mario Martinez:  2-4, double (352/389/523)
Kalian Sams:  2-4, double, 3 run HR, K (236/329/597)
Kris Sanchez:  2-4, solo HR, solo HR, some other cheap RBI, K (397/478/759)

A-:  Tri City 11, Everett 4
EVE:  9-15... 3C:  16-8
(League:  252/341/360... 4.07 ERA)

Bobby LaFromboise:  3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 3 K (5 GS, 3.43 ERA, 21 IP, 2 HR, 5/14 BB/K)
Doug Salinas:  2.2 IP, 4 H, (3 R) 2 ER, 2 K, 2 hit batters (6 app, 3 GS, 4.70 ERA, 23 IP, 1 HR, 10/21 BB/K)
Robbie Dominguez:  one out, 3 H, 3 ER, hit batter (5 app, 5.06 ERA, 10.2 IP, 4/10 BB/K)
Matt Renfree:  1 IP, 2 K, wild pitch (9 app, 3.38 ERA, 16 IP, 1 HR, 5/19 BB/K)
Javier Martinez:  one out, 3 H, 4 ER, walk
Eddy Fernandez:  two outs, K (9 app, 7.84 ERA, 10.1 IP, 2 HR, 2/11 BB/K)
Kevin Reynolds:  3-4, double, R, RBI, walk (386/427/506)
Dennis Freaking Raben:  1-5, double, RBI, K
Brandon Fromm:  3-4, double, R (280/327/320)

A:  Dayton 8, Wisconsin 2

WIS:  3-18... DAY:  11-11
(League:  250/322/370... 3.64 ERA)

Keith Renaud:  5 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 4 walks, 2 wild pitches
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER (9 app, 11.81 ERA, 10.2 IP, 1 HR, 4/7 BB/K)
Robert Harmon:  two outs, 3 H, 1 ER, walk (24 app, 6.62 ERA, 34 IP, 3 HR, 25/37 BB/K)
Jose Escalona:  1.1 IP, 1 H (20 app, 5.84 ERA, 24.2 IP, 5 HR, 15/27 BB/K)
Daniel Carroll:  2-5, K, SB (328/403/406)
Denny Almonte:  2-4, R, K (275/322/461)
Joe White:  2-4, 2 RBI
Israel Nuñez:  1-4, double (188/235/240)

A+:  They played two in lovely Adelanto.

Game 1:  Rancho Cucamonga 18, High Desert 2, 7 innings

Ricky Orta:  3.2 IP, annihilated
Julio Santiago:  1 IP, also annihilated
Bradley Reid:  1 IP, here, have some annihilation
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1.1 IP, 1 H, Quakes were all sold out of annihilation
Carlos Triunfel:  1-3, double, R
Ronnie Prettyman:  2-3, 2 RBI
Carlos Peguero:  2-3
Korey Feiner:  1-2, double

Game 2:  High Desert 7, Rancho Cucamonga 4, 7 innings
Mavs:  10-12... Quakes:  11-10
(League:  271/341/407... 4.51 ERA)

Alfredo Venegas:  6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 walks, 5 K, 2 wild pitches (8 GS +8, 4.26 ERA, 69.2 IP, 5 HR, 20/67 BB/K)
Steven Richard:  1 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, K (12 app, 4.12 ERA, 19.2 IP, 12/19 BB/K)
Gavin Dickey:  3-4, double, 2 R
Carlos Triunfel:  1-4, 2 R, RBI, SBs #15 and 16 (253/307/347)
Carlos Peguero:  3-4, 2 run HR (297/316/467)
Chris Minaker:  1-3, RBI, K (297/328/455)
Joe Simokaitis:  1-3, solo HR
Geraldo Valentin: 1-3, double, R

AA:  West Tenn 10, Tennessee 4
WTN:  7-17... TEN:  16-8
(League:  262/341/396... 4.19 ERA)

Brodie Downs:  5 IP, 5 H, (4 R) 3 ER, 2 walks, 5 K, wild pitch, 2 hit batters (30 app, 3 GS, 4.14 ERA, 63 IP, 3 HR, 30/42 BB/K)
Nelson Payano:  3 IP, 2 H, walk, 2 K (34 app, 3.36 ERA, 56.1 IP, 1 HR, 34/51 BB/K)
Nick Hill:  1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Mark Kiger:  0-3, R, 3 walks, 3 K (218/351/275)
Greg Halman:  1-6, double, R, 2 RBI, 3 K (242/281/462)
Mike Wilson:  1-2, R, 3 walks, K (272/370/548)
Johan Limonta:  4-5, 2 doubles, 2 R, 3 RBI (302/391/505)
Adam Moore:  2-3, double, 3 RBI, walk (306/379/477)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-5, R, RBI (217/280/274)

AAA:  Tacoma 11, Las Vegas 6
TAC:  46-49... LVG:  50-46
(League:  275/346/439... 4.77 ERA)

Jake Woods:  3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 walks, K (28 app, 1st start, 4.61 ERA, 52.2 IP, 6 HR, 25/41 BB/K)
Randy Messenger:  1 IP, walk, 2 K (30 app, 4.71 ERA, 42 IP, 4 HR, 13/32 BB/K)
Mumba Rivera:  1 IP, walk, 2 K, wild pitch
Jason Kershner:  1.2 IP, 1 H
Scott Shoemaker:  one out, 1 H (22 app, 5.98 ERA, 43.2 IP, 7 HR, 20/30 BB/K)
Jon Huber:  1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, walk, wild pitch (34 app, 7.25 ERA, 44.2 IP, 2 HR, 17/31 BB/K)
Tracy Thorpe:  1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER (16 app, 10.19 ERA, 17.2 IP, 7 HR, 12/20 BB/K)
Prentice Redman:  4-5, double, 2 run HR, 3 R, walk (324/376/593)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  3-5, double, R, 3 RBI, walk (257/347/399)
Victor Diaz:  1-6, double, RBI, K (285/366/509)
Bryan LaHair:  2-5, 2 R, RBI, walk, 3 K (258/354/460)
WLAD:  2-5, 2 run HR, 2 run HR (238/337/537)
Craig The Anti-Savior Wilson:  2-5, R, K
Luis Oliveros:  1-4, double
Oswaldo Navarro:  1-4, double, R, walk (276/348/351)