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7/1 Minor League Wrap-Up

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The Phrase of the Day for yesterday's games was 'Spot Starter'.  Nearly every team ran a reliever or replacement starter out to the hill in the 1st inning, with varying results.  This was spurred in part by Felix's injury potentially necessitating another callup from Tacoma in the next few days (because Jimenez can't pitch every day), and in part by injuries to Ryan Feierabend, Chris Jakubauskas and Potatoes landing all of them on Tacoma's 7 Day DL.  More on that later when I acquire more info, but in the meantime...

... on to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~! VSL Tigers 9, VSL Mariners 1
VSLMs: 23-17... VSL Tigres: 9-31
(League: 258/342/355... 3.66 ERA)

Angel Raga: 4 IP, 6 H, (4 R) 3 ER, 3 K, 2 wild pitches (8 app, 1st start, 4.91 ERA, 18.1 IP, 16/9 BB/K)
Kervin Montbrum: 3 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 1 ER, walk, 2 K (11 app, 2 GS, 3.80 ERA, 21.1 IP, 16/20 BB/K)
Ricardo Pereira: 1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, walk, wild pitch
Jetsy Extrano: 1-3, double, R (248/331/359)
Mario Yepez: 1-3, RBI (343/402/476)
rest of VSLMs lineup: 2-21, 6 K

Getting stomped by the worst team in the VSL is never a good thing.

Dominican: DSL Mariners 3, DSL Phillies 1
DSLMs: 19-6... DSL Phillies: 8-16
(League: 234/339/321... 3.76 ERA)

Bruno Mercedes: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, 6 K, wild pitch (1st start, 1.42 ERA, 25.1 IP, 9/21 BB/K)
Julio Antigua: 1 IP, walk, K
Nelson Germocen: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 3 K, hit batter (9 app, 0.60 ERA, 15 IP, 7/24 BB/K)
Ameilis Carvajal: 1-5, double, K (245/417/396)
Mario Flores: 1-4, double, K (333/464/463)
Janelfry Zorrilla: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, SB (163/213/233)
Bertin Sanon: 3-3, double, RBI, walk, SB

My favorite name in the DSL, Bruno Mercedes (not my favorite player, mind you... just my favorite name), threw 6 fine innings in his first DSL start, though both sides struggled to get a run across with the score tied at 1 until Janelfry Zorrilla smoked a grounder into left to cash in Marbin Beltre with one out in the 9th, and Bertin Sanon doubled to cash in Zorrilla for the insurance run to make it 3-1. Nelson Germocen over a throwing error and a walk in the bottom 9th to lock down his 2nd win of the season.

Rk-AZL: The AZLMs had Tuesday off.

Rk+: Pulaski 4, Bristol 3
PMs: 7-7... BRI: 9-4
(League: 261/337/391... 4.34 ERA)

Kenn Kasparek: 6 IP, 4 H, 7 K
Taylor Lewis: 2 IP, 2 H, walk, 2 K, wild pitch
Jeff Dunbar: 1 IP, 1 H, (3 R) 2 ER (HR), 2 K, hit batter
Mario Martinez: 1-4, double, R
Kalian Sams: 1-3, R, RBI, K
Kris Sanchez: 3-4, 2 RBI, K
Tommy Johnson: 1-3, RBI, 2 K

This game wasn't close until the B-Sox jumped on Jeff Dunbar in the 9th. After he plunked a batter with one out and the next reached on an error from SS Anthony Phillips... Andrew Garcia took him deep for a 3 run shot that made a 4-0 game 4-3 with one out. But Dunbar got a groundout and a called strikeout to get out of the jam and seal the deal.

A-: Everett 6, Vancouver 1
EVE: 6-9... VAN: 5-10
(League: 246/333/346... 3.78 ERA)

Steven Hensley: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (HR), 4 K
Robbie Dominguez: 4 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 4 K
Christian Staehely: 2 IP, 2 walks, K
Kevin Reynolds: 2-4, double, 2 R, walk, 2 K
Tyson Gillies: 1-3, 2 RBI, walk, 2 SB
Brandon Fromm: 0-4, sac fly RBI, 3 K
Luis Nuñez: 3-4, double, K

The theme for the org yesterday was testing out relievers as starters: RRS with the big club, Angel Raga in Venezuela, Bruno Mercedes in Santo Domingo, and now Steven Hensley in Everett, who gave the Aquasox 3 innings in the front end of a bullpen relay that ultimately allowed only three hits, the only Vancouver run coming off a solo shot against Hensley in the 1st.

A: Peoria 5, Wisconsin 1
WIS: 3-10... PEO: 8-5
(League: 250/322/370... 3.63 ERA)

Michael Pineda: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 walks, 3 K (10 GS +5, 1.83 ERA, 69 IP, 4 HR, 21/54 BB/K)
Natividad Dilone: 1 IP, balk
Robert Harmon: 2 IP, (1 R) 0 ER, walk, 4 K (21 app, 6.98 ERA, 29.2 IP, 3 HR, 21/34 BB/K)
Alex Liddi: 2-4, double (250/316/352)
Maximo Mendez: 1-3, RBI, walk, 2 K (246/335/356)
rest of T-Rats lineup: 4-26, 4 walks, 6 K

With Michael Pineda getting lit up in the 4th for 4 runs (and only escaping that inning after Denny Almonte threw out a runner at the plate), and the T-Rats bats asleep at the wheel anyway, the T-Rats put up little fight in this one.

Groundballs: 9
Flyballs: 8
Line Drives: 2
Pop Ups: 1
Walks: 2
Strikeouts: 3

A+: High Desert 10, Lancaster 5
Mavs: 6-6... Jethawks: 5-7
(League: 269/339/402... 4.49 ERA)

Jose Jimenez (!): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER (HR), walk, 5 K, wild pitch, hit batter
Bradley Reid: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, K
Steve Uhlmansiek: 1.2 IP, 1 H, K
Aaron Cotter: 1 IP
Carlos Triunfel: 2-5, 2 R
Carlos Peguero: 1-5, R, RBI, K
Chris Minaker: 2-5, R, RBI
Travis Scott: 3-5, 3 run HR, 4 RBI, K
Leury Bonilla: 2-3, double, R, sac fly RBI, K
James Davenport: 1-4, double, RBI, K

Welcome to a few new faces in High Desert.

It was a great day in the M's org for guys named Jimenez. Cesar looked solid in relief for the M's, and former DSLer Jose Jimenez, who looked good in short-season ball as an SP, got the call to help out the Mavs' shorthanded rotation and handled it very well, as the Mavs pounded the Jethawks into submission at the plate, scoring 5 runs in the 1st and adding on down the stretch. Jimenez:

Groundballs: 8 (plus 1 bunt)
Flyballs: 5 (1 HR)
Line Drives: 0
Pop Ups: 2
Walks: 1 (plus 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts: 5
One person to note is the starting 3B: Ronnie Prettyman. Matt Mangini was originally called up to AA as an injury replacement. Now it looks like he is there to stay, and for Prettyman, demoted to High A, it looks like this could be the end of his line as a prospect unless he can regroup and get his approach together here in High Desert.

And also, welcome to 3B James Davenport, leap-frogged to high A ball from short-season ball, and getting the start yesterday at DH. These moves make as much sense to me as they do to you. I'd have to check around, but I'm not sure if he's an injury replacement for someone, or if he and Prettyman will platoon 3B.

The Mariners are allegedly pushing to get into the High A Florida State League next season. If they manage to do so, having a team there will allow them to use their High A club with more confidence. As it stands, High Desert's launchpad status makes it a tough place to develop players, since the conditions are so unnaturally hitter-friendly that it's easy for pitchers and hitters alike to develop bad habits or have their confidence either inflated or crushed by its abnormal circumstances. It's difficult for the M's to take a prospect of any status and put him on this team for these reasons, thus you see the club composed of a mishmash of random players, many dumped here to fill in blanks alongside the few prospects.

AA: West Tenn 8, Chattanooga 7
WTN: 5-9... CNG: 6-8
(League: 262/341/395... 4.18 ERA)

Brodie Downs: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 walks, 4 K, wild pitch (1st start, 28 app, 4.33 ERA, 52 IP, 3 HR, 24/36 BB/K)
Nelson Payano: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, 4 K (30 app, 3.83 ERA, 49.1 IP, 1 HR, 26/46 BB/K)
Marwin Vega: 1 IP, 2 H, 5 ER (HR), 2 walks, K, wild pitch, hit batter (28 app, 5.36 ERA, 43.2 IP, 3 HR, 32/27 BB/K)
Shawn Kelley: 1 IP, K (10 app, 0 ER, 11.1 IP, 5/12 BB/K, 23.2 consecutive innings without an earned run since initial promotion from Wisconsin)
Brent Johnson: 1-5, 2 RBI (307/384/438)
Mike Wilson: 1-5, double, R (270/358/560)
Adam Moore: 3-5, solo HR, 3 R, 2 RBI (306/381/478)
Matt Mangini: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, walk (233/258/267)
Jeff Dominguez: 2-3, double, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (229/298/286)

And the reliever test-run theme continues, as the M's resident surveyor, Brodie Downs, got the call to start and actually didn't look bad at all in his 5 innings of work, as disconcerting as the 4 walks and 4 line drives may be. Given how up and down he's been from outing to outing, the DIAMOND JAXX will gladly take a 1 run 5 inning outing any way he can get it.

Groundballs: 4 (plus 1 bunt)
Flyballs: 3
Line Drives: 4
Pop Ups: 2
Walks: 4
Strikeouts: 4

Meanwhile, the DIAMOND JAXX scored runs early, with 2 runs in the 2nd and 3 more in the 4th via a barrage of singles. However, LOOK OUT... the Lookouts came roaring back from 7-2 down in the 8th off an erratic Marwin Vega (or, better put: Marwin Vega) to tie the ballgame on a Daniel Dorn two out Grand Slam Of Death.

But it was okay, as Adam Moore casually blasted a solo shot with two outs in the top 9th for his 8th HR of the season to give the DIAMOND JAXX an 8-7 lead. Shawn Kelley came in and locked the Lookouts down with ANOTHER scoreless inning to seal the deal. I'm interested in learning what he's been doing, because I figured variance would've caught up to him by now.

AAA: Oh, neat, they played two in Tacoma.

Game 1: Tacoma 12, Colorado Springs 2, 7 innings

Scott Shoemaker: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER (HR), walk, 2 K (19 app, 2 GS, 4.62 ERA, 39 IP, 6 HR, 16/28 BB/K)
Tracy Thorpe: 1 IP, 1 H, K (13 app, 6.91 ERA, 14.1 IP, 4 HR, 7/17 BB/K)
Tug Hulett: 2-4, 3 R, RBI
Matt Tuiasosopo: 2-4, double, R, RBI (254/336/399)
Victor Diaz: 1-3, R, RBI, walk, K (291/375/492)
Bryan LaHair: 1-1, double, R, 2 RBI, 3 walks (257/355/465)
Prentice Redman: 1-4, R, RBI, K (304/366/569)
Michael Saunders: 2-4, GRAND SLAM, 2 R (261/346/457)
Rob Johnson: 2-3, double, 2 R, walk (277/344/406)
Oswaldo Navarro: 2-4, R, RBI (287/362/366)

Oh look, a reliever getting the call to start. What a surprise.

Meanwhile, the Rainiers gave Shoemaker all the help he'd need, as Michael Freaking Saunders belted a Grand Slam in an 8 run 2nd inning that effectively ended game 1. The Rainiers added 3 in the 3rd in case the Sky Sox didn't get the hint.

Shoemaker's not starting material and didn't get the call for any reason other than the Rainiers needed a spot starter (more on that situation in a bit), but I'll post his BIP anyway.

Groundballs: 5
Flyballs: 8 (1 HR)
Line Drives: 0
Pop Ups: 4
Walks: 1
Strikeouts: 2

Game 2: Colorado Springs 4, Tacoma 1, 7 innings
TAC: 44-41... CSP: 42-43
(League: 274/345/437... 4.75 ERA)

Alfredo Venegas (!!!): 2.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Jake Woods: 3.1 IP, 2 H, walk, 7 K (25 app, 4.60 ERA, 45 IP, 6 HR, 17/36 BB/K)
Jon Huber: 1 IP, 2 walks (29 app, 6.03 ERA, 37.1 IP, 1 HR, 13/27 BB/K)
Tug Hulett: 2-3, double, R (292/366/472)
Shawn Garrett: 1-3, RBI (297/333/423)
rest of Rainiers lineup: 3-22, walk, 4 K

With one of their starters likely headed to Seattle to fill in during Felix's absence, and two of their current starters (Feierabend and Jakubauskas) on the DL, how badly did the Rainiers need a callup starter? They went and yanked the clunky Alfredo Venegas from High Desert to start the nightcap of this doubleheader. And it shows how little they think of Mystic Tan, that they would not start him in either game, and instead kept him in the pen for emergency relief, which was required when Venegas got exploded in the 3rd, chasing him from the ballgame. Mystic Tan responded by working through the 6th, striking out 7 in 3.1 innings. I know Jake Woods is hopeless, but come on. In a vacuum, that should have been the other way around, with Venegas in the pen to mop up whatever pre-7th innings Mystic Tan couldn't finish.

Maybe, though they needed his help, given the Felix and Tacoma rotation DL situations leaving holes in all their org's rotations, the M's wanted to keep Venegas on a pitch schedule by hook or by crook, and with the Southern League relatively far away, the only way to manage was to fly him up the Coast and feed him to the wolves in Tacoma.

Oh, and the bats didn't really show up for game 2, but whatever to that.