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8/9 Minor League Wrap-Up

- The DSLMs spent the weekend watching water come down.  They were supposed to play a doubleheader yesterday against the AthleticsUno, but got rained out before they could take the field for game one.  And today's game against the DSL Phillies has already been rained out.  With only 10 scheduled games left in their season, it's doubtful all these games will be made up, unless they play doubleheaders for each of the DSLMs remaining games against the AthleticsUno, though that would skew the home/road schedule balance (which understandably matters little since they all play on a single complex in Santo Domingo... though if there's any inherent advantage in batting last, the DSLMs will have had it more times than the A1s).

Getting in a doubleheader with the Phils will be easy since they play them twice before season's end, one each as the home and road team.

This is only the 2nd and 3rd time this season the DSLMs have been rained out, amazing given that hurricanes and other tropical storms typically roll right through the Caribbean.

- With today off, the AZLMs emptied the bullpen yesterday. Ariel Alcantara could only go 3 difficult innings, so after Jean Tome barely managed to finish the 5th (and get touched up for 2 runs in the process), manager Andy Bottin ran four different relievers out for each of the final four frames, in which the AZLMs ultimately came back from 6-1 down to win 7-6 on a walkoff line drive single from Alfredo Mateo.  Three of the relievers had fewer than 10 IP on the year (Taylor Stanton, Cheyne Hann and the recovering Dustin Birosak) so this was an opportunity to get them some work.

- One factor that jumped out at me when looking at the Pulaski Mariners' pitching statistics were the seemingly astonishing K/BB rates for several of their pitchers.


Player Innings Walks Strikeouts K/BB
Brandon Pullen 22.2 3 25 8.33
Philip Roy 22.2 5 27 5.40
Kenn Kasparek 20.0 3 24 8.00
Stephen Penney 17.1 1 10 10.00

Before we heap accolades on pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera or demand the quick promotion of any of these four... another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of Appalachian League batters run high K rates, and the league average K/9 for App League pitchers is 8.8 (~22.9% of plate appearances), compared to a more standard 3.2 walks per 9.  The result is a league average K/BB of 2.76, which in MLB (where the average between the two leagues is around 2.00) would be pretty solid.  A decent pitcher in the App League should be able to run high K/BB and high K rates, simply because Advanced Rookie ballers are easier to strike out: they still need work in their pitch recognition and patience, and hack at a lot of bad pitches.

- Michael Pineda pitched 6 impressive shutout innings for the T-Rats, powered by 9 groundouts and 5 Ks, against the capable Kane County Cougars, and left with a 1-0 lead, but the story was the man who relieved him: Phillipe Aumont made his return to the T-Rats after a long and hopefully restful layoff, pitching the final three innings.

7th:  Groundball, groundball, wild pitch, groundball, groundball
8th:  Line drive, bunt, swinging K, walk, groundball
9th:  Flyball, groundball, walk, flyball

Though Kane County eked home the tying run in the 8th with smallball, and he was a bit wild, Aumont did a solid job of getting most of the Cougars to beat the ball into the ground.

With the game headed to extras, Ryan Moorer pitched a perfect 10th and ran into trouble in the 11th, men getting on 1st and 2nd with one out, but Moorer escaped without damage.  Joe White led off the bottom 11th with a rare XBH, doubling on a liner to left, and Juan Diaz did not look a gift horse in the mouth, promptly lining a single to cash pinch runner Edilio Colina in for the walkoff victory.

- Travis Mortimore, who got pounded in yet another High Desert start last night, has taken a beating in High Desert, and it's not just the Cal League's pitcher-oppressive run environment that's hurt the lefthander.  His groundball percentage, well into the high 50th percentile 50s since the start of his career, plummeted to 34% in High Desert.  His K rate, which had dropped in Wisconsin (21.1) from his initial campaign in Peoria (26.3), dropped once again in High Desert (15.0).  His steady 9-10% walk rate spiked to 13.3% in High Desert.  And of course, he hadn't allowed a home run in his entire pro career prior to his Cal League promotion, but once he got here, he watched the flyballs leave the yard at a steady clip (11%).

I'm not sure Travis Mortimore deserved a promotion to High A as much as he deserved a chance to start at his prior level, though with the likes of Pineda, Ramirez and Aumont crowding the T-Rats rotation, and Mortimore not being considered all that great to begin with, I can understand the aggressive promotion to give him a chance to throw 100 pitches every 5 days.  As it stands, he's not only in pitching hell, but he's in over his head.

- One side effect of his pounding last night is that it helped faciliate an exciting game with Inland Empire.  Empire led 5-4 after 6, and in the 7th, Bridger Hunt hit his 1st home run off the season off Bryan Harris to make it 6-4 Empire.  The Mavs responded in the bottom 8th: Ronnie Prettyman lined a single to lead off, Travis Scott walked, and Joe Simokaitis performed the ultimate fail, popping up a bunt that 1st baseman Andrew Locke gloved for one out.  Kevin Reynolds, the Human Temp Agency, grounded to 2nd, where 2B Christian Lara stepped on 2nd for one, and threw YIKES AND AWAY over 1st for Ronnie Prettyman to score andmake it 6-5.  Ogui Diaz turned on the hit and run, hitting behind Reynolds to get on and put runners at the corners with two out.  Chris Minaker pinch hit for James Davenport and Minaker smoked a grounder to 3rd, beating it out and cashing in Reynolds to TIE THE BALLGAME!

Empire tried to smallball home the go-ahead run in the top 9th off Aaron Cotter, as Christian Lara led off with a single and Alex Garabedian bunted him over for one out.  But the next two batters flew out, and the Mavs came up with a chance to win it.  With two outs and Jamie McOwen on 1st, home plate umpire Alex Ortiz got into a spat with Empire pitching coach and legendary knuckleballing tomato can Charlie Hough, leading to Hough's surprise ejection.  After this, catcher Alex Garabedian passed a ball to move McOwen to 2nd, then Travis Scott beat out a grounder to 2nd to put the winning run 90 feet away!  But Joe Simokaitis flew out to center and we headed to extras.

Thomas Giles prepared us for imminent doom by taking Aaron Cotter deep with one out in the 10th to make it 7-6.  Empire put two more on but Christian Lara struck out to stop that.  Three outs from doom, Kevin Reynolds struck out for one out.  Ogui Diaz beat out a grounder to short to get on, then stole 2nd, then took 3rd off a wild pitch from reliever Javy Guerra, then Chris Minaker grounded to short, only for SS Jamie Pedroza to muff it, allowing Ogui to score and TIE THE BALLGAME at 7!  No one else could get aboard, though, so we headed to the 11th.

A throwing error YIKES AND AWAY by Ogui Diaz combined with a Julio Santiago wild pitch allowed Empire to put a runner on 3rd with two out in the 11th, but Andrew Locke tapped back to the mound to end that threat.  The Mavs went quietly in the bottom 11th.

Thomas Giles led off the 12th with a walk, and Matt Berezay doubled him to 3rd.  Pinch hitter Scott Van Slyke flew out to right, allowing Giles to tag up and score to give Empire the 8-7 lead.  Berezay took 3rd, but nobody else could drive him in, leaving the Mavs three outs to once again avert doom.

Joe Simokaitis struck out for one out.  Kevin Reynolds bunted a ball and appeared to have it beat, but pitcher Matthew Santor thought he could get him, so he rushed a throw YIKES AND AWAY to give Reynolds 2nd.  When a play at 1st is close, kids, and letting the runner get on won't cost you the game, eat the ball.  Ogui Diaz struck out for two outs, leaving it up to Chris Minaker to cash him in.  And Minaker, who leads the Cal League in doubles, did what he does best, lofting a one-hopper over the LF wall for the ground rule double to TIE THE BALLGAME at 8!  The double was his league-leading 39th of the season.

Then Gavin Dickey immediately blasted a ball to center, past Trayvon Robinson, to cash in Chris Minaker for the walkoff win!

- Because we don't have enough interesting news today... recent M's waiver pickup Luis Muñoz made his 1st start with the DIAMOND JAXX yesterday, pitching into the 5th while allowing 3 runs, two off a pair of back to back bombs in the 2nd.  Muñoz is a serviceable starter by trade, one that on average can get to the 6th inning, and his previous appearances out of the pen were to get the rust off and stretch out.  Muñoz faced 20 batters in all yesterday, and aside from the back to back HRs, he never ran into any serious trouble.

Groundballs:  6 (plus 2 bunts)
Flyballs:  4 (2 HR)
Line Drives:  2
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  3

Meanwhile, the DIAMOND JAXX bullpen did not allow another run, and back to back doubles by Johan Limonta and Adam Moore in the 7th broke a 3-3 tie to give West Tenn a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.

- The Rainiers' 10 game winning streak finally came to an end last night in a 7-4 loss in Tucson.  Travis Chick was the surprise starter, Rich Dorman made his surprise return, and the Sidewinders bats totally surprise-attacked them both.  Chick, making his first start in AAA after a reasonable run in AA, surrendered 3 runs in his first 2 frames, and though he managed to finish the minimum without further damage, Rich Dorman came in for the 6th and never came back out, getting shelled for 5 hits and 4 runs (one of which Jon Huber inherited and eventually allowed to score) before leaving with only one out recorded.  Between Chick, Dorman, Hubertime and Randy Messenger, who worked the 9th, there was enough washed-up talent here to start a new Golden Baseball League team.

Let's see some stats from players who may or may not be washed up.

They were supposed to play two in the Dominican, but they got rained out.

Rk-AZL:  Mariners 7, Angels 6
AZLMs:  7-5... AZL Bastards: 4-7
(League:  264/347/376... 4.39 ERA)

Ariel Alcantara:  3 IP, 5 H, (4 R) 3 ER, 2 walks, 3 K (6 GS +2, 6.23 ERA, 30.1 IP, 3 HR, 20/33 BB/K)
Jean Tome:  2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 walks
Taylor Stanton:  1 IP, K
Cheyne Hann:  1 IP, K
Dustin Birosak:  1 IP
Richard Ortiz:  1 IP (12 app, 1.86 ERA, 19.1 IP, 1 HR, 11/16 BB/K)
Cesar Fuentes:  2-5, R, K (281/338/388)
Scott Savastano:  5-5, double, R, RBI
Alfredo Mateo:  2-4, triple, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (265/369/402)
Randy Molina:  1-4, double, R, 2 K (222/293/321)
Joel Mendez:  1-4, R, RBI, SB #13 (287/309/336)
Emmanuel Familia:  2-4, RBI, K (253/296/307)
Terry Serrano:  2-4, R, RBI, K, SBs #11 & 12 (243/283/345)

Rk+:  Bluefield 7, Pulaski 1
PMs:  31-20... BLU:  24-26
(League:  263/333/391... 4.19 ERA)

Fabian Williamson:  5.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 4 walks, 10 K, wild pitch (11 GS, 4.10 ERA, 52.2 IP, 6 HR, 27/67 BB/K)
Brandon Pullen:  2.1IP, 6 H, 5 ER (HR), 5 K, hit batter (13 app, 4.76 ERA, 22.2 IP, 3 HR, 3/25 BB/K)
Jordan Alvis:  one out, walk (11 app, 11.08 ERA, 13 IP, 9/9 BB/K)
Mario Martinez:  2-4 (321/348/478)
Juan Fuentes:  3-3, walk (384/458/510)
Gabriel Noriega:  0-3, sac fly RBI (194/223/235)

A-:  Everett 5, Tri-City 3
EVE:  23-29... 3C:  23-29
(League:  256/346/373... 4.25 ERA)

Nolan Gallagher:  6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER (HR), 2 walks, 3 K, wild pitch
Philip Hann:  1 IP, 2 H, K (15 app, 5.31 ERA, 20.1 IP, 1 HR, 8/16 BB/K)
Matt Renfree:  2 IP, 3 K (18 app, 2.19 ERA, 37 IP, 1 HR, 14/39 BB/K)
Anthony Phillips:  1-4, 2 RBI, 2 K (226/320/321)
Fleming Baez:  2-3, R, K (247/326/376)
Brandon Fromm:  0-4, 4 K: The Golden Sombrero (243/297/353)
Welington Dotel:  2-3, 2 R, SB (266/321/403)
Tyson Gillies:  2-2, R, sac fly RBI (286/397/393)
Ryan Royster:  1-3, RBI, SB (178/305/237)

A:  Wisconsin 2, Kane County 1, 11 innings
WIS:  15-33... KC:  20-27
(League:  252/323/373... 3.70 ERA)

Michael Pineda:  6 IP, 2 H, 5 K (17 GS +5, 2.17 ERA, 112 IP, 5 HR, 32/97 BB/K)
Phillipe Aumont:  3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, K (13 app, 6 GS, 2.64 ERA, 47.2 IP, 3 HR, 15/44 BB/K)
Ryan Moorer:  2 IP, walk, K (37 app, 3.88 ERA, 51 IP, 2 HR, 20/36 BB/K)
Joe Dunigan:  1-4, double, walk, 2 K (229/287/403)
Alex Liddi:  1-4, RBI, walk, K (227/291/335)
Joe White:  1-5, double, 2 K (267/368/289)
Juan Diaz:  1-4, RBI, walk (240/284/316)
Israel Nuñez:  2-4, SB (214/267/279)

A+:  High Desert 9, Inland Empire 8
Mavs:  21-27... Empire:  24-24
(League:  274/342/413... 4.55 ERA)

Travis Mortimore:  5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER (HR), 3 walks, 3 K (8 GS +2, 7.52 ERA, 40.2 IP, 10 HR, 27/30 BB/K)
Bryan Harris:  1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (HR), 2 K (34 app, 6.38 ERA, 42.1 IP, 10 HR, 9/30 BB/K)
Steven Richard:  1 IP, 2 K (23 app, 4.50 ERA, 32 IP, 2 HR, 19/33 BB/K)
Aaron Cotter:  2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER (HR), walk, 2 K (45 app, 3.26 ERA, 58 IP, 5 HR, 15/54 BB/K)
Julio Santiago:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, K, wild pitch (36 app, 6.09 ERA, 54.2 IP, 3 HR, 41/41 BB/K)
Jamie McOwen:  2-5, double, 2 RBI, walk (268/327/405)
Ronnie Prettyman:  1-6, R, RBI, K (322/357/521)
Ogui Diaz:  4-6, double, 2 R, K (264/288/347)
Chris Minaker:  2-3, double, R, 3 RBI (302/330/449)
Gavin Dickey:  1-4, double, 2 R, RBI, walk (242/286/308)

AA:  West Tenn 4, Huntsville 3
WTN:  21-27... HUN:  22-27
(League:  263/341/399... 4.18 ERA)

Luis Muñoz:  4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER (2 HR), walk, 3 K
Roman Martinez:  1.2 IP, 2 walks, K, wild pitch (31 app, 5.35 ERA, 37 IP, 4 HR, 18/28 BB/K)
Jason Kershner:  1.1 IP, 2 H, walk, 2 K (5 app, 5.40 ERA, 10 IP, 5/5 BB/K)
Shawn Kelley:  1.2 IP, 2 K (23 app, 1.06 ERA, 34 IP,14/30 BB/K)
Brent Johnson:  2-4, solo HR (300/384/457)
Johan Limonta:  2-3, double, R, RBI, K (305/377/527)
Adam Moore:  1-3, double, RBI, K (309/384/487)

AAA:  Tucson 7, Tacoma 4

TAC:  64-56... TUC:  52-68
(League:  276/347/443... 4.84 ERA)

Travis Chick:  5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 walks, 6 K, wild pitch
Rich Dorman:  one out, 5 H, 4 ER (HR), wild pitch (5 GS +1, 4.74 ERA, 24.2 IP, 3 HR, 4/23 BB/K)
Jon Huber:  1.2 IP, 3 H, K (43 app, 6.87 ERA, 4 HR, 19/43 BB/K)
Randy Messenger:  1 IP (36 app, 4.50 ERA, 52 IP, 5 HR, 18/40 BB/K)
Prentice Redman:  2-4, solo HR, sac fly RBI, K (307/384/544)
Victor Diaz:  2-5 (286/369/541)
Shawn Garrett: 1-5, double, R, K (297/323/441)
Jon Nelson:  2-4, 2 doubles, R
Rob Johnson:  1-2, R, sac fly RBI, walk (311/377/469)
Luis Valbuena:  1-4, RBI (256/345/352)