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8/5 Minor League Wrap-Up

- So... Brandon Morrow is in the minors to stretch out with the intention of becoming a starter. Word on the street is that they're probably keep him there until he stretches out enough to work a starter's load, then quickly bring him right back. Some speculate he could work as few as 15 innings in Tacoma before coming back up to work out of the rotation.

While I try and guesstimate the org's intentions with a player every now and then... I try not to throw my opinion around on what I think the org should do with a player too much in the Wrap-Up. But frankly, I think keeping him in Tacoma for only 3-4 appearances and then rushing him back would be a mistake. With only a little over 3 weeks left in the PCL season, there can't be any harm in letting Morrow spend the rest of the PCL year in Tacoma and, once he's stretched out enough to give you 5 innings, giving him 2-3 starts to work with his stuff and sharpen his 3-4 pitches enough that he can locate them with consistency... plus give him the chance to face a lineup 3 times and come up with an AB to AB game plan for each of those hitters.

This stint shouldn't just be about getting Brandon Morrow to a point where he can throw 100 pitches. This should be about doing everything you can to get him to throw 100 pitches as effectively as possible, and be able to get most of a lineup out three times through... and that's a growth process more easily accomplished against AAA and AAAA retreads than against major league lineups, most of which are well-learned in punishing mistakes. If we have to wait until early September to see Brandon Morrow in the rotation, that should be fine.

- The org decided that Jharmidy De Jesus had done enough in the Advanced Rookie level (339/417/591 with 12 doubles and 6 HR in 127 AB), so the 18 year old bonus baby got a promotion from Pulaski to Everett, where he debuted at 3B with a 3 for 4 night, plus a double and a run. Usual 3B Nate Tenbrink moved over to 1B, which is typically split between Manny Pimentel and Brandon Fromm. Pimentel DH'd and Fromm played LF, so these four could likely rotate between positions.

- Bryan Harris owns Lake Elsinore. Harris, who has struggled mightily since getting called up to High Desert [insert surprised face], pitched his 4th consecutive scoreless outing last night against Lake Elsinore. Lost in this is that 3 of those 4 scoreless outings were against... Lake Elsinore. The Mavs used him in a recent series against Lake at the end of July, used him once in the subsequent series with Inland Empire, and then used him in last night's series opener against Lake.

These aren't situational one-out appearances either: In this stretch, Harris has recorded 17 outs, allowed no hits, walked one and struck out 5. None of his last 7 outings have been shorter than an inning. In fact, he's only had one appearance in the last 10 shorter than 3 outs, and that July 19th appearance lasted one out only because Lancaster bombed him into oblivion (i.e. for 5 runs on 5 hits).

Harris runs a high GB rate, around 60%, and the big killer for him in the Cal League, as you'd expect, was longballs: 17% of his flyballs went over the fence. His K's obviously dropped after his promotion (26.5% in Wisconsin to 16.2), and his walks increased (2.9% to 5.2). Combining the acclimation to a higher level with the Cal League's hitter friendly death is always painful for a promoted pitcher, but it looks like Harris is starting to positively adjust.

- Mavs Cal League All Star closer Aaron Cotter has only 2 saves since June 17. In a season where the 2nd year pro was putting himself on the prospect map, the Mavs have had very few opportunities to hand him the ball with a lead, and he's struggled in some of the other few high leverage situations he's landed in since his All Star appearance.

Cotter's cut his walk rate by 1/3rd since last season, while striking out more batters (from 12.7% to 21.9%)... but his groundball rate slid from a sub-par 45% to 38%, too much for comfort, yet he's thrived in the Cal League despite it. His HR/FB% is also astoundingly low for the Cal League, at 4%. May was easily his best month in many ways, with a 50% GB rate and walking only 2% of batters while striking out 24%, and it's likely his performance that month played a huge role in his All Star selection. The 30ish% groundball rate and the 5-7% walk rate is closer to the norm, though he struck out a goodly amount of batters in July (26.2%).

- Anthony Varvaro pitched one of his best games of the season when he needed it most, against a Lake Elsinore lineup that leads the Cal League in walks drawn. But he certainly had some luck: after a fortuitous escape of a sloppy 1st inning, Varvaro settled down... until giving up a one out walk and double in the 3rd. But even after a worm burning single that knocked in a run, Varvaro got a K, overcame a Travis Scott passed ball that allowed another run, and... okay, he got lucky when Mitch Canham's liner found Ogui Diaz at 2B.

From the 4th inning on, Varvaro had it easy, as most liners and flyballs he allowed found his defense. He did keep the walks down, a substantial improvement, but if just a couple of those flyballs and liners that became outs found the grass instead... it'd likely just be another tough outing for Varvaro in a tough season.

Groundballs: 5
Flyballs: 6
Line Drives: 5
Pop Ups: 2
Walks: 2
Strikeouts: 5

- Brodie Downs wore down in the 5th inning of yesterday's start for West Tenn, and the Montgomery Biscuits made him pay. Matthew Spring (236/295/408) took Brodie deep with two out in the 5th, and both Gabriel Martinez (286/349/472) and Rhyne Hughes (275/360/472) took him deep in the 6th as part of a barrage that eventually chased Brodie from the game. This quickly turned a solid outing for Brodie into a horrid outing.

- I was originally going to talk a bit about Matt Tuiasosopo, but once you check out the stats you'll find that a certain other Tacoma Rainier warranted my attention today (and no, it's not Brandon Morrow). We'll discuss Tui's recent power surge tomorrow. On to STATS....

Dominican: DSL Mariners 5, DSL Phillies 4
DSLMs: 35-19... DSL Phils: 23-26
(League: 237/339/321... 3.72 ERA)

Felix Bautista: 6 IP, 4 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 7 K (16 app, 7 GS, 2.48 ERA, 69 IP, 3 HR, 11/72 BB/K)
Jose Perdomo: one out, 2 H, (2 R) 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch (15 app, 6 GS, 4.10 ERA, 41.2 IP, 1 HR, 8/26 BB/K)
Cristian Rijo: 1.2 IP, 2 H, walk (8 app, 4.97 ERA, 12.2 IP, 5/8 BB/K)
Enrique Rosario: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, wild pitch (12 app, 3.14 ERA, 28.2 IP, 14/33 BB/K)
Ramon Morla: 2-4, 3 R, K, SB (265/412/371)
Ameilis Carvajal: 2-5, 2 R, 2 K (267/395/393)
Hassiel Jimenez: 2-5, RBI, K (266/391/336)
Efrain Nuñez: 2-3, 3 RBI, walk (290/408/481)

Rk-AZL: The AZLMs had Tuesday off.

Rk+: Johnson City 13, Pulaski 7
PMs: 28-19... JC: 25-22
(League: 264/335/395... 4.26 ERA)

Taylor Lewis: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER (HR), 7 K, hit batter (6 GS +3, 5.64 ERA, 22.1 IP, 4 HR, 9/22 BB/K)
Jose Rios: 1.1 IP, 4 H, (5 R) 2 ER, walk, 2 K, hit batter (11 app, 4.13 ERA, 32.2 IP, 2 HR, 7/28 BB/K)
Jordan Alvis: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 walks (10 app, 11.37 ERA, 12.2 IP, 8/9 BB/K)
Kyle Brown: two outs, 5 H, (6 R) 5 ER, walk (6 app, 6.30 ERA, 10 IP, 6/9 BB/K)
Tommy Johannesen-Ellis: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K, hit batter (11 app, 11.88 ERA, 16.2 IP, 5 HR, 9/16 BB/K)
Dwight Britton: 2-5, double, R, K (248/284/392)
Mario Martinez: 0-4, R, sac fly RBI, 2 K (310/339/477)
Juan Fuentes: 1-4, 2 run HR, K (358/431/489)
Tommy Johnson: 1-4, solo HR, K (377/400/506)
George Soto: 2-4, double, 2 R (236/292/258)
Gabriel Noriega: 2-4, 2 RBI, K (193/228/239)

A-: Everett 9, Vancouver 3
EVE: 19-29... VAN: 19-29
(League: 257/346/373... 4.21 ERA)

Walter Suriel: 6 IP, 6 H, (3 R) 2 ER, walk, 3 K, wild pitch (10 GS, 5.37 ERA, 55.1 IP, 8 HR, 20/50 BB/K)
Doug Salinas: 2 IP, 3 K (15 app, 5.25 ERA, 36 IP, 2 HR, 20/34 BB/K)
Eddy Fernandez: 1 IP, 2 K (19 app, 4.68 ERA, 25 IP, 2 HR, 8/30 BB/K)
Anthony Phillips: 1-5, R, 2 RBI (236/309/347)
Bennett Billingsley: 3-5, 2 doubles, R, 2 RBI, K (250/326/417)
Manny Pimentel: 1-5, double, RBI, K (232/335/312)
Jharmidy De Jesus: 3-4, double, R, RBI
Tyson Gillies: 2-4, 2 R, K, SB #15 (274/361/368)
Ryan Royster: 1-3, double, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (170/299/232)

A: Clinton 5, Wisconsin 4
WIS: 13-31... CLI: 23-21
(League: 252/324/374... 3.71 ERA)

Keith Renaud: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER (HR), 5 walks, 3 K (6 GS +1, 4.15 ERA, 39 IP, 1 HR, 25/19 BB/K)
Joe Kantakevich: 2 IP, 2 H (16 app, 6.66 ERA, 24.1 IP, 2 HR, 11/13 BB/K)
Jose Escalona: one out, 3 H, 1 ER, K (28 app, 5.18 ERA, 33 IP, 5 HR, 17/33 BB/K)
Daniel Carroll: 1-5, 2 RBI (259/335/331)
Ronald Garth: 1-4, double, K (266/319/403)
Joe Dunigan: 1-4, double, R, K (227/285/406)
Denny Almonte: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, walk, 2 K (263/315/453)
Blake Ochoa: 2-3, double, RBI, walk (233/317/346)

A+: High Desert 6, Lake Elsinore 4
Mavs: 20-24... Lake: 21-23
(League: 274/343/413... 4.57 ERA)

Anthony Varvaro: 6 IP, 6 H, (3 R) 2 ER, 2 walks, 5 K, wild pitch (22 GS +2, 6.33 ERA, 106.2 IP, 20 HR, 74/101 BB/K)
Bryan Harris: 1.1 IP, K (32 app, 6.47 ERA, 40.1 IP, 9 HR, 9/28 BB/K)
Michael Wagner: two outs, 1 H, (intentional) walk, wild pitch (43 app, 4.53 ERA, 53.2 IP, 2 HR, 17/45 BB/K)
Aaron Cotter: 1 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER, walk, wild pitch (44 app, 3.21 ERA, 56 IP, 4 HR, 14/52 BB/K)
Ronnie Prettyman: 1-4, double, 2 R, walk (352/388/578)
Travis Scott: 1-3, RBI, 2 walks (279/346/473)
Kevin Reynolds: 2-5, RBI, SB
Ogui Diaz: 0-4, R, sac fly RBI, K (248/274/332)
Geraldo Valentin: 1-3, double, RBI (237/274/356)

AA: Montgomery 9, West Tenn 4
WTN: 18-26... MON: 26-18
(League: 263/341/399... 4.17 ERA)

Brodie Downs: 5.1 IP, 6 H, (6 R) 5 ER (3 HR), 3 walks, 4 K (34 app, 7 GS, 4.00 ERA, 83.1 IP, 6 HR, 38/54 BB/K)
Luis Muñoz: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 walks, K
Marwin Vega: two outs (40 app, 5.40 ERA, 56.2 IP, 3 HR, 41/37 BB/K)
Brent Johnson: 1-5, solo HR (299/386/433)
Greg Halman: 3-4, R, K (284/325/503)
Jeff Dominguez: 2-4, 2 run HR, K (213/277/280)
Erick Monzon: 2-4, K (178/237/233)

AAA: Tacoma 5, Albuquerque 3
TAC: 62-55... ALB: 50-67
(League: 276/347/442... 4.84 ERA)

Andrew Baldwin: 7 IP, 9 H, 2 ER (HR), 3 K, wild pitch, hit batter (17 GS +8, 4.94 ERA, 114.2 IP, 10 HR, 34/63 BB/K)
Oscar Villarreal: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), 3 K
Matt Tuiasosopo: 3-4, R (269/353/412)
Victor Diaz: 1-3, double, R, walk (289/373/545)
Craig Wilson: 1-4, RBI (289/419/539)
Shawn Garrett: 2-4, 2 R (297/325/442)
Jon Nelson: 2-3, double, 2 RBI, walk
Rob Johnson: 2-4, 2 run HR, K

Phat Andy 22: KABOOM
Phatman blew you up like Alamagordo
Cuz the Isotopes found out that ¡Andy es gordo!
I scattter all the hits and strand you like Gilligan
My suck pitch crushed you all like Milkman Milligan
Rob Johnson is a daddy and waved the big stick again
Just like Wilson, Tui, Garrett and Nelson-
... excuse me a moment...
Brett Hayes: [gets plunked]
Phat Andy 22: That's for sucking, and hating on the Phatman
Brett Hayes: Don't I suffer enough? I'm only on this team in the first place because the Marlins don't think I'm replacement level enough to catch for them!
Phat Andy 22:
Brett Hayes:
Phat Andy 22: Really?
Brett Hayes: Yeah!
Phat Andy 22: ... DAYUM BOY
Brett Hayes: You're telling me!
Brett Hayes: HEY
Brett Hayes: [sobs back to dugout]
Phat Andy 22: That boy can't even hold Matt Treanor's jockstrap
Playing for the Isotopes is Loria's bitchslap
Maybe someday... you'll be Rob Johnson
For now your hopes are deader than Charles Bronson
The Phatman cooked you like a TV dinner from Swanson
I like to call strike three the Salisbury Steak
Because you swing and miss and get exposed as fakes
The low and outside offspeed is all that it takes
To put down chumps
Not good enough
To make the club
With payroll less than Brandon Morrow makes

... And speak of the devil.
Brandon Morrow: [walks in, holding bags]
Brandon Morrow: Hey, is there somewhere I can put these?
Brandon Morrow: Hey aren't you one of those guys we got in that trade for Jamie Moyer?
Phat Andy 22:
Brandon Morrow: What's your name... like... Cash Money Baldwin or something? You do the Vanilla Ice thing every time you go 5 innings without getting shelled, right?
Phat Andy 22:
Brandon Morrow: I'm Brandon, BTW. I'm really excited about getting the chance to start.
Phat Andy 22:
Brandon Morrow: I'm just gonna take these bags to the clubhouse. They probably have my locker ready. Talk to you soon... uh... homey [grins, walks away].
Phat Andy 22:
Brett Hayes: [grinning, comes out of visitors dugout]
Phat Andy 22:
Brett Hayes: Wow, he sure owned you-
Phat Andy 22: [EPIC PIMP SLAP]
Brett Hayes: [crashes into dugout]
Phat Andy 22: Who picked you 5th in the draft, white boy?
Brett Hayes: ughhhh....

Groundballs: 7 (plus 1 bunt)
Flyballs: 9
Line Drives: 7 (1 HR)
Pop Ups: 4
Walks: 0
Strikeouts: 3