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Midshipman’s Log: April 15th, 2019 - Ljay shines, McCaughan deals, Tacoma implodes

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Your tri-weekly minor league highlights roundup

I love this picture of Ljay Newsome because he looks like a Keeper for the Chudley Cannons, but it’s actually him in high school

The Mariners farm is both more exciting and more functional than it’s been in a long time, which means it’s worth paying attention to how the prospects are performing down at the lower levels of the organization. In addition to our stalwart State of the Farm weekly roundup that takes a longer view on the farm, we’ll have minor league roundups thrice a week or so to share some highlights, gifs, and notes in our Midshipmen’s Log (it’s a baby sailor, get it? **waits patiently for ‘ba dum tiss’ on the drums** yeah yeah).

We’re still waiting for a minors sweep; it looked like Sunday would be the day, with WV out of action and Tacoma building a healthy 8-0 lead. Alas, it was not to be.

West Virginia Power (5-5) rained out against Augusta GreenJackets (4-5)

Link to Saturday’s box score

Like many MiLB teams on Sunday, the Power were rained out, but they did record a win on Saturday before they took their Sunday rest. In that game, Steven Moyers pitched a career-best seven innings of no-run, nine-strikeout ball. Ben Onyshko threw another shutout inning and Dayeison Arias locked down the save despite allowing a home run. The Power again struggled to create offense; Jarred Kelenic led the way with two hits as he continues to heat up, and Ryan Ramiz and Cesar Trejo both contributed RBI hits.

Modesto Nuts (5-6) defeat Stockton Ports (4-7), 5-1

Link to full box score

The Nuts halted their losing streak behind a strong start from Ljay Newsome. Newsome has been dominant in his first two starts in Modesto, and Sunday’s contest would be no different, as he went 6.2 innings with no runs allowed, no walks, and ten strikeouts. Newsome has now struck out at least nine batters in every one of his appearances, and with a few more starts like this, it’s hard not to see him earning a promotion to Double-A soon. Today Ljay flustered a lineup consisting of many of Oakland’s top prospects:

With the bump in velo (Ljay now consistently sits 91-93), Newsome is throwing his fastball at the top at the zone more now, and that’s racking up the strikeouts for him:

But there’s still some wild late horizontal movement on those fastballs, too:

The bats picked up Ljay, with the big blow coming off the bat of Cal Raleigh:

Raleigh had been mired in a teeny baby slump, even as he was still putting up competitive ABs and taking his walks (15.4% BB rate coming into yesterday’s game), and he’d hit the ball hard multiple times, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded with a round-tripper. Apparently Cal is one of the hardest workers on the team, always studying the scouting notes to put his best game forward on both sides of the ball, and his diligence paid off.

The game also featured another dominant performance from former indyballer Jake Haberer, who should also be finding himself enjoying the majesty of the Ozarks relatively soon. He struck out the side to shut the door on the Ports.

Arkansas Travelers (8-2) win? kind of? over Tulsa Drillers (5-5), 1-0

Link to full box score

Today was a weird one. First of all, in injury news, Evan White’s foot is bruised but not broken, and he should be back soon. That’s a good thing for the Travs, who seem to have forgotten how to offense without their tall drink of first baseman. They were no-hit by the Drillers, yet somehow won this game thanks to the Drillers reliever being slightly worse than the Travs’ relievers (former indyballer Parker Markel was actually very good over two innings of work, during which he struck out four).

But the real story today was Darren McCaughan, who made his second impressive start in Double-A. A 2017 draftee, the Mariners tested the former Dirtbag in 2018, sending him to the Cal League, where he acquitted himself well in the hitter-friendly league. The organization pushed the 23-year-old again in 2019, moving him to Double-A, where he’s now made back-to-back shutout starts. Last time he went six innings of four-hit, scoreless, walkless innings with six strikeouts; yesterday he improved on that line, giving up just three hits, no runs, and no walks over his six innings, while striking out eight.

Tacoma Rainiers (4-7) are boatraced by the Albuquerque Isotopes (7-4), 17-9

Link to full box score, but wear eye protection

Woof. The less said about this one the better. The Rainiers built a solid lead in this game, manufacturing two runs in the second, adding another on a Tito Polo RBI single in the fourth, and then really cracking the game open in the fifth, when at one point they held an 8-0 lead.

And then the bullpen just...gave it all back. Dan Altavilla struggled with his command, walking two, hitting a batter, and throwing a wild pitch to load the bases with just one out. Nick Rumbelow was brought in to put out the fire, and walked the first batter he saw to force in a run and then surrendering an RBI groundout. Still, 8-3 is a comfortable lead in the 8th inning, right? Right? Wrong. Rumbelow in the eighth: walk, two-run home run, single, triple, sac fly, single, single, walk. Tayler Scott had to come in and rescue Rumbelow and the Rainiers with a double play, and suddenly it was 8-7. Still, just three outs remained, and Scott had been effective at shutting the door the other night. Unfortunately, rain appears to be the South African hurler’s kryptonite, as in the ninth he surrendered: two walks, a three-run home run, two singles, a walk, a double, and a walk. Suddenly it was 8-12, and Kristopher Negron was coming in to pitch, and then there were 17 runs on the board, and everything was bad.

The good, if there’s good to be had: Joey Curletta had three hits, Shed Long had another multi-hit game, and J.P. Crawford had two hits, including a double. He also made this slick play on a slick field:

Today’s Games:

Today is a Logan Gilbert start, and while there will sadly be no video, it’s definitely worth tuning and listening to follow the system’s top pitching prospect in his third start. Justin Dunn takes the ball for Arkansas and will look to improve on a high-strikeout but uneven performance from last time; that game will be on MiLB.tv, or you can listen for free to all the games on TuneIn. Pro tip: your Amazon devices work with TuneIn; just tell Alexa “play West Virginia Power from TuneIn” (for some reason this doesn’t work with the Travelers; I always have to load that one directly off the app to get it to play on my Tap).

Tacoma vs. Albuquerque, 11:35 AM PT (LHP Tommy Milone)

West Virginia vs. Lakewood, 4:05 PM PT (RHP Logan Gilbert)

NW Arkansas vs. Arkansas, 5:10 PM PT (RHP Justin Dunn)

Visalia vs. Modesto, 7:05 PM PT (TBD)