For those who seek comfort in the minor league system when the big club blows yet another game, Sunday was not the best day, as every affiliate that played lost. Downturns will happen, of course, and growing pains are to be expected for the players who have been moved up. Also, it’s really, really hot everywhere, like probably too hot to be playing baseball? Who do we call about this?
DSL and AZL Mariners: Off
Both versions of the baby M’s were off Sunday. The DSL Mariners are fresh off a loss to the DSL Tigers, which is a bummer, but not a bummer is top prospect Noelvi Marte collecting three hits on the day, including a triple and a HR, breaking a little mini-funk. Outfielder Jonatan Clase continued to impress, recording a hit but also walking three times. The AZL Mariners were also fresh off a loss to the AZL Dodgers (Mota) where they only recorded two hits, walked once, and struck out a combined 14 times. Zoinks. The chief K-offenders were two players who were in the DSL last year, OF Jepherson Garcia and C Freuddy Batista, both of whom are recently returned from injury and still shaking the rust off, so we can perhaps overlook their three-strikeout days. 2019 draftee Adam Macko took the loss, giving up three runs in two innings on three hits, but he also struck out four. Developmental baseball!
Everett AquaSox (18-19) lose first half championship to Spokane Indians (21-16), 5-4
The AquaSox let this one get away late, meaning Spokane earns first half bragging rights over the humble Frogs. 2019 draftee Brock Minich couldn’t keep Spokane off the board in the 8th after lefty Jorge Benitez had allowed three runs in the 7th, who saw his command dissipate as he issued three free passes in the inning. On the bright side, Everett pitchers collected a combined 13 K to only 3 BB; those walks just came at unfortunate times.
Also unfortunate: the Sox batters struck out 12 times, and despite hitting three home runs, weren’t able to string anything together for a big inning. OF Billy Cooke had two hits on the day and continued to make a case for a promotion to West Virginia, although the Power outfield is currently full.
A happier day was Saturday, when Local Large Lad Damon Casetta-Stubbs fired 6.2 innings of three-run ball and earned his third win, and 2019 draftee Fred Villarreal got his first professional save. And Ivan Fortunato got the hold, and Trent Tingelstad homered, and Cash Gladfelter doubled, so it was a real banner day for the All-Name Team.
West Virginia Power (52-49) can’t get past the Delmarva Shorebirds (69-31) in extras, lose 3-2 (11 innings)
Delmarva are the bullies of the South Atlantic League and West Virginia really wanted to take the series from them today, but alas, it was not to be as they fell in extras. West Virginia’s entire pitching staff has been walloped lately from the ripple effect of promotions, and despite a strong effort from the last remaining cog of the original rotation in Ryne Inman (6 IP, 1ER, 0BB, 9K), 2019 draftees Logan Rinehart and Kyle Hill couldn’t hold down the back end of the game.
It was not a good day for Julio, who was hitless with three strikeouts, but Bobby Honeyman had himself a three-hit day as he continues to burn the month of July down and push for a promotion to Modesto. With Austin Shenton (who had a day off today) able to play third base for the Power, Honeyman could go hold down the hot corner for Modesto at any time. Shenton’s bat was missed in the lineup on Sunday, as the only person to record a hit other than Honeyman was Matt Sanders.
It should be noted that the Power hung 12 runs on Delmarva on Saturday, including bouncing top Orioles prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the first inning. Sanders, Julio, and 2019 draftee Mike Salvatore all had doubles in that game, and Austin Shenton took Rodriguez deep in the first inning, something that had only happened three other times that season.
Another thing that should be noted: it’s 95+ degrees in West Virginia right now, leading to the creation of #SleevelessSunday:
Hopefully this will become a regular thing. I am all for sleeveless jerseys, especially when the heat index reads as “Tatooine.”
Modesto Nuts (44-57) run over by Inland Empire (37-63), 9-1
Another day without Jarred Kelenic, another lackluster offensive performance from the Nuts, who are floundering some without Kelenic and Raleigh propping up the lineup and Joe Rizzo in a recent downturn. Today remaining Beef Boy Keegan McGovern did what he could, taking rehabbing big-leaguer JC Ramirez deep:
Unfortunately, that would be all the Nuts could scratch across against an objectively not-very-good 66ers team. That the 66ers are an Angels affiliate makes everything a little bit worse. Modesto’s pitching has been very very good this year, so it was surprising to see them fall apart; Penn Murfee was tagged for three ER in 4 IP, but it should be noted that at a key point in the game—Murfee had the bases loaded and just one out—the home plate umpire had to remove himself from the game for heatstroke, causing a fifteen-minute delay. Minor league baseball! I think we can dust this one from Murfee’s stats. More troubling is J.T. Salter’s outing, where he struggled mightily with command and gave up six runs without recording an out. Chalk this one up to a steamy day in the desert and flush it. But also, come back soon, Jarred.
Arkansas Travelers (60-38) ridden hard and put up wet by Frisco RoughRiders (45-53), 0-1
What has happened to the offensive juggernaut of the Travs? Jake Fraley’s promotion certainly sucked some of the power out of the lineup, and we’ve documented Kyle Lewis’s struggles at length, but the Travs have really struggled to scratch across runs lately. Today was an off-day for Evan White (we hope, no injury was announced), which further depressed the Travs’ run-scoring abilities. Lewis actually had one of the Travs’ three hits; the other two belonged to Dom Thompson-Williams, who is hopefully heating back up. After an encouraging start in his first two games, Cal Raleigh has hit the learning curve of Double-A, although he did work the team’s one walk today.
Speaking of learning curve, today was Ljay Newsome’s Double-A debut. It might have been the oppressive heat and humidity—Logan Gilbert struggled similarly in his first start in Arkansas, uncharacteristically hitting two batters—but Ljay’s stuff just didn’t seem to be as crisp. He got into many long counts and couldn’t clear six innings on 90 pitches, and only struck out one batter. Ljay did work himself out of some jams; despite giving up seven hits, he only surrendered one run. The Travs bullpen continued to look impressive, with Matt Tenuta, Jake Haberer, and Kyle Wilcox all contributing scoreless frames and striking out four among them, but the offensive power outage sent the Travs to their second straight shutout loss. On Saturday they just barely escaped being no-hit. Come back soon, Travs offense.
Ljay Newsome's first AA strikeout. Unfortunately they didn't get the strike em out/throw em out, but he retired the next two batters to post his third scoreless inning. pic.twitter.com/2EeeZRgDsi— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2019
Tacoma Rainiers (48-53) eaten by the Sacramento RiverCats (54-47), 6-5
Mike Wright and Andrew Moore combined to give up six runs over seven innings, and while Tacoma made a last-ditch effort to get back into the game in the eighth, they couldn’t quite push across that tying run. Jake Fraley had the day off, because he and Evan White are each other’s rides to church, so Tim Lopes put on his Hitting Hat and collected three on the day, including a two-run homer in the 8th that drew the Rainiers teasingly close only to have them fall short. John Andreoli and Ian Miller also had homers.
Logan Gilbert makes his second Double-A start and hopefully the Travs find where they hid all their offense. Modesto has breakfast baseball if you’re into that. Also: the Under Armour Game is on MLBN at noon PT if you’re interested in checking out some of 2020’s prep class. Other than that, it’s a pretty quiet day in the system with Tacoma and West Virginia both off. If you happen to be in Everett, you can catch 2019 second-rounder Brandon Williamson.
DSL Colorado at DSL Mariners, 7:30 AM PT (TBD)
Modesto at Inland Empire, 11 AM PT (RHP Austin Hutchison)
Midland at Arkansas (TV), 5:10 PM PT (RHP Logan Gilbert)
West Virginia: OFF
AZL Mariners at AZL Brewers Blue, 6 PT
Spokane at Everett, 7:00 PT (LHP Brandon Williamson)