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Midshipman’s Log, July 28th: a Sweet time in West Virginia, Logan Gilbert impresses, lots of development

The minor leagues are for learning

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DSL Mariners (20-27) decide They Might Not Be DSL Giants (18-30), win 9-4

Link to full box score

The DSL Mariners were off Sunday, but stuck it to the DSL Giants again before taking their weekly rest. Top prospect Noelvi Marte doubled, CF Arturo Guerrero had a three-hit day including a three-run homer, and RHP Elbis Afanador threw four innings and only gave up one run on two hits.

AZL Mariners (12-21) pale before AZL Reds (15-18), 8-6

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This one was close until late, and promising pitching prospect Brayan Perez took the loss, but honestly, that doesn’t really matter so much (see below). Danny Chang also had an uncharacteristically rough outing, but still struck out four in his four innings (but walked three, eep). C/1B Daniel Santos had two hits including a double, 3B Nolan Perez had a double, and speedy outfielder Luis Veloz had a double and a triple.

Everett AquaSox (21-23), you know, it doesn’t really matter, to Tri-City (19-25), 12-9

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Baseball at its lowest levels is about development, the character-building exercise of baseball, and, well, lots of developing went on on Sunday. The good: 2019 first-round pick George Kirby continued to look strong in limited action, going three innings, giving up one run on three hits—including a double, and two weakly-hit balls—and striking out three while walking none and throwing 33 of his 45 pitches for strikes in front of an admiring Jerry Dipoto. The zone: controlled. The not-so-good: 18-year-old RHP Deivy Florido’s final line on the day. (Check it with caution, chant “development” three times as you do so.) The other good: home runs from both Perezes, Robert and Miguel, a double from speedster DeAires Moses, who continues to haul his average out of the mines of an early-season slump, and two hits from 2019 draftee Patrick Frick. And development. Lots of development.

West Virginia Power (54-53) frighten the Rome Braves (49-57), 6-1

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22-year-old Devin Sweet has had quite a journey from undrafted bullpen arm in 2018, bouncing among the AZL and Everett and Clinton, to key member of the Power’s rotation in 2019. On Sunday he had his brightest turn yet, tossing the first complete game in Power history, surrendering just one run on four hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters.

Sweet also didn’t walk anyone, which has been a theme for the control-the-zone pupil; he’s only walked one batter in his last five outings, while striking out 45 batters over that time.

Sweet got plenty of offense to help him out, led by a three-hit day from Bobby “probably should be promoted” Honeyman, who had a double and two singles.

Julio Rodriguez also had a big day, just missing a two-home run day with a double that just barely stayed in the yard and this shot:

Bonus prospect content! He didn’t get a chance to pitch today, but Power closer Dayeison Arias put together an Instagram story of some of his latest and greatest hits, and it’s well worth watching the live-armed youngster make some A batters look silly:

Modesto Nuts (47-61) stomped on by San Jose Giants (50-57), 8-2

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The Nuts used to be the bullies on the block, with Jarred Kelenic, Joe Rizzo, Cal Raleigh, Logan Gilbert, Ljay Newsome, Sam Delaplane, and Joey Gerber all menacing their Cal League opponents. The good part is that almost all of those players dominated enough to be promoted. The bad news is that leaves a fairly toothless Nuts team to try to contend with their prospect-laden competitors in the Stockton Ports and San Jose Giants, neither of whom have shown much interest in challenging their top prospects (namely Heliot Ramos and Joey Bart for the Giants) with promotions of their own. Recently-promoted Steven Moyers did what he could against the juggernaut of the Giants’ offense, surrendering six runs on nine hits, and the bullpen wasn’t completely nails but also that was a pretty deep hole to climb out of. The Nuts only managed four hits on the night as a previously hot-hitting Joe Rizzo has gone cold lately, probably partially due to a small foot injury he’s been rehabbing, and Jarred Kelenic continues to struggle against quality breaking pitches, although he worked a walk tonight and didn’t strike out, so that’s a net positive for the recently-turned-20-year-old. Jake Scheiner paced the club with two hits tonight, and continues to be a solid little player acquired in the Jay Bruce deal, lo these many moons ago.

Arkansas Travelers (63-41) tame Frisco RoughRiders (49-55), 3-2

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It’s quite a testament to Logan Gilbert’s talent to be able to nitpick his starts at AA like this, but nitpick we will: Gilbert was fighting his command a little on Sunday, giving up a highly uncharacteristic three walks over his six innings of work, and throwing just 57 of his 90 pitches for strikes (again—not a terrible number, but not Gilbert at his sharpest, which shows how high the bar is for the talented righty). He did collect three strikeouts on his night and only surrendered one run, and not a single ball was hard-hit off him, continuing a trend of weak contact that has been a hallmark of the 6’6” hurler over his first professional season.

Of note: Gilbert threw to veteran catcher Joe Odom, who handled Gilbert’s stuff well, instead of regular batterymate Cal Raleigh. Gilbert was relieved by Jack Anderson, who threw a scoreless inning as he continues to work back from injury, and Joey Gerber, who struggled and surrendered four hits and a run, and needed to be bailed out from his inning by Art Warren. Warren stayed on and worked the ninth for a four-out save, walking one and striking out three in a scoreless, hitless appearance that garnered him his 13th save and hopefully a look at Seattle’s bullpen in the near future.

On the offensive side, Jordan Cowan was the leader tonight, with RBI singles for the Travs’ first two runs. Kyle Lewis added what would be the deciding run with this solo shot:

The Travs continue to scrap to produce runs, which is a little troubling considering the collection of talent on the roster. Here’s hoping the dam breaks soon.

Tacoma Rainiers (49-58) scratched by Sacramento RiverCats (58-49), 6-2

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Send sweet Darren McCaughan back to Double-A. I am begging you. He deserves better than to be flayed at the altar of the juiced Triple-A ball. Go look at his final line for the day. If you dare. Reggie McClain held down the back of the game with 3.2 scoreless innings, so that’s a bright spot in this at least. Catcher Christian Pacheco performed admirably as he continues to fill in for a missing Austin Nola, with a three-hit day including two doubles, and Eric Filia, recently returned to action, had a double and a single.

Today’s games:

Chances to watch Everett are few and far between, and tomorrow’s game features the return from the Edwin Encarnacion trade in Juan Then, so that’s worth turning in for, especially on an off day. You can find the game for free on TuneIn or on MiLB TV. For those of you in the mood for some day baseball, West Virginia plays early tomorrow (also on MiLB TV!), with free agent signing/former Creighton Bluejay Evan Johnson on the mound. Also enjoy the last game of some high-quality feed from Arkansas in the last game of the series against Frisco.

DSL Mariners at DSL Pirates, 7:30 AM PT

West Virginia at Rome (TV), 10 AM PT (RHP Evan Johnson)

Arkansas at Frisco (TV), 5:05 PM PT (RHP Ricardo Sanchez)

AZL Mariners at AZL Rangers, 6 PT

Modesto: OFF

Tacoma: OFF

Everett at Hillsboro (TV), 7:05 PM (RHP Juan Then)