We had nearly a full slate of games yesterday, with only West Virginia taking the day off. THe games stretched from mid-morning to late in the night. We start, as usual, in the Caribbean!
DSL Mariners (20-29) scuttled by DSL Pirates (42-8), win 10-4
That’s not a typo, the DSL Pirates are the true power in these waters. With their 3 and 4 hitters running >1.000 OPS’s, the Pirates have clobbered their way through the schedule thus far, and took it to the DSL M’s pitching staff. Slight-framed speedster Jonatan Clase continued his quest to be put on the prospect map with a couple hits, including a triple. Arturo Guerrero drew a couple walks, and Noelvi Marte took a walk himself along with an RBI single. Just... don’t look at the pitching numbers, move along, move along.
AZL Mariners (16-19) concede balance to the AZL Rangers (24-11), 5-3
2019 draftee Anthony Tomczak made his pro debut with a scoreless inning, adding his name to a legitimately interesting swath of pitchers for the baby M’s. He was MY GUY in the latter group from the 2019 class, and while he’ll probably be a slow burn like many high school arms, he’s got big league talent. I took Joey Gerber last year in this exercise, and I wouldn’t lead you wrong. Ever. That’s how much you mean to me.
Unfortunately, the AZL Mariners barely lead in this one, wrong or right. An early lead was erased and a couple errors helped sink fellow recent draftee Adam Macko in what was otherwise a reasonable outing. AZL teams are typically a mish-mash of recent draftees and international signees, so Seattle’s heavy tilt towards pitching in the recent draft is having serious repercussions in Arizona’s offense. Lightning cut this one short at eight innings.
Everett AquaSox (21-25), fall in a vat of Hillsboro Hops (29-17), 4-3
I’ve played at Ron Tonkin Field, which the Hops call home. It’s a pretty little ballpark, named for a charismatic car salesman. There’s a lot of space in the outfield and it’s not easy to hit for power if the defense has rangy outfielders, so I don’t blame the Frogs for failing to get much going. Indeed, if it weren’t for great footspeed, the AquaSox might not have gotten much going at all today. Team stud Connor Hoover got blanked at the plate and the extra-base hits were limited to a double and triple by 3B Luis Joseph and a 2B from Cesar Izturis Jr.. Still, it was a constructive day at the yard, with RHP Damon Casetta-Stubbs on the hill. DCS wasn’t lights out, but the 19-year-old worked his secondaries well.
And anotha one, getting Hillsboro's best hitter Kristian Robinson: pic.twitter.com/iDR2UHrKdC— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 31, 2019
He went four innings on the night, with three strikeouts and two runs allowed. In Short Season, where we so rarely get video, some real pretty breaking balls are our ambrosia and nectar.
West Virginia Power (54-53) are OFF
Modesto Nuts (48-61) blockade the Stockton Ports (51-56), 5-1
As Kate mentioned in Monday’s MSL, the these aren’t your grandfather’s Nuts. Modesto has bid several prospects adieu in their journey to Arkansas, but there are exciting players around all the same. Jay Bruce trade return Jake Scheiner has been hot lately and smacked a double tonight along with a free pass and a pass that cost some pain. Jay Bruce cosplayer Keegan McGovern continues ticking upwards with another timely hit, and both Jarred Kelenic and Joe Rizzo checked in with singles. Nothing crazy, but good sequencing after facing rehabbing MLBer Marco Estrada and habbing MiLBer Mitchell Jordan on the hill for the Athletics’ affiliate.
The story of the evening, which was video-free sadly, was LHP Ian McKinney.
In 105 pitches LHP Ian McKinney tossed the @ModestoNuts 2nd CG of the year.— Keaton Gillogly (@Gillogly) July 31, 2019
He faced 28 batters. Took a perfect game into the 6th. It was his 3rd 10+ K game of July.
He has not missed a start all year. Ranks 1st in CAL in GS & IP
4-1 in 6 GS 1.53 ERA 41 IP 7 BB 59 K pic.twitter.com/TG1zL4syZS
McKinney is a tricky one to peg, as he’s a 24-year-old MiLB free agent signee who has bounced between A+ and AA the past three years. He’d been converted to a bullpen role, but the M’s put him back in the rotation. McKinney hasn’t quite had an Ljay Newsome type growth, but he’s enthusiastically adopted new technology afforded to him to improve his craft, and his results suggest he’s at least found some success. Like Devin Sweet in West Virginia yesterday, one CG, and even one strong start does not a prospect make, but McKinney has the benefit of being a 5th round pick at a higher level throwing with that ever so tricky southern paw. Even if it’s an outside shot at a bullpen role in the future, there’s a glimmer of big league possibility now where there was virtually none before, and that’s a good sign.
Arkansas Travelers (63-43) forget their lines against the Frisco RoughRiders (51-55), 5-4
Yesterday, in a piece for The Athletic, Corey Brock referred to this Arkansas team as the “best-ever collection of prospects” at any level for the Mariners organization in their history. It isn’t the team with the best prospects - there’s no A-Rod or Griffey or Edgar in the bunch more likely than not - but it’s not a stretch to call this group one of the deepest by public assessment. Yesterday they had the added eyes of many Mariners media members, with the team playing just down the road in Texas against Frisco’s big-league affiliate, with the trade deadline looming. Unfortunately, it wasn’t their best showing.
Justin Dunn has been unequivocally encouraging this year. His changeup has become a consistently usable offering, making his fastball and breaking balls all the more deceptive and offering protection from lefty hitters. Still, his tendency to go deep in counts can sometimes bite him, and the wrong sequence of walks and hits can end his outings early. That happened yesterday as Dunn got done in by three walks and a dinger, along with some errors and a mess of grounders through holes. Five innings and five strikeouts is a reminder of how nasty he is even on his bad days, but control over command is still what holds him back from upper echelon consideration right now.
After getting two quick outs to start off the game, Dunn walks a batter and gives up a ground ball single before rebounding to get a strikeout looking. pic.twitter.com/dKBKZVs18c— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 31, 2019
The defense wasn’t great, but Donnie Walton had one of his best plays of the year, showing off enough arm to justify full UTIL consideration so long as he keeps hitting (he walked twice and scored both times today).
Donnie Walton has been watching that J.P. Crawford play, it seems, as he makes this excellent play that both ends second inning and bails out Justin Dunn from having a run score after a runner reached second on a two-base error: pic.twitter.com/gxgMSZ5rfH— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 31, 2019
Unfortunately, the five run hole was too much for Arkansas to dig out of. Cal Raleigh got on twice, Kyle Lewis and Dom Thompson-Williams each had a poke of their own, and Jordan Cowan had a couple base knocks. The bullpen was also sharp, with three scoreless innings from Jack “The Creature” Anderson, Matt Tenuta, and Wyatt Mills.
In injury news, Evan White is being treated very cautiously, placed on the 7-day IL after taking an errant hop to the face to recover from concussion-like symptoms. It’s a shame after seeing White essentially replicating his 2018 numbers with a bit more power at a higher level this year, but the reports seemed to indicate this was a move made from caution over concern. Unlike many of his teammates, White does NOT require a 40-man spot before the 2020 season.
Tacoma Rainiers (50-58) create a rain shadow that traps and fizzles the high pressure system coming in from the east and yes okay you could just say defeat the Omaha Storm Chasers (48-60), 3-2
It’s hard out here for a No. 5 starter-caliber prospect. Like virtually every other pitcher, AAA has become a hellscape for hurlers as the PCL combined with the juiced ball conspires for Moon Ball. LHP Anthony Misiewicz has struggled immensely in Tacoma this year, despite reasonable stuff and excellent numbers in AA. Yesterday, nestled in the comparatively cavernous Cheney Stadium, Misiewicz put together his best AAA outing thus far. 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 Ks, and just 1 BB. He added a pickoff, tugging on my personal heartstrings.
Misiewicz put Tacoma in a position to win, and in the 10th, on a wild pitch, win they did. The bullpen was sterling as well. Rehabbing Brandon Brennan took a few more pitches than preferable to get a couple outs, but Matt Festa missed bats in 2.1 shutout innings and hopefully is making progress on sharpening his slider. The offense didn’t exactly light things up, with just a pair of doubles from Jaycob Brugman and Jordan Pacheco in the XBH category. Jake Fraley did manage a single and a stolen base to go with a walk, however, as he continues to hold his own and figure out his first crack at AAA.
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 Tigers, 7:30 AM PT and also guess what they already played the end of an earlier game
Greensboro at West Virginia, 4 PM PT (RHP Josias De Los Santos)
Everett at Hillsboro (TV), 7:05 PM PT (LHP Jorge Benitez)
Omaha at Tacoma, 7:05 PM PT (LHP Sean Nolin)
Modesto at Stockton, 7:10 PM PT (RHP Clay Chandler)
AZL Mariners: OFF