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Midshipman’s Log, August 2nd: Jose Caballero makes an impression, Power surge late, Ljay rebounds

An exciting day of close games on the farm

Romanesque Style
Pictured: minor leaguers making their daily PB&Js
Photo by: PHAS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Yesterday was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary but I had to sneak a few peeks during dinner to see how some close games on the farm turned out. RUDE, I know, but thankfully my mother is very understanding and will get excited about a Cal Raleigh or Jarred Kelenic RBI double right along with me. Speaking of Cal Raleigh, he isn’t with his fellow Beef Boys in Modesto anymore, but he sent along a care package for all the Beef Boys he left beefhind:

Related: I want one. I can bench press almost triple digits? That should be good enough, right?

DSL Mariners (23-30) sneak by DSL Rockies (22-31), 5-4

Link to full box score

The DSL Mariners won a narrow victory against one of the few teams in the DSL as bad/worse than them, scoring a couple of key runs late to surge ahead and snatch a victory. Top prospect SS Noelvi Marte had three hits including a double, and picked off a runner trying to steal second. Catcher Jose Caguana had two hits on the day, including one of the late go-ahead RBIs. Natanael Garabitos nailed down the save with two scoreless, hitless innings. OF Jonatan Clase had a quiet day, with just a single, but thanks to DSL hitting coach Rob Benjamin, we have some footage of him hitting, which people have been clamoring for:

AZL Mariners (17-20) steal luck of the Irish from AZL Athletics Green (13-24), 6-5

Link to full box score

2019 18th-rounder Tyler Driver gave up four runs over his three innings of work, but the Baby M’s were able to jump on the Baby A’s starter in equal turn, setting up strikeout machine Danny Chang to hold down the fort over four innings, giving up just one run on three hits (a solo HR) while striking out six. That was enough for the offense to claw back on the strength of a big game from UDFA Cesar Trejo, who had two hits on the day and also took advantage of some defensive miscues from the Athletics (what a delightful sentence to type). Righty Cristhopher Marte, on his first full season stateside, locked down the save. Recently acquired in the Mike Leake trade, Jose Caballero also made his second appearance as a Mariner, serving as the designated hitter and going 2-for-5 with a double.

Everett AquaSox (22-27) king Spokane Indians (27-22), 5-2

Link to full box score

Everett has been on a tough losing skid, so it was good to see the Frogs get back in the win column, heralded by King Félix himself. Félix went two innings, struck out two batters, and undoubtedly thrilled the youngest members of the system who got to share airspace with him. George Kirby followed Félix for just one inning, and perhaps wanting to show off for the King or for the sold-out crowd, struck out the side. Deivy Florido did the yeoman’s work, tossing five innings of one-run ball. Meanwhile, the offense put on a display of their own, led by 2019 20th-rounder and minor player in a Sherlock Holmes mystery RF Cade Marlowe, who had two hits including an RBI double on the day. CF Billy Cooke also had a two-RBI triple.

West Virginia Power (56-55) surge late against Greensboro Grasshoppers (65-44), toast and eat them, 8-5

Link to full box score

I’m sure I’ve made that grasshoppers joke before but this time it’s really! relevant!! Ah I am the girl who joked grasshopper, it’s fine. Ryne Inman got off to a rough start in this one, giving up five runs over the first four innings, but the West Virginia bullpen again proved to be a strength, banding together to hold down a scoreless back five among the trio of Elias Espino, Bryan Pall (who is back, healthy, and likely pushing for a promotion to Modesto soon), and 2019 draftee Reeves Martin. Austin Shenton, who continues to find the Sally League to his liking, opened the scoring for WV with a home run, and also had an RBI double as part of a three-run sixth inning that brought them into a tie. Also with RBIs in that inning: Julio Rodriguez and Bobby Honeyman. Juliooooooo again showed up in a big spot in the 8th, knocking a go-ahead RBI triple and setting up an Austin Shenton sac fly. Nick Rodriguez would double in the killing blow, scoring “Honeyboy” (Julio’s nickname for him) in that same inning.

Modesto Nuts (50-62) sonically boomed by the Lancaster JetHawks (58-52), 11-10

Link to full box score

This annoying one, as the Nuts went into the ninth inning with a three-run lead, only to have Kyle Wilcox surrender four runs in the inning—walking three!—to grant the JetHawks a walkoff win. The Nuts were already in a fairly deep hole because starter Austin Hutchison struggled in the launching pad that is Lancaster, allowing three home runs in five innings, but Ray Kerr and Nick Duron combined for three scoreless innings—with three Ks from a suddenly-ascendant Kerr in his two innings of work—to let the Nuts claw back into it. Jarred Kelenic had two hits on the day, including an RBI double, and Jake Scheiner and Jack Larsen both homered. Scheiner’s HR was part of a three-hit day for him as he continues to provide consistency in the middle of Modesto’s lineup. All numbers from Lancaster should be adjusted (up for pitchers, down for hitters), but at the very least, this should ideally provide a jolt to Modesto’s sleepy offense.

Arkansas Travelers (65-43) clip the wings of the Springfield Cardinals (50-60), 6-1

Link to full box score

The Travs have been struggling lately, and Ljay Newsome in particular hasn’t been as sharp as he was in Modesto, but today was an encouraging outing for both the Travs and Newsome. Our nice boy Ljay was capped at four innings, perhaps to preserve his first successful outing in Double-A, since he had only thrown 70 pitches (50 strikes). The lone run against him came on a solo homer, and although the strikeout numbers haven’t rebounded from where they were in the Cal League (2 today), it was an encouraging start from Ljay. The Arkansas DeathPen took over from there (fun fact: they call themselves the Hawgs), with Jack Anderson, new acquisition Aaron Fletcher (Elías trade), Joey Gerber, and Art Warren all hurling scoreless innings. Fletcher, maybe showing off for his new team, struck out the side in his inning. Meanwhile, the offense—still sans Evan White—showed more life than they have in the second half, with the bottom half of the lineup pitching in: Jordan Cowan and Logan Taylor each pitched in two hits, as did hot-hitting Kyle Lewis, who can smell that September callup, and leadoff man/”barrel monkey” (© Collin Theroux) Donnie Walton. Cal Raleigh, who has made some solid contact without much payoff in his short stint at AA, roped a double into RF, an encouraging sign.

Copying this over from John’s last MSL, for those of you curious about Evan White:

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 (51-60) walked off by Iowa Cubs (59-52), 5-4

Link to full box score

Bright spots: Ian Miller had two hits from the leadoff spot, including a double. Tim Lopes showed no ill effects from his possible concussion, with a three-hit day and a stolen base. After Mike Wright Jr. gave up four runs over 4.2 innings, no other reliever gave up a run until David McKay allowed the walkoff winner on a home run, including new acquisition Taylor Guilbeau, who struck out two. But ultimately, the Rainiers still lost. Boo. But here’s some bright news about two of the newest relievers, Guilbeau and Brian Ellington, recently signed to a minors deal:

Today’s games:

If you’re local, you have two live baseball options that are more fun than watching the Mariners get kicked around by the Astros on TV: head on up to Everett to see the return in the Edwin Encarnación trade in Juan Then, or down to Tacoma to see Darren McCaughan control the heck out of the zone in a non-Moon-environment (poor DMac, he deserves better). If you have MiLB TV, Logan Gilbert is appointment viewing even on Arkansas’ relatively crummy feed; of the recently-promoted Nuts, he’s the one who looks like he’s adjusting best/quickest to the significantly higher level of competition. For radio-only (but also for free), tune in and listen to Devin Sweet’s first start since he threw the first complete game in Power history.

DSL Mariners at DSL Rockies, 7:00 AM PT

Rome at West Virginia, 3:05 PT (RHP Devin Sweet)

Springfield at Arkansas, 4:10 PT (RHP Logan Gilbert)

AZL Indians Red at AZL Mariners, 6:00 PT

Modesto at Lancaster, 6:05 PT (RHP Steven Moyers)

Iowa at Tacoma, 7:05 PT (RHP Darren McCaughan)

Spokane at Everett, 7:04 PT (RHP Juan Then)