I may do an MLB Draft Update here in the minors recap as news just keeps trickling in. Today Aaron Nola gets the spotlight. He pitched a solid game vs, the Arkansas Razorbacks, going 7.1 innings and allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7. He gave up a run in the first and then another one in the 8th as he tired, but in between he was dominant.
Aaron Fitt of BA tweeted.
Aaron Nola is awesome. I am convinced that he is going to be a very, very good big leaguer, and fast. He's just smothered Hogs since 1st.
Aaron Nola hit as high as 96 and was still hitting 93-94 in the 8th inning. He also showed a plus change-up and a solid slider -- and of course, the command and pitchability that has become his trademark.
Fitt had a lot of interesting things to say about Nola. He isn't worried about the arm slot and thinks that he can be a front line starter. Some buzz he could go in the top 5.
What's also interesting is who was in attendance.
On the Cubs side it was Jed Hoyer while the White Sox sent Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf. Sounds like the Sox are pretty serious. Nola certainly fits the White Sox philosophy of drafting players that they can move quickly.
Could the Cubs draft him?
He sure sounded worthy of the 4th pick tonight and if they're not worried about his arm slot then he has the kind of track record and high floor they like. Would be surprising but not out of the question.
Let's get on with the recap...
- Dallas Beeler has had an up and down start and today was one of his better outings, going 7 innings and allowing just 3 hits, though one was a solo HR. He walked one and struck out 6 to lower his ERA to 5.91.
- Javier Baez had a huge night, getting 4 hits and hitting his 6th HR. He doubled twice. He has his average back up over the .200 mark and has been red hot over the past week, going 11 for 27 (.407) with 9 of those hits going for extra bases -- that's a 1.000 slugging percentage.
- Some contributions from a couple of unlikely sources, Eli Whiteside hit a 2-run HR and Brett Jackson went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and 2 RBI.
- A better start for Corey Black, who went 5 innings and allowed just 3 hits, including a solo HR to account for the only run he gave up. He walked 3 and struck out 7.
- Another scoreless outing for Armando Rivero, who struck out one and lowered his ERA to 1.78. He has a 13.5 K rate and is allowing hitters to bat just .119 against him, Even the walk rate isn't too bat at 3.2 per innings.
- Arodys Vizcaino didn't fare so well and got hit hard for the first time this season, allowing 3 runs in the 9th to tie the game but he vultured a win when the Cubs came back with a run of their own,
- Stephen Bruno had cooled off slightly but he was back to his usual self, hitting 2 doubles, walking and scoring 3 runs. He is hitting .297/.392/.500 on the year. When you have a mini-slump (3 for 21) and come back this quickly and still have such good numbers overall, you know you're a pretty good hitter.
- Kris Bryant, while it seems impossible, just keeps getting better He got on base all 5 times today with a double, 2 singles, and 2 walks. He also drove in 3 runs, giving him 40 on the year. He is now hitting .335/.431/.623 with 12 HRs and is 6 for 6 in SBs,
- Charles Cutler had a pair of hits, including a double, and drove in 3 runs, The 28 year old Rule 5 draftee (minor league phase) is hitting .324/.438/.465 on the year.
- Tayler Scott must have been commanding that good curve today because he had one of his best outings as a pro, going 6.1 scoreless innings, walking just one and striking out 3. Scott lowered his ERA to 4.86 but lost the chance for a win when Zach Godley allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th.
- Jeimer Candelario was moved up to the 2nd spot and responded with a pair of singles. It's been a tough year for the 20 year old as he is hittipng just .183 on the year.
- Willson Contreras is red hot. He doubled twice, tripled and scored Daytona's only run. He is 10 for his last 20 and has upped his line to .237/.277/.316, still poor but it is trending upward.
- Paul Blackburn has been a machine this year and today may have been his best start of the season. He went 7 scoreless frames, allowing just 4 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 6. Blackburn is 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA. He has thrown strikes, walking just 1.46 batters per 9 IP while striking out 7.11. Blackburn works with an 89-93 mph FB and has a good feel for a curve and a change, though neither are where they need to be yet. That speaks to his excellent fastball command and if Blackburn develops a second out pitch, he could really take off.
- Jacob Hanneman went 1 for 2 with a walk. He scored a run and drove in another with a sac fly.
- Carlos Penalver is back on the rise with 2 more hits and has his average back up to .247.
- Ben Carhart went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
- Yasiel Balaguert hit a solo shot, his 2nd HR of the season. After a fast, productive start, the slugger signed out of Cuba has tailed off to .237/.274/.341 on the season. His bat is is ticket, so he needs to step it up.