There were nine games on Saturday on the farm, which must be some sort of record, not to mention making the recap writing a bit of a challenge. The AZL White Sox had their season opener (season preview coming soon), there were two double-headers, and lots of performances to note…
The Knights won on a walk-off walk (from Matt Tuiasosopo) for their sixth straight victory, and are now in sole possession of first place in the IL South. It was Tyler Multi-Hit day as Tyler Saladino had 3 singles and Tyler Colvin a double and a single, while the rest of the Charlotte lineup had no more than a hit each. Saladino as added two stolen bases, giving him 18 on the year in 20 attempts even though he’s played in just 34 games. Kyle Drabek gave up 4 runs on 9 hits over 5 innings, but the bullpen did well posting 7 innings of 1-run ball (the one run being a game-tying HR off Maikel Cleto).
Our friend Scott Sypien of chasingmlbdreams.com was live in Charlotte for this one, and provided a few scouting reports worth noting. Here are some highlights from Scott:
On Kyle Drabek…
Fastball: Drabek fastball sat between 89 and 91 mph through out the game. He also through a cutter that was a little slower on the gun in the 88-89 range.
Curve: On the night Drabek Curve was consistent between 80-81 MPH. The pitch was very average and didn’t fool many hitters.
Change: Drabek ‘ s change is not much slower than his fastball and sat in the 85-86 mph range. He tended to use this pitch when he got ahead in the count which was not often during the game.
On Maikel Cleto…
Overall I was really impressed with Cleto. Even though Cleto allowed a game tying home run to Gorkys Hernandez in the ninth his fastball was a plus pitch. He regularly sat between 96-99 with movement. In his three innings of work he struck out four.
On Tyler Saladino…
He went 3 for 6 on the night including a deep home run in the first inning off of Angel Sanchez. The shortstop also made an impressive play with a runner on third. Saladino fielded a sharply hit ball to his right and made an off balance throw quickly to home.
The Barons lost a see-saw battle in this one, let down by their defense allowing 4 unearned runs. Frankie Montas pitched just one (scoreless) inning, but don’t be alarmed – that was by design so he’d be able to pitch in the Southern League All Star game. The rest of the Birmingham pitchers all gave up runs, but only Tony Bucciferro (4 R, 3 ER in 3 IP) gave up any of the earned variety. Tim Anderson had a big day at the plate going 3-4 with a double, though he was also caught stealing. Courtney Hawkins, Joey DeMichele and Brian Fletcher each had a pair of singles, with DeMichele adding a stolen base.
Not all was lost for the AA club as they grabbed a split behind Mark Blackmar‘s strong 7-inning complete game effort. Blackmar allowed just three hits and a pair of walks in seven innings, generating 11 ground ball outs against 3 fly-outs. Anderson added another pair of hits here, and he’s now hitting .308 on the season as a raw just-turned 21-year old in AA. The power hasn’t shown up in the game stats yet, but on the encouraging side, he’s got just 5 K in his last 42 PA, and has drawn a couple walks in that span.
The Dash won big behind some significant pitching performances, albeit in an odd order. Because this was a suspended game, Jake Cose got his credit for two scoreless innings from the original start. But Yency Almonte opened the 3rd inning while making his Advanced A debut and did quite well: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 UER (0 ER), 0 BB, 3 K and a whopping 12:0 GO:FO ratio. Offensively, each of Adam Engel, Omar Narvaez and Nolan Earley had two-hit days with a double.
In a shortened affair, Salem turned the tables to win by an almost identical score. Brandon Brennan‘s second start of the year wasn’t as good as the first, as he gave up 5 earned on 9 hits and didn’t make it out of the 4th inning. The only offensive performance of note was Keon Barnum‘s 2-3 day that included a 2-run home run.
The Intimidators got back to .500 with a shutout win behind Zach Thompson, Brad Salgado and Matt Cooper. Thompson has fared well since joining the team recently from Extended Spring Training (2.57 ERA in 3 starts), and Cooper continues to look ready for a promotion (0.92 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 25:4 K:BB in 19.2 IP). Speaking of ready for promotion, Nick Delmonico‘s assignment to the SAL may have been a bit too tame, as he added another pair of hits and his hitting .467 with a double, a triple and a home run in his 4 games thus far. Brett Austin hit his improbable 5th triple of the year.
The Voyagers won a barn-burner (which is typically a theme in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League) to even their record at 1-1. Jake Jarvis went 3-for-5, and each of Antonio Rodriguez, Victor Velazquez and Grant Massey had 2-hit days. Frank Califano had a double and two walks in five trips, as well as a stolen base. On the pitching end, Evn Einhardt struggled in his first start of the year (5 ER on 8 H in 3.2 IP), but Lucas Shearrow, Drew Hasler (2015 draftee and son of Sox coordinator Curt Hasler) and Mike Gomez threw 5.1 innings of 1-run ball to secure the win.
It was Opening Day for the Arizona League team, and the box score looked like Senior Day with 15 position players and 4 pitchers seeing action. The surprise of the day was Jesse Crain making his first rehab appearance, and while he got shelled (4 ER and the rare 2 K in 0.1 IP), the fact that he was even throwing in a game is a positive at this point. As for the prospects, Micker Adolfo had a double, single and a walk in five trips (also one strikeout) as the only multi-hit day recorded. Three LatAm products pitched after Crain with mixed results – Yeuris Guerrero gave up four earned in 4.2 innings, but Victor Done and Jaider Rocha fared better. The AZL roster looks pretty stocked prospect-wise, and we’ll have the season preview up for this club in the coming days.
This year’s DSL club is performing better than what we’ve seen the past couple years, with some intriguing prospects putting up numbers worth noting. Maiker Feliz ($450k bonus as 16-year old in 2013) went 4-5 with a triple and is hitting .377 thus far, and Hanleth Otano ($550k bonus as 16-year old in 2012) had a pair of hits.
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