Only one of the six affiliates playing managed a victory, but there were a number of strong performances and a few trends to note (as well as some in-person reporting on a key pitching prospect)…
Terance Marin has pitched 29 innings in AAA, both this year and in his career. In those five games (four starts), he has yet to give up a run, earned or otherwise. He’s also given up just 19 hits and 4 walks for a 0.79 WHIP. The strikeouts aren’t showing much yet (14 K), but he’s getting a ton of ground balls (1.76 GB/FB rate). For more on Marin, see his prospect profile, and the guest post he recently wrote for us.
In this one, Marin went seven innings allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out five. The Knights also got a go-ahead solo home run from red-hot George Kottaras in the 9th, but Onelki Garcia struggled uncharacteristically and gave up a pair to allow Norfolk to walk off with the win. The Charlotte offense only mustered a pair of singles prior to Kottaras’ dinger, though Tyler Saladino did swipe his 22nd base.
The Dash had been 4-0 in the second half and held a 4-0 lead in this contest, but their roll finally came to a halt as they gave up 8 unanswered runs. Starter Jordan Guerrero‘s performance was similar to his last one, in that he started strong (5 scoreless innings) before falling apart late and not getting much help from his immediate reliever. Michael Suiter had the best day at the plate (2-3, HR), and Toby Thomas continued his strong June hitting by adding his second home run of the season.
The Intimidators were the mirror image of the Dash – they came back to win and snap a 4-game losing streak. Spencer Adams had one of his best starts of the year going 7 innings of 2-run ball and allowing just one walk. Adams’ control has been sharp all year, but the strikeout rate is down dramatically from last season in rookie ball. Salisbury Post reporter Marny Hendrick was at the game and reported Adams’ fastball velocity at 90-91, down significantly from the mid-90s he was throwing in 2014. Hendrick also mentioned the he was getting strikeouts more on the breaking pitches. Given his age and development level, and that he’s been working on his delivery with pitching coach Jose Bautista, some drop in velocity is to be expected. Hard to say if this large of one means anything, but it is worth noting as it’s been the theme throughout the year.
Brett Austin led the offense with a 3-for-4 day including his third long ball of the season (and his pro career). John Ziznewski, who only joined the club in late May and wasn’t starting regularly until the past week or so, had a double and a single and holds a .939 OPS so far in June. Eddy Alvarez was 0-2 but drew a walk and stole second and third, giving him 34 on the year (in 40 attempts, 85%).
The Osprey cooled off the previously red-hot Voyagers in this one, holding the potent Great Falls offense to just five hits. 19-year old Johan Cruz went 2-3 and is hitting .333 on the young season, and Zach Fish went 2-4 to raise his average to .345. 2014 draftee Evin Einhardt went five innings in the start, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out four. Tanner Mendonca added a scoreless inning, and so far he’s been doing what he did in the AZL last year – striking out a ton of hitters (15.4 K/9 this year, 17.3 last year) with reasonable control and not getting hit much. It’s a bit of a mystery why he’s back in rookie ball at age 23 this year.
The younger rookie affiliate splashed 12 hits as the offense continues to click, but the pitching also continued their trend of struggling in the early going. Catcher Seby Zavala, a 12th round pick less than a month ago, is part of the 4-man catching rotation in Arizona and has certainly made the most of the playing time he’s been able to get. He went 3-for-5 with a double in this one and has a .526/.526/1.000 line in his first 19 plate appearances (6 doubles and 1 HR among his 10 hits). Bradley Strong fell a home run short of the cycle, and UDFA signee Cody Daily added another pair of hits and has a 1.193 OPS thus far (just 40 PA). 19-year old Dominican righty Yeuris Guerrero struggled through 3 IP, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) while walking 3 batters. Jesse Crain made another rehab appearance: a hit, a walk, a run (unearned), a pair of strikeouts.
Luis Castillo was listed on the MiLB.com site as being added to the AZL club, but he is still playing in Boca Chica. Catcher Carlos Perez and third baseman Maiker Feliz continue to put up good numbers in the Dominican, which is encouraging for the two high-bonus signings.
***Birmingham was off
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