This day was highlighted by three strong pitching performances from three starting pitchers whose prospect stocks have been on the rise. But the big moment ended up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays…
Trayce Thompson had a big day (2-4, HR, 2B, K), but it wasn’t enough for the Knights. Thompson has improved his average, power numbers and contact rate this year over last, when he had repeated AA in 2014. Tyler Saladino also hit a home run (for second straight game), and after struggling back to health he’s finally turning it on at the plate with a .323/.361/.581 line so far in July. Brad Penny made the start and struck out 7 in 6 innings after his odd 9-inning no-K previous start, though he gave up 2 runs in this one. Miguel Chalas gave up three runs in the 7th that put Durham over the top.
The Barons continue to tear it up in the 2nd half despite not having Jacob May available (reports indicate an August return for him). Myles Jaye‘s resurgence completed yet another leg as he threw seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out a season-high eight. Jaye’s 2015 in AA is a dramatic improvement from his 2014 at the same level, and the 23-year old is climbing his way back up the prospect ladder. On the offensive end, Tim Anderson and Joey DeMichele each registered one-hit days with a stolen base atop the lineup. Keenyn Walker‘s double was the team’s only extra base knock, and he added a walk – a much-needed good day for the struggling outfielder (.374 OPS thus far in AA).
The Dash, like the Barons, remain red-hot in the second half as they too were led by a 7-inning shutout performance from their starter. Robin Leyer booked 7 innings of zeros, which may sound familiar because he did the same thing in his last start. In this one he gave up just 2 hits and walked no one, while striking out 5. Trey Michalczewski had the big day offensively going 3-5, with Adam Engel and Keon Barnum each adding two of the team’s 11 singles (and no other hits).
Another shut-down pitching performance from a starter to lead their team to a win? Yessir, this one from Thaddius Lowry who tossed six innings of shutout ball, fanning four while working around five hits and three walks. From the hitting side, Louis Silverio and Nick Basto each added a double in four trips, while Eddy Alvarez walked three times. The biggest highlight though was Louie Lechich‘s incredible catch in center field, which came in at number 7 on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 plays of the night (an unusual honor for a minor leaguer). A day after being caught stealing three times, the Intimidators stole five bases in this one and were caught just once.
The Voyagers found themselves in an early hole they couldn’t dig out of, as Matt Ball had an uncharacteristically shaky start (7 ER in 2.2 IP). We just published an interview with Ball yesterday, which you should read if you haven’t already – despite the rough day he’s a guy to keep an eye on. The team’s performance at the plate was equally unusual, as the usually prolific lineup managed only 5 hits led by Zach Fish‘s double and single.
The first place AZL club won again, this time behind a phalanx of 2015 draft picks. Big first baseman Corey Zangari (6th round) had three hits in four trips, Bradley Strong (28th) a pair, and Seby Zavala (12th) went 1-3 with a triple and saw his average actually drop to .471. Chris Comito (15th), Ryan Riga (13th) and Jack Charleston (30th) combined to allow just one earned run in nine innings of work, on five hits and one walk. Daniel Mendick (22nd) and Jake Fincher (29th) stole two bases each, with the latter already having eight swipes without being caught stealing in his first 12 pro games.
The Dominican squad was not only shut out, but they only registered a single hit (Maiker Feliz was 1-2 plus a walk).
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