AAA Louisville Bats
This week: 3-2
Overall: 13-6, second place behind Columbus (CLE).
4/21: Columbus (CLE) brutalized Rehabbin’ Johnny Cueto (1.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R!) and four relievers, including utilityman Mike Griffin, to the tune of 17 hits and 19 runs. Clippers cruise, 19-3. 1B Danny Dorn (2-for-4, R, RBI, .320) and 2B Chris Valaika (2-for-4, RBI, .311) provided meager hitting heroics. Clippers 1B Chad Huffman homered three times for his team. The only other Clipper to do that? Current Cleveland Indian Matt LaPorta.
4/22: Tom Cochran (2-0, 2.16) would have headed to the hill to try and turn this thing around, but inclement weather would delay this quest a day.
4/23: Louisville moved on to Toledo to face the Mud Hens (DET) with Scott Carroll (0-0, 2.89) to the mound. Toledo countered with lefty Adam Wilk, a guy on his fifth professional level since he was picked in the 11th round in 2009. He was jumped to Triple-A after just a handful of Double-A starts at the end of last season. Carroll wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the first with a neat 1-6-3 double-play grounder, but served up a pair of homers to the Mud Hens’ Andy Dirks (6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, 97 pitches/63 strikes) and departed down 4-2. But LF Todd Frazier, already with a two-run double to his credit, launched a three-run homer (#3) in a four-run Bats eighth that turned it around! Five RBI for Todd (.228, 2-for-4). SS Zach Cozart showed some signs of shaking his season-opening slump (one bad enough to put him in the Not-So-Hot portion of the BA Prospect Hot Sheet), going 2-for-5 with a RBI double and two runs scored (.148). Cochran, passed over the day before in the rainout, pitched a hitless seventh (W 3-0, 1.93, 2 BB, 1 K) to pick up the win anyway. Go Crafty! Jerry Gil pitched a scoreless eighth (3.52, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and Danny Herrera the ninth (3.38, save #1).
4/24: Rehabbin’ Homer Bailey had to push this back a few days due to “fatigue”, but he showed it’s just that with another excellent performance. He fired 5.1 shutout innings in 72 pitches (3 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and the Bats chased Toledo starter Andy Oliver in the fifth, scoring in four separate innings. CF Dave Sappelt made just one out all day at the plate (3-for-4, BB, .343), although he did get himself picked off once. 2B Kris Negron blasted a two-run homer (#3) and added a triple (.238). 3B Mike Griffin was 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBI, and a stolen base (.267). DH Yonder Alonso finally drove in his very first runs of 2011- a sacrifice fly as well as a solo homer. It took him fifty at-bats. 1B Eric Eymann’s three-run homer, made it 9-0 in the seventh. After Jeremy Horst bailed Homer out in the sixth, Chad Reineke came in from the bullpen, interestingly enough, and shut Toledo out over the game’s final third for the long save (1.74, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K). Should this continue and the timing is right, the 29-year-old deserves a callup and a chance to add to the twenty-three big-league innings he’s had to date. He’s been an anchor for the Louisville staff since signing before the 2010 season.
4/25: Again Dontrelle Willis pitched well (1.13, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 103 pitches/70 strikes) and the Bats led 5-3 at the time of his departure. After Herrera stranded two of Kyle McCulloch’s runners in the eighth, all that stood between DRH and another save was three outs. Alas:
Toledo Bottom of the 9th
• Bryan Pounds strikes out swinging.
• Cale Iorg singles on a soft fly ball to left fielder Todd Frazier.
• Clay Timpner pops out to shortstop Zack Cozart.
• Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Timo Perez replaces Max St. Pierre.
• Timo Perez walks. Cale Iorg to 2nd.
• Andy Dirks reaches on fielding error by first baseman Daniel Dorn. Cale Iorg to 3rd. Timo Perez to 2nd.
• Scott Sizemore doubles (5) on a sharp line drive to left fielder Todd Frazier. Cale Iorg scores. Timo Perez scores. Andy Dirks scores.
Mud Hens steal it, 6-5. Herrera fell to 0-2. Good game for Sappelt, who moved from the leadoff slot to third; he was 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and a RBI (.356). Mesoraco was also 2-for-3, with two runs scored, a double, and a walk (.286). Dorn did hit his third homer, although that error you saw above was also crucial.
4/26: The Bats put, uh, themselves to a pretty good pitcher- Durham (TB) lefty Alex Torres, who led the Southern League in strikeouts last year as a 22-year-old- by waiting him out for seven walks in 4.1 innings. They built a 8-0 lead and won it easily, 8-3. Rehabbin’ Johnny Cueto was much, much better this time around (4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 83 pitches/55 strikes). Dave Johnson picked up the win with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief (W 1-0, 8.00, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Joe Krebs was touched for one run (11.57, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K) and Jerry Gil gave up the other two (4.15, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K). Rehabbin’ Fred Lewis had a monster game, finishing 3-for-3 with two walks and a three-run homer. Cozart added two hits and a walk (.189); a modest 7-for-18 hot streak has helped his line. Dorn was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI (.328) as well as another error at first base. Negron continues to be useful from the bottom of the lineup (.250, steal #4, 2-for-4). Sappelt was 1-for-2 with three walks, again from the three-hole. He’s reached base in 18 of 19 games in 2011. Alonso had a pair of sacrifice flies; that gives him four RBIs for the year, three on the productive outs.
4/27: It’s rainin’ in Louisville. And all over the South, apparently. Worse than the persistent drizzle of the Pacific Northwest, I’ve heard.
Transactnotes: 4/23: RHR Carlos Fisher up to Cincinnati; LHP Matt Maloney back down to Louisville. 4/24: INF Chris Valaika to Cincinnati to cover for the injured Scott Rolen. Rehabbin’ Fred Lewis moved north a state to continue Rehab/Keep Him Busy Tour 2011. 4/27: RHS Matt Klinker to Carolina; RHS Dallas Buck up from the Mudcats. It’s either a paper move since Buck had just pitched or he’s going to the bullpen.
Around the league: Colorado put OF Willy Taveras on the temporarily-inactive list. Washington DL'd OF Buck Coats. The Dodgers put LHP Randy Keisler on the DL. Yes, he's still pitching at age 35. It's been a long, strange trip. The Yankees called up RHR Earl "Buddy" Carlyle, 33 (and precisely one year younger than yours truly) from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; Carlyle, in addition to being a Reds' second-round pick wayyyyy back in 1996, was also the man sent to San Diego for the infamous Marc Kroon. Who, by the way, went off and became a star closer in Japan. Now he's back in the States, still pitching twenty years after being drafted. Just nuts, man. Also, the Mets decided that 2B Justin Turner would be the replacement for Rule 5'er Brad Emaus. Turner was a seventh-round pick in 2006- traded along with Ryan Freel and Brandon Waring to Baltimore for Ramon Hernandez prior to the 2009 season. The Mets had claimed Turner off waivers from the Orioles last season.
AA Carolina Mudcats
This week: 3-4.
Overall: 5-15, last place.
4/21: Dallas Buck got to play stopper for his Mudcats squad this time around. After giving up ten earned runs in 8.2 innings in his first two starts, the last remaining player from the Adam Dunn trade stymied Tennessee (CHC) on four hits and two runs in seven innings (W 1-1, 6.89, 2 BB, 3 K, 80 pitches/50 strikes). Carolina wins it, 5-3. Rehabbin’ Fred Lewis doubled twice, drove in a run, and scored one to lead a Mudcats attack that went a nice 6-for-14 with men in scoring position. SS Miguel Rojas had a pair of hits (.273), as did RF Denis Phipps and LF David Cook. Nick Christiani got his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth. The righthander has allowed all of two hits and zero walks in 7.2 Double-A innings thus far.
4/22: A tough loss, as the Mudcats fired back from a 4-0 deficit but fell just a little short; the Smokies take the game 5-4 and the series 3-2. Jordan Hotchkiss started and lost (L 1-2, 5.84, 3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). Costanzo was 2-for-3 with a triple, RBI, and walk (.283) and Puckett had a two-run single. Rojas was 2-for-4 (.308). Travis Webb did poorly in relief of Hotchkiss (13.03, 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER) but the rest of the relief core- Jose Arredondo, Donnie Joseph, Lee Tabor, and Nick Christiani- each turned in scoreless ball.
4/23: Carolina got on the board first against Chattanooga (LAD), thanks to a Phipps sacrifice fly, but the Lookouts hammered Daryl Thompson for a pair of two-run homers in the second. He’d only last four (L 0-2, 6.75, 4 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). The Mudcats were shut down until a four-run ninth-inning rally made it look a little more respectable; they lose 8-5. Rojas added three more hits (.355, R).
4/24: Carolina drew righty Rubby de la Rosa, the top pitching prospect in the Dodger system, for this one. Rehabbin’ Justin Lehr matched him for a while, though, tiptoeing through 4.1 innings (3 H, 5 BB, 3 K). Lee Tabor bailed him out of a fifth-inning jam, then blanked the Lookouts in the sixth (2.16, 1.2 IP). Carolina got on the board with a Felix Perez sacrifice fly in the fifth, then benefitted from a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run throwing error by Chattanooga’s Scott Van Slyke in the sixth. Van Slyke got his revenge, though, by tying the score at 3 with a three-run homer off Donnie Joseph in the seventh. Donnie did manage to escape a jam in the eighth by stranding two (10.13, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER). Arredondo came on for the ninth and retired the Lookouts in order (including a strikeout of Van Slyke the Younger swinging). The first two Mudcats made outs, then Perez stepped up… and THERE IT GOES! Game-winning home run, Carolina victorious!
4/25: Cody Puckett launched a pair of homers (#4 and #5) and James Avery finally got a win on his fourth try (W 1-3, 6.10, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR) as Carolina erased deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 to win it, 6-4. Costanzo added a 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI (.310). Puckett is now batting .358/.460/.736 in eighteen games- five homers, 16 RBI, and four steals in four attempts. Not a bad start for the 24-year-old, an eighth-round pick in 2008 buy the Reds out of Cal State Dominguez Hills.
4/26: Carolina scored four runs in the sixth to grab a 5-4 lead, but Chattanooga battered Justin Freeman (7.00, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 HR) and Lee Tabor (L 0-1, 5.79, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K) late, scoring six over the final three innings to win 10-6. Dallas Buck pitched very well at first, shutting the Lookouts out for the first four innings, but they got to him for four runs, three unearned, in the fifth after Dallas’ own throwing error as well as an instance of catcher’s interference. He departed one out into the sixth with the bases loaded (5.57, 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) and Ruben Medina did a nice job escaping the jam (3.72, 0.2 IP, 1 K). Puckett was 2-for-4 with two more RBI (.368); he has eighteen on the year, second in the Southern League behind Mobile’s Paul Goldschmidt (who has nine homers, several off Mudcats pitching in the season’s opening series). New Mudcats signee Quintin Berry had a double and two walks from the leadoff slot. 3B Jake Kahauleilo socked homer #2. Rojas kept on hitting, poking a pair of singles and scoring both times on base (.333).
4/27: Matt Klinker came down from Louisville to make the start- and he pitched pretty well (6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 82 pitches/49 strikes) but the Mudcats got only a solo homer from David Cook (#2) and four singles and lost, 5-1. Two of those singles came from Costanzo (.313).
Transactnotes: 4/24: OF Quintin Berry signed as a free agent and activated. Berry, 26 (born precisely seven days after current Carolina OF Felix Perez), was a fifth-round pick in 2006 by Philadelphia out of San Diego State University. The L/L batter/thrower had success with the bat as well as his batting eye in the lower minors, but faded a tad to .266/.355/.335 in 2009 with Double-A Reading (although the Phillies still put him on the 40-man roster after the season, then was designated for assignment mid-year in 2010 from the same club after hitting .210/.312/.294 in 66 games. He was claimed on waivers by the Padres and hit .209/.293/.264 for Double-A San Antonio. Berry has hit just fourteen career professional homers, instead relying on his speed. His career high for stolen bases in a season is 55 in Low-A (2007); he turned in 51 the next year and 48 the year after that. Last year, he swiped twenty-seven in thirty-five attempts on the rare occasion he made it to first. If Berry can get on base like he did through 2009, he’ll be an asset of the kind the Mudcats don’t really have right now. If he does his Willy Taveras impression (2010), it’s going to be ugly if he’s batting near the top of the order.
Also 4/24: RHS Jordan Hotchkiss placed on the 7-day DL with “rotator cuff inflammation”. OF Fred Lewis to Louisville. 4/27: RHS Dallas Buck to Louisville; RHS Matt Klinker down from Louisville.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 4-2.
Overall: 12-8, third place, two games behind San Jose (SF).
4/21: Righty Lance Janke has had it pretty rough since his solid 2009 in Dayton; he crashed to a 6.44 ERA as a swingman at High-A Lynchburg in 2010. He then was blasted for fifteen runs in his first two starts of 2011. However, he came roaring back to life this time out, firing six no-hit innings against Inland Empire (LAA) and leading the Blaze to a 14-3 rout. Janke struck out eight (W 1-1, 7.98). His bullpen was less successful, but they didn’t have to be perfect with 21 hits of support from the lineup. C Yasmani Grandal showed he’s not long for the California League, going 4-for-4 with a pair of homers (#4 and #5, .341/.463/.795). DH Stephen Hunt was 3-for-5 with five RBI and his second home run in as many games with the Blaze. 2B Henry Rodriguez had three hits and two RBI (.385). CF Ryan LaMarre, off to a rough start, did steal a pair of bags (5) while going 1-for-4 with two walks and a run scored.
4/22: The Blaze administer another stomping to the 66ers, this time a 15-1 affair. Josh Ravin permitted all of one hit in six innings (W 1-0, 1.56, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K). RF Stephen Hunt was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a grand-slam homer- that’s three bombs in three games! 2B Henry Rodriguez was 4-for-6 with four RBI (.408). LF Josh Fellhauer added three hits and two runs scored (.394).
4/23: The Inland Empire 66ers came into this three-game series hosting the Blaze with an 8-6 record; three games later, they’re 8-9 and fresh off being outscored 37-6. Bakersfield 8, Inland Empire 2, behind Pedro Villareal’s fourth straight win (4-0, 2.16, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). C Mark Fleury doubled twice and scored twice (.200) and Campbell was 3-for-5 with two RBI (.484). Hunt didn’t manage a home run, but he did go 2-for-4 with a triple, walk, and two RBI; he’s still batting .563.
4/25: The Blaze drew twelve walks off the wild Visalia (ARI) pitching staff, but they were held to three hits and got routed, 9-3. Curtis Partch started and lost (L 0-3, 4.98, 5 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 HR). Yasmani Grandal drew five straight walks; that’s fifteen in fourteen games.
4/26: Bakersfield closer Doug Salinas served up a pair of ninth-inning runs to blow the save opportunity, but the Blaze got knocks from Carlos Mendez and Josh Fellhauer and a game-winning base hit from Grandal in the bottom of the inning to win it, 6-5. Salinas evened his record at 1-1 despite seeing his ERA climb to 8.59. Starter JC Sulbaran again lasted five innings (5.12, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, BK). Mace Thurman turned in two scoreless (2.61, 1 H, 3 K) and Scott Gaffney took care of the eighth (8.00, 1 H, 1 K). Campbell is still hitting .471 through 19 games (2-for-3, 2B, BB, 2 R, RBI). Mendez was 2-for-4 with two runs scored (.275) and Fellhauer raised his average to .390 (2-for-5, 2B). Every player in the Blaze lineup picked up at least one hit.
4/27: Ohhh, ugly. Bakersfield led 7-4 going to the top of the ninth, but the Rawhide exploded for six runs off Drew Bowman (L 1-1, 5.63, 0 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HB) and Salinas (BS #2, 1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER). They did it with small stuff- a strikeout/reach on a passed ball, a ground single, a walk, another Mark Fleury passed ball (number three of the game), a hit batter, two more ground singles, a sacrifice bunt, an infield hit, and a forceplay/error on Henry Rodriguez. Six runs from that. Anyway, Visalia took it 10-7. Lance Janke wasn’t as good as the previous time, but he did okay (7.52, 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K). Clayton Shunick continues to pitch well out of the bullpen (2.38, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Josh Fellhauer needs a promotion; he hit a three-run homer (#3), drove in five runs, and went 3-for-4. He is now batting .407. CF Andrew Means is catching up to Dayton’s Billy Hamilton; he swiped two more bags, running his total to 15 (out of 16 attempts). Means was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk and is batting .342. Hunt was 3-for-5 with a RBI (.520).
Transactnotes: 4/21: RHS Lance Janke activated from Billings. RHS Ryan Smith to Billings. 4/25: DH Chris Richburg activated from the DL. 4/26: OF Ryan LaMarre placed on the 7-day DL.
3B Eric Campbell won the California League’s Offensive Player of the Week award for April 7-17, hitting .500 with two homers and 12 RBI. Campbell also got BA's "Blast from the Past"; turns out the former Brave was the 2005 Appalachian League MVP.
C Yasmani Grandal made the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for April 15-21, going 12-for-24 with five homers.
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 5-1.
Overall: 11-9, third place behind Great Lakes (LAD).
4/21: Even though Tim Crabbe was supposed to be slated for the bullpen, he drew the start against Great Lakes (LAD) for this one. He didn’t disappoint, firing five innings of one-hit shutout ball (W 1-1, 2.61, 2 BB, 3 K) as the Dragons took their fifth straight, 2-0. Pat Doyle added three innings of shutout ball (2.19, 2 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and Drew Hayes struck out the Loons in the ninth for save #1 (2.45). SS Billy Hamilton committed error #7, but also doubled, walked, and scored a run. (.276). 3B David Vidal was 2-for-3 with a double, walk, and RBI (.292). 1B Dominic D’Anna doubled in the other Dragons run (.341).
4/22: Make it six! More fantastic starting pitching, this time from Dan Renken (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) to keep the Dragons in the game until a three-run seventh wiped out a 1-1 tie. Blaine Howell managed to wriggle out of a ninth-inning jam for save #3 (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER), giving the 5-4 win to James Wolford (1-0, 5.63, 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). LF Jaren Matthews was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a triple, and two RBI. DH Donald Lutz hit homer #4 and D’Anna was 3-for-5.
4/23: For a seventh straight game the Dragons’ starter dominated; Josh Smith permitted the Loons two hits over six (1.17, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). He left up 2-1, but Great Lakes tied the score in the seventh off Ezequiel Infante. Only Jaren Matthews’ gunning down of the would-be go-ahead run at home preserved the tie. Chad Rogers escaped a two-on jam to preserve the tie in the eighth, but a trio of singles in the ninth gave him the loss (1.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and the Loons the stop of the winning streak. Lutz homered again (#5, .345, 2-for-4, 2 R) and SS Devin Lohman pushed his average to .250 with a 2-for-3; he’s hit in nine of his last ten and six straight (12-for-33, .364). CF Yorman Rodriguez doubled in a run, stole third (#5) and drew a walk, but he’s still struggling early with a .175/.230/.316 line.
4/24: Off. Usually the Midwest League plays on Sundays; this seems unusual.
4/25: Back-to-back strong starts for Daniel Corcino; he evened his record at 2-2 with five solid (5.30, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) and RF Juan Duran pounded his second homer, a two-run blast, in a 3-1 Dayton victory over West Michigan (DET). Jason Braun (4.82, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K), Drew Hayes (2.16, 1 IP, 1 K) and Blaine Howell (save #4, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 1.86) finished up neatly. Hamilton was 0-for-4 (.254) with error #8. Duran is up to .220/.319/.415, albeit with 19 Ks in 13 games; that’s better than his outfieldmate Rodriguez (1-for-3, R, .183/.234/.317). Both have tons upon tons of time to figure it out, of course. Juan is 19 and Yorman won’t turn that age until August.
4/26: Tanner Robles kept the Dragons’ streak of excellent starts going (W 2-1, 5.87, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, WP, 2 HB) and Dayton got a hit from everyone in their starting lineup save Billy Hamilton (who struck out his first three times up but walked and swiped second and third- 16 now- when he did get on) to whip the Whitecaps 7-3. Matthews hit his second homer and D’Anna was 2-for-2 with a double and walk (.364). Good relief work from Pat Doyle (1.88, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 1 K) and Jamie Wolford (save #1, 4.50, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K) locked down the win. The victory put Dayton over .500 at 10-9 for the year.
4/27: It’s another winning streak- the Dragons take their third straight, 6-2. Dan Tuttle went six (2-0, 4.57, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). Tim Crabbe set down nine straight, six by strikeout, for the long save (2.02). Yorman Rodriguez hammered a three-run homer, #2, added a single, stole bag #6, and scored twice (.206). Nice to see Rodriguez bounce back from last week's slump; it was bad enough to put him in the Not-So-Hot section of BA's Prospect Hot Sheet, a few paragraphs below Zach Cozart.
Transactnotes: 4/24: INF Frank Pfister to Louisville to fill in for the called-up Chris Valaika.
Video footage of Billy Hamilton’s inside-the-park home run. Hamilton also made the BA Prospect Hot Sheet's "In the Team Photo".