Ending this roundup a day early due to impending vacation. Not a lot of excitement this week; the Bats stumble a bit, while Dayton climbs back over .500. Bakersfield is getting left in the dust by San Jose in their division, and Carolina was already there.
Next week' WMLR may be a bit late, as I'm out until Monday.
AAA Louisville Bats
This week: 2-4.
Overall: 38-29, second place, 6.5 games behind Columbus (CLE) . Down three from last week.
6/9: Wow, it must suck to play a game at 10:30 AM after a night game the evening before. But the Bats drag themselves out there to face Syracuse (WAS). The Skychiefs hung on, 4-3, as CF Brent Clevlen tripled home LF Yonder Alonso with one out in the ninth but Danny Dorn and Mike Griffin both flew out to end the game. Alonso hit homer #8 and finished 2-for-3 with a walk (.327). Zack Cozart (CALL HIM UP) had a single as a pinch-hitter, stole base #6 (third, no less) and scored a run (.323). This also *coughCALLHIMUPKOFF* extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Starter Chad Reineke struggled to return to form after doing some relief work in Cincinnati (L 5-3, 2.93, 4.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 73 pitches/48 strikes). Rehabbin’ Sam LeCure turned in a scoreless inning (1 BB).
6/10: A sixteen-hit Bat attack eventually overcame two blown leads, 6-4. Scott Carroll pitched well after serving up a three-run homer in the first (W 5-2, 4.50, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 93 pitches/52 strikes). Dave Johnson (4.81, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K), Jerry Gil (5.22, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) and Nick Christiani (save #3, 3.86, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K) finished up. C Devin Mesoraco was 3-for-5 with a triple and homer #8 as well as three RBI (.330). RF Jeremy Hermida made no outs (.362, 3-for-3, 2 BB, RBI). Cozart was 3-for-6 with a run scored (.327).
6/11: Road trippin’ it to Lehigh Valley (PHI); the Bats again score early and often and took a 7-5 lead to the bottom of the eighth, but the IronPigs got the tying runs off Steven Jackson (7.71, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) and eventually managed the winner in the bottom of the 13th off Brandon Hynick (L 1-6, 6.75, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) for the 8-7 win. Louisville got just two baserunners after the eighth- and the one they had in the ninth was swiftly erased on a strikeout-throw ‘em out double play. C Corky Miller finished 3-for-5 with a solo homer (#1, .218). Pitcher Daryl Thompson homered in his only at-bat (3.00, 4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) after coming in for Rehabbin’ Homer Bailey (1.83, 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 62 pitches/36 strikes). Rehabbin’ Sam LeCure threw a 1-2-3 ninth on just seven pitches. Cozart had two more hits, steal #7, and two more runs (.328).
6/12: LV lefty Ryan Feierabend, signed by the Phillies as a six-year free agent this past offseason, stymied the Bats on three hits and a run over seven in the IronPigs’ 6-1 win. Dontrelle Willis looked okay but lost (L 3-2, 2.67, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 98 pitches/64 strikes). CF Kris Negron had a double, run scored, and walk as well as an outfield assist (.210). LF Dave Sappelt singled him in for the only Bats run.
6/13: The Bats got three runs to tie in the fifth and sixth, blew that lead, then broke this one open with four in the eighth. Chris Mobley (save #1, 1.50, 0.2 IP) came on to get a groundout and flyout to strand two of Nick Christiani’s runners to end it in the Bats’ favor, 8-7. Juan Francisco (3-for-5, 2 R, 4 RBI, .319) whaled a three-run homer, #5, in the eighth to give Louisville a 7-5 lead. Cozart made no outs at the plate (.332, 3-for-3, 2 BB, 2 RBI, 2B) and each of the first seven hitters in the Bats lineup contributed a hit and/or run. David Johnson (W 4-1, 4.84, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HR) got the victory in relief of Crafty Tom Cochran (3.64, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K).
6/14: A solo homer by ex-Red Sox and Pirates-prospect-turned-minor-league-veteran Brandon Moss in the bottom of the eighth off Rehabbin’ Sam LeCure gave Lehigh Valley an 8-7 victory. LeCure otherwise did well in his 1.2 innings. Chad Reineke struggled badly (3.00, 4.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) although his defense didn’t help. Two errors by Valaika at second and one by Francisco at third. Dave Sappelt had a heck of a game, going 5-for-5 with two doubles and homer #5 (.364). Hermida connected for homer #5 as well.
Transactnotes: 6/9: RHR Sam LeCure activated for a rehab assignment. RHS Matt Klinker back to Carolina. 6/10: OF Brent Clevlen released after he refused a demotion to Double-A. OF Dave Sappelt activated from the DL. 6/11: RHS Homer Bailey added for rehabbin’ purposes. Also- and I missed this because it was not publicized on the Bats' website- LHR Joe Krebs was placed on the restricted list after he refused an assignment to Carolina at the end of May. He has yet to return.
No less than three Reds farmhands made the Prospect Hot Sheet for the week ending June 10- and two of them are Bats- Devin Mesoraco (12-for-27, .444/.516/.852, 5 2B, 11 RBI) and Zack “Call Me Up” Cozart (18-for-31, .581/.606/.968, 9 RBI, 9 BB).
Around the league: Baltimore optioned LHR Pedro Viola back to Double-A. The Cubs outrighted RHR Marcos Mateo to Triple-A. Colorado claimed RHR Josh Roenicke on waivers from Toronto and optioned him to Triple-A (The 28-year-old posted a 6.04 ERA in 16 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas). Detroit activated 2B William Bergolla, who returned to pro ball after two years away in 2011. He’d washed out of the San Francisco and Washington systems after leaving Cincinnati after 2006. Minnesota picked up RHP Ricky Bowen, the Reds’ 44th-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2009. He was let go in spring training this year after going 5-8, 5.38 in 19 games for Dayton in 2010 (giving up 106 hits in 82 IP). Not only did Bowen get signed, but he also got to start at High-A Fort Myers- a promotion. Tampa Bay signed RHP Jim Paduch away from Chico in the independent North American League. According to BA: “According to a league release, Jim Paduch became the first player from the independent North American League to sign with an affiliated club. What's the North American League, you ask? It combines the best elements of the Golden, Northern and United leagues. (Chico is a former Golden Baseball League franchise.) As to Paduch, the 28-year-old already has experience in affiliated ball. A Reds 12th-round pick in ’03, he (essentially) topped out in high Class A in ’06 before spending part or all of the next five years in the Northern, Frontier and North American leagues as well as the American Association.” So the guy has become a right-handed version of Tom Cochran! Paduch started with Double-A Montgomery.
AA Carolina Mudcats
This week: 1-4.
Overall: 19-46, last place, 22 games behind Tennessee (CHC). Down 3 games from last week.
6/9: New series, new chances- same results. Tennessee (CHC) whacked Pedro Villareal for five runs in five innings (L 2-1, 6.19, 8 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 HR) and cruised to a 9-3 win. Again Rehabbin’ Aroldis Chapman struggled (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 37 pitches/just 17 strikes). New callup Henry Rodriguez played shortstop instead of his usual second or third and went 1-for-2 with a RBI double after entering midgame. Eric Campbell played LF instead of 3B like he normally does and was 2-for-4 (.214). Donnie Joseph may be turning a corner- he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout and now has six straight scoreless appearances. His ERA is still 8.78 for the year (26 ER in 26.2 IP with 30 K and 10 BB).
6/10: Tennessee wins a 2-0 shutout in a game shortened to five innings (weather?) Matt Klinker started and lost (L 2-4, 4.15, 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). C James Skelton was 2-for-2 (.293).
6/11: Kyle McCulloch is hit early and often (L 1-3, 6.00, 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) as the Smokies make it three straight, 5-2. 3B Eric Campbell (.250) and CF Denis Phipps (.240) each managed two hits. Travis Webb, Tim Hamulack, and Brad Boxberger each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
6/12: After Rehabbin’ Aroldis Chapman showed encouraging signs in two innings (10.38, 2 BB, 3 K, 20 pitches/11 strikes), the Mudcats broke open a close game with four in the eighth to win going away, 8-3. James Avery worked four after Chapman’s exit (W 4-7, 5.04, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). James Adkins (3.94, 1 K), Donnie Joseph (8.46) and Hamulack (0.00, 2 H) each worked a scoreless inning. RF Felix Perez was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and an outfield assist at home (.223). Skelton drove in three with a double, Campbell was 2-for-3 with a RBI, and 3B Mike Costanzo hit homer #8.
6/13: The series finale- the Mudcats again won’t win the series, but they could salvage. Tennessee got a run in each of the first two innings, but Tim Gustafson held ‘em for the next four (L 1-6, 5.55, 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Justin Freeman took the seventh, Travis Webb the eighth. Carolina broke the shutout in the eighth when Mike Costanzo hit into a double play to score CF Quintin Berry (who’d doubled and gone to third on SS Henry Rodriguez’ bloop hit) but Smokies closer Rafael Dolis retired the Mudcats in order in the bottom of the ninth to end the game. All-Star Brad Boxberger struck out three in his inning of work to lower his ERA to 1.20. He now has 50 Ks in 30 IP while allowing twelve hits, four runs, and twelve walks. Incredible.
Transactnotes: 6/9: RHS Matt Klinker down from Louisville. INF Jose Castro to the DL with a hyperextended knee. LHR Clayton Shunick to Bakersfield. INF Henry Rodriguez up from Bakersfield. 6/14: LHP Lee Tabor released. A 30th-round pick in 2006 out of Francis Marion University, Tabor, 26, was 0-4 with an 8.39 ERA in 21 games (three starts) in 2011. His best year was 2007, when he went 5-2, 3.12 in 43 G with 82 K in 78 IP- primarily at Dayton. RHR Jason Braun up from Dayton.
Also, it wasn’t mentioned in the transactions list on minorleaguebaseball.com, but the Reds apparently released C Chris McMurray a week or two ago. McMurray, 24, batted .179 in 19 games with Carolina in 2011. An 18th-round pick in 2008 out of UC Santa Barbara, he was a backup for Billings in 2008, Billings and Sarasota in 2009, and Lynchburg/Carolina in 2010.
As of June 13, the Mudcats have the worst record in affiliated ball at 19-45. At .297, this is thirty-one percentage points worse than the second-worst squads, Double-A Binghamton (NYM, Eastern League) at 20-41 and Low-A Clinton (SEA, Midwest League) at 21-43. Give Carolina credit- they also have the worst run differential of all of the “worst” teams in the top ten- negative 106. The 258 runs scored is mediocre/average; it’s the 364 against that sticks out.
Some positive news: on 6/14, INF Mike Costanzo was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week for 6/6-6/12. Costanzo, 27, batted .435 (10-for-23) with 3 HR.
High-A Bakersfield Blaze
This week: 2-4.
Overall: 33-32, second place, 14.5 games behind San Jose (SF). Down 4 games from last week and 8.5 over the last two (!).
6/9: C Yasmani Grandal launched a two-run homer in the first, his ninth (.279) but the Blaze could get nothing else. Meanwhile, Stockton (OAK) was held to three hits and one run through five by Josh Ravin, returning to form somewhat after a fast start and subsequent plunge (4.13, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). But the Ports got two off Tim Crabbe in the sixth with the help of a fielding error by 1B Carlos Mendez (L 1-2, 4.12, BS#1, 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) to grab a 3-2 lead and then got an insurance run in the eighth with a solo homer. They win, 4-2.
6/10: The Blaze win a hard-fought seesaw matchup, 8-7, with a run in the bottom of the ninth:
Bakersfield Bottom of the 9th
• Pitcher Change: Josh Lansford replaces Andrew Carignan.
• Ryan LaMarre grounds out, shortstop Michael Gilmartin to first baseman Chris Carter.
• Mark Fleury reaches on throwing error by pitcher Josh Lansford. Mark Fleury to 2nd.
• With Chris Richburg batting, wild pitch by Josh Lansford, Mark Fleury to 3rd.
• Chris Richburg hit by pitch.
• Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Carlos Mendez replaces Chris Richburg.
• Bakersfield Blaze first baseman Chris Richburg left the game due to an injured head.
• Alex Buchholz out on a sacrifice fly to right fielder Rashun Dixon. Mark Fleury scores.
Richburg, in addition to the self-sacrifice (he was placed on the 7-day DL with a concussion two days later), hit homer #4 earlier in the game (.261). Grandal doubled twice and drove in two (.283). SS Didi Gregorius scored three runs while going 2-for-4 with a walk, steal #3, and RBI (.319). Mark Serrano made an early exit (3.77, 3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 WP). Tyree Hayes allowed one run in two innings, then Drew Bowman walked four but also whiffed the same number (5.76, 1.1 IP). Mace Thurman struggled (3.09, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER) and Scott Gaffney permitted the tying run in the top of the ninth (W 2-3, BS #3, 6.31, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER) but ultimately came away victorious.
6/11: For the second straight game, the Blaze starter left early (Curtis Partch: 3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) but lefty Tzu-Kai Chiu covered the middle innings (W 1-1, 6.15, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) and Bakersfield scored early and often- plating runs in each of the first six innings. They win, 8-3, to take a 2-1 series lead. Gregorius lashed three more hits, scored two, and drove in one (.346, steal #4). CF Ryan LaMarre was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a RBI, and two steals (16, .269). RF Andrew Means notched two hits, a RBI, and steal #23 (.259). LF Josh Fellhauer, Grandal, and DH Stephen Hunt each added a pair of hits to a 15-hit barrage. The back-from-Carolina Clayton Shunick (1.57, 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) and Doug Salinas (7.08, 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) wrapped things up.
6/12: JC Sulbaran, after pitching so well in his two previous June starts, made it three straight early exits for Blaze starters (L 3-1, 5.02, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR) as the Ports salvaged a series split, 4-2. Good relief work from Thurman (2.97, 1.1 IP, 2 K), Bowman (5.58, 1 IP, 1 K), and Hayes (5.08, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) but Bakersfield stranded two runners in the sixth, a man at second in the eighth, and two in scoring position in the ninth. C Mark Fleury did connect for his second homer of the season and Grandal ran his average to .294 with his third straight two-hit game.
6/13: First-place San Jose (SF), dominating the Cal League’s North Division with a 45-17 record, rolled over the Blaze 6-0. Giants starter Craig Westcott ran his record to 8-0 and his ERA to 2.14 with 7.1 innings of six-hit ball. (He’s 25 and a former 30th-round draft pick who failed at Double-A last year, which is why you aren’t hearing more about him.) Lance Janke took the loss (L 4-5, 6.55, 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 9 K). Bakersfield stranded eleven men on base.
6/14: The Blaze fell just short, scoring a run in the ninth to cut San Jose’s lead to 3-2, but Didi Gregorius popped out to end the game. Fleury was 2-for-3 with a walk (.263) and Means 2-for-4 with steal #24 (.265). Josh Ravin had control issues (L 1-4, 4.18, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 1 K).Tim Crabbe again pitched well in long relief (3.75, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 HR).
Transactnotes: 6/9: INF Carlos Mendez activated from the DL. 6/11: INF Frank Pfister up from Dayton. 6/12: 1B Chris Richburg placed on the DL with a concussion (see 6/10 above).
Low-A Dayton Dragons
This week: 4-2.
Overall: 33-32, fourth place, 4.5 games behind Lansing (TOR). Down a half-game from last week.
6/9: Clinton (SEA) got two in the fifth and five in the sixth to erase a 3-0 Dragons lead and ensure a winless night for Reds minor-league affiliates, 7-4. All-Star 1B Dominic D’Anna was 2-for-3 with homer #4 and a walk (.274). Starter Daniel Corcino struck out eight LumberKings in 5.1 innings (2.77, 7 H, 2 ER, 14 BB and 76 K in 61.2 IP). The bullpen took a beating, with Dan Wolford (L 2-1, 2.61, 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K) and Blaine Howell (2.52, 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB) bearing the brunt of the comeback.
6/10: The Dragons moved back to within one of .500 by whipping Kane County (KC), 8-4. Five runs in the seventh erased a 4-3 Cougars lead. Pat Doyle (W 3-2, 3.55, 2 IP, 1 BB, 2 K) pitched two scoreless in relief of Dan Tuttle (4.87, 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) for the win. Jamie Walczak (2.19, 1 IP) and Drew Hayes (1.37, 1 IP, 3 K) finished up. Big game for DH Jaren Matthews, who went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a walk (.267). 2B Devin Lohman, struggling all year with the bat, had three singles and a RBI (.212). SS Billy Hamilton picked up two hits, a RBI, a run scored, and stolen base #50 (.232). 3B David Vidal had two hits and two runs scored (.271).
6/11: Right-hander Stalin Gerson is a 22-year-old Dominican who made 15 starts for Billings last year, posting a respectable 4.88 ERA and walking just 18 in 75.2 IP. His full-season debut saw him shut out the Cougars for six innings (4 H, 1 BB, 5 K) but leave a scoreless game. Finally the Dragons broke the stalemate in the eighth, scoring the game’s only runs on an E-6 and LF Juan Duran’s two-out, two-run infield single. Chad Rogers threw a hitless seventh and eighth (W 1-2, 3.71, 1 BB, 3 K) and Hayes a perfect ninth (save #6) to lock down a 3-0 shutout win and put the Dragons at .500 (31-31). CF Theo Bowe went 2-for-3 with a run scored and walk from the #9 spot (.261).
6/12: Dan Renken had a rare off night, leaving after four (L 2-7, 3.63, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR). The Dragons got three in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-4 after D’Anna’s two-run single (2-for-4, 3 RBI, .274) but the next four Dragons made outs to end the game with the same score.
6/13: Off day.
6/14: MAKEUP MADNESS in Fort Wayne (SD)! All-Star Josh Smith started the opener, with Kyle Lotzkar set to make his 2011 debut in the nightcap. (Lotzkar, 21, was the Reds’ supplemental-first-rounder in 2007. He made it to Dayton in 2008, but had several arm injuries that cost him all of 2009 and a big part of 2010. He was also rated the #10 prospect in the organization entering the season.) This time the gods of makeup were good to the Dragons, as Smith buzzsawed the TinCaps for six innings in game one’s 5-0 win (W 7-3, 1.59, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K) and Lotzkar struck out eight over 4.2 innings of game two (4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, HB) . He departed down 2-1, but Pat Doyle held FW for two innings (W 4-2, 3.38, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K) and Dayton got one in the sixth and two in the seventh to rally for a 4-2 victory and a series sweep! Drew Hayes notched save #7 (1.27, 2 BB, 3 K). Hamilton had three hits, three runs scored, and two stolen bases (52) on the night. His line now stands at .233/.294/.325. The doubleheader sweep pushes Dayton above .500 by a game!
Transactnotes: 6/11: RHS Stalin Gerson activated. INF Frank Pfister up to Bakersfield. 6/14: RHS Kyle Lotzkar activated. RHS Dan Tuttle sent to extended spring training. RHR Jason Braun to Carolina.
Congrats to RHS Daniel Corcino for making the BA Prospect Hot Sheet! Corcino was 1-0, 1.46 in two starts with 18 Ks in 12.1 IP.