Buffalo 5 Columbus 1
Ricky Romero was on tonight as he pitched six innings of one run, three walk baseball. Romero struck out seven for good measure. Pitch count forced Romero from the game, but he finished strong striking out the last three batters he faced. A nice note for those of us who have grown accustomed to Romero being forced from games due to simple ineffectiveness. Tonight’s start is somewhat of a makeup start for Romero as his last two outings (one plagued by sickness) were poor. He still walks a bunch and doesn’t seem to be generating the strike out numbers you might like to see for a guy of his stuff and those deep counts, but ya it’s Ricky and he’s made to frustrate.
Anthony Gose is back on the rails again at the top of the order. Gose went 1-5. A strong month here would do everyone involved well. Mind you, it shouldn’t make for conversation that he’s ready for the big time. I don’t think you can reward his season with a penciled spot on the 25 man, and it doesn’t seem like Gose grasps that you have to play 162 games in a season. Kevin Pillar, on the other hand, does as he continues to mash. He had a double today in five trips and stole a bag. Ryan Goins provided most of the offense with a homer, three RBIs, a single, and a walk.
Some relief pitching notes. Jeremy Jeffress pitched a scorelss ninth, striking out three and dialing it up to 99mph. John Stilson pitched two clean innings prior, striking out two.
New Hampshire 3 Bowie 4
Sean Nolin did not match yesterday’s thirteen strikeout performance by Marcus Stroman. Stroman according to this piece, struck out more batters in the month of July (55 in 40 innings) than any pitcher in either the Major Leagues or the Minor Leagues. Very impressive. The critical eye of many Batter’s Box readers and pseudo scouts (aren’t we all) have pointed to a rather high number of homeruns allowed. For those who haven’t seen Stroman in action, Stroman struggles at times to create downward action with his fastball. It is a function of his height (5’9) and an almost drop and drive delivery, which engages his lower half and lessens the burden on his arm, yet also lowers his release point ever so slightly with the effect that his pitched fastball lacks the plane you would like to see. There are those here at Da Box that point to his lowered HR/9 rate in recent outings as proof that Stroman is learning to mitigate the HR. Perhaps that is the case. I don’t know if he’ll ever be homerun proof. Pitchers make mistakes all the time, and the beauty of someone such as Noah Syndergaard is that mistakes more often than not end in a single and not a souvenir for the guy in right field two beers deep yelling “JO-SE.” Stroman will obviously need to continue his decreased HR/9 as he advances and especially if he wants to be pitching in a big league rotation.
I, on the hand, might advise that readers learn to live with this blemish rather than wish for something in Stroman that simply may not be achievable. Stroman will compete, strike people out while walking few, be fun to watch, and surely will generate some sort of fan craze do to his height and down to earth nature. He has shown so far that he is not J.P Arencibia—yes, calling out radio broadcasters for pointing out your poor performance on multiple occasions claiming that they were polluting fans and weakening the fan base does not exactly count as down to earth. It means you’re delusional. Nor does blaming just about everyone but yourself for what has got to be one of the more epic declines. Yes, I’m looking at you Ricky Romero. And taking to twitter to tell Syracuse International Airport to “figure their life out” because a cab wasn’t waiting for you does not smack of down to earth-ness Monsieur Lawrie. Sure, you’re now saying I should live with these players’ blemishes. Well, if that’s a criticism, I won’t hear it and I won’t respond to it.
Yes, back to Sean Nolin. While Nolin’s final line of five innings pitched, five hits, three earned runs (one homerun allowed), two walks, and eight strikeouts was not his best. He did bounce back from a rough second inning when all three runs scored to record eight batters in a row at one point. So chalk this start up as encouraging signs from a hopeful starting pitching prospect.
At the plate, Kenny Wilson had two hits (please see previous Minor League Report for Wilson discussion), Andy Burns homered for the second night running, and catcher Jack Murphy went 3-4 with a homerun in a losing effort. A.J. Jimenez, on the other hand, has cooled quite a bit since his hot return from Tommy John. The difference tonight was a lone run in the seventh inning of Ryan Tepera—who seems to be pitching out of the bullpen now.
Dunedin 5 Bradenton 1
Off the top here, I’d like to point out that for someone who has walked more people than he has struck out, Justin Jackson has a pretty low ERA. I guess allowing just one homerun helps. To the game at hand where John Anderson, Dayton Marza, Blake McFarland, the aforementioned Justin Jackson, and Wil Browning combined to pitch nine innings of five hit, one run baseball. Mike Crouse had three hits, Jorge Flores had two RBIs, and Shane Opitz stole three bases to go along with a solitary hit. Opitz, besides hitting .300 this year, has also played all four infield positions. He probably won’t ever pop up on any prospect radars, but I imagine he makes it and has more success than a lot of those top 100 guys.
Lansing 2 South Bend 3 Game One
Doubleheader today for Lansing where two 2013 draftees made starts. In game one Kendall Graveman had “sinker, curveball, change-up, you name it,” working today according to Lansing play-by-play guy Jesse Goldberg-Strassler. Graveman pitched five innings, allowing just one run on two hits. He struck out two. The Lansing squad didn’t get much offense and were walked off in the eighth. Dwight Smith Jr. and Emilio Guerrero had two hits apiece.
Lansing 12 South Bend 6 Game Two
The bats among for this one as the Lansing squad cobbled together twenty-one hits. Smith Jr. had four, Guerrero had three, Christian Lopes had three, Santiago Nessy had three, and Jordan Leyland had three. Smith Jr, Lopes, and Kevin Patterson all homered. Matt Boyd, making his first professional start pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three.
Hillsboro 4 Vancouver 3
Dickie Thon doubled and had two RBIs and Kyle Anderson pitched well over six innings, however, Vancouver was topped by the visiting Hops. Anderson has pitched well out of the Vancouver rotation this year and tonight was no different as he allowed just three runs (two earned) in six innings of work. He struck out four and walked two. The Canadians’ offense failed to hit with runners in scoring position as they went a collective 1-14 on the night. The Canadians will need to play better baseball here as they failed to qualify for the playoffs during the first half of the season and will now need to qualify here in the second half if they have any intention of pursuing a third straight Northwest League Championship.
Bluefield 4 Elizabethton 2
Yeesh, D.J. Davis struggled against some left-hand pitching tonight. Davis accomplished the impressive feat of striking out five times in one game—the platinum sombrero. He went 0-5. Left-handed hitting Derrick Loveless, who was really hot there for a bit and has since cooled considerably, did handle the left handed pitching, stroking two singles. Mitch Nay and Nico Taylor also had two hits and Matt Dean drove in two. Starter Tim Mayza was fairly wild. He walked three in four innings and also tossed a wild pitch. The two hits he did concede occurred in the third inning where he allowed two runs and got out of the inning on a play at home where the runner after stealing third attempted to nick home as well presumably and was tagged out by Mayza himself. Winning pitcher Justin D’Alessandro recorded all of his outs in his two innings of work by way of the strikeout.
GCL Blue Jays 3 GCL Braves 4
Gabriel Cenas had a day. He went 3-4 with two homeruns. This was not enough to stave off defeat as the GCL Braves got to Tyler Gonzales in the sixth and seventh innings. Gonzales did not help himself as he committed a throwing error on a pickoff play during his inning and two-thirds work. This was a shame really as starter Chris Rowley pitched five strong innings of one run baseball.
DSL Brewers 10 DSL Blue Jays 13
On today’s evidence, just about everyone with a bat down there at the Blue Jays’ Dominican Republic complex should be making the trip stateside. Richard Urena walked three times and has shown a surprising amount of patience for a bonus baby seventeen year-old. Deiferson Barreto had four hits and for a team that generated ten runs, the DSL squad only hit for extra bases twice (two doubles).
3. Dwight Smith Jr.
2. Ricky Romero
1. Gabriel Cenas