Lance McCullers falling to the Astros with the 41st selection last year felt like fate. It was a vindication of the strategy that Jeff Luhnow and his team rolled the dice with, selecting Carlos Correa first overall to open up their bonus pool for overslot signings later on, and McCullers- who I had ranked in my top ten prospects in the class at the time- was the perfect opportunity to capitalize on the Correa savings. It continues to look like destiny, McCullers has been a terror for low A hitters since his pro debut, and Saturday night was more of the same. He carved up the Peoria Chiefs for five frames, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out six and allowing just one run, bringing his season ERA to 1.71. Now through 31 and 2/3 innings in A ball, McCullers has accumulated 35 strikeouts against 12 walks, and is yet to allow a home run. The future is bright for Lance, who could see Houston as early as 2015 if all goes according to plan.
River Bandits Play 3rd, 4th Games in Two Days, Split Doubleheader with Peoria
The life of a minor league ball player is not easy, and the Quad Cities club knows that better than anyone. After losing twice on Friday, the team was tasked with playing two more games on Saturday and performing admirably, splitting the twin bill behind a clutch hit from Terrell Joyce in game two to send the River Bandits to a 3-2 victory. Carlos Correa reached base three times in game one, and Teoscar Hernandez stole his 11th base of the season. Michael Dimock turned in a very nice pitching performance in game one as well, striking out three in three innings while allowing only a solo home run, and no other baserunners.
Duffy Homers for Second Straight Game, JetHawks Win Again
Yesterday, Lancaster scored 19 runs on 16 hits, and today they were at it again- posting 10 runs on just 7 knocks. Matt Duffy, quietly enjoying a solid year, hit his sixth home run after posting his fifth on Friday, and Tyler Heineman was 1 for 2 with a walk to raise his average to .325. David Rollins closed the game out in style to earn the win, allowing just one baserunner in four innings while whiffing four Ports. Addison Russell, a top 20 overall prospect, hit a home run off of Tyson Perez for the other side.
Folty Impresses, Springer Extends Homer Lead as Hooks Win
George Springer has been largely George Springer this year, displaying electric tools but struggling with contact, but Saturday night he was in the zone. The Astros #3 prospect had three hits, including a double and his minor league leading 12th home run to raise his batting average to .292. Enrique Hernandez also homered, and Michael Foltynewicz allowed just one unearned run on two hits and no walks in four frames to close out the victory and earn a save, adding one strikeout.
RedHawks Fall as Seaton Continues to Flounder
Ross Seaton has plodded through the Astros' system since being a third round selection in 2008, but he's been stopped in his tracks by AAA hitting so far. Last night was far from his worst performance, but it still saw him allow seven baserunners and three runs in five innings while striking out just one, lowering his ERA to 9.38. Jonathan Villar had two hits and a walk and Che-Hsuan Lin added his first homer of the season, but OKC fell 6-4 to drop their season record to a still impressive 22-13.
Quad Cities River Bandits (A)
Teoscar Hernandez- 1 for 4, BB, SB, CS, 3 K
Carlos Correa- 2 for 5, 3 BB, 3 K
Ariel Ovando- 0 for 4, BB, K
Lance McCullers, Jr. - 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K
Mitchell Lambson- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Lancaster JetHawks (A+)
Nolan Fontana- 1 for 3, BB
Andrew Aplin- 1 for 4
MP Cokinos- 0 for 3, BB, K
Preston Tucker- 1 for 4, 2 K
Tyler Heineman- 1 for 2, BB
Telvin Nash- 0 for 4, 4 K
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
Jiovanni Mier- 1 for 5, 2 K
Rene Garcia- 1 for 4, K
George Springer- 3 for 4, 2B, HR
Domingo Santana- 0 for 3, BB, K
Mike Foltynewicz- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K
Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA)
Jonathan Villar- 2 for 4, BB, K
Jake Elmore- 0 for 5, K
Brett Wallace- 1 for 4, BB, K
Marc Krauss- 1 for 3, BB
Carlos Perez- 2 for 3, BB, K (hitting .346)
Austin Wates- 3 for 4, SB
Ross Seaton- 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HRA