It's Opening Day again in the minor leagues! Tonight the New York-Penn League gets started so the Low-A Short Season Tri-City ValleyCats will begin their season. In 2010, the Cats won their first NYPL Championship and failed to make the playoffs in 2011. Last season, the team enjoyed one of it's best seasons but failed to finish it off with a championship and lost in the finals. This season looks to be another strong team that will attempt to replicate the teams recent success.
The actual roster has yet to be updated on the team's site, but a preliminary roster has. I suspect a lot of changes in that roster as it's pretty heavy in position players and light in pitchers. As players like Andrew Thurman become officially signed, things will change a bit. Good to see Adrian Houser, Michael Feliz, Kevin Comer, and Jose Fernandez there. All are very young with high ceilings.
In other news, a pitcher I expected to see on this roster is not. And for what reason? Oh, I don't know....perhaps he went under the knife again! Yes, that is correct. Jack Armstrong Jr. had another surgery. This time it's on his shoulder where he had a labrum tear. There are two types of injuries that have been known to shelf a pitcher, a UCL tear and labrum tears. Armstrong has now had both. Both can be recovered from, but neither is easy.
The 2011 third round pick has been through it, and hasn't thrown a single professional pitch. It's possible that he never does. If he does, great! However, it's very unlikely that he'll be a ML pitcher. That's disappointing considering his stuff.
But, this is an example of why mechanics are so important. This is why you saw the Astros draft pitchers with clean mechanics this year. Poor mechanics are red flags for future injuries. Yes, there was a chance Armstrong stayed healthy. But, there was a much larger risk with him than others.
Big Innings Sinks Wojo's Big Start, Fall 9-4
Asher Wojciechowski put together one of his best starts for OkC this season yesterday, and his fourth straight strong outing. He's really starting to settle in at AAA after a string of worrisome starts. He struck out a season best (at least in AAA) eight batters and only allowed six base runners. His ERA has dropped to 3.02. We discussed on the podcast last night that he could turn into a middle of the rotation starer. Outside of Brad Peacock, he could be the most ready to pitch at ML level. However, the 40-man roster is an obstacle that will keep him down and developing. The slider is really starting to look a lot sharper and continued progress with that is what will separate him from the others.
Offensively, the RedHawks hit four home runs, all were single shots and were the only source of runs. Jonathan Villar had a huge night with two of those home runs. He's been struggling a bit after a good start. His May didn't really stand out. Last night goes a long way. Jonathan Singleton also had a memorable AAA debut.
- Asher Wojciechowski-6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR, 1-6 GO/AO, 101/67 P?S
- Eric Berger-1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
- Jose Valdez-1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 2 HR
- Philip Humber-1/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR-Huh? Relief?
- Jonathan Villar SS-3-5, 2 HR, SO
- RedHawks First Baseman DH-3-4, 2B
- Justin Maxwell RF-1-4, HR, SO-Much better than his AA stint already
- Jonathan Singleton 1B-2-4, 2 2B, SO
- Brandon Laird 3B-1-4, HR, ,SO
Regression Slaps Buchanan in 7-2 Loss
The Corpus Christi Hooks may have clinched the first half championship and guaranteed a spot in the playoffs later on, but regression doesn't skip them. Jake Buchanan may have had a run of absolute ridiculous innings without a run scored against him, but everything in baseball comes back to even out. With his six runs allowed yesterday, he now has given up eleven runs in his last two appearances. Rough...But, something to point out, he went 5 2/3 innings.
Carlos Quevedo went to the DL and Jorge De Leon did pitch five innings in a start over the weekend. Heidenreich lost his spot earlier in the season and did pitch multiple innings yesterday, but isn't stretched out anymore. Could be just trying to cover innings until help is on the way.
- Jake Buchanan-5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 9/4 GO/AO, 80/52 P/S
- Matt Heidenreich-2 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO, 4/0 GO/AO, 40/23 P/S
- Kenny Long-1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO
- George Springer CF-0-4, BB, 4 SO
- Erik Castro RF-2-4, HR, SO
- Drew Muren LF-1-3, 3B, OF Assist
- Jiovanni Mier SS-2-4, 2 SO, PO, E
JetHawks Split the Series but Clinch the First Half
Lancaster clinched the first half with their win on Saturday, but dropped Sunday's game 4-2. Aaron West struggled with his pitch count and ended up having to leave the game early. However, the offense couldn't muster up enough offense to make it a game. The Lancaster will once again have a spot in the playoffs and won't need their patented "Second-Half Hawks" this year to make a late push to get in.
- Aaron "Snacks" West-3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 3/1 GO/AO, 61/40 P/S
- Blair Walters-1 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 1/1 GO/AO, 29/20 P/S
- Cameron Lamb-1 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
- Thomas Shirley-2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1/2 GO/AO
- Ryan McCurdy C-2-3, 2B, BB
- Telvin Nash LF-1-4, 2B
Correa Continues to Improve in 5-4 Win
Carlos Correa is batting .304 with 44 RBI in full season A ball. He doesn't turn 19 until late September.— Jeff Luhnow (@jluhnow) June 17, 2013
That pretty much sums it up. He's 18 and has an OPS of .830 in Low-A ball. I'll take it! Considering how long it takes for power to develop and that being the only thing he really lacks, this is a great situation for the prospect. As a short stop, he he looks like a very good prospect who is really surging right now.
- Mike Hauschild-4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 8/1 GO/AO
- Colton Cain-3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 5/1 GO/AO
- Juan Minaya-1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR
- Teoscar Hernandez RF-2-4, SO, SB
- Carlos Correa SS-2-3, SB, 2 CS
- Jordan Scott LF-1-3, 2B, SO
- Brett Phillips CF-0-2, SO-Got a promotion