Man, it feels like it's been such a long time since my last minor league recap. Many thanks to the rest of the team for filling in while I took a much-needed vacation up the coast.
Exercise Your Civic Duty
Voting is underway for the Triple-A All-Star Game. You can head to the ballot by clicking here. The ballot isn't as ridiculous as the MLB ballot. Players don't have to have been on the Opening Day roster, for instance (RedHawks First Baseman is there), and more than one player can qualify from each team at an individual position (Brandon Laird and Jimmy Paredes are both listed at third base). Also, you can vote for pitchers. So for god's sakes, go do it.
On Again, Off Again
The Lancaster Jethawks swept the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) in a four-game set that began on May 23rd. Why is that significant? Because the day before - May 22nd - was their last day off before the California League vs. Carolina League All-Star Game break, beginning June 17th. The Jethawks began the stretch with an eight-game winning streak (plus one game before the day off made it nine), then won three out of four against Visalia. On the thirteenth day of the marathon, after traveling about 167 miles north to Stockton, they began to fade.
After that initial 11-of-12 stretch, they've now lost four in a row. They've got three more left in San Jose before they make the 321-mile trip back to Lancaster... all told, they will have played in 26 straight games and traveled - including commutes to and from Southern Division opponents - approximately 2,075.3 miles.
I'm not making excuses for them, nor do they need excuses made for them. But it's important to remember that a lot of these young players are still getting used to the grind of professional baseball. These aren't major league games, either. They're not staying in nice hotels and taking private charters. They're riding in buses, getting little sleep, and often commuting back and forth great distances (Lake Elsinore is over 100 miles from Lancaster), even between individual games in a series.
Countdown at T-Minus Ten And Counting...
On June 17th, the Tri-City ValleyCats begin the defense of their Stedler Division championship at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, hosting the Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK).
The Greeneville Astros will have to wait a little longer. They open on the road on June 20th against the Bluefield Blue Jays (TOR) before their home opener, Sunday 6/23 at Pioneer Park against the Elizabethton Twins (MIN). It will be Josh Bonifay's first game as manager of the Astros, after previously serving as their hitting coach in 2011, and the hitting coach in Lexington in 2012. Cesar Cedeno and Corey O'Brien will be back, as well as a new face in pitching coach Josh Miller, a former Astors and Phillies farmhand (and Bonifay's teammate in Corpus Christi in 2006).
The GCL Astros won't get into action until June 21st.
What Happened Was...
Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Asher Wojciechowski pitched seven strong shutout innings before ceding the game to the bullpen, beginning with Jason Stoffel, who walked two in an inning, but allowed no runs. Then Jose Valdez took the ball and the whole damn thing went in the crapper. He gave up two runs to cede the walkoff win, 2-1, to the Omaha Storm Chasers (KCR), as the offense couldn't get things going against the Royals' #3 prospect, Yordano Ventura.
Oklahoma City: 32-26, 2nd (1.0 GB) - Pacific Coast League American Southern Division
- CF Robbie Grossman - 0/2, R, 2 BB, SB
- 2B Jake Elmore - 0/4, 2 K, E
- 1B RedHawks First Baseman - 0/4, 2 K
- 3B Brandon Laird - 1/4, 2 K
- DH Fernando Martinez - 1/4, 2 K
- RHP Asher Wojciechowski - 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 WP
- RHP Jason Stoffel - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
- RHP Jose Valdez - 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, BK
- CF George Springer - 1/4, 2B, R, K
- 2B Jose Martinez - 1/3, R, RBI, 2 BB, K
- 1B Jonathan Singleton - 0/3, RBI, 2 K
- DH Erik Castro - 0/3, R, BB, 3 K
- LF Michael Burgess - 0/2, 2 BB, K
- C Max Stassi - 0/3, R, HBP
- SS Jiovanni Mier - 1/3, RBI, BB, K
- RHP Ruben Alaniz - 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
- RHP Andrew Robinson - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Jorge De Leon - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB (1 IBB), 5 K
- LHP Kenny Long - 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
- RHP Matt Heidenreich - 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- 2B Delino DeShields - 1/5, K, SB
- SS Nolan Fontana - 1/3, 3B, R, BB, E
- CF Andrew Aplin - 1/4, RBI, K
- 1B Telvin Nash - 0/4, 2 K
- DH Chris Epps - 1/3, HR, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
- RHP Tyson Perez - 4.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 5 BB, 0 K, HBP, 2 WP
- RHP Jonas Dufek - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, HBP, WP
- RHP Michael Dimock - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Travis Ballew - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- CF Ruben Sosa - 0/3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB, K, SB
- SS Carlos Correa - 3/4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB, E
- DH Miles Hamblin - 0/5, 4 K
- RF Ariel Ovando - 1/2, R, K, SB, OF Assist
- RHP Vincent Velasquez - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
- RHP Jamaine Cotton - 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- RHP Gerardo Sanchez - 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- CF Luis Payano - 0/1, 3 BB
- 2B Arturo Michelena - 1/3, BB
- 3B Randy Cesar - 1/3, BB, K
- RF Brauly Mejia - 1/4, HR, R, RBI
- SS Kristian Trompiz - 0/2, 2 BB
- LHP Geronimo Franzua - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 1 K
- RHP Carlos Vasquez - 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
- RHP Yonquelys Martinez - 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K