Minor League Recap: Games of April 21, 2014

Maximus Stassi, The Longball Legionnaire - Kevin C. Cox

Your daily look at the previous night's Minor League happenings.

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 7-4 loss to Memphis (STL)

-> Ronald Torreyes: 2-for-3, BB, R
-> Gregorio Petit: 2-for-4, SB, R
-> Max Stassi: 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Domingo Santana: 1-for-3, BB, RBI
-> Robbie Grossman: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Enrique Hernandez: 1-for-4
-> Jon Singleton: 0-for-3, BB

SP Nick Tropeano: 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K
RP Kevin Chapman: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Josh Zeid: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 K (loss)
RP Jason Stoffel: 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K

It was tied after the top of the seventh, but the bullpen blew the game. Seems to be an organizational thing sometimes, doesn't it?

Three straight games with a homer for Maximus, man, Singleton's mojo must have rubbed off and Stassi picked it up in the on-deck circle. Singleton still has the seven bombs, but he's also played two more games than Stassi. They're both going bonkers. The Longball Legionnaire might be the first Astros catcher to hit thirty bombs in a year. He's got that kind of power.

Nitro showed his humanity tonight, after three straight scoreless outings. Overall, he has a 3.32 ERA, 3.79 BB/9 and 7.00 K/9, so while solid, clearly has a few things left to tighten up. Of note is that, in his five outings, the three in which he allowed no runs were also three in which he allowed no homers, but in the other two (one homer in his first outing, and two homers in this game), he's given up all seven of his runs. All three homers he's allowed have been solo shots, so they don't explain all the runs, but I think that's an area you can look at and see a need for focus; keep the ball down and in the park, and he's very successful.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 5-2 win over Midland (OAK)

-> Joe Sclafani: 2-for-4, SB, R
-> Jiovanni Mier: 1-for-2
-> Andrew Aplin: 1-for-3, BB, RBI, R
-> Preston Tucker: 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Nolan Fontana: 1-for-4, R
-> Chris Epps: 0-for-2, BB, RBI
-> Rene Garcia: 0-for-3, R

SP Brady Rodgers: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Colton Cain: 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Jorge De Leon: 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (hold)
RP Patrick Urckfitz: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (save)

Nice to see Corpus come back and win a pair of games coming off their five game skid.

Unsurprisingly, it was Tucker leading the charge. Fourth homer of the year. He has six XBH in his last eight games. A good note is that he's hanging in decently against LHP so far; while the average and OBP are much lower against them, it's still decent, and he's hitting for good power against them (.483 SLG vs. LHP).

Rodgers has been nearly unstoppable so far. Take that, everyone who thought I voted him too high on the pre-season prospect rankings! 1.61 ERA, 1.21 BB/9 and 6.85 K/9 in 22.1 innings over five outings. Lefties are hitting .333 against him, and that's about the only reason his numbers aren't better; right-handers have hit just .205 against him. I wonder if he continues to use and improve his changeup if he could do even better against southpaws.

I went back and looked at all the boxes from the season so far, and Fontana has played six games at second base and eight at shortstop (his other game was at DH). So already, we see that he's far from being exclusively a shortstop. But he's also played more 2B lately than he has shortstop. It's impossible to know if they're transitioning him to second because they don't like his glove at short, or if they're wanting him to play multiple positions to use him as a super utility guy or what, but it sure seems like something is up with him.

Aside from him not hitting, that is (.196 with a .642 OPS).

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 9-4 win over Inland Empire (LAA)

-> Anthony Kemp: 3-for-5, 2B, 3B, SB, RBI, 2 R
-> Daniel Gulbransen: 2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
-> Danry Vasquez: 2-for-4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2 R
-> Carlos Correa: 2-for-4, BB, RBI
-> Roberto Pena: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI, R
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 1-for-5, 3B, RBI, R
-> Ruben Sosa: 0-for-3, BB, R
-> Brandon Meredith: 0-for-4, BB, R

SP Lance McCullers: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Kyle Smith: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K (win)
RP Daniel Minor: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Down 4-3 heading into the ninth inning, Lancaster busted out a six spot to slap the Angels' affiliate down. Lancaster is now 12-6, and Inland Empire is 6-12. Take some comfort in that, if the La La Land semi-faithful have already turned you into an Angels hater.

Captain Correa has five hits in two days, and is hitting .294/.354/471 on the season. He has two each of doubles, triples and homers. He's also struck out just ten times in 17 games. Ruiz had 14 hits in seven games from April 11 to April 17, but he's gone hitless since then while punching out four times. Hoping to see him prevent this tiny funk from turning into a slump.

Kemp's power probably isn't real (he has a .569 SLG now, by the way), but the eleven walks and just six strikeouts in 18 games? Well, a friendly ballpark can't help you fake that. He's looking impressive so far, hitting for average and being an OBP machine. Base stealing needs a little work though (6-for-10).

McCullers has alternated between mediocre starts and scoreless ones. Overall numbers are very nice though, and once some consistency comes through, he could take off. Of note; he allowed two homers in his first appearance, but hasn't allowed one since in 15.2 innings. Also, he hasn't walked more than two in a game yet, and his BB/9 is reasonable at 3.66.

His piggyback partner, Smith, has allowed just one run in his past three outings (12 innings), and has a 2.25 ERA, 5.21 BB/9 and 9.00 K/9. The ugly walk rate is a little misleading; he walked five in three innings during his second appearance, but he's spread his six other walks out over four appearances (during which time his BB/9 is 3.60). Still not great for a guy without McCullers-esque crazy stuff, but decent. He's also allowed just nine hits in 19 innings, so I'm guessing he's getting some BAbip love as well, and he has yet to allow a homer, which is not likely to continue to be the case in the California League, so expect some regression; when it hits, we'll have a better idea of how good he's really been and what he still needs to work on.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 7-6 loss to Clinton (SEA)

-> Conrad Gregor: 3-for-5, 2B, R
-> Brett Phillips: 3-for-5, RBI
-> James Ramsay: 2-for-4, BB, 3B, SB, RBI, R
-> Tanner Mathis: 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R
-> Thomas Lindauer: 2-for-5, 2B
-> Tyler White: 1-for-2, R, 2 BB
-> Brian Holberton: 1-for-5, 2B, R
-> Brett Booth: 1-for-5

SP Evan Grills: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Michael Feliz: 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 K
RP Zach Morton: 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K (loss)

Quad Cities leading 6-5 after the top of the eighth...well, do the math. Goodness.

Feliz has been inconsistent so far, to say the least. But today was odd, being pulled after recording just two outs. Automatically you worry about injury, but I couldn't find anything on him. If anyone knows what happened, by all means, clue us in.

Phillips was in a little mini-slump, going 2-for-17 with eight strikeouts in five days, and was moved down in the lineup for this game. It seemed to work. He's hitting .317/.379/.400 on the season.

Ramsay has fallen off a bit, but he's still looking solid. Oddly, as a lefty himself, he's crushing southpaw pitchers while struggling against right-handers (though he's striking out noticeably less against righties, so there could be some BAbip hoodo at work).

Gregor is on a nice run, hitting .341/.357/.439 in his last ten games. Still wondering where the homers and walks are from the first baseman...

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: David Martinez vs. Scott McGregor
AA: Aaron West vs. Nate Long
A+: Josh Hader vs. Alex Keudell
A-: Adrian Houser vs. Eddie Campbell

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