Minor League Recap: Games of April 28, 2014

Preston Tucker is making a case for a AAA promotion - Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 4-1 win over Round Rock (TEX)

-> Robbie Grossman: 2-for-4, RBI
-> Ronald Torreyes: 2-for-4
-> Carlos Perez: 2-for-4
-> Jon Singleton: 1-for-3, BB, solo HR
-> Domingo Santana: 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Gregorio Petit: 1-for-4, 2B, R
-> Andy Simunic: 1-for-4, 2B, R
-> Enrique Hernandez: 1-for-4

SP Rudy Owens: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Darin Downs: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (win)
RP Jason Stoffel: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (hold)
RP Kevin Chapman: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K (hold)
RP Josh Zeid: 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Singleton's splits are so ludicrous I don't know what to make of them, other than just chalking it up to sample size...but the sample size is slowly becoming a little too significant to completely ignore, really.

Singleton (LHB)
vs. RHP: .231/.370/.569 (.940)
vs. LHP: .481/.533/.963 (1.496)

No, that's not a typo. I triple checked it. Squinted at the screen. This is a guy who has historically, like many power-hitting lefties, had trouble against left-handed pitchers. What the heck is this? Sample size, hotness and luck have to all be factors, sure (his BAbip against LHP is .474), but he has 30 PA against lefties this year so far, and he's struck out four times. Four. That's a 13.3% strikeout rate. And a 30.4% line drive rate. Against same-side pitching. That can't be a total fluke, right?

The main concern with him in the strikeout rate against right-handers. That's where he should be feasting, right? Yet he's punching out 30.9% of the time against them. Clearly the walks and power are still there (walk rate vs. RHP is a stupid-good 18.2%), so it's not like he isn't providing a good deal of offensive value as well, but it's something to worry about if he doesn't improve; for the record, Chris Carter's career strikeout rate in AAA was just 24.4%, in a full 1,277 plate appearances.

At any rate, that was his ninth bomb on the season, in 24 games, and his 18th walk. I will say that he has 11 strikeouts in his last ten games, which means he had 18 in his first 14 games. So, slight improvement there, at least. Santana had his second long ball in three games, and now has three on the year (12 total XBH). His overall OPS is up to .836 thanks to his recent hot run and his power showing up.

Rudy Owens has strung three strong starts together now; 0.69 ERA, 0.00 BB/9 and 7.62 K/9 over those three, totalling 13 innings. Season ERA is back down under four at 3.95. He's walked just two batters all year in 27.1 innings (0.66 BB/9), both of which game in his very first start on April 3. Wow.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 11-2 win over Frisco (TEX)

-> Preston Tucker: 3-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
-> Jiovanni Mier: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R
-> Andrew Aplin: 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
-> Leonardo Heras: 1-for-3, BB, 3B, RBI, R
-> Joe Sclafani: 1-for-4, BB, 3B, RBI, R
-> Rene Garcia: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Tyler Heineman: 1-for-4, R
-> Matthew Duffy: 0-for-3, BB
-> Nolan Fontana: 0-for-4, BB, R

SP Luis Cruz: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Ruben Alaniz: 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 4 BB, 1 K
RP Michael Dimock: 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K (win)

Well, I was going to throw a picture of Singleton up top, after the homer and all the analysis. Guess it will have to be Tucker instead though, what a night. While not really a big slump, he had fallen off recently, struggling to hit for average for the last week-and-a-half or so, so tonight was good, and hopefully it will springboard him into a nice run. He now has five homers on the year in 24 games, which is rock-solid 30 HR power in terms of MLB-length schedules, so in case you were worried that the power he showed in Lancaster wasn't legit, this is a nice first month to help allay those fears. He's also struck out just once in the last four games, and just 15 times on the season.

First tater on the year for Aplin as well, woo! That brought his SLG% all the way up to .333, so yeah, there was pretty much no power to be had with him previously (just a couple of doubles). He's hitting .272 with a .419 OBP now, so just a little extra power and he'll be a force. It's early and he still has a ways to go, but unlike most people who see 4th outfielder upside, I think he can be a starting, everyday centerfielder in the Majors if things go well.

Fontana, on the other hand, yikes. He drew another walk, but he punched out three times too. He's whiffed ten times in his last six games, and is hitting just .235 on the season. The walks have kept his OBP decent at .333, but I'm seriously questioning his hit tool at this point.

And I would be remiss if I left out my boy, Luis Cruz. Shirley has rightfully (and awesomely) been getting some love from you this season, but Cruz has been right there with him in terms of performance and consistency. He allowed two runs in five innings during his first start on April 5, and since then has not allowed more than one (earned) run in any of his outings. He has a 1.69 ERA, 2.03 BB/9 and 6.75 K/9 in 26.2 innings pitched. His BAbip and GB% indicates some negative regression is due, so he still has several things to improve on, but it's been a nice start to the year for him.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 13-4 loss to High Desert (SEA)

-> Brandon Meredith: 2-for-4
-> Anthony Kemp: 2-for-5, 3B, RBI, R
-> Ruben Sosa: 1-for-3, BB, SB, RBI, R
-> Rio Ruiz: 1-for-3, BB, RBI
-> Bobby Borchering: 1-for-3, BB, RBI
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 1-for-4, BB, SB, R
-> Danry Vasquez: 1-for-4
-> Carlos Perdomo: 0-for-3, R

SP Kyle Westwood: 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 K (loss)
RP Mitchell Lambson: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Richard Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Juan Minaya: 0.2 IP, 7 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 K
RP Daniel Minor: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K

Ouch. Well, I suppose it's to be expected. They were down even before Minaya came in a melted down. With Correa out of the lineup, it's a good bit less formidable.

After striking out six times in his last three games, Hernandez was whiffless tonight, so there's that. He's also drawn a walk in each of his last four games. I think a good number of his strikeouts come from trying to be patient and taking called third strikes (Baseball America's Prospect Handbook agrees with that idea, incidentally), and I know he also expands a bit too much at times for some semi-close pitches. In other words, while he does strike out a lot, I don't think he's the type that's just up there helplessly hacking at things in the dirt all the time. He strikes me as a guy that could have things click and really take off if he polishes his approach at the plate more. It can take a while. Notice how Altuve is being more selective this year, and he's improved his walk rate noticeably and his strikeout rate dramatically?

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: Rained Out

So they were going to make up their rained out game from last Thursday today, but both games of today's double header got rained out. Now they'll try a double header tomorrow, one game on Wednesday, and another double header on Thursday. That shouldn't be too exhausting.

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Michael Foltynewicz vs. Justin Germano
AA: TBD (Shirley and Heidenreich?) vs. Andrew Werner
A+: Lance McCullers vs. Scott DeCecco
A-: Andrew Thurman vs. Tommy Burns, and TBD (Emanuel? Gustave?) vs. Eddie Campbell?

I...I don't even know...whatever.

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