Minor League Recap: Games of May 16, 2014

Tony Kemp

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

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 6-5 win over Nashville (MIL)

-> Adron Chambers: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 3 RBI
-> Jonathan Meyer: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R
-> Robbie Grossman: 2-for-5, R, 2 2B
-> Enrique Hernandez: 2-for-5
-> Erik Castro: 1-for-3, R
-> Domingo Santana: 1-for-4, BB, SB, RBI
-> Max Stassi: 1-for-4, 2B, R
-> Ronald Torreyes: 0-for-2, BB, R
-> Jon Singleton: 0-for-4, BB

SP David Martinez: 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 K
RP Chia-Jen Lo: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K (win)
RP Bobby Doran: 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 0 K (hold)
RP Jason Stoffel: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (save)

For those wondering, Grossman is hitting .276/.356/.410 since being sent down. He's walking, but there's not a great deal of power, and he's striking out a little more than you'd like (23 in 27 games) for a guy as experienced as him.

It's interesting to me how good Singleton has been recently. Within the last few games, I felt like he had fallen off, and he sort of has, but he's still hitting .273/.415/.515 with just as many walks as strikeouts during his last ten games. You could say that being effective, competitive and a solid contributor during times when you're not on fire is a sign of being ready, or close to it.

One of our writers in the email thread today noted that Santana had been striking out a lot less recently. Good job jinxing it, man. Gosh. Odd fact; he has actually had a steal in back-to-back games. That's...well, that probably won't ever happen again. Sadly he couldn't extend his games-with-a-homer streak to four, but the three he hit in the previous three days doubled his season total to six, and he's now hitting .295/.360/.494 with 11 doubles, a triple and six bombs in 42 games.

By the way, Subber10 was scouting the game tonight in person, and he noticed that Lo's fastball velocity was 81-85 MPH, and the curve was 62-66 MPH. Yikes. You have to wonder if he's injured yet again, or if all the injuries have just worn his arm out or something.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 9-7 loss to Midland (OAK)

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

SP David Rollins: 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Brady Rodgers: 4.2 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K (loss)
RP Patrick Urckfitz: 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Corpus led 5-1 heading into the sixth inning, then Midland scored eight runs in the final four frames. Man.

Guh. Brady, it hurts man. I'm your big defender bro, get well soon or something! In his first five games he posted a 1.61 ERA; his ERA during his last five games is 6.47. His walk rate is still elite, but it looks like he's working on some things and trying to adjust.

Fontana wasn't walking much for a while, a good, long, odd while, but he has eight in his last three games. The month of May has seen a sort of quiet rebound for him; he's hit .316/.480/.447 during the month, but the lack of flashes of power or a large number of multi-hit games has kind of kept it off the radar. His overall season slash line of .268/.390/.402 is not terrible at all for a guy taking his first crack at AA.

Aplin's May breakout (actually he hit fairly well in April, it just wasn't really loud) continues with his fifth multi-hit game in his last 10. He's up to .304/.424/.405 on the season, and is showing a little more pop with 10 total XBH, but he's definitely a lower-powered lead off man if he can make it in the Majors. I'd like to see him improve his base stealing; after going 4-for-8 in April, he's seemed a little gun shy, perhaps, this month, and has only attempted to steal once (he was successful, at least).

First May homer for Tucker! That's a nice sign, as it's clear the month hasn't been too kind to him; he's hitting just .230/.309/.344 even after the homer for May, after hitting .295/.357/.552 back in April.

DeShields is scuffiling, meanwhile, have whiffed nine times in his last five games.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 14-7 win over Rancho Cucamonga (LAD)

-> Anthony Kemp: 4-for-6, 2B, 2 SB, 3 R
-> Bobby Borchering: 3-for-4, BB, 2B, 3B, R, 4 RBI
-> Jordan Scott: 2-for-3, 2 BB, 2 R
-> Roberto Pena: 2-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 2-for-6, HR, SB, R, 5 RBI
-> Carlos Correa: 2-for-6, SB, 2 RBI, 2 R
-> Rio Ruiz: 1-for-3, 2 R, 3 BB
-> Daniel Gulbransen: 1-for-5, R
-> Danry Vasquez: 0-for-4, BB, R

SP Gonzalo Sanudo: 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP J.D. Osborne: 1.1 IP, 3 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 0 K (save)
RP Jamaine Cotton: 3.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Daniel Minor: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K

Hey hey, check it out, after the breakout in Quad Cities, Sanudo is getting a crack at the next level. How cool would it be for him to keep developing and become something good? Luhnow would have made the Mike Kvasnicka pick work out in the end. He did give up a homer tonight, but the peripherals should draw the focus. Let's see how he adjusts to the harsh environment in the future.

I'm not usually one to call for promotions, but if anyone has earned it, it's Kemp, right? I mean, I get that the California League inflates numbers, but dang, he couldn't be more on fire. He's hitting almost .500 in May. Five hundred.

Captain Correa is starting to warm back up now, with 14 hits in his last ten games. He had struck out just five times in nine games leading up to tonight's unfortunate three whiff performance.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 4-2 loss to Kane County (CHC)

-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-2, 3B, R, 2 BB
-> Brett Phillips: 1-for-4, R
-> Brian Holberton: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Chan Moon: 1-for-4, SB
-> Jack Mayfield: 0-for-3, RBI

SP Chris Lee: 6.0 IP, 3 R (1 ER), 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K (loss)
RP Tyler Brunnemann: 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K

If you've been sleeping on Chris Lee, it's time to wake up. This was the best outing of the season for him, and possibly the best of his career to date. The numbers above are clear enough, but lower down in the box score, we also see some fine print; groundouts-flyouts 10-1. Ten ground outs and eight strikeouts. That's about as much of the New Astros Way as you can get in a game. By the way, Lee has allowed two earned runs in an outing once, and three once; other than that, it's all been one or no run outings.

He currently has a 2.65 ERA, 5.03 BB/9 and 7.15 K/9. Clearly the walk rate is an issue, but 10 of his 19 walks came in just two of his outings; like many young pitchers, things can still get away from him at times. But the strides he has made and is making are impressive. Given his age, if he really continues to break out, don't be shocked to see him finish the season in Lancaster, ala Velasquez last year.

Another guy you'll want to start keeping a closer eye on if you haven't yet is Holberton. He's a college catcher with a good defensive reputation and some upside with the bat, and he's showing it so far. He was only playing sporadically at first, but he's earned his way into the lineup much more consistently thanks to his hitting. He's slashing .333/.390/.500 over his last ten games, and is hitting .307/.369/.467 with six doubles, a pair of dingers and just 10 strikeouts in 22 games on the season. As a left-handed hitter, he's been decimating righties but really struggling against southpaws.

And just look at Brunnemann. Does his humanity know no bounds? In the midst of fanning everyone left and right, he decided to allow the other team to feel good about themselves by scoring a run off him. Despite this act of kindness, he still has a mere 1.29 ERA, to go along with a 2.14 BB/9 and 9.86 K/9 on the season. What heart. What dignity! Completely, utterly, definitely true story; a source with knowledge of the situation recently told TCB that the Astros called Brunnemann up to Lancaster, but Brunnemann had to refuse on account of the needy children in Davenport he's taken under his wing. Once, and only once, they get on their feet again, will he accept said promotion to the California desert, where he will immediately begin planting trees and digging wells to make the harsh environment more habitable for those displaced by natural disasters. I don't know about you folks, but Tyler Brunnemann is change I can believe in.

Apparently the only thing he can't do is help Conrad Gregor hit a homer, amirite?

Alright, I'm stopping, promise.

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Rudy Owens vs. Michael Blazek
AA: Matthew Heidenreich vs. Shawn Haviland
A+: Lance McCullers vs. Jharel Cotton
A-: Andrew Thurman vs. Tyler Skulina

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