As is becoming tradition during our off-days, we'll host a minor league thread. I had the wild idea to write up a quick notes section on each game, which quickly grew into a life of its own. Hopefully, though, you'll find some useful information in there.
Memphis Redbirds (46-37) at Round Rock Express (35-49)
David Kopp (0-2, 7.20 ERA) vs. Andy Van Hekken (4-5, 4.05 ERA)
Notes: Round Rock is 2-8 in its last 10 games and have lost seven straight, which equals its longest losing streak of the season. Memphis is 7-3 in its last 10, winning seven of its last nine games. Memphis has won six of the eight meetings between the two teams this season....Van Hekken lost his last start, giving up six runs on seven hits while striking out two in six innings against Nashville. He has pitched at least five innings in 12 consecutive starts and has lasted seven innnings in five of his last eight starts. Van Hekken leads the Express in strikeouts with 67, which puts him 11th in the Pacific Coast League....Bogusevic was named to the PCL All-Star team recently and has gone 13 for 35 in his last nine games....Drew Locke has reversed his early season fortunes, going 64 for 196 since May 5th. He has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games and has two three-hit games over that stretch....Round Rock is the only team in the PCL without a victory when trailing after seven innings. The Express and the Iowa cubs are the only teams without a victory when trailing after eight innings...Round Rock is 6-19 in its last 25 games since winning a season-high four in a row on June 10.
Corpus Christi Hooks (36-43) at Northwest Arkansas Naturals (50-30)
Henry Villar (1-4, 3.14 ERA) vs. Blake Johnson (1-1, 5.90 ERA)
Notes: Villar is starting his first game of the season. The 23-year old right-hander hasn't pitched more than two innings since June 10, but has eight strikeouts in his last seven innings and has allowed just one run in his last 13 innings. Villar started three games for Lexington last season and 13 for Greeneville in 2008...The Hooks have lost a record 10 straight games. They are averaging 1.9 runs per game over the streak and have been held to three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 11 games. The only time they scored more than three runs was in an 11-inning game against Frisco. The Hooks are 2-5 against the Naturals this season....In four appearances, including one spot start, since his return from Round Rock, Erick Abreu has not allowed a run over 11 1/3 innings. In that time, he has surrendered just three hits and two walks while striking out 12. He has reduced his Texas League ERA from 7.50 to 4.60....Michael Affronti is 8 for 17 since being signed by the Hooks, with a double and three strikeouts. He has started four games and pinch hit in one more....David Cook is 2 for 20 in his last six games with Corpus Christi, with three walks and two runs scored. He is 1 for 11 in three games since returning from Round Rock.
Inland Empire 66ers (30-51) at Lancaster JetHawks (28-53)
Ethan Martin (8-6, 5.05 ERA) vs. Leandro Cespedes (0-2, 5.88 ERA)
Notes: Andrew Simunic is really hitting well since his promotion to Lancaster. He's 9 for his last 27 with two doubles and three stolen bases....Brandon Barnes is tied for third in the California League in home runs with 15. The outfielder is 11 for 28 in his last 10 games with two doubles and a triple....Brandon Wikoff has two two-hit games since returning from his sojurn in Round Rock. His batting line is still well below par for the Cal League....Dallas Keuchel is fourth in the Cal League in strikeouts with 83. Inland Empire's Martin is sixth, proving that ERA doesn't tell you a whole lot about a pitcher, especially in this run environment....Closer David Berner has allowed four runs in his last 10 outings over 14 innings. He's currently working on a three inning scoreless streak and has struck out 10 in those last 14 innings.
Augusta GreenJackets (46-35) at Lexington Legends (41-40)
Robby Donovan (7-4, 3.12 ERA) vs. Chris Heston (2-9, 5.21 ERA)
Notes: J.D. Martinez continues to dominate the South Atlantic Leauge. In a notoriously tough hitter's league, he's leads the Sally in batting average and slugging percentage, is second in on-base percentage and first in OPS. He's also leading the league in doubles with 28 and is tied for ninth in home runs with 10....Martinez trails RBI leader Kody Hinze, who has 64. Hinze also is third in home runs with 12. Fellow Legend Jacob Goebbert trails Martinez in doubles with 27. Hinze is also fourth in the league in walks....Jose Cisnero and Arcenio Leon are both among the Sally's league leaders in strikeouts. ...If Martinez keeps up his .300-plus pace, it'd be the first time since 2007 that a Legends player hit over .300. If he continues to hit .349, he'd post the highest batting average in franchise history, just nudging out J.R. Towles' .346 in 2005....Speaking of leaderboards, Jose Cisnero and Arcenio Leon are on pace to take second-place on the franchise single-season strikeout leaderboards (starter and reliever division). Cisnero is on pace for 134 strikeouts, but with a few more innings pitched, could easily catch Fernando Nieve's 144 strikeouts in 2003. Leon is on pace for 104, which would be only the second 100 strikeout season by a Lexington reliever, behind Henry Villar in 2009. Cisnero has not much hope of catching franchise leader Jordan Lyles' 167 strikeouts.
Batavia Muckdogs (7-10) at Tri-City ValleyCats (7-10)
Andrew Moss (2-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Murillo Gouvea (0-2, 10.32 ERA)
Notes: Catcher and 2010 fifth-round pick Ben Heath is one off the New York/Penn League lead in home runs. The ValleyCats haven't had someone lead the league in homers since Mitch Einertson did just that back in 2004....I liked Ben Orloff after he was drafted in the ninth round last season, but he did nothing once he got to pro ball. That's why it's nice to see him at the top of Tri-City's batting leaders. The former UC Irvine star is 10 for 27 with a double, five walks and five strikeouts and was successful on both his stolen base attempts....Tom "Airplane!" Shirley is doing his best job to finish the 2010 season without allowing a run. Well, he's at least trying to finish the week that way. In 10 innings over three starts, Shirley has yet to give up a run....Monday's starter Murillo Gouvea was an international signee by the White Sox before he was acquired in a trade with Chicago last season.
Kingsport Mets (4-9) at Greeneville Astros (7-6)
Lachlan Hodges (0-2, 16.69 ERA) vs. Ruben Alaniz (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
Notes: Third baseman Hector Rodriguez was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008 and found his way to Greeneville after two seasons in the Dominican Summer League. Rodriguez is 5 for 13 in seven games with one strikeout and one stolen base. He started three games over that stretch and hasn't committed an error....Alaniz faced Kingsport last Wednesday, pitching five scoreless innings while allowing three hits, striking out four and walking three for his second straight victory. Alaniz was signed as an undrafted free agent out of McAllen after Astros scouting legend Rusty Pendergrass found him in a tryout camp. If you remember, Alaniz had several games in his senior season postponed due to a swine flu outbreak, which is why he was undrafted. He signed for $160,000, which was more than 2009 fifth-round pick Brandon Wikoff received....Another 2009 draftee making some noise is Justin Harper. The projectable arm out of NAIA's Oklahoma City University had electric stuff but not much else. That's showing in his pitching line, as he's allowed four hits and seven runs in three relief appearances over 4 1/3 innings. He's also struck out seven and walked four, while generating a 6-to-1 ground ball/fly ball ratio.
GCL Astros (6-6) at GCL Mets (6-4)
Danilo Del Rio (1-1, 8.16 ERA) vs. Juan Urbina (1-0. 0.93 ERA)
Notes: This game was played in the afternoon, so it'll be finished by the time this thread goes live. ... First baseman Ryan Ditthardt is having a nice start to his GCL Astros career. The undrafted free agent out of Troy University signed with the Astros last month and is 8 for 23 with a double and a home run....One of the 2009 July signees, Jose Fernandez is also off to a good start with the GCL Astros. He's 8 for 29 with a double and two triples while stealing two bases in two attempts. The shortstop has committed four errors in nine games....2008 July signee Francis "I Catch Any Of You Calling Me Francis, I'll Cut Ya" Ramirez is off to a fast start in the Gulf Coast League. In three starts and 15 innings of work, he's allowed seven hits and five runs while striking out 14 and walking five....Jose Perdomo, signed in 2008, has started two games with the Astros, allowing four hits and one run in nine innings, while striking out nine and walking three.
DSL Astros (10-20) at DSL Rays (16-12)
Notes: This game started at 10:30 a.m., so will be finished by the time this thread goes up. ...International signee Yonathan Mejia is 32 for 109 with seven doubles, two triples and a home run. His line of .294/.339/.422 is one of the highest on the team in a pitching-heavy league. For reference, the average line in the DSL is .232/.337/.311. So, Mejia has shown above-average contact skills and above-average power potential while not showing more than average plate discipline. I'll take that from a 17-year old....Another July 2009 signee that's tearing up the league is 18-year old Fredwin Campusano. The third baseman is hitting .333/.424/.486 in 72 at-bats with three doubles and four triples.