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Minor League Recap: April 28, 2013

Jonathan Villar and Jimmy Paredes are heating up down in Oklahoma City.

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Just Ribbin' Ya - Checking out the top of the California League leaderboard and you might recognize a few of the names. Five Lancaster Jethawks - Andrew Aplin, Matt Duffy, Zach Johnson, Preston Tucker, and Nolan Fontana - are among the top seven in the league in RBI. San Jose's Devin Harris leads the league with 24, followed by Aplin (22) and a four-way tie for third, including High Desert's Daniel Paolini, Tucker, Johnson, and Duffy (who's missed time with injury this season) all with 20. Fontana brings up the rear with 19.

While we're at it, Johnson (10) leads the league in doubles; Aplin and Delino DeShields (3) are tied for third in triples; and Fontana leads the league in walks (26). Fontana is currently on pace to walk 158 times this season. Since the California League became a High-A league in 1990, only 12 players have walked more than 100 times in a season, with the record being 114 (held jointly by Kerwin Moore, who did it for the High Desert Mavericks in 1993, and Rich Becker, who accomplished it for the Visalia Oaks in 1992).

I Love a Paredes - Jimmy Paredes is 9-for-19 (.474) over his last five games, and leads the RedHawks in hits (31), multi-hit games (10), total bases (49), and doubles (7). He's also walked 10 times. He didn't record his 10th base on balls in 2012 until June 21.

The Nash-ural - Telvin Nash is having more fun this year, he told me before Saturday's game, after being reminded during the offseason that baseball's supposed to be fun. "I wasn't having any fun last year," he told me. "If you don't have any fun, baseball will chop you up." The results this year? So far so good. He dropped 30 pounds over the winter and may actually be the embodiment of the old cliche: In the best shape of his life. Though the sample size is small - 23 plate appearances since coming off the DL - he looks a lot more comfortable at the plate, and he's hitting .400/.478/.750. Even better, he's raised his walk rate to 13.0% (from 10.5 in 2012) and drastically cut his strikeout rate to 13.0% (44.1 in 2012). If those rates hold up as the sample size increases, this could be a breakout year for the 22-year-old.

Out West - Aaron West was placed on the Disabled List by the Lancaster Jethawks, retroactive to April 26. Activated from the Temporarily Inactive list to take his place was Tyson Perez. No official word on the nature of West's injury, but his last outing was April 25, when he lasted just 3.1 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 9 hits, no walks, and two strikeouts. West is 0-1 on the season, with a 6.87 ERA, but he's walked just 2 batters while striking out 19. It was a fine "welcome back" for Perez, who struggled through 2 innings, allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits, a walk, and striking out two.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - Jonathan Villar hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the 7th inning off of Jordan Smith. It was one of two hits on the day for Villar, to lead the RedHawks to a 5-3 victory over the New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA). Villar has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games, and has collected more than one hit in 8 of his last 9. He was joined in the multi-hit column by Andy Simunic, who is 11-for-25 (.440) since joining the RedHawks April 18. The win solidified Oklahoma City's first home series win of the season.

  • CF Trevor Crowe - 1/3, 2B, 1 R, 1 HBP, 1SB
  • 3B Jimmy Paredes - 1/3, 3B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • SS Jonathan Villar - 2/4, HR, 2 R, RBI, 1 K, 1 SB
  • LF Andy Simunic - 2/3, 1 R
  • LHP Brett Oberholtzer - 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
  • LHP Kevin Chapman - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Josh Zeid - 1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Jose Valdez - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - The Hooks built a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 7th, largely thanks to a pair of doubles from George Springer, before Asher Wojciechowski uncharacteristically ran into trouble. Wojo allowed 4 runs on as many hits and a walk, earning a blown save and his first loss of the season as the Hooks ultimately fell 4-3 to the Frisco Rough Riders (TEX). His ERA rose above 2.00 for the first time all season.
  • 3B Ben Orloff - 1/3, R, BB, K, SB
  • LF Michael Burgess - 0/5, 2 K
  • CF George Springer - 2/3, 2 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB
  • RF Domingo Santana - 1/4, 2 RBI
  • DH Rafael Valenzuela - 0/3, R, BB, 3 K
  • RHP David Martinez - 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Asher Wojciechowski - 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - It didn't take long for Matt Duffy to extend his league-leading hit streak to 15 games, with a single in his first plate appearance. It was the beginning of a huge inning for Lancaster - Chris Epps also singled, Delino DeShields popped out on a bunt, Nolan Fontana walked (of course), and Andrew Aplin brought everyone home with a grand slam to put the Jethawks up 4-0 in the bottom of the 3rd inning. In true California League fashion, however, the lead didn't hold and the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) rolled back to take the game and the series, 12-7.
  • 2B Delino DeShields - 0/4, BB, K, PO
  • SS Nolan Fontana - 0/2, R, RBI, BB, K, HBP
  • CF Andrew Aplin - 1/4, HR (GS), R, 5 RBI, BB
  • 1B Zach Johnson - 2/5, 2B, K
  • DH Telvin Nash - 1/3, K, HBP
  • C Tyler Heineman - 2/4, 2B, R, RBI
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 1/3, R, BB, 2 K
  • LF Chris Epps - 2/4, 2B, 2 R, K
  • LHP David Rollins - 4.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Tyson Perez - 2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • LHP Kenny Long - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - Despite going 0-for-2 and watching his average slip to .200, Carlos Correa reached base three times yesterday, drawing a walk and getting hit by two different Carlos Frias pitches. Correa wasn't the only River Bandit to struggle, however, as Colton Cain ran into trouble early but was able to avoid permanent damage until the Great Lakes Loons (LAD) touched him for four runs in the fourth inning. Mitchell Lambson and Mike Hauschild came in to limit the damage until the 8th inning, when Hauschild gave up three runs of his own. Again in the ninth, Cameron Lamb gave up 3 more. A ninth-inning rally saw Quad Cities put 3 runs on the board, but it ultimately fell short as the River Bandits fell, 10-6.
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 1/4, 2B, R, RBI
  • SS Carlos Correa - 0/2, 2 R, BB, K, 2 HBP
  • 2B Austin Elkins - 2/5, RBI, 2 K
  • 1B Miles Hamblin - 2/4, RBI, K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/4, 2B, R, RBI
  • DH Ryan Dineen - 1/3, R, RBI, BB, K, SB
  • LHP Colton Cain - 3.1 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Mitchell Lambson - 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Mike Hauschild - 3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Hey, here's something I didn't know: The Great Lakes Loons are managed by the improbably-named Razor Shines, a man who played in Montreal during my youth, but whose name I was completely unaware of until now.

GIFs From The Weekend

George Springer hits a homerun (click to view)


That keeps going and going - ball lands under watermark (click to view)


Nicholas Tropeano is a strikeout artist (hover or click to view)