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Minor League Recap: Games of April 25, 2014

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

Kent Emanuel is off to a rock-solid start to the 2014 season
Kent Emanuel is off to a rock-solid start to the 2014 season

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 5-3 loss to Nashville (MIL)

-> Andy Simunic: 3-for-4
-> Enrique Hernandez: 2-for-4, HR, RBI, 2 R
-> Gregorio Petit: 2-for-5, 2B
-> Jonathan Meyer: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Max Stassi: 1-for-4
-> Jon Singleton: 0-for-3, BB
-> Robbie Grossman: 0-for-5, RBI
-> Ronald Torreyes: 0-for-5, RBI

SP Jake Buchanan: 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K (loss)
RP Darin Downs: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Chia-Jen Lo: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K
RP Jason Stoffel: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
RP Kevin Chapman: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K
RP Josh Zeid: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

The score is a little deceptive; OKC managed two runs in the bottom of the ninth to make it look better, but the fact is that they trailed 5-1 heading into that half inning, and they had trailed most of the game. Nothing doing on offense tonight.

Grossman had his worst day since being demoted; three of his five outs were strikeouts. Despite that, he's still hit .333/.438/.519 since being shipped down to AAA. Singleton has gone hitless the last two games with three strikeouts, but he's also walked thrice as well.

Buchanan has been pretty mediocre, to say the least, this year so far. It's mostly a result of just giving up too many hits, but he also has a strand rate under 60%, and he's likely to regress from that soon. Positively regress, that is. He also has dramatic splits against LHB and RHB, with lefties hitting .352 against him. From 2011 until now, lefties have hit .276 against him, so it's very reasonable to expect that to regress positively for him as well. If and when it does, the turnaround could be dramatic, because teams have been loading up on LHB against him big time. His strikeout rate is also actually slightly better against southpaws.

So yeah, better times likely on the horizon for Buchanan.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 6-4 win over Frisco (TEX)

-> Preston Tucker: 2-for-4, 2 2B
-> Chris Epps: 2-for-5, SB, R
-> Leonardo Heras: 1-for-2, 2B, SB, 2 BB, 2 R
-> Tyler Heineman: 1-for-3, BB, SB, RBI, 2 R
-> Andrew Aplin: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Jiovanni Mier: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
-> Nolan Fontana: 1-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI

SP Jordan Jankowski: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Troy Scribner: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K (win)
RP Michael Dimock: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (hold)
RP Patrick Urckfitz: 0.2 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 2 H, 0 BB, 1 K
RP Jorge De Leon: 1.1 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 1 H, 0 BB, 1 K (save)

6-1 lead for Corpus headed into the eighth inning, and nearly squandered. Never easy, is it? Man. All three runs near the end were unearned though, in fairness to the pitchers.

Initially, Tucker was hitting for something of an empty average; not much in the way of walks and power. During his last ten games though, he has five doubles and a pair of bombs, along with five walks, and is hitting .289/.386/.579 during that span. Heras has been a big disappointment so far, but he's on a four-game hitting streak, and during his last ten games, he has a .450 OBP, thanks to nine walks. On the season, he has 12 walks in just 19 games. The boy definitely has some serious OBP skills; if he can start hitting with more consistency, we could have something.

Did kind of a double take when I saw Scribner's name in the box. He was an undrafted free agent signing just last season and made it only as high as short season Tri-City. So, yeah, kind of shocked to see him in AA out of the blue. I didn't pay a great deal of attention to him last year, but looking back now, wow. Now granted he saw significant time in the Gulf Coast League and, well, I'm not convinced the numbers put up there are all that more valuable than Spring Training stats. However, in 53 innings between the GCL, the Greeneville Astros and Tri-City, he had 78 strikeouts and 14 walks. That would be a 2.38 BB/9 and 13.25 K/9. I mean, dang. He was a starter in college and averaged 3.1 innings per outing last year, so he definitely seems like more than just a one inning reliever, but I'm not convinced he'll get a real look as a starter. Still, it will be interesting to watch what he does. If that strikeout rate doesn't take too big of a hit, who knows?

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 6-3 win over Rancho Cucamonga (LAD)

-> Carlos Perdomo: 2-for-4, solo HR
-> Roberto Pena: 1-for-3, BB
-> Rio Ruiz: 1-for-4, BB, 2B, R, 2 RBI
-> Brandon Meredith: 1-for-4, BB, 2 RBI
-> Ruben Sosa: 0-for-3, BB, SB, R
-> Daniel Gulbransen: 0-for-3, BB
-> Anthony Kemp: 0-for-4, BB, 2 SB, 2 R
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 0-for-4, BB, R

SP Kyle Smith: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 5 K (win)
RP Lance McCullers: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K (save)

Lancaster was trailing 2-0 after four innings, but score one, two and three runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Clayton Kershaw, on rehab, pitched the first five innings so, yeah, you'd give them a pass for just about anything. I mean, that's not really even fair, right? If I were on that team, fighting through A-ball, and then here comes Kershaw...dang.

This is what it looks like when the tandem system works to near-perfection. Strong outings from both halves of it, and no need for the bullpen to enter the picture. McCullers had problems with walks, but being so hard to hit has allowed him to survive against A-ball hitters. He has yet to not walk a batter in one of his outings this year.

Walks have also been an issue with Smith (though they haven't come back to bite him), but he's only allowed 12 hits in 24 innings. The math is a little fuzzy because I don't have access to all the info needed, but my rough calculation is that his BAbip is right around .211 after tonight's game (it was .188 entering the game). So it's not going to last. Getting the walks down more and keeping up the good strikeout rate (exactly 9.00 K/9 now) will be key to not regressing too harshly.

Hernandez has dropped off significantly, going 5-for-36 (.139) with 16 strikeouts in his last eight games. That's a pretty rough week and change. Now we wait to see if he can adjust. Ruiz, on the other hand, has stayed relatively hot, going 14-for-43 (.326) in his last ten games with five doubles.

Correa was out of the lineup tonight.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 8-4 loss to Peoria (STL)

-> Conrad Gregor: 3-for-5, 2B, RBI
-> Brian Holberton: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
-> Brett Phillips: 1-for-3, BB
-> Tyler White: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Chan Moon: 1-for-4, BB, 2 SB, 2 R
-> James Ramsay: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Thomas Lindauer: 1-for-4
-> Alex Gonzalez: 0-for-3, BB, R

SP Kent Emanuel: 4.0 IP, 4 R (0 ER), 5 H, 2 BB, 3 K (loss)
RP Chris Cotton: 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Jandel Gustave: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Tyler Brunnemann: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Gregor has eleven hits in the last four games he's played, and four of them are doubles. Still looking for home run #1 on the season. Moon continues to provide some help at the top of the lineup; he's hitting .316/.381/.421 on the season, with four XBH and six steals in eight attempts. He's also struck out just ten times in 19 games.

Though Emanuel's strikeout rate isn't impressive, he's allowed just three walks in 19 innings (1.42 BB/9). He's allowed 11 runs, but only five have been earned, with the defense behind him being pretty shoddy so far (not unexpected in A-ball). Begs the question as to where he'd be without errors forcing him to work extra hard, yes?

Jandel Gustave has been a nice story this year, for reason alone if none other; his control issues haven't shown up, at least not yet. How severe have the been? From 2010 through 2013 across various levels of the minors, he'd walked 117 batters in 117.1 innings. That's a 8.97 BB/9. That's...I mean, that's something. So far this year though? Three free passes in 14.2 innings (1.84 BB/9).

I just want to shine the spotlight on Brunnemann for a moment. This is a 40th round draft pick who's listed on Baseball Reference at 6'2" and 225 pounds. The page for him on has him at 200 pounds, and he does look slightly trimmer, so he may have lost some weight. Either way, big boy from the suburbs north-east of San Antonio. I know next to nothing about Big Tex's repertoire or approach or anything. I do know this, though; he's gotten people out. So far in his career, he has 41.2 innings with 8 walks and 52 strikeouts. 1.73 BB/9 and 11.23 K/9, to save you the trouble. Six and a half strikeouts for every walk. Not a bad start at all.

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Ross Seaton vs. Brad Mills
AA: Brady Rodgers vs. Luke Jackson
A+: Chris Devenski vs. TBD
A-: Michael Feliz vs. Silfredo Garcia