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Minor League Recap: Games of June 22, 2014

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

Nitro stays hot
Nitro stays hot
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

AAA Oklahoma City RedHawks: 4-3 loss to Tacoma (SEA)

-> Erik Castro: 2-for-3, 2B
-> L.J. Hoes: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, R, 2 BB
-> Marc Krauss: 1-for-4, BB, 2B, 2 RBI
-> Ronald Torreyes: 1-for-4, 2B, 2 R
-> Preston Tucker: 1-for-4
-> Enrique Hernandez: 1-for-5
-> Joe Sclafani: 0-for-3, BB

SP Nicholas Tropeano: 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 K
RP Patrick Urckfitz: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K
RP Alex White: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Kevin Chapman: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K (loss)

Game tied at three after the first four innings; the next run didn't come until the bottom of the 10th for a walk-off. Ouch.

L.J. Hoes is hitting .487/.565/.590 during his last ten games. He'll never have any power, but Grossman continues to look poor in the MLB outfield, so you just have to wonder how long his leash is. They never really gave Hoes a consistent look this year, either. If he can hit .280 with some doubles and above-average defense in LF, maybe they should.

Nitro's strong run continues. I still have some serious doubts about whether it's sustainable (6.15 H/9 generally means some regression is coming unless you're Nolan Ryan-esque unhittable), but the peripherals (2.51 BB/9 and 8.20 K/9) lend some credence to it. He's almost certain to come back to earth at some point (2.28 ERA on the season and 1.95 in his last ten games), but you have to believe he'll still be solid when he does. You know when the last time Nitro allowed more than two earned runs before tonight was? April 21st.

AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 4-1 win over Frisco (TEX)

-> M.P. Cokinos: 3-for-4, 2B, RBI
-> Jiovanni Mier: 2-for-3, solo HR
-> Telvin Nash: 1-for-3, solo HR
-> Ruben Sosa: 1-for-3
-> Leonardo Heras: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Delino DeShields: 0-for-3, BB, R
-> Jonathan Meyer: 0-for-3, BB

SP Luis Cruz: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Jordan Jankowski: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K (save)

Fontana and Correa both down? Mier's career still has a pulse. This is your chance, Jio; sink or swim. Good start tonight.

If Kino or some other guys could step up, that would be great as well. Not only was Fontana one of the better players on the team, now Correa can't be promoted for an undetermined amount of time. Throw in Tucker no longer being there, and Corpus is hurting for offense right now.

Luis Cruz has been a big part of what is probably one of the most consistent, balanced rotations in the minors this year; Cruz, Thomas Shirley, David Rollins, Kyle Smith and Mike Hauschild have a combined 2.89 ERA in AA Corpus this season so far. Throw in Brady Rodgers, who was good early on and could return to form soon, and Aaron West, arguably the most talented arm on that whole roster who's been injured for roughly two months now, and there's some serious pitching talent down there.

For Cruz's part, he owns a 3.18 ERA, 2.74 BB/9 and 8.23 K/9 in 62.1 innings pitched on the season thus far. One minor gripe you might have is that he's not really a ground ball guy (in fact, this season he's allowed exactly the same percentage of ground balls as he has fly balls), but missing bats like he does helps. He's also been notably tough on his fellow southpaws, which helps his MLB floor, though the sample still isn't huge.

A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 11-2 loss to Lake Elsinore (SPD)

-> Teoscar Hernandez: 2-for-4, SB, 2 2B
-> Jack Mayfield: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, RBI
-> Conrad Gregor: 1-for-3, SB, R
-> Rio Ruiz: 1-for-4
-> Danry Vasquez: 1-for-4
-> Anthony Kemp: 1-for-5, SB, R
-> Brandon Meredith: 0-for-3, BB

SP Mark Appel: 5.0 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 6 H, 0 BB, 2 K (loss)
RP Brian Holmes: 2.2 IP, 7 R (1 ER), 7 H, 0 BB, 2 K
RP Patrick Christensen: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K

Boy, let me tell you, knowing that Appel was pitching this game, when I saw the final score for the first time, initially my heart just about broke.

Fortunately, most of the damage was done well after he was out of the game. There's no point in pretending like three earned in five innings is some kind of great outing, but all things considered, I'll take it. With all he's dealt with in just his first full season as a pro, this isn't a bad game. Two of the three earned came on a homer, and if that's a few millimeters in a different spot on the bat, maybe it's a long fly out and we're talking about how nice one run in five innings with no walks is for a guy who's had so many obstacles to overcome this season.

Did you know that Appel's line drive rate is a bit elevated? Did you know that he has more than twice as many ground outs as he does fly outs? Did you know that he has a completely unsustainable HR/9 rate of nearly three?

All that is to say that the reports of the death of Appel's prospect status and upside have been ludicrously exaggerated. To anyone out there who's in a mild-to-severe state of panic over him, please, deep breaths. In and out. That's it, that's good.

By the way, Hernandez is hitting .333/.380/.622 over his last ten games. He now has 40 XBH on the season. Gregor has a mere 1.137 OPS since his promotion, and without spoiling any feature that he may be working on, I was talking to a fellow writer yesterday and there appears to be significant statistical reason to believe that his post-promotion power surge is not simply CAL League smoke and mirrors.

A- Quad Cities River Bandits: Rained Out

I have no idea when or if they'll make this up. They've called it postponed for now, instead of just outright-cancelled, so they may wait until later in the season to see if it's necessary to play it at all. But Peoria has no more game against QC in QC's park, so if they do make it up, it would have to be on a mutual off day or at the Peoria park. Stay tuned.

SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 2-1 win over Lowell (BOS)

-> J.D. Davis: 1-for-2, BB, 3B, R
-> Jamie Ritchie: 1-for-2, BB, SB
-> A.J. Reed: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Ricky Gingras: 1-for-4, RBI
-> Jose Solano: 1-for-4
-> Marc Wik: 0-for-3, SB, R, 2 BB
-> Ariel Ovando: 0-for-3, BB

SP Sebastian Kessay: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 8 K
RP Francis Ramirez: 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K (win)
RP Derick Velazquez: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K (hold)
RP Chris Munnelly: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K (save)

Reed is off to a solid start, despite having not flashed that big power he was drafted for yet. What he has shown is his plate discipline so far; six walks to just three strikeouts in his first seven games.

For those wondering, Kessay was our 22nd round pick in last year's draft out of Scottsdale Community College. He's a lefty and he's been very good in a tiny sample size; 2.70 ERA, 3.47 BB/9 and 12.34 K/9 in 23.1 total career innings. No, the strikeout rate is not a typo.

RK Greeneville Astros: 4-3 win over Princeton (TBR)

-> Trent Woodward: 3-for-5, R
-> Ramon Laureano: 2-for-4, BB
-> Luis Reynoso: 2-for-4, RBI
-> Conner Goebert: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
-> Dayne Parker: 1-for-4, BB
-> Jason Martin: 1-for-5, 3B, R
-> Bryan Muniz: 1-for-5, R
-> Sean McMullen: 1-for-5
-> Jacob Nottingham: 0-for-4, BB
-> Antonio Nunez: 0-for-0, R (pinch-runner)

SP Jose Montero: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 K
RP Agapito Barrios: 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K
RP Zach Davis: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K (win)

Pretty hairy last few innings in this game. Princeton was up 2-1 for most of the game, then Greeneville scored two in the bottom of the eighth to grab the 3-2 lead, Princton answered in the top of the ninth with one to force extras, and then Greeneville walked off in the bottom of the tenth.

Too soon to talk numbers here, really. I do want to point out that, obviously, with Barrios having pitched four innings in this game, he's unlikely to pitch again in the very next game, despite what the Greeneville schedule says. It's also too soon for German and Nicely to go again (over slot, high-upside prep arms from last year's draft, remember? Keep an eye on them, for sure).

One Mr. Dean Deetz has signed and is on the roster though, perhaps tomorrow will be his debut game. Haven't seen Dykxhoorn yet either.

Tomorrow's Scheduled Starters

AAA: Asher Wojciechowski vs. James Gillheeney
AA: Off Day (All Star Break)
A+: TBD vs. TBD
A-: Off Day
SS: Austin Chrismon vs. Joseph Michaud
RK: Agapito Barrios vs. Trevor Lubking


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>LHP Brady Aiken, the top overall pick in the MLB Draft, arrives in Houston to officially sign with the Astros. <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) <a href="">June 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
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