AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 4-3 win over Sacramento (SFG)
-> Derek Fisher: 2-for-4, BB, HR, RBI, 2 SB, 2 R
-> Danny Worth: 2-for-5, RBI, R
-> Colin Moran: 1-for-3, 2B, R, 2 BB
-> Chan Jong Moon: 1-for-4, 2B
-> Jon Kemmer: 1-for-5, 2B, RBI
-> Alejandro Garcia: 1-for-5, RBI, 2 SB
-> Jon Singleton: 0-for-2, 2 BB
SP Aaron West: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K
RP Chris Cotton: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 K
RP Albert Minnis: 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K (win)
RP Brendan McCurry: 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 K (save)
Fresno finishes their season 73-70, a solid showing, but not good enough for a playoff spot. As a team, they were 3rd in home runs and 2nd in walks (offense), 5th in ERA and 2nd in strike outs (pitching).
Derek Fisher finishes up somewhat of a surprising year. He was always a pretty solid prospect, but 2015 didn't do a lot to instill confidence in his future. He hit .262 and whiffed nearly 25% of the time in Lancaster, so how well could he do? Well, strike out issues persisted in Double-A, but he proved his power to be very real, and stole 20+ bases for the second-straight season. While he continues to look like an average hitter at best, he didn't collapse, that's for sure. And to think, we almost lost this guy instead of Mark Appel. Final line in 27 games for Fresno is .290/.347/.505 with five homers and five steals.
Colin Moran was kind of the opposite. After such a strong showing in Double-A, this guy was supposed to be installed at third base in the Majors by mid-season, remember? Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Moran finishes the year with a disappointing .259/.329/.368 line and 10 long balls, despite playing at a corner spot in a hitter's league. And now, with Bregman and Gurriel on the scene, Moran appears to no longer have a future in this organization. What a difference five months can make.
He's made just enough noise now that We can talk about him. Alejandro Garcia, that is. Remember him? Garcia was one of two notable Cuban signings during 2015's international signing period. While the other, Yoanys Quiala, didn't do much to turn heads, Garcia played at three levels this year and, while A-Advanced and Double-A didn't end up being great stops, he put together 17 blazing-hot games with Triple-A Fresno to finish out the season. He hit .393/.448/.426 while stealing four bases in those 19 games. What's more, he struck out just three times. He looks like a solid contact hitter with only modest pop, and while he might not be quite Jake Marisnick with the glove, reports say he's not too shy. A true centerfielder who maybe can actually hit...a guy to watch in Spring Training next year.
Brendan McCurry lived up to expectations this season after being the sole retun for Jed Lowrie heading back to Oakland. Again. He ripped Double-A to shreds, and was largely very good in Triple-A as well, with just two or three bad outings inflating his ERA a bit. On the season, he posted a combined 3.07 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 10.3 K/9 in 82.0 innings of work. That's a lot of innings for a reliever in five months. They ran him hard, and he delivered. Book on him getting a shot to show his stuff in Spring Training come 2017.
AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 4-2 win over San Antonio (SDP)
-> Ramon Laureano: 2-for-3, BB, 2B, SB
-> James Ramsay: 2-for-4, R
-> Drew Ferguson: 2-for-5, R
-> Nick Tanielu: 1-for-3, BB, SB
-> Roberto Pena: 1-for-4, R
-> J.D. Davis: 1-for-5, GRAND SLAM
-> Antonio Nunez: 1-for-5
-> Chase McDonald: 0-for-3, BB
-> Conrad Gregor: 0-for-4, BB
SP Cy Sneed: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K
RP Michael Freeman: 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K
RP Eric Peterson: 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K (win)
Corpus Christi wraps the regular season up at 85-55, the best record in the Texas League by daylight. The offense led the league in homers and walks and were second in total runs. Meanwhile the pitching led the league in saves, and were second in ERA, WHIP, and strike outs. They'll begin a best-of-five playoff series against the league's second-best team, Midland, on Wednesday.
Two hits and a walk makes an appropriate end for Ramon Laureano's big season. He posted a .945 OPS with Lancaster, but, you know, it's Lancaster and he's a 16th round pick. Let's see it in Double-A. Well, see it we did. He actually hit better in Double-A, posting a .323/.432/.548 line with 16 extra-base hits and 10 steals in 36 games with the Hooks. He's a walk machine with some solid defensive value, base-running ability, and apparently at least some power. One of the year's big breakouts.
And then there's Garrett Stubbs. He finished his tenure with Corpus hitting .325/.401/.517. I don't buy the power as being sustainable, but he does have some pop, at least. He's a big name to watch in the AFL, as far as the future of this organization goes.
The Hooks have a heck of a rotation going to the playoffs. We all know Francis Martes (3.30 ERA, 9.4 K/9 this season), but how about Trent Thornton and Dean Deetz? Both survived Lancaster, and Thornton, who arrived first, has seven rock-solid outings with Corpus under his belt. Deetz only has two, but they're both scoreless work. And then there's Sneed, who posted a 2.54 ERA this season outside of his three worst games.
I have to quickly mention Ferguson, too. He, like Laureano, hit well in Lancaster but was a later-round, un-celebrated pick. He, too, has shown something good at Double-A after promotion. The sample is just 15 games, so it's far from a sure sign, but he's a name to keep on the edge of your radar, too.
A+ Lancaster JetHawks: 8-4 loss to Inland Empire (LAA)
-> Jason Martin: 1-for-2
-> Kyle Tucker: 1-for-3, BB, solo HR
-> Christian Correa: 1-for-3, solo HR
-> Aaron Mizell: 1-for-3
-> Osvaldo Duarte: 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Marc Wik: 1-for-4, 2B, R
SP Framber Valdez: 5.2 IP, 5 R (3 ER), 8 H, 2 BB, 1 K (loss)
RP Chris Murphy: 2.0 IP, 3 R (0 ER), 3 H, 1 BB, 0 K
RP Ralph Garza: 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
The JetHawks, despite not being as stacked in recent seasons, finish the year at 77-63 and heading for a three-game playoff tilt with Rancho Cucamonga. As Lance Berkman used to say, you can either pitch or bludgeon your opponents with offense. Lancaster went the latter route this year; their 4.99 team ERA was dead-last in the league, but they scored the most runs (856) of any team (that's 6.1 runs per game over five months!)
Jason Martin finished very strong, hitting .355 in his last 10 games. Overall, his .270/.357/.533 line at his age impresses, and he finished with 20+ in doubles, homers, and stolen bases, the only player in the league to do that. His 23 homers are actually third in the league.
Myles Staw cooled down at the end, but he still hit .358/.423/.454 this season, combined between Quad-Cities and Lancaster. He swiped 21 bases as well.
Martin is 21 and that's impressive. Kyle Tucker is 19, and that's crazy. He hit .399/.435/.661 in 16 games with Lancaster, after a super-solid .750 OPS with Quad-Cities. He'll likely start in Lancaster again next year, but we could see him in Double-A or even Triple-A before his 21st birthday if this keeps up.
Another guy ahead of schedule is Jose Hernandez. He's just 21 and yet destroyed the Midwest League, being rewarded with seven games in California afterwards. He made good use of it, too, with a 3.48 ERA and a 4.8 K/BB ratio in those games.
A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 12-1 win over Burlington (LAA)
-> Dexture McCall: 4-for-6, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
-> Randy Cesar: 3-for-5, 3B, RBI, R
-> Marlon Avea: 3-for-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
-> Stephen Wrenn: 2-for-5, BB, 2B, RBI, R
-> Bobby Wernes: 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 R
-> Arturo Michelena: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, SB, R
-> Jake Rogers: 1-for-4, BB, SB, RBI, R
-> Pat Porter: 1-for-5, HR, R, 3 RBI
-> Hector Roa: 0-for-5, R
SP Matt Bower: 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 3 K
RP Justin Ferrell: 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 K (win)
61-78 go the River Bandits in 2016, a disappointing season that won't end with a playoff berth. They were in the bottom five offensively in runs and OPS, and the pitching posted a bottom five ERA, too, so it's little wonder.
Sadly, Franklin Perez finished the season on the disabled list, but not before announcing himself with a 2.84 ERA and a 10.1 K/9 in 66.2 inning of work for the club. Assuming his injury isn't severe, expect him to continue making a name for himself in 2017.
Also finishing the season injured is Ryne Birk, who exploded as much as any 2016 draftee this year. Combined numbers between Tri-City and Quad Cities look nice; .293/.385/.455 with 21 walks against just 16 strike outs in 43 games. The sample isn't huge, but we saw a little speed, a little pop, and a lot of plate discipline. I'm stoked to see him for a full season in full-season ball next...season.
Stephen Wrenn was the other guy that launched out of the gate like an ICBM after being drafted. He cooled off significanty with Quad Cities (.670 OPS), but it was still a very solid showing for one of our favorite picks of the 2016 draft class. A .794 OPS and double-digit long balls and stolen bases in 71 games combined.
Gotta give some love to Nick Hernandez, too. A true local product; born in Missouri City, TX, college ball at University of Houston, and now an Astros' farmhand. So cool. And he was so good after being drafted; posting a sub-2.00 ERA for Tri-City and then a sub-2.00 ERA for Quad Cities (just 6.2 IP there). Combined on the season, 1.73 is the ERA, along with a 3.1 BB/9 and 10.4 K/9. Climb the ladder, Nick!
SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 10-1 loss to Connecticut (DET)
-> Alexander De Goti: 3-for-3, BB
-> Ronnie Dawson: 1-for-3, BB, 2B, R
-> Taylor Jones: 1-for-3, BB, RBI
SP Jorge Alcala: 4.2 IP, 9 R (2 ER), 8 H, 1 BB, 4 K (loss)
RP Erasmo Pinales: 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K
RP Tyson Perez: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K
A .500 finish on the nose this year (38-38) for Tri-City, not good enough for the playoffs. The offense did their job, posting the second-best team OPS and scoring the third-most runs, but the second-to-worst team ERA held them back.
Dawson certainly didn't get off to the start he'd have liked, hitting just .170 through his first 32 games. Things turned around, though, and he batted .273 during his final 38 games. His 41 walks tied him for second-most in the league.
Chuckie Robinson, a catcher, showed some decent offensive upside, hitting a solid .275 and drawing 19 walks in 45 games. He doesn't appear to have much power, though he can gap some doubles. He'll be interesting to watch in full-season ball.
Ryan Hartman deserves mention. Our 9th-round pick this year, he posted a 2.36 ERA and a 6.9 K/BB ratio while pitching the second-most innings on the club. You could consider him the staff ace this year.