AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 4-2 loss to Las Vegas (NYM)
-> J.D. Davis: 2-for-4
-> Teoscar Hernandez: 1-for-2, HR, R, 2 BB, 2 RBI
-> Alejandro Garcia: 1-for-3
-> Derek Fisher: 1-for-4
-> Tony Kemp: 1-for-4
-> Reid Brignac: 1-for-4
-> Tyler White: 0-for-3, BB, R
SP Trent Thornton: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Dayan Diaz: 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K (hold, loss)
RP Jordan Jankowski: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K (blown save)
Here's Davis' Triple-A debut. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, they can do with him at the highest level, if he'll be able to make a change that finally lets him break through. As it is now, he has power aplenty, but doesn't look like either a consistent enough hitter or versatile enough defender to succeed in the Majors.
Thornton got 12 of his 21 outs on the ground or on strikes. He's been better in Triple-A than I kind of have in my mind; a close inspection shows that, aside from three very bad outings (23 ER in 14 innings), his other ten games for Fresno have yielded a respectable 3.88 ERA. He has work yet to do and at this point still looks more like a relief option, but we'll see.
Hernandez is on a nice run just ahead of the trade deadline. He's hit .359 with four long balls in his last ten games. His ISO has risen from .160 at the end of play on July 5 to .207 as of this posting. Overall line is solid at .278/.365/.485. If he were dealt to someone who is clearly out of it, say Oakland for example, they could view him as a guy they can plug in at the MLB level immediately, confident of a decent 4th outfielder with pop floor.
AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 6-0 win over Frisco (TEX)
-> Jason Martin: 1-for-3, BB, solo HR
-> Ramon Laureano: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Garrett Stubbs: 1-for-3, BB, R
-> Arturo Michelena: 1-for-3
-> Jack Mayfield: 1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI
-> Dexture McCall: 1-for-4, HR, R, 2 RBI
-> Ryne Birk: 1-for-4, R
SP Alex Winkelman: 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 6 K (win)
RP Andrew Walter: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 K
Have a night, Alex. Winkelman took a no-hitter into the 8th inning, but lost it right at the end after getting a pair of fly outs. Alas, it was still an amazing night for him. He was pulled immediately after the hit, yet with just 96 pitches. Efficient to say the least. 16 of 26 outs came on strikes or on the ground. He's allowed more than two earned runs in just three of his ten games with Corpus, with a pair of bad five-run games being the only reason his 3.92 ERA isn't much better; in the eight games outside of those, he owns a 2.23 ERA. Interestingly he's allowed 37 runs but only 18 of them have been earned, with rather suspect defensive play behind him on numerous occasions.
Three long balls for Martin in his last five games has propped his already-solid power rates up even more, sending his .193 ISO up to .264 in less than a week. The trade-off for his power spike in Double-A has been a slight increase in K% and a sharp decrease in BB%. Some more time to learn and make adjustments is needed, but the progress has been steady all season.
Laureano is hitting .310/.347/.577 in July...
A+ Buies Creek Astros: Off Night
A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 20-3 win over Lansing (TOR)
-> Josh Rojas: 4-for-5, 2B, 2 HR, 4 R, 6 RBI
-> Ronnie Dawson: 3-for-4, 3B, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI
-> Daz Cameron: 3-for-5, 3B, HR, R, 2 SB, 3 RBI
-> Chuckie Robinson: 2-for-3, RBI, 2 R
-> Gabriel Bracamonte: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R
-> Troy Sieber: 2-for-4, HR, 2 BB, 2 R, 4 RBI
-> Carmen Benedetti: 2-for-5, BB, 3 R
-> Chas McCormick: 2-for-5, 2 R
-> Raymond Henderson: 1-for-1, BB, R
-> Marcos Almonte: 1-for-5, R
-> Osvaldo Duarte: 0-for-5, BB
SP Carson LaRue: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K (win)
RP Ronel Blanco: 3.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K (hold)
RP Dustin Hunt: 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K
I'm starting with the name we're probably not talking about enough; Carmen Benedetti. He was a two-way player in college, and I've seen him compared to Brian Johnson (31st-overall 2012, Red Sox), but unlike Johnson, Benedetti has been given the chance to be a position player first. As a hitter, Conrad Gregor with more power is a comp. Which is a great comp. It sounds too good to be true, but the numbers have born it out to an extent; he's hitting, though the in-game power hasn't shown up yet. He is hitting though, with a massive walk rate and fewer strike outs than walks behind it. He's also been used almost exclusively in right field, so give him a better defensive profile than Gregor as well. Could be a real sleeper; if the game power shows up, he could skyrocket.
LaRue is a guy who is slowly turning heads by sheer performance numbers, but there's probably more to him than that, even. When drafted, his fastball was typically 90-92, but the Astros likely took him for the slider; one report I saw used the word "weaponized" to describe it. Most think he's ultimately a reliever, but he's shown no lack of ability in the rotation so far. Given how good his slider is along with the lack of strike outs, and I'm guessing they're probably getting him to work heavily on a third offering, be it a change or cutter or whatever. Definitely a name to keep on your radar.
Daz Cameron, ya'll. Holy smokes, he looks like a prospect again, with an 1.105 OPS in July. From June 15 to this game, he's hit .330. His season strike out rate (25.1%) is a notable improvement over 2016, and it continues to drop, with a 22.7% rate over that aforementioned period.
Dawson is a similar story; after a pathetic May, he posted an .829 OPS in June and so far has a 1.019 OPS in July. From May 29 to present, Dawson has hit .298.
Robinson's OPS of .813 in May was followed by .807 in June, and now .880 so far in July.
SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 3-1 loss to Connecticut (DET)
-> Connor MacDonald: 1-for-3, 2B
-> Miguelangel Sierra: 1-for-3, 2B
-> J.J. Matijevic: 1-for-4, solo HR
-> Corey Julks: 1-for-4
SP Tyler Ivey: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 2 K (loss)
RP Carlos Hiraldo: 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K
RP Luis Ramirez: 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K
Pro ball hasn't been kind to local product Ivey so far; his ERA sits at 13.50 in an 8.2 inning sample now. A 9.4 K/9 is a silver lining.
Matijevic has also struggled out of the gate. His .709 OPS isn't indicative of his real skill with the stick. His last four games could be a sign of things to come though; 6-for-15 with two homers and two walks.
RK Greeneville Astros: Doubleheader vs. Danville (ATL)
Game One: 7-6 loss
-> Ruben Castro: 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI
-> Colton Shaver: 2-for-4, R
-> Patrick Mathis: 1-for-2, 2B, R, 2 BB
-> Wilson Amador: 1-for-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI
-> Cody Bohanek: 1-for-3, RBI
-> Gilberto Celestino: 1-for-4, 2B
-> Adrian Tovalin: 1-for-4
-> Joan Mauricio: 0-for-1, R, 2 BB
-> Roman Garcia: 0-for-3, BB, R
SP Felipe Tejada: 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K
RP Ian Hardman: 2.0 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
RP Willy COllado: 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K (loss)
Game Two: 2-1 win
-> Wilson Amador: 2-for-4, SB, R
-> Adrian Tovalin: 1-for-3, BB
-> Reiny Beltre: 1-for-3, R
-> Gilberto Celestino: 1-for-4, 2B, RBI
-> Brody Westmoreland: 0-for-1, BB
-> Colton Shaver: 0-for-3, BB, RBI
SP Humberto Castellanos: 5.0 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 3 H, 0 BB, 3 K
RP Daniel Aquino: 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 6 K (win)
Castellanos has really looked solid so far; he got a 3.2 inning cup of coffee with Tri-City, and has settled in nicely so far with Greeneville, posting a 3.38 ERA in three outings with the club. He owns a 4.0 K/BB ratio on the season.
Hardman, another Seminole State College alumni, has punched out 10 batters in nine innings, but he's walked just as many, too. With a 2.333 WHIP, he's certainly dancing on thin ice so far. Tonight's peripherals look much better, though.
Castro has been putting it together with the stick, hitting .341 with an .850 OPS, with Greeneville thus far. He was drafted back in 2014, however, and having just turned 21, he'll need to start showing some upward progress through the system very soon.
Today's Scheduled Starters
AAA: Kent Emanuel vs. Donovan Hand
AA: Brock Dykxhoorn vs. TBD
A+: Matt Bower vs. Kodi Medeiros
A-: Abdiel Saldana vs. Yennsy Diaz
SS: Matt Ruppenthal vs. Emanuel De Jesus
RK: Bryan Abreu vs. Kyle Muller