AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 8-4 win over El Paso (SDP)
The Grizzlies went back to back with two outs in the first inning as Preston Tucker hit his 22nd home run of the season and A.J. Reed went 3-5 with his team-leading 25th home run of the season. Since his inexplicable (to this writer, anyway) demotion following a strange trip to Houston, Reed has continued right where he left off in Triple-A. His 160 wRC+ and .434 wOBA in July precipitated his promotion to the MLB club, and he’s 9-21 since returning (.429 batting average, if you’re into that) to the Grizzlies with a pair of walks thrown in and two doubles to go with three home runs - one each in three consecutive games and counting. This is his second streak of at least three straight games with a home run in the last month or so. Basically, he’s utterly destroying Triple-A now after his very slow start to the season.
Jack Mayfield may not be a top prospect, and he may never have an impact career in the major leagues, but it seems only fair to note that he has had a torrid season that hasn’t really slowed down after 29 games in Triple-A. He had a trio of singles in this contest and now sits at a .295/.331/.509 slash line in Fresno - remarkably similar to his .289/.330/.519 triple slash in 70 games for Double-A Corpus this year preceding his promotion.
Every hitter in the lineup besides Reid Brignac and Alejandro Garcia had hits - in fact, every hitter who had at least one hit had at least two hits. Garrett Stubbs was the only Grizzly to notch an extra base hit (a double) besides the two first inning home runs.
On the pitching side of the equation, Mike Hauschild delivered a quality start (though not quite a Quality Start) with 5.2 innings pitched and three runs allowed. He walked two, struck out three, and allowed eight hits. The Diaz’s shut the door the rest of the way, with Dayan hurling 2.1 innings of one hit (which, unfortunately for him, was a solo home run) baseball with no walks and two strikeouts. Jumbo Diaz pitched a flawless ninth inning, throwing up a single strikeout with all zeroes otherwise.
AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 1-0 win over Tulsa (LAD)
A night after Jason Martin capped off a six run ninth inning with a walk off grand slam against this same Tulsa team, the Hooks notched an impressive, exciting 1-0 win over the Drillers by virtue of an eighth inning home run from new catcher Carlos Canelon, who was playing in his very first Double-A game after making the jump all the way from Tri-City after only playing sixteen games there. For Canelon, who has thus far not been known as much for his bat at the pro level, it was his first hit at the Double-A level and just his second professional home run. The twenty-two year old also drew a walk in the contest. The only two other hits for the Hooks came from the usual suspects - a single each for Kyle Tucker and Jason Martin.
The focal point of this game for everyone outside of Carlos Canelon supporters was, of course, the pitching. Mitchell White (5.0 IP, 8 K) and Karch Kowalczyk (3.0 IP, 1 K) combined for nine strikeouts for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, and Franklin Perez fired off a dominant five innings of his own for the Hooks. Perez allowed just a double and a single, walking one hitter and striking out six. Kevin Hill, in his second game for Corpus, hurled 2.2 scoreless innings before Riley Ferrell entered to finish the final inning and a third to pick up his first win of the season. Ferrell was perfect in the course of his four batters faced after entering with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth in a scoreless (Canelon’s heroics came in the bottom of the eighth) game. He retired the one batter he saw (Drew Jackson) on a line drive to center fielder Ramon Laureano to end the threat before inducing a ground ball in the ninth (with a newly-minted 1-0 lead) and striking out the final two men he faced.
A+ Buies Creek Astros: 7-6 win over Salem (BOS)
Cionel Perez, who came into the contest with four straight superlative starts under his belt so far at the High-A level, laid a bit of an egg over the course of four innings in this contest. He allowed seven hits and three walks over the course of 73 pitches and faced 20 batters, inducing only two ground balls to go with three strikeouts. Justin Ferrell picked him up with four innings of three-hit, one-run ball (four strikeouts, no walks) and left-handed pitcher Sean Stutzman recorded two innings in the ten-inning affair to earn his first High-A win.
The offensive side of the ball was far more rosy for the Astros, who banged out seventeen hits in the win. Stephen Wrenn led off the top of the tenth inning with a single, advanced first to second and then to third on a pair of passed balls, and then scored the go-ahead (and, ultimately, winning) run on (who else?) a Yordan Alvarez double. Wrenn had a big game, going 4-6 with a double and scoring four different times. Alvarez had a four-hit game as well, and Jake Rogers, Taylor Jones, and Carmen Benedetti each had a pair of hits as well.
A note of interest about this writer’s favorite under-the-radar Astros prospect, Myles Straw. Anyone who pays attention to him knows he doesn’t strike out much, but Jimmy Price (AstrosFuture) pointed this fun stat out in the site’s internal listserv yesterday that really drives the point home: Straw has seen over 1,800 pitches this season, and has swung and missed at only 67 of them. A 3.6% swinging strike rate, which is just hilarious.
A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 7-6 win over Cedar Rapids (MIN)
Abraham Toro-Hernandez, who was just named the Astros Minor League Player of the Month for July, went back to back with first baseman Troy Sieber in the fifth inning. It was Sieber’s fifth home run of the season, and it was Toro-Hernandez’s fifth in 14 games since his promotion to Davenport - he has truly been scalding the baseball recently. The Bandits won their ninth straight game largely on the virtue of several streaking bats. Daz Cameron, who is slashing .335/.402/.578 since the All Star Break with seven home runs and eleven stolen bases, notched a pair of singles and a pair of stolen bases in this game. Ronnie Dawson had a relatively quiet game (1-3 with a single and a walk) but has also been on fire recently to the triple-slash tune of .357/.434/.591 with eight home runs. A quick hat tip to Josh Cookson for those stats - thanks Josh!
SS Tri-City ValleyCats: 8-5 win over Lowell (BOS)
This year’s first round pick, J.B. Bukauskas, fired off three innings of one run ball in his second professional appearance. He allowed two walks and a hit and struck out three batters, and was ostensibly limited to three innings primarily as a precaution after a pretty stout workload at North Carolina this year.