Greetings, once last time, from Hickory. A couple of you told me you’d received a suspicious email from the listserv. Jamey and I subscribe to the list, too, and didn’t receive anything ourselves, and I haven’t been able to find anything wrong. Hopefully, it’s a one-time glitch. You shouldn’t ever receive anything other than from Jamey and me, so please be careful.
AAA: Round Rock 1, Oklahoma City (LAD) 5
Round Rock: 6 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 3 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 20-15, 2 GB
SP Tyson Miller: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 9 SO, 84 P / 56 S, 3.81 ERA
OKC scored three quickly against Tyson Miller, who retired 13 of his final 15, eight via strikeout. Round Rock had nobody with more than one hit.
AA: Frisco 1, at Tulsa (LAD) 11
Frisco: 4 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 6 walks, 8 strikeouts
Record: 18-14, 1 G up
SP Jack Leiter: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SO, 46 P / 25 S, 4.43 ERA
RP Chase Lee: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-5, .357/.393/.461
A week after his best pro showing, everything went wrong for Leiter, right for Tulsa. The Drillers swung at only 19 of Leiter’s pitches but put 11 into play, seven for hits. 78% of the pitches Tulsa took were called balls. Those are uncommonly, downright weirdly high figures, especially in tandem.
Catcher David Garcia drew three walks. OF Kellen Strahm had the other hit and a walk.
High-A: Hickory 7, Greensboro (PIT) 5
Hickory: 12 hits, 7 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 5 walks, 15 strikeouts
Record: 17-14, 3 GB
SP Owen White: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 80 P / 54 S, 4.50 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 6.59 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Aaron Zavala: 2-5, 2 HR, (3), .250/.448/.380
DH Evan Carter: 2-5, 2B, .307/.388/.495
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 3 SB (3), .292/.393/.542
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, 2 BB, .173/.356/.227
2B Thomas Saggese: 2-5, 2B, .269/.321/.375
Owen White came out hunting with the high fastball, recording eight swinging strikes out of 24 thrown in the first two innings. It ranged from 93 to 96 MPH, and the Grasshoppers simply couldn’t touch it. White struck out the side swinging in the 1st. Conversely, the lower version of his fastball was hittable. He allowed four line drives on them in the first three innings, and all went for hits, two for extra bases. In the last two innings, Greensboro finally laid off the high fastball, but at the same time, White was working in other pitches and sequences that awarded him two called strike threes on lower fastballs.
All told, White had 15 swinging strikes: ten on heat, four with sliders, and one change. The slider picked up for the absence of high swinging strikes as the game progressed. It was the primary pitch giving Greensboro trouble by the 5th. White threw six curves, five for balls, although one was a terrible call. It actually looks like it could be a proper pitch, but he just couldn’t locate it. The change was also relatively infrequent but had its moments, nabbing a surprise swinging strike on a full count in the 3rd.
One run scored with two out on a delayed double steal in the 2nd. Catcher Cody Freeman probably should have kept that ball in his pocket. The other scored on a double-triple sequence.
Eudrys Manon worked high-leverage relief down the stretch in low-A last season, walk-prone but hard to hit. Now I see why. Manon’s hitchy, spasmodic delivery makes strike-throwing seemingly impossible. Indeed, he walked his first batter on four pitches with an 88-92 fastball. Then, he dialed up to 93-95 with control plus an impressive slider. Suddenly, that delivery was a weapon. But in his second inning the chaos returned, and he nearly allowed a game-tying grand slam (instead a 375′ moonshot single off the wall thanks to inexplicable baserunning). Spencer Mraz (92-96 fastball with an offspeed and breaker) prevented the inning from completely derailing.
Once again, Destin Dotson’s control was far better in front of me than the statistics claim. He commanded his 94-96 fastball with more success than is customary at this level, and he added an occasional slider and curve.
On the first pitch of the 1st, Aaron Zavala lasered a pitch over the wall in right-center. I mentioned on twitter that the hit was “not really elevated, that’s just not how he hits.” Two at-bats later, Zavala got more loft on a drive that not only cleared the wall but the triple deck of advertising behind it. Good comeback. In truth, Zavala doesn’t hit a high proportion of flies and hadn’t shown much power, but the bat had been more lively lately even before today’s heroics.
Greensboro’s Nick Dombrowski emphasized a changeup that read 81-82, looked ten MPH slower and baffled several Hickory hitters. Evan Carter was among them early in an at-bat, but when Dombrowski tried to trick Carter with a two-strike 89 MPH fastball, Carter drilled it down the 1B side for a double. I haven’t seen much solid contact from Carter so far. He’s batting .307 with a .495 slugging percentage, so I assume it’s just my misfortune, not a commentary on his bat.
The announced lineup had Chris Seise at DH and Evan Carter in CF. By game time, Carter was DH and Seise was absent. I know nothing beyond that.
Low-A: Down East 2, Lynchburg (CLE) 4
Down East: 3 hits, 4 walks, 16 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-19, 6.5 GB
SP Mitch Bratt: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 54 P / 38 S, 4.50 ERA
RP Larson Kindreich: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 6 SO, 2.52 ERA
CF Alejandro Osuna: 1-3, BB, SB (8), .315/.390/.500
3B Yenci Pena: 1-2, HR (2), BB, .232/.380/.393
I’d liked to have seen Bratt and Kindreich, but this isn’t Spring Training where I need only a ten-second walk to switch between the low-A and high-A games. I had to choose.
Yenci Pena’s homer was the only extra-base hit by a Texas minor leaguer in the three games I didn’t attend. Lucky me. After taking the opener, Down East has scored only ten runs on 18 hits in four straight losses.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Round Rock’s Ronald Guzman homered twice, and Down East’s Josh organ hit a walk-off grand slam.