AAA: Round Rock 3, at Sacramento (SFO) 1
Round Rock: 10 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 12 hits, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts
Record: 13-7, 1.5 GB
SP Cole Winn: 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 SO, 83 P / 61 S, 6.00 ERA
2B Justin Foscue: 1-4, 2B, BB, .242/.375/.455
C Sam Huff: 1-3, BB, .192/.283/.346
LF Clint Frazier: 3-4, 2B, HR (1), .250/.350/.442
By game score, yesterday was Cole Winn’s best AAA start since last June and third-best of 32 at the level. Notably, Winn completely ignored his slider and new cutter for a third straight outing. He’s also reduced, if not eliminated, the righty-righty changeup, leaving the curve as the near-exclusive secondary against right-handed batters. As far as I know, the slider has been part of his repertoire since before he was drafted, and while it’s graded behind the curve, it is by no means a “show me” pitch. Winn threw more sliders than curves in 2022 and had a 16% swinging strike rate, higher than any other pitch. We’ll see whether this is more workshopping (Winn has occasionally de- and re-emphasized particular pitches) or a perhaps permanent effort to improve control and command through simplification.
AA: Frisco 6, Arkansas (SEA) 3
Frisco: 7 hits, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 9 walks, 18 strikeouts
Record: 8-7, tied for first
SP Jack Leiter: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 5 SO, 76 P / 41 S, 5.63 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
DH Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, 2 SB (5), .323/.366/.462
LF Dustin Harris: 2-3, 2B, 3B, HBP, SB (4), .220/.375/.420
Jack Leiter walked three and retired one batter in a 30-pitch 3rd.
The good news is Leiter has raised his strikeout rate to an impressive 31% compared to last year’s 25%. The bad news is everything else. A lower strike rate, more walks, more pitches per inning, a .447/.596/.816 opposing line when the batter doesn’t strike out (league average is .351/.462/.572).
What to do? I don’t know. I’m the guy you call when you need an appraisal of a landfill or a property with a construction defect or contamination. An easy task relative to fixing a pitcher. Is Hickory an option? Perhaps, but to what end? Leiter’s statistical performance would almost certainly improve. Batters would chase more and create less damage on contact. That would be a confidence boost, I suppose, but Leiter’s fundamental issue isn’t lack of trust in his stuff. I’d choose Arizona over Hickory if a reassignment is under consideration.
Dustin Harris had two three-strikeout games in 2022. He had three against Arkansas last week. Yesterday snapped a four-game hitless streak. Conversely, Luisangel Acuna hit .360/.407/.600 in the series.
Hi-A: Hickory 4, Bowling Green (TAM) 0
Hickory: 7 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 7 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 9-4, tied for first
SP Larson Kindreich: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 SO, 53 P / 26 S, 0.00 ERA
RP Juan Mejia: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0.00 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 1-4, HR (1), .234/.250/.362
DH Liam Hicks: 2-4, HR (1)
Hickory took five of six from the 2021 and 2022 league champions and outscored them 41-20. Of course, nearly all of the personnel from those title-winning squads have moved on, but the Rays still have a highly regarded system. Hickory leads the league with 3.5 runs per game allowed despite ranking 11th of 12 teams in strikeout rate. The Crawdads trail only one team in walks and homers allowed.
Larson Kindreich walked three in 3.1 innings and missed on over half of his pitches, but he averaged only 15.9 pitches per inning while holding the Hot Rods hitless and scoreless.
Lo-A: Down East 2, Carolina (MIL) 3 (7)
Down East: 3 hits, 5 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
SP Aidan Curry: 5 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 2 R, 2 BB, 7 SO, 79 P / 51 S, 2.84 ERA
RP Jackson Kelley: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 0.00 ERA
C Tucker Mitchell: 1-2, BB, HBP,
Lo-A: Down East 3, Carolina (MIL) 4 (7)
Down East: 6 hits, 3 walks, 11 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 6-8, 2 GB
SP Ivan Oviedo: 3.1 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 4 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 66 P / 39 S, 9.35 ERA
RP Dylan McCarty: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 SO, 0.00 ERA
LF Yosy Galan: 1-2, 2B, BB, .194/.324/.452
The Woodies scored 16 runs in the six-game series and were shut out in the final two games of the previous week. Tucker Mitchell (.500/.581/.583 in eight games) and Anthony Gutierrez (.286/.333/.381) are the most notable outliers. This week, Down East heads to Houston-affiliated Fayetteville, which in typical fashion is walking everyone in sight but great at missing bats.
Aidan Curry has fanned 19 of 51 batters (37%). He signed out of high school despite being ignored in the five-round 2020 draft.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Frisco lost its 11th straight. Texas released pitchers Joe Filomeno and James Dykstra from AA, replaced by OF Austin O’Banion and pitcher Werner Leal, neither of whom had played full-season ball. I told y’all that 2023’s “five years ago” segment would be a challenge.