Reliever Jose Leclerc has been IL’ed with a sprained ankle, replaced by Yerry Rodriguez.
Sebastian Walcott is making his stateside debut right now. First plate appearance: home run. The Astros signed Jon Singleton to a minor league deal. Really.
AAA: Round Rock 8, Sacramento (SFO) 3
Round Rock: 12 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 5 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 43-29, eliminated
SP Owen White: 5 IP, 1 H (1 HR), 2 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 4 SO, 84 P / 48 S, 3.60 ERA
DH Blaine Crim: 2-4, HR (8), .275/.387/.477
2B Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, .248/.360/.345
LF Sandro Fabian: 2-4, HR (8), .279/.326/.500
In his AAA debut, Owen White carried a no-hitter through two outs in the 5th, and in my opinion he was… okay. He was okay. Due to a previous engagement, I missed the first two innings, during which White retired six straight on 22 pitches. As I took a seat in the 3rd, White next 22 pitches generated only eight strikes. He walked two and hit one, and one scored on a grounder. White regained most of his errant control afterwards, the only miscue a no-doubt homer. He wasn’t missing badly with his fastball, usually a little inside or out, and his 11 combined curves and changes resulted in nine balls. White was effective on the whole but lacked his typical crispness when I was there.
I finally saw Marc Church in person for the first time since last May at Hickory. Church was intermittently amazing with his high-90s heater and high-80s slider, but his once impressive control has been below average in 2023. Strikes were a challenge last night, and three of four balls in play were scorched. Church is very promising — he’s a 22-year-old with barely 100 pro innings and has reached AAA — but last night wasn’t a “call me up” performance. I shot some video.
Now that Dustin Harris is in AAA, hopefully I’ll outgrow the double-take I perform every time I see him. He’s always a little bigger than I remember, always a little faster, always with a quicker bat. You’d think I’d have learned by now. Harris punched a nice two-strike, two-out, oppo RBI single last night. He played first, so I can’t comment on his OF play.
Blaine Crim launched a rocket to center for a grand slam (my video). Based on the underlying batted-ball data, I’d have expected more production this season, so perhaps he’s “due” for an upswing. His HR rate is down about 25% versus 2022. Crim is more than a homer-or-bust hitter, but he’s also a first baseman, so you want those homers.
AA: Frisco 8, Springfield (STL) 5
Frisco: 8 hits, 7 walks, 4 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 29-37, eliminated
SP Noah Bremer: 2.1 IP, 3 H (1 HR), 4 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 42 P / 25 S, 15.43 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 1.59 ERA
RP Michael Brewer: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 4.50 ERA
RF Trevor Hauver: 1-2, 2 BB, .225/.351/.366
Noah Bremer, not Jack Leiter. Leiter was placed on the Development List (sort of a non-IL holding pen for inactive players) yesterday afternoon to manage his workload, per local media. That wouldn’t be especially newsworthy except that Leiter was the listed starting pitcher up until a few hours before the move, at least on paper. Odd timing.
Bremer, Texas’s 2017 6th-rounder, hadn’t pitched outside rookie league since 2021 and was returning from surgery. Grant Wolfram’s return to AA returned an immediate dividend.
Thomas Saggese, Aaron Zavala, Liam Hicks, and Jax Biggers all had one hit and one walk.
Hi-A: Hickory 8, at Asheville (HOU) 2
Hickory: 11 hits, 3 walks, 13 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 4 walks, 13 strikeouts
Record: 1-0 (second half)
SP Larson Kindreich: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 6 SO, 77 P / 44 S, 5.05 ERA
RP Winston Santos: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 5.37 ERA
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 3-5, .269/.336/.368
1B Abi Ortiz: 3-4, 2B, HR (7), .333/.389/.667
C Cody Freeman: 2-3, HR (7), BB, .190/.254/.373
LF Geisel Cepeda: 1-4, HR (3), .293/.381/.378
Hickory hit three homers to left or center in a park notorious for its short RF fence. Abi Ortiz is hitting better in Hickory than Down East: the same seven homers in 31 fewer plate appearances.
Lo-A: Down East 7, at Salem (BOS) 4
Down East: 8 hits, 3 walks, 18 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 1-0 (second half)
SP Brock Porter: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 SO, 55 P / 30 S, 1.70 ERA
RP Aidan Curry: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 SO, 3.02 ERA
RP Joseph Montalvo: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1.89 ERA
CF Anthony Gutierrez: 2-4, HBP, .254/.309/.310
SS Cam Cauley: 1-3, 2 BB, SB (19), .247/.329/.407
C Ian Moller: 2-4, 2B
Is it a bullpen night when three nominal starters take the hill? Aidan Curry and Joseph Montalvo appeared in addition to normal Friday starter Brock Porter, and all were effective.
Anthony Gutierrez played his first game for Down East in a month. He’s been working in Arizona and playing a few rookie games.
OF Yeison Morrobel’s official status reads “Injured – Full Season.” Morrobel wasn’t on the IL but hadn’t played in over two weeks. He batted .273/.383/.313 in 37 games
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Lefty reliever CD Pelham threw a clean 8th in his AA debut. Starter Jonathan Hernandez was roughed up again, similar to his inaugurations to both A levels, so I wasn’t worried.