Minor League Wrap (4/16-22/12)

Jay Yencich · April 23, 2012 at 6:30 am · Filed Under Minor Leagues 

In the second wrap of the season, I still don’t know what to say for intros aside from thank you all for being active participants last time around. I’m trying to remember how best to go about writing these things. For now, the status quo from last week remains the same: two of the teams are awesome (it’s the middle two), two of the teams are really struggling, but Clinton is actually pitching really well. High Desert, bless their little hearts, they try.

To the jump!

Tacoma Rainiers (2-5 this week, 7-11 overall, 5 GB in PCL Pacific Northern)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 16th 2012
Tacoma 2, Fresno 3 (SF + 6)
W: Hembree (1-0, 0.00) L: Ruffin (0-2, 10.80)

Tuesday, April 17th 2012
Tacoma 1, Fresno 5 (SF + 7)
W: Hernandez (2-0, 2.25) L: Robles (0-1, 3.95)

Wednesday, April 18th 2012
Tacoma 2, Sacramento 1 (ten innings) (OAK + 6)
W: Henn (1-0, 4.50) L: Miller (0-1, 1.29) S: Kinney (1)

Thursday, April 19th 2012
Tacoma 1, Sacramento 0 (OAK + 5)
W: Vasquez (3-0, 0.87) L: Castro (1-1, 2.40) S: Kelley (2)

Friday, April 20th 2012
Tacoma 4, Sacramento 7 (OAK + 6)
W: Banwart (2-0, 6.75) L: Grube (0-1, 10.80) S: Scribner (2)

Saturday, April 21st 2012
Tacoma 0, Sacramento 12 (OAK + 7)
W: Burres (1-1, 3.38) L: Marquez (1-1, 7.11)

Sunday, April 22nd 2012
Fresno 10 (SF + 10). Tacoma 3
W: Hacker (4-0, 2.19) L: Robles (0-2, 6.88)

Hitter of the Week:
C Guillermo Quiroz, R/R, 11/29/1981
5 G, 17 AB, 2 R, 4 H, 2 2B, HR, RIB, 4/1 K/BB, .235/.278/.529

So it’s come to this, has it? Criminy. Quiroz was one of two guys who did much of anything for the offense this week, which was averaging two runs a game. Here and there, individuals would stand out in a single game, but rarely at the same time and rarely for a few games in a row. Right now, the Rainiers are batting .235/.282/.370, which is the fourth-worst line in the league ahead of Nashville, Memphis, and Reno somehow even in that silly park they play in. How is that even possible? Anyway, that’s as much time as I care to spend dwelling on this.

Two Errors in One Game, Two Assists in Another Mention:
RF Chih-Hsien Chiang, L/R, 2/21/1988
7 G, 27 AB, 2 R, 8 H, 2 2B, RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .296/.321/.370

Pitcher of the Week:
RHP Forrest Snow, 12/30/1988
1-0, GS, 1.50 ERA in 6.0 IP, 3 H (HR), 8/2 K/BB, 2/9 G/F, BK

Through the first couple of starts, Snow’s command was off. He walked nine batters in eight innings, even if he still managed six strikeouts. This particular outing had him displaying superior control of his pitches, and what do you know, they were less hittable. One area that is a little bit… curious, let’s say, is that his GO/AO as reported by MiLB.com right now is 0.32. Snow was a slight flyball pitcher last year and a groundball pitcher his first season, but the increase in balls in the air may help to explain why he’s given up nearly two home runs per nine to start the year when his career rate was closer to 0.75 per nine.

Still Controlling Where the Balls Drop with his Mind Mention:
LHP Anthony Vasquez, 9/19/1986
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3/2 K/BB, 10/8 G/F

From The Training Room:
C Adam Moore is on the DL and will now be out with another 4-6 week meniscus surgery. I have all but given up hope for him.

Strange Happenings:
The déjà vu continued when the Rainiers faced Fabio Castro on Thursday. I think that there are only so many players that are allowed into triple-A baseball… Brandon Bantz has been seeing playing time every four days since the 14th, but he still managed to knock one out of the park on Sunday. This means that he has more home runs than Luis Rodriguez, Mike Carp, Scott Savastano, Vinnie Catricala, and Chih-Hsien Chiang in fractions of the playing time… While the team was in Sacramento, Catricala got written up in his hometown paper, which is probably as much positive press as he’s going to get with the way he’s been hitting. He is still leading the team in RBI though… Credit to Luis Antonio Jimenez for breaking up the no-no on Saturday… Shawn Kelley has a 1.93 ERA in 9.1 IP with five hits allowed and a 14/3 K/BB. Free Shawn Kelley?

Jackson Generals (4-3 this week, 11-7 overall, 1st in SL North)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 16th 2012
Mississippi 1 (ATL – 4), Jackson 7
W: Hernandez (1-0, 0.00) L: Spruill (1-1, 4.76)

Tuesday, April 17th 2012
Mississippi 0 (ATL – 5), Jackson 7
W: Walker (2-0, 1.64) L: Gilmartin (0-2, 3.50) S: Sena (1)

Wednesday, April 18th 2012
Mississippi 3 (ATL – 4), Jackson 2
W: Hale (2-1, 3.68) L: Medina (0-2, 8.00) S: Rasmus (1)

Thursday, April 19th 2012
Mississippi 0 (ATL – 5), Jackson 2
W: Hultzen (1-2, 2.81) L: Masters (0-1, 4.40) S: Pryor (4)

Friday, April 20th 2012
Jackson 4, Huntsville 5 (MIL + 2)
W: Sanchez (1-0, 1.64) L: Capps (0-1, 2.08)

Saturday, April 21st 2012
Jackson 11, Huntsville 8 (MIL + 1)
W: Sena (1-0, 0.00) L: Blanks (1-1, 3.12)

Sunday, April 22nd 2012
Jackson 2, Huntsville 3 (MIL + 2)
W: Wooten (2-0, 0.84) L: Hensley (0-1, 2.53)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Denny Almonte, S/R, 9/24/1988
6 G, 22 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4/3 K/BB, .455/.520/1.000

This week afforded me the opportunity to snub a guy who slugged over a thousand. Good old Generals offense, averaging five runs a game for this spread. This does actually get me talking about something that is interesting on its own merits though. Almonte for his career has struck out in about 34% of his plate appearances. This week it was less than half that. Almonte for his career has walked in a little over 5% of his plate appearances. This week it was well over twice that. He also had two outfield assists! If this is the start of something positive for him this year, you heard it here first. If this is not the start of anything at all, then it’s in one eye socket and out the other just like 90% of this feature.

Over 1.000 SLG Mention:
DH Joe Dunigan, L/L, 3/29/1986
7 G, 28 AB, 7 R, 10 H, 3 2B, 4 HR, 2 SB, 7 RBI, 4/2 K/BB, .357/.400/1.036

Six-Game Hit Streak Mention:
1B Rich Poythress, R/R, 8/11/1987
6 G, 23 AB, 4 R, 8 H, 3 2B, HR, 6 RBI, 2/2 K/BB, .348/.400/.609

Still Showing Good [Left-Handed] Bat Skills Mention:
SS Nick Franklin, S/R, 3/2/1991
6 G, 24 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2B, HR, RBI, SB, 5/2 K/BB, .292/.346/.458

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Danny Hultzen, 11/28/1989
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 6.1 IP, 2 H, 5/2 K/BB, 6/4 G/F

After the first start, it looked like Hultzen might be the slow starter of the bunch, having given up five runs in four innings after four hits, three walks, and seven Ks. It took another two tries for Hultzen to get his first official pro win (none of that Arizona Fall League nonsense). This one saw a diminished strikeout rate and a few more fly balls than we’d been accustomed to seeing from him, but Hultzen was also perfect through the first four innings. Perfect against the team with the worst team OPS in the league by more than eighty points. Mariners? This coming start will be against Huntsville, which has the best offense in the league. Regardless of relative competition strength, he was ranked #2 on Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet this week.

Wind-Aided Home Run Mention:
RHP Taijuan Walker, 8/13/1992
1-0, 2 GS, 1.64 ERA in 11.0 IP, 6 H (HR), 2 R, 13/4 K/BB, 12/6 G/F

Undersung Reliever Mention:
LHP Brian Moran, 9/30/1988
0-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, 4 H, 6/1 K/BB, 0/1 G/F

Extra Pitching Notes:
Paxton was not going to be one of the good picks this week. In the first start this week, he walked eight and struck out four in 4.2 innings. There was only one run because he only allowed two hits. The second outing? 2.1 IP, 7 H (HR), 7 R (6 ER), 1/5 K/BB. Bad bad bad, and against the league’s best offense… Now that I’ve pointed out the Huntsville factor, it’s worth isolating Walker’s start against them, so 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 6/3 K/BB, with a home run allowed… Pryor and Capps both had some command issues this week. Pryor had a 4/3 K/BB and a hit allowed in 3.0 innings. Capps had a 2/1 K/BB in 2.0 innings but let two runs score on five hits.

From the Training Room:
Monday brought some changes to the roster. OF Daniel Carroll, who had been not-hitting, hit the DL, along with LHP Steve Garrison, who hadn’t pitched in five days or something. Taking the roster spots were two imports from the Cal League, RHP Jandy Sena and OF Kalian Sams, recently off the DL. Sams’ presence may or may not mean dingers… At the end of the week, OF Mario Yepez went back to Clinton as the Mariners signed OF Chris Pettit, who was released by the Dodgers after spring training. He was previously with the Angels and looked sort of good during one season in the PCL.

Strange Happenings:
Almonte also got interviewed this week… Huntsville games frequently begin on the 43rd minute of any given hour which might be dumber than that year when Inland Empire games started on the 11th minute. I’m reserving judgment because it makes the games start earlier… Eric Campbell, the utility guy, had reached safely in nine of the ten starts he’s made and the one that he missed on, he drove in two. He’s batting .313/.378/.469… Saturday’s game was supposed to be about pitching, with Paxton and Milwaukee’s #4 prospect via BA taking the mound for the Stars. We know how Paxton did. Their guy lasted four innings and gave up four runs (three earned) after five hits (HR), a walk, and two Ks… Franklin has made six errors already. Be aware. Or Beware.

High Desert Mavericks (4-3 this week, 11-6 overall, 1st in CAL South)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 16th 2012
High Desert 7, Lancaster 3 (HOU – 5) (fourteen innings)
W: Burgoon (1-0, 3.00) L: Streilein (0-2, 11.57)

Tuesday, April 17th 2012
High Desert 3, Lancaster 11 (HOU – 4)
W: Alaniz (1-0, 3.78) L: Sorce (0-1, 9.45)

Wednesday, April 18th 2012
High Desert 6, Lancaster 8 (HOU – 3)
W: Trinidad (1-0, 6.35) L: Hudson (1-2, 8.22) S: De Leon (1)

Thursday, April 19th 2012
Inland Empire 8 (ANA + 2), High Desert 14
W: Mieses (1-1, 4.96) L: Russell (1-1, 8.04)

Friday, April 20th 2012
Inland Empire 2 (ANA + 1), High Desert 7
W: Elias (2-0, 1.96) L: Batista (0-2, 12.91)

Saturday, April 21st 2012
Inland Empire 3 (ANA + 2), High Desert 1
W: Roach (3-0, 1.33) L: Fernandez (0-1, 4.24) S: Chaffee (3)

Sunday, April 22nd 2012
Inland Empire 3 (ANA + 1), High Desert 4
W: Arias (1-0, 0.84) L: Boshers (1-1, 1.42)

Hitter of the Week:
3B/1B Steve Proscia, R/R, 6/26/1990
6 G, 25 AB, 4 R, 10 H, 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 4/1 K/BB, .400/.423/.920

Proscia looks like he’s going to be my first major headache of the minor league season. I’ll preface it with this: last year, he was hitting .286/.295/.429 on the road and .317/.337/.683 at home. When a player shows a differential of over two-hundred fifty points in his slugging between the home and road, that’s a concern. But what about when that differential is almost .850 points? Because that’s what’s happening right now. Proscia is hitting .474/.500/1.000 at home and .158/.273/.158 on the road, which included a couple of games at Lancaster. Is that enough of a sample to worry about? Not yet. But coupled with last season’s totals, we’re seeing a trend that makes me unhappy.

Seeing More Time at the Corners Lately Mention:
OF Julio Morban, L/L, 2/13/1992
5 G, 23 AB, 7 R, 8 H, 2 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 1/0 K/BB, HBP, .348/.375/.565

Wizzle Wozzle Mention:
1B Mickey Wiswall, L/R, 11/25/1988
5 G, 22 AB, 3 R, 7 H, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI, SB, 2/0 K/BB, .318/.318/.591

Super Utility Guy Mention:
UT Patrick Brady, R/R, 2/5/1988
7 G, 19 AB, 3 R, 7 H, HR, 3 RBI, CS, 3/0 K/BB, HBP, .368/.400/.526

Only Question is Why He Missed the Last Two Games Mention:
C/DH Jack Marder, R/R, 2/21/1990
5 G, 24 AB, 5 R, 8 H, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 SB, 3/2 K/BB, HBP, .333/.407/.500

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP James Gillheeney, 11/8/1987
0-0, GS, 1.69 ERA in 5.1 IP, 5 H (HR), 3 R (ER), 7/1 K/BB, 3/2 G/F

Gillheeney doubles it up to take home the honors for the second week in a row. I prefer to be able to spread out my material, but whatever. Two things catch my eye coming out of this start. One is that, while he has recorded more groundball outs than flyball outs, his overall GO/AO is below one, which suggests to me that he’s jamming guys and getting them to pop out somewhere in the infield. Whatever works. The second thing is that even though he’s running a 1.15 ERA at the moment, he’s allowed three unearned runs already in the young season and I don’t know if that says more about his ability to work out of jams or the Mavericks defense. Considering that they were second in the league with twenty-two errors coming into Sunday’s game, I’ll assume the latter for now.

One of the Weirder Home Starts I’ve Seen for the Mavs Mention:
LHP Roenis Elias, 8/1/1988
1-0, GS, 0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP, 3 H, 0/3 K/BB, 11/6 G/F, PO

Stud Reliever in the Making? Mention:
RHP Jonathan Arias, 2/8/1988
1-0, 3 G, 0.00 ERA in 5.0 IP, 3 H, 5/1 K/BB, 6/2 G/F

From the Training Room:
With the team losing Sams (who was not actually active) and Sena, there were a couple of players needed so they activated IF Carlos Ramirez from the DL and added RHP Angel Raga from extended… OF Mike McGee came off the DL, which sent back to Arizona. Numerically, that means four outfielders on the roster, with Brady, Romero, and maybe Wiswall capable on the infield. Marder too I guess. Whatever.

Strange Happenings:
Brad Miller hit a leadoff inside-the-park home run on Sunday. He also hit a bases-clearing double to help win Monday’s extra-inning effort. The latest news on Miller’s defense is that he only made one error this week, which is good because he comprises 43.4% of the team’s errors. No really. The bad news is that I got a report from seattlebruin at Lookout Landing, who saw Miller play, and said the error was on a pop up that he should have caught and the fundamentals seemed not so good. I don’t know why his fundamentals would be off if he’s been playing there his whole life… Raga probably joined the team with limited expectations, but he had a three-inning stint and struck out four on Tuesday.

Clinton Lumberkings (3-4 this week, 6-11 overall, 4 GB in MWL Western)

The Week in Review:
Monday, April 16th 2012
Clinton 3, Quad Cities 6 (STL + 3)
W: Villanueva (1-1, 5.56) L: Hidalgo (0-2, 4.70)

Tuesday, April 17th 2012
Clinton 1, Quad Cities 2 (STL + 4)
W: Stock (1-0, 9.95) L: Hunter (0-1, 6.75) S: Wyatt (2)

Wednesday, April 18th 2012
Clinton 4, Quad Cities 5 (ten innings) (STL + 5)
W: Miranda (1-0, 0.00) L: Alsup (0-3, 12.27)

Thursday, April 19th 2012
Lake County 1 (CLE – 8), Clinton 2
W: Miller (1-0, 2.25) L: Valera (0-2, 2.70) S: Shankin (1)

Friday, April 20th 2012
Lake County 7 (CLE – 7), Clinton 0
W: Anderson (1-0, 3.00) L: Hobson (0-3, 4.95)

Saturday, April 21st 2012
Lake County 5 (CLE – 8), Clinton 8
W: Griffin (1-0, 1.64) L: Cook (0-1, 8.44) S: Taylor (2)

Sunday, April 22nd 2012
Fort Wayne 3 (SD – 4), Clinton 7
W: Landazuri (2-0, 2.05) L: De La Cruz (1-2, 5.23) S: Hunter (1)

Hitter of the Week:
CF Jamal Austin, R/R, 8/26/1990
7 G, 26 AB, 5 R, 9 H, 2B, RBI, SB, 2 CS, 6/3 K/BB, HBP, .346/.419/.385

Austin had an eight-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but the on-base streak remains alive. It’s a shame that there really isn’t anyone to drive him in these days. Right now, Austin has twenty hits to lead the team, good for eighth in the league when I was checking mid-Sunday afternoon. He’s doing pretty well so far, but I have two concerns about him going forward. One is that his success rate on the stolen bases is a bit low, since he’s failed in three of eight attempts. The other is that I expected him to be walking more. Baron, Morla, Blash, Yepez (who only has four games with the team), Phillips, de Jesus, and Dowd have all walked more than him. Not what I would have anticipated at this point.

This is the Current State of the Offense Mention:
RF Jabari Blash, R/R, 7/4/1989
6 G, 23 AB, 5 R, 4 H, HR, 2 RBI, SB, 6/3 K/BB, .174/.269/.304

Pitcher of the Week:
LHP Cameron Hobson, 4/10/1989
0-1, GS, 1.29 ERA in 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R (ER), 4/0 K/BB, 12/4 G/F

Hobson hasn’t picked up a win yet, but that brand of analysis is dumb anyway. In college, even though he set a couple of strikeout records at Dayton, he developed a reputation for being something of an erratic pitcher. The early goings of the season have shown us just that. His two good starts have had him go 12.0 innings with eight hits, two earned runs, and a 9/1 K/BB. The two bad starts have him with 8.0 innings pitched, seven hits, nine earned runs, and a 5/7 K/BB. Presently, this places him within the part of the “Fascinating” circle that doesn’t overlap with the “Good” circle on the Venn diagram.

Probably the Actual Staff Ace Mention:
LHP Jordan Shipers, 6/27/1991
0-0, GS, 1.42 ERA in 6.1 IP, 6 H (HR), 2 R, 5/2 K/BB, 8/4 G/F

Worm-Burner Mention:
RHP Stephen Landazuri, 1/6/1992
1-0, 2 GS, 2.19 ERA in 12.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 6/6 K/BB, 18/7 G/F, HB

Long Relief Hero Mention:
RHP Tim Griffin, 3/1/1988
1-0, 2 G, 1.35 ERA in 6.2 IP, 3 H, R, 3/3 K/BB, 9/4 G/F, WP

From the Training Room:
Yepez came back as 2B Dan Paolini hit the DL with an abdominal strain. Perhaps that was why he was hitting .167 across the line? This probably means that Acevedo or Hazlett plays second in the short-term.

Strange Happenings:
The Quad Cities series brought something unusual: a face-off between former college teammates. Nick Martini, a seventh-rounder out of Kansas State, got to face Kyle Hunter, our 43rd-round pick last year. The face-off went to Hunter, who got Martini to ground out, but the battle went to Quad Cities, which scored two runs off of him to win the game…. Quad Cities also features the younger, inferior Jesus Montero… In interesting pitching news, on Tuesday, Steve Landazuri walked five in a start and didn’t let a run score. He went six innings total, only allowed two hits, and had a 8/3 G/F. In also interesting pitching news, on Thursday, Trevor Miller allowed one run on six hits in seven innings. He walked no one. He struck out no one. I can’t really give that credit as pitcher of the week because I kind of like Ks… Austin is still tied with Baron for the team lead in stolen bases… Blash has struck out twenty times already… Pimentel is hitting .103/.133/.172 right now. At the current pace, I’d expect him to be on the outs in early May… Clinton has the league’s worst offense so far. I guess you could have predicted that.


11 Responses to “Minor League Wrap (4/16-22/12)”

  1. Lance on April 23rd, 2012 8:32 am

    Just wanted to weigh in. Have always been a reader. That never has stopped. Your stuff is always great stuff, and is appreciated. Keep up the great work, even as you go onto higher heights.

  2. Snake Hippo on April 23rd, 2012 8:32 am

    The Mariners should trade Felix’s brother for Montero’s brother.

  3. Glen on April 23rd, 2012 8:49 am

    Thanks for the writeup Jay! It is always good to see what is going on “down on the farm,” and the information isn’t always the easiest to find on one’s own.

  4. dfrankster on April 23rd, 2012 10:08 am

    It goes’to show just how long it takes to rebuild a farm system,good stuff,thanks for the info.

  5. Westside guy on April 23rd, 2012 10:15 am

    You read it here first – Steve Proscia is the next guy Wedge will have a man-crush on.

    Thank you for the interesting write-up Jay!

  6. Jay Yencich on April 23rd, 2012 10:55 am

    So it looks like instead of handing the award to one of Dunigan or Almonte, the Southern League said that one Scooter Gennett was their hitter of the week. Scooter Gennett who hit .448/.448/.826. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE

  7. msfanmike on April 23rd, 2012 12:01 pm

    But Gennett’s parent club (Brewers) did not have a perfect game thrown against them, recently.

    It all matters Jay … it all matters. You can look it up.

    And, thanks for the write-up. I really look forward to seeing these every week.

  8. jordan on April 23rd, 2012 12:10 pm

    I haven’t ever seen Franklin play, but does it seem like he is returning to top prospect form after last years injuries?

    Also, do you think he will stick as a switch hitter or not?

  9. Jay Yencich on April 23rd, 2012 12:33 pm

    But Gennett’s parent club (Brewers) did not have a perfect game thrown against them, recently.

    All the more reason to take pity on the organization that did and reward them for a good hitting performance!

    I haven’t ever seen Franklin play, but does it seem like he is returning to top prospect form after last years injuries?

    Also, do you think he will stick as a switch hitter or not?

    He’s not hurting his case at the moment, but I’d still like to see more. For example, he’s made six errors so far. That’s too many. A few additional extra-base hits couldn’t hurt either, since he’s at a 33% xbh rate at the moment. Some additional walks might be nice too, though one purely positive note is that his strikeout rate seems to have dropped.

    I’ve never been sold on Franklin’s ability to switch hit and what limited sample I have to work with is doing little to dissuade me from that notion. His left side is the better one though, so there’s that.

  10. Mike Snow on April 23rd, 2012 1:31 pm

    I see “Scooter Gennett” and figure it must have been the name that put him over the top.

  11. nvn8vbryce on April 24th, 2012 2:07 pm

    I have to agree about the silly park in my hometown, Jay. I’ve never been able to figure it out.

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