Minor League Week In Review
A lot of movement this week between the big club and the affiliates… we saw both Austin Romine and my personal favorite Vidal Nuno get the call to the BX, Corban Joseph get the yo-yo treatment coming up and then getting sent back down without a single AB, and then just recently Preston Claiborne get the nod out of the pen to replace the Joba monster. Many were pining for the debut of one Mark Montgomery, but Claiborne has been pretty solid himself, and has a bit more experience at the upper levels. As much as I’m looking forward to getting Monty up, I can’t say I’m too broken up about the choice. It gives Monty a bit more seasoning time and could keep him from reaching super two status. Not that the salary of a reliever should be that much concern, but until we see Hal loosen the purse strings on the future it’s not a bad idea. On with the show…
SWB RailRiders 5-0 on the week
Scranton finished off the week perfect going 5-0, led by Ziolo Almonte who went 9-23 with a pair of doubles, a HR and 5 RBI’s. He cut his K’s to 5 these last few games but didn’t manage any walks. Fellow free swinger Melky Mesa chipped in six hits of his own in 18 AB’s, including a double and a homer. He drove in two but struck out six times with zero free passes. The Yanks continue their search for a right-handed bat, indicating the OF’ers give them little reprieve with their hacktastic ways. Speaking of which, Ronnier Mustelier completed his rehab stint and made his first appearance for the Railriders. He went 0-3 but managed a walk and then came around to score. Austin Romine got in all of one AB before getting pulled in response to Cervelli getting hit with a pitch and joining half the team on the DL. With Cerv looking reborn it’s a shame to lose him, but it gives Romine a chance at some time with the big boys. David Adams went 4-15 this week, clubbing a HR and driving in a pair.
As mentioned earlier Nuno got the call and didn’t log any innings in PA this week. Good news on the reclamation front though, as Chien-Ming Wang continues to put up solid innings. He went 7 innings, giving up a run on 6 hits, walking one and striking out a pair. On the down side, for those of you awaiting the return of the Wanger you’ll have to wait. News from the FO is that they want to see him working more on his secondary stuff, as his sinker isn’t what it used to be. They feel for him to be successful he’ll have to sharpen up his off speed stuff and learn to work with reduced velocity. Torn capsules are a death sentence, so the fact that he’s doing what he has is pretty remarkable. Dellin Betances threw a ton of pitches to get just 3.1 innings deep, giving up a pair of runs in the process. He walked three and struck out six. I’m still in the Dellin-to-the-pen camp, but the upside to him starting is that he’ll log more time on the hill. Brett Marshall has picked things up though, tossing 12.1 innings of 9 hit, 1 run ball. He’s still struggling with control a bit as he walked 8 and registered 9 K’s. Mark Montgomery threw two innings in relief, giving up a run and a walk while striking out just one. Preston Claiborne chipped in 2.2 innings of his own, giving up two runs on four hits before getting the nod to the BX. He might not be able to step into Joba’s shoes right away, but anything that keeps shawn Kelley off the mound right?
Trenton Thunder 4-3 on the week
JR Murphy continues to chug along, as he went 5-16 on the week including three doubles. He drove in one, took two walks and struck out just once. Ramon Flores bookended his week with five hits but took the 0-fer in the middle. He had one XBH (2B) but managed to pick up 8 free passes amongst 7 strikeouts. Even when he doesn’t hit he’s getting on base, which is awesome. Tyler Austin was in a little funk as well, chipping in as many hits in as many AB’s and also had a lone double. He walked five times while registering 8 K’s. Speaking of funk; Slade Heathcott is still in the dumps. He squeaked in three hits in 19 AB’s, although he did go deep for his first of the year. He drove in three but struck out 5 times, while taking a pair of walks. Quite the letdown after tearing up the fall leagues, so here’s to getting some fire lit in his bat.
On the pitching end Nik Turley seems to be getting adjusted to life in AA. In his first outing his line was 5IP, 6H, 3ER, 4BB, 4K. He followed that up with his best outing of the year tossing 6 innings of one run ball on two hits. He walked three and struck out eight. The Francisco Rondon experiment continues to flounder however; he gave up six runs over five innings on 7 hits, walking four and striking out just three. He still owns a zero ERA vs. lefties though, so if/when they decide to end the charade he’ll be right back to owning same handed batters out of the pen. Matt Tracy threw up another brick, although not quite as bad as last week. He allowed four runs over six innings on eight hits. He gave up just one free pass and punched out five. Jose Ramirez got back into action this week and what a relief…. right back where he left off, J-Ram punched out twelve batters in his two appearances totaling 9 innings of work. He gave up just one run and two free passes. All he needs to do now is keep the pace and stay on the field. Easier said than done, but something to look forward to in terms of starting pitching which aside from a couple of bright spots has struggled. Tommy Kahnle continues to put up zeroes, tossing four innings of one hit ball on the week. Danny Burawa added three scoreless of his own, striking out two and walking three.
Tampa Yankees 5-2 on the week
What can I say… it’s all Robert Refsnyder all the time. Bumped to Tampa this kid has not missed a beat. He scorched the ball again this week, going 9-21 with three doubles and a HR. He drove in three, worked three walks and struck out five times. He’s not young for the level (22) but it’s great to see him chug along through the system. AA will be the big test, and he’s probably not far off if his D can catch up with his bat. It’s struggles past that unfortunately; Gary Sanchez went 3-24 with a pair of doubles and 3 RBI’s, Mason Williams went 4-21 and also drove in three although he did go yard for his first of the year. Ben Gamel is really in a rut with a big fat goose egg on the week in 24 AB’s. He did sacrifice in two runs, but on the other hand struck out ten times while working only three walks. Well there’s always Refsnyder…
On the mound Corey Black turned in some solid innings. He made two appearances and totaled 10IP, 8H, 4ER, 3BB and 15K’s. Eleven!!! of those K’s came in his last outing, although he gave up three of his four runs as well. I’m interested in seeing how he fares in the latter innings, as that was his issue the previous year. The kid can throw some serious juice but he tails off quite a bit as fatigue sets in. To be fair last year was his first stint in the pros, so maybe it’s a matter of conditioning, training and in-game management and conservation so we’ll see. If anything he can light up the gun out of the pen, but it would be great to see a starter in the high 90’s to triple digits. Bryan Mitchell made two starts of his own, racking up 10.1 innings of six run ball on twelve hits. He both walked and struck out 7. With his kind of stuff we’re all looking for him to put it all together and run with it. Not quite yet. Shane Greene made one start this week going 7 innings and giving up 3 earned on 7 hits. He walked just one and struck out five. Jonh Brebbia appeared out of the pen for a pair of scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit and a walk, but zero strikeouts.
Charleston River Dogs 3-2 on the week
Jake Cave, who missed last season with a knee injury has jumped right in. He went 6-22 on the week with a double, a triple and an RBI. He took one walk and struck out seven times. After missing so much time it’s encouraging to see him step right in swinging, although his eye is yet to get dialed in. Greg Bird was all or nothing this week, getting all six of his hits in two games. He has a pair of doubles and three RBI’s while striking out five times and walking three. On the ugly side, the former first rounder Cito Culver continues to wallow in his black hole after a hot little start going 1-20 with a double and an RBI. His walks are down too, so there isn’t even that to look up to. Fellow 1st rounder Dante Bichette Jr had the better week, chipping in six hits in 20 AB’s. He had one XBH (2B) and drove in three. More to the ugly though he struck out seven times without a single walk.
On the pitching end Rafael DePaula continues to strike batters out at a good clip, although he did fall off a bit this week; only one more K than innings pitched. His line ended at 5IP, 3H, 2ER, 2BB, 6K’s. As of now he’s punched out 39 batters in just 22.1 innings while allowing 11 walks, four of which came in one rough two inning appearance. He’s been working on spinning the ball and getting his secondary stuff in line, and if he gets it rolling he’ll no doubt be taking a trip in Tampa. Gabe Encinas continues to shine tossing another six scoreless innings this week. He racked up just three K’s and a pair of BB’s, but has allowed just one earned run on the season. Outstanding. Jose Campos, who we learned yesterday suffered from a fractured elbow last year says he’s at about 90% still. He made one start, going three innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits. He walked two and struck out seven. He says his mechanics are still a little wonky, which explains the lack of command and control, something that was never an issue. Here’s to him getting his strength and endurance up to where they need to be and the rest falling in line. They’ve been taking it easy on him thus far, as he’s a pretty big commodity in the system. Daniel Camarena continues to flounder, giving up four runs on five hits over four innings pitched. He walked one and struck out three. He’s allowed 4 ER or more in four of his five starts. Yikes. Out of the pen, Ben Paullus chipped in two scoreless innings on one hit, allowing one free pass and striking out two.
That’s it for the farm this week, stay tuned as the roller coaster of promotions and setbacks continues.