Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/30

Durham Bulls 5, Indianapolis Indians 4 (10 innings) 
A huge hit by Jeff Salazar in the top of the tenth helped the Bulls squeeze out an extra inning win over the Indians. The Indians jumped out to a four run lead in the first inning. The Bulls were held off the scoreboard until the sixth when they produced a four run inning of their own to tie the game. The big inning was highlighted by a two run blast by Juan Miranda. The game was tied until the top of the tenth when Salazar delivered an inside the park homer to win the game. In addition to the homers by Salazar and Miranda, Shawn O'Malley was 3 for 5 on the afternoon to round out the offensive highlights. Brandon Gomes picked up the win and is now 4-0. Dane De La Rosa earned the save.

Montgomery Biscuits, Mississippi Braves (Postponed-Rain)
Wednesday's game between the Biscuits and the Braves was postponed due to rain. They will play a doubleheader on Thursday.

Jupiter Hammerheads 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5 
The Stone Crabs late game rally fell short as they lost to the Hammerheads 6-5 on Wednesday. Both clubs exchanged runs in the second inning of the game. But then the Hammerheads put a run in third and three in the fifth to take the lead for good. The Stone Crabs tried to work their way back but ended up being one run short. Phil Wunderlich was 3 for 5 with a three run homer in the ninth. Mikie Mahtook was 3 for 5 with a triple. Brett Nommensen was 2 for 5 with a double. Grayson Garvin was charged with the loss.

  Lansing Lugnuts 6, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4 (10 innings) 
The Hot Rods dropped a close game to the Lugnuts in the series opener. The runs came in pairs all night with the Hot Rods scoring the first pair in the first inning to take the lead. Lansing scored two in the third to tie the game. Then Lansing took their first lead in the ninth by scoring two only to have the Hot Rods tie things up with a pair of runs of their own in the home half of the ninth to force extra innings. Lansing scored twice in the tenth which the Hot Rods could not match, handing the Hot Rods the extra innings loss. Todd Glaesmann was 3 for 4 with 3 homers and 3 RBI's. Jeff Malm was 2 for 5 with 2 doubles. Josh Sale had a solo homer. Hot Rods pitcher struck out 15 hitters on the night. Trevor Shull was charged with the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season. Jake Partridge pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief with 6 strikeouts.

VSL Rays 12, VSL Mariners 9
The VSL Rays held of a late game rally by the Mariners to win 12-9 and snap their seven game losing streak. Both clubs came hard out of the gate, exchange four runs each in the first inning. Things settled down until the fourth when the Rays tacked on three runs to take the lead. The Rays added five more in the sixth to take a commanding 12-4 lead. They dodged a bullet in the late innings as the Mariners scored 5 runs to pull within three, but the Rays held on for the win. David Colina was 3 for 5 with a triple and 3 RBI's. Cesar Hernandez had a two run homer. Johan Marval picked up the win, his first of the season.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Minor Moves: Acosta

Catcher Mayo Acosta was sent to the Montgomery Biscuits from the Durham Bulls. The move was a result of Stephen Vogt being optioned from the Rays yesterday. Acosta is hitting .258 with 8 doubles, 4 home runs and 17 RBI's in 31 games split between Charlotte and Durham this season. Acosta is in his sixth season with the Rays organization after being signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2006.

Scores and Highlights from 5/29

Indianapolis Indians 3, Durham Bulls 1
The Bulls could not overcome an early deficit as they fell to the Indians for the second straight night. The Bulls outhit the Indians but failed to turn those hits into runs as they were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring positions. The lone run for the Bulls came on a solo homer by Jeff Salazar in the fifth inning. Reid Brignac was 3 for 4 with 2 doubles to lead the offense. Chris Archer was charged with the loss. Alex Torres and Josh Lueke chipped in with a no-hit inning each.

Montgomery Biscuits 4, Mississippi Braves 1
The Biscuits used a big fourth inning to back a dazzling performance from starter Matt Buschmann to beat the Braves and even the series. Trailing by a run, the Biscuits offense struck for four runs in the fourth to take the lead for good. Greg Sexton was 2 for 4 on the night with a double and an RBI. Tyler Bortnick was 2 for 4 with an RBI. Ty Morrison picked up three stolen bases. Buschmann pitched 7 innings, recording 6 strikeouts to earn the win. Frank De Los Santos came on in the end, throwing 2 no-hit innings to notch the save.

Charlotte Stone Crabs 4, Jupiter Hammerheads 2
Despite watching an early lead disappear, the Stone Crabs rallied in the eighth to beat the Hammerheads and put a stop to the 5 game skid. The Stone Crabs broke the scoreless tie by scoring two runs in the fourth inning. They clinged to the lead until the top of the sixth when the Hammerheads struck with two runs of their own to tie the game. The game remained tied until the eighth inning when Mikie Mahtook delivered a two run blast to give the Stone Crabs the win. CJ Riefenhauser was strong in the start, striking out 7 in five inning on the mound but departed with a no-decision. Jimmy Patterson was the winner for the Stone Crabs and Chris Rearick picked up the save.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 8, Fort Wayne Tin Caps 2
 The Hot Rods offense continues to roll as delivered eight extra base hits to defeat the Tin Caps 8-2 on Tuesday night. The Hot Rods took the lead in the second and never looked back as they took 3 of 4 in the series against Fort Wayne. Juniel Querecuto led the way by going 3 for 4 with 2 RBI's. Jeff Malm was 2 for 5 with 2 doubles. Ryan Brett was 2 for 5 with a triple and an RBI. Jake Hager and Matt Rice each went deep for the Hot Rods. Felipe Rivero picked up the win, striking out 7 in the process. Andre Bellatti earned the save.

VSL Tigers 5, VSL Rays 3
The VSL Rays gave up an early lead to suffer their seventh loss in a row. The Rays jumped out to a two run lead in the second inning but it didn't last long as they gave up five runs in the middle innings to take the loss. The Rays offense managed just two hits on the afternoon but managed five stolen bases once aboard. Carlos Vaamonde drove home two runs in the game. Kevin Cazorla suffered the loss.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/28

Indianapolis Indians 7, Durham Bulls 4 
The Bulls rallied back from an early deficit to take the lead with a four run third inning. But they couldn't hold on to the lead as they fell to the Indians 7-4 on Monday evening. Leslie Anderson was a perfect 4 for 4 at the plate with a double and an RBI. Henry Wrigley had a double and 3 RBI's. Jesus Feliciano was 2 for 4. Jim Paduch suffered the loss for the Bulls.

Mississippi Braves 6, Montgomery Biscuits 0
The Biscuits were shut-out by the Braves in the series opener on Monday night. The Biscuits offense could only manage three hits on the night. Joe Cruz suffered the loss and is now 2-6 on the season.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 14, Fort Wayne Tin Caps 7
The Hot Rods offense provided a great show on Memorial Day as they struck for fourteen runs on sixteen hits in the matinee against the Tin Caps. Of the sixteen hits, seven of them were of the extra base variety. Every Hot Rod in the lineup joined in on the hit parade. Alejandro Segovia led the offense by going 3 for 5 with a double, two homers and 3 RBI's. Jake Hager drove home 5 runs by going 2 for 5 with a double and a triple. Drew Vettleson had a triple while Cameron Seitzer had a double to round out the extra base hits. In addition to getting it done at the plate, the Hot Rods were getting it done on the bases by stealing five bags on the afternoon. Justin Woodall threw three scoreless innings to pick up the win for the Hot Rods.

VSL Tigers 18, VSL Rays 6
 The VSL Rays dropped their sixth game in a row following a big loss to the Tigers. The Rays found themselves in a 6 run deficit by the end of the second inning and never recovered. Erick Vasquez went 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI's. Roni Maestre was 2 for 2 with 2 runs scored. Cesar Hernandez was 3 for 4 with a run scored. Mario Fernandez suffered the loss.

Minor League Breakdown: The Pitching Prospects

Overall state of the farm

The positive trend of the last weeks couldn't be continued by the minor league affiliates in the last week. Combined, the full-season ball affiliates had a record of only 9 wins opposing 14 losses. Especially the Stone Crabs with 5 consecutive losses haven't helped their playoff chances last week. Sad stat of the day: Since this week, the Durham Bulls are LAST in pitching (according to ERA) AND in offensive production (according to OPS) in the International League!

OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown.

Nevertheless, I want to focus on the positive pitching trend since the start of the season, by pointing out two facts:
  1. As can be seen in the graph below, the ERA decreased since the start of the season. Especially Durham and Montgomery have improved their pitching outcome in the last month. 
  2. The FIP over all Rays minor league pitchers is 3.53 on the season. This means, that the FIP is 0.63 lower than the ERA, which suggests that the pitchers as a whole are better than their ERA suggests. The reasons can be simple bad luck or below average performances by the defense. The FIP over the last week was even lower than 3.53, with 3.34.
ERA change since the start of the season

Prospects stats overview
(click on the image for a better view)

Prospects on the rise
  1. Brandon Gomes ... While having only 16 IP (in the minors), he looks very dominant. Nearly 15 K/9 (which is a ridiculous 41.9 K%) and a 4.33 K/BB-ratio over the season (16.2 K/9, 6 K/BB ratio and 0.50 FIP over his last 10 IP) are excellent. Also considering his MLB success last year, he definitely should be the 1st reliever being called up in case of an injury.
  2. Chris Rearick ... The 2nd reliever on the list of rising prospects continuous to shine like last year. 12.91 K/9 and a 1.50 FIP are not bad at all. In comparison to Brandon Gomes, his BABIP does even suggest that he was a tad unlucky so far (the FIP is also lower than the ERA). 
  3. Grayson Garvin ... With C.J. Riefenhauser having been on every "prospects on the rise-list" so far, Grayson Garvin is the only starter on this one. Garvin quietly puts up one solid start after another. A FIP of 2.22 over his last 23.2 IP with 8.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 are excellent.
  4. Romulo Sanchez ... The reliever nr. 3 on this list could be a dark horse for the big league club later this year. After some struggles at the beginning of the season, he hasn't been anything than dominant since - and that with pinpoint control!. 9.9 K/9, 0.7 BB/9 over the last 13.2 IP are mind-blowing.
  5. Wilking Rodriguez and Alex Torres ... It probably is too early to put them here, but it's nice to see some progress as of late.

Prospects to be falling
  1. Johnny Nunez ... While Brandon Gomes and Romulo Sanchez are pushing for the show, I'd be surprised to see Johnny Nunez being called up this season. No control (9.6 BB/9 in last 10.1 IP and 6.56 BB/9 over the season) and a FIP of 5.64 (7.16 over last 10.1 IP) are neither helping his cause nor the Durham Bulls.  
  2. Braulio Lara ... Entering full-season ball with lots of fanfare and hype, his results give us a hint that he hasn't progressed very much over the last 2 years. A K/BB ratio of only 1.37 (5.9 K/9, 4.3 BB/9) over his last 16.2 IP are not helping either.
All of the stats provided above are excluding the stats from the previous day. I preferrably use FanGraphs as source for the stats. Click on each stat for its explanation:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/27

Durham Bulls 3, Norfolk Tides 1 (10 innings) 
The Bulls won their fourth straight road game with a 3-1 extra innings win over the Tides. Both clubs dueled through six scoreless innings before the Tides reached the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh. The Bulls answered with a run of their own in the top of the eighth to tie the game and force extra innings. The Bulls capitalized on an error in the tenth to put the go ahead run on base. It was Reid Brignac who drove home the winning run and scored the insurance run to give the Bulls a 3-1 win. Brignac finished the day 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Jeff Salazar was also 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI's. Bryan Augenstein pitched 2 no-hit innings for the win.

Jackson Generals 4, Montgomery Biscuits 2 
The Biscuits rallied in the ninth to put the tying run on the bases, but they couldn't get the runs across the plate as they fell to the Generals 4-2. The Biscuits found themselves trailing right out of the gate, giving up a run to the Generals in the first inning. The Biscuits battled back to tie the game 2-2 in the fifth inning. But they immediately surrendered the lead in the next inning. The Biscuits rallied in the ninth by loading the bases, but they failed to turn the baserunners into runs on the scoreboard as they suffered the loss. Omar Luna was a perfect 4 for 4 with 2 RBI's. Marquis Fleming suffered the loss.

St. Lucie Mets 2, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
The Stone Crabs continue to struggle against the Mets, losing 2-1 in the series finale on Sunday. The Stone Crabs have yet to win a game against the Mets this season as they are now 0-9 against the division leading Mets. The Stone Crabs scored first in Sunday's game as Mikie Mahtook drove home Robby Price. They held the slim 1-0 lead until the bottom of the sixth when the Mets pushed across two runs. The Stone Crabs did not recover as they lost their ninth straight to the Mets. Steven Tinoco was 3 for 4 on the afternoon. MLB rehabber Brandon Allen was 2 for 4 with a double. Eliazer Suero was charged with a blown save and the loss.

Fort Wayne Tin Caps 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
Despite taking an early lead, the Hot Rods could not hold on for a win against the Tin Caps on Sunday. The Hot Rods held a slim one run lead until the fifth when the Tin Caps tied the game. The game stayed tied until the Tin Caps pushed across two runs to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Hot Rods got a run back in the ninth but they fell a run short and suffered the loss. Jeff Malm was responsible for both Hot Rods runs, driving home Ryan Brett in the first and then striking a solo homer in the ninth. Brett had the only other extra base hit for the Hot Rods, a triple in the first. Charlie Cononie was charged with the loss.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 23: Draft Talk with Matt Garrioch)

Matt Garrioch (@mattgarrioch) of Minor League Ball and MLB Prospect Guide join Scott and Kevin to break down this year's draft.

Questions or comments? E-mail

Music is from Isle of Q

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rays Organizational Needs

Unlike last year, when the Rays had 12 picks within the first two rounds, this year's draft provides them with less opportunities to acquire elite talent. The Rays have one pick per round (the 25th) and no supplemental picks in 2012. Nevertheless, there are some organizational needs that can be filled by drafting and developing the right players. I'm going to take a short look at the organizational strength, pointing out the positions I see the Rays with the most of lack in talent.

Starting Pitching

While Starting Pitching has been THE organizational strength for years now, the minor league depth regarding top starting pitching prospects took a considerable hit over the last year. Top SP prospects like Chris Archer, Alex Torres, Alex Colome and Enny Romero have not (yet) developed the way we all hoped for and a new Matt Moore or Jeremy Hellickson (at least in full-season ball) is nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, I do see the starting pitching depth as clearly above average, comparing it to other MLB teams. Here is my explanation why:
  1. Despite Alex Torres' struggles and Jeff Niemann's injury, the MLB depth is still solid. Alex Cobb should fill in nicely for Niemann. Wade Davis is always there for insurance. And Chris Archer seems to recover a bit from a slow start to the season.
  2. While the pitchers in A+ and AA are mostly not playing up to their potential (with the exception of Mr. Riefenhauser), there is at least some MLB-SP potential in there with Alex Colome and Enny Romero. 
  3. Bowling Green has some very intriguing starting pitching prospects with Ryan Carpenter, Parker Markel (both have to improve their K-rates, though) and especially Felipe Rivero.
  4. The overall organizational pitching, and so also its starters, has been improving since a horrid start of the season.
  5. There are some very interesting, mostly raw but high potential pitchers parked in extended spring training. Taylor Guerrieri, Jacob Faria or Blake Snell could develop into high-end starting pitching prospects.
That said, the high-end depth in SP has definitely taken a hit and could use some reinforcements through the draft.

Relief Pitching

Year in, year out, Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon build an above average major league bullpen by identifying potential where nobody else sees potential. Therefore, I'm less concerned about a possible lack of minor league depth in the relief pitching department, then in other areas. Nevertheless, the Rays have traded for cheap and controllable bullpen talent by acquiring young and nearly major league ready pitchers like Josh Lueke or Brandon Gomes and signed power pitchers who highest likely (or at least as a suitable fallback option) project as relief pitchers due the draft (Ian Kendall, Jeff Ames, Jake Thompson, Lenny Linsky, Blake Snell, Jesse Hahn, ...).
With the contracts of most of the Rays late inning saviors (Rodney, Peralta and Farnsworth) being up after this season, the front office will have its work laid out in front of them for the upcoming offseason. But, I'm confident that they find the missing pieces in order to complement the above mentioned pitchers, as well as converted starting pitchers like Jake McGee, Wade Davis (for the long run?) and Alex Torres.
Despite the new CBA being a pain in the ass for the Rays, when it comes to bonus amounts for highschoolers, they should again try to find raw highschool pitchers with starting pitching potential, who could be converted into relievers if not panning out in a starting role. Relief pitching, though, should not be a premiere priority for the franchise entering the 2012 draft (or any draft).


Jose Molina - MLB - .551 OPS
Chris Gimenez - MLB - .491
Jose Lobaton - DL
Robinson Chirinos - DL
Nevin Ashley - DL
Mark Thomas - AA - .542 OPS
Luke Bailey - DL

With the exception of Mayobanex Acosta, no minor or major league catcher stands out for his (offensive) play this year. The already barren prospect pool (with Justin O'Conner struggling heavily in his 1st two MiL seasons and Luke Bailey not fulfilling his potential by draft day) has taken a big hit due to injuries and bad performances.  Unfortunately, the Rays don't draft at the top of the draft (in order to land Mike Zunino), nor have they acquired a player like him (still sad about that) during the offseason. Bottom line: What the Rays need most is a FRANCHISE CATCHER. This draft has some highly ranked catching prospects behind Mike Zunino,  with Stryker Trahan, Peter O'Brien or Josh Elander. Will the Rays draft a catcher early on, once again, despite having very limited success with the drafting of catchers in the past? Or will they sign someone from outside? Something has to be done.

Middle Infield

Much was said about the Rays drafting - what feels like - 10 shortstop prospects every year. The prospect pool should be laden, you might think? Fact is, the Rays don't look very well at short in 2012. While Elliot Johnson and Sean Rodriguez hold the fort with some respectable play in the majors, Reid Brignac looks like he won't make it, Tim Beckham is suspended and Hak-Yu Lee seemengly can't (yet) adjust to AA ball. Derek Dietrich is hitting well, but might have to move off from short and Jake Hager (why no Trevor Story???) is being outperformed in full-season ball.
Summarizing, the Rays do have talent at short in the minors. The talent is mostly not playing up to its potential, though.
With Tyler Bortnick and Cole Figueroa, who both could turn out to be useful utility infielders a la Elliot Johnson, the Rays don't have All-Star caliber, but solid upper minor league depth at 2B. With Ben Zobrist, Jeff Keppinger and Sean Rodriguez already at the major league level, All-Star depth is not necessarily needed either. Therefore, 2B should be okay for the upcoming years, also with players like Derek Dietrich or Tim Beckham possibly moving over and Ryan Brett or Hector Guevara emerging.

Corner Infield

The Bowling Green Hot Rods give hope to the - what seems to be for years - weakest point of the Rays' minor league system. Both, Jeff Malm and Tyler Goeddel have the potential to emerge as above average major leaguers. Until they are ready for the majors, the Rays have to continue to look for stopgap options across Evan Longoria, though, as the upper minors only have - a much improved - Henry Wrigley to count for. Therefore, and even despite the 2012 draft looking to be thin at first, the Rays should add one or two potential power bats to Malm, Goeddel and John Alexander in the lower minors.


The best for the end! With Matt Joyce, B.J. Upton, Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist forming one of the best outfields in the majors, the Rays look good for 2012. Brandon Guyer could/should take the first spot that opens up in the majors (due to Upton leaving after the season or Zobrist moving back to 2nd) and contribute regularly in 2013. Sam Fuld, Rich Thompson or Stephen Vogt then could compete for a possible last spot in the outfield. Behind them, Kyeong Kang (for a COF spot) and Ty Morrison (for CF) should be in AAA full time next year and provide solid depth, while with Mikie Mahtook, Josh Sale, Drew Vettleson, Kes Carter (if healthy), Grandon Goetzman and Johnny Eierman lots of potential gems have time to grow into future big league roles. Therefore, and while I definitely expect the Rays to select at least one or two athletic SS/CF guys in the draft, outfield is THE NEW STRENGTH of the system and less of a need in this year's draft.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Hitting Prospects

Overall state of the farm

The third minor league hitting prospects breakdown is up and recently things have been looking well in the minors. The four full-season ball teams have gone a combined 15:8 over the last 6 and 30:19 over the last 13 days. Especially the strong pitching over the last 6 days can be credited for this excellent spurt. The overall ERA decreased from a weak 4.37 to a better (while still not good) 4.14. The hitting prospects as a group have improved as well. They - led by Josh Sale and the Bowling Green Hot Rods - increased their OPS to .698.

OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown.

Prospects stats overview

All of a sudden, the rightfully criticized last three draft years are looking better. Just take a look at the prospects on the rise-section below. Keep in mind that I use FanGraphs as source and therefore all of yesterday's (in a lot of cases excellent) performances are not taken into account yet (e.g.: Ryan Brett going 5 for 5, Drew Vettleson 2 of 3 with 2 walks, Mahtook, Dietrich, Allen, Nommensen and Rogers rocking in Port Charlotte's victory, ...). Here is the data:
(click on the image for a better view)

Prospects on the rise
  1. Joshua Sale ... Who really expected such a jump?  And according to Sale himself, "only" some simple mind-approach changes have been the trigger for the jump in quality. See the result: 18.9 BB%, 15.1 K%, .536 wOBA, 1.266 OPS, .425 ISO and not even a really high BABIP (.321) are mind-blowing. Despite the small sample size, the improvement in his approach seems to be legit.
  2. Jeff Malm ... He continues to produce. He hits for some power and for a solid average, has an okay approach at the plate and is trending upwards. A 1.002 OPS and .427 wOBA over the last 50 PA's are very good. The BABIP is high, though.
  3. Mayobanex Acosta ... With an OPS of nearly .900 (.391 wOBA) between Port Charlotte and Durham on the season, he is one of the bright spots behind the plate in-between all those injuries.
  4. Mikie Mahtook ... Even without yesterday's performance (5 PA, 2H, 1st HR of the season, 1BB, 0K), things are trending upwards. A .411 wOBA and .911 OPS over his last 44 PA's are excellent.
  5. Derek Dietrich ... Dietrich is another of yesterday's top performers with 1 HR and 2 Doubles. But, even without yesterday, he consistently improves (.752 OPS after 59 PA's, .780 OPS after 128 PA's and .804 OPS after 173 PA's) during the season.

Prospects to be falling
  1. Reid Brignac ... Have we already seen the last AB of Reid Brignac in the majors? While his defense is good, he needs to not just tinker or adjust, but fully rearrange his approach.
  2. Taylor Motter ...  While his plate discipline is okay, much more was expected out of Motter after an exceptional '11 season in short season ball.
  3. Hak-Yu Lee ... While his MIF-partner Tyler Bortnick is slowly turning it around (.389 wOBA in his last 53 PA's), the consensus pre-season Top 100 MiL-Prospect Hak-Yu Lee doesn't get going. A wOBA below .300 is not what we expected out of him.
  4. Tyler Goeddel ... While still having solid numbers overall, he couldn't sustain his early season success streak. A .541 OPS and .281 wOBA since the last MiL-Hitting Breakdown are not good. Nevertheless, with such a young prospect, struggles are to be expected. His BB/K ratio - at least - is slowly but steadily improving.


All of the stats provided above are excluding the stats from the previous day. I preferrably use FanGraphs as source for the stats. Click on each stat for its explanation:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Future Considerations Podcast (Episode 22: Josh Sale, Midseason Promotions, Matt Moore)

Scott and Kevin take a look at Josh Sale's superhot start with Bowling Green, analyze some candidates in line for a midseason promotion, and break down Matt Moore's early struggles.

Questions or comments? E-mail

Music is from Isle of Q

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Rays All-DL Team

The Rays and their four full-season affiliates now have 25 players on the DL, rehab assignment, or restricted list. That's an entire team roster. For fun I thought I'd see what that team would look like.

Robinson Chirinos
Jose Lobaton
Nevin Ashley
Luke Bailey

Brandon Allen

Isaias Velasquez (a reach, he hasn't played there since 2009)

Tim Beckham

Evan Longoria

Sam Fuld

Desmond Jennings

Brandon Guyer

Extra OFs:
Kevin Kiermaier
Kes Carter

Jeff Niemann
Alex Colome
Nick Barnese
Parker Markel
Bryan Augenstein

Jairo De La Rosa (backup middle infielder)
Matt Bush (backup middle infielder)
Jay Buente
Chris Andujar
Zach Quate
Lenny Linsky

Kyle Farnsworth

One of the catchers can be DH. Other than too many catchers (depth!) and a sort-of second baseman, not a bad team. The rotation is a little young, but overall probably a better team than the Bulls this year.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/16

Pawtucket Red Sox 5, Durham Bulls 4 
The Bulls suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of the Red Sox on Wednesday night. The Bulls came out swinging, taking an early lead. But they were unable to hold onto the lead as the fell for the second straight night to the Red Sox. Leslie Anderson was 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Hideki Matsui got his first hit as a Bull, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI's. Craig Albernaz was 2 for 3 with a double. John Gaub was charged with the loss.

Montgomery Biscuits 8, Birmingham Barons 5
The Biscuits moved into second place in the division following an 8-5 win over the Barons. The Biscuits held on to a tie into the top of the tenth where they rallied to push three runs across the plate to notch an extra inning win. Kyeong Kang powered the offense by going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 RBI's. Mark Thomas was 3 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI's. Tyler Bortnick was 2 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI's and 2 runs scored. Brad Coon was 2 for 5 with an RBI. Marquis Fleming pitched 2 scoreless innings for the win while Frank De Los Santos threw a no-hit tenth for the save.

Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Fort Myers Miracle 1
The Stone Crabs evened their record to .500 on the season with a 3-1 win over the Miracle. The Stone Crabs struck early and never looked back. They scored one in the first and two in the second and that was all that was needed as the pitching staff did their part in keeping runs of the scoreboard. Robi Estrada was 2 for 3 with a double and a two run homer. Alejandro Torres was 2 for 4. Mikie Mahtook had a double. Albert Suarez picked up the win. Jimmy Patterson pitched 2 shut-out innings and Chris Rearick picked up his eighth save of the season.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Dayton Dragons 1
The Hot Rods extended their winning streak to three games by defeating the Dragons 4-1. The Hot Rods and Dragons dueled through 5 scoreless frames before pushing across a run. Once they did, the Hot Rods put together a three run sixth to put them out in front for good. Cameron Seitzer was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI's. Ryan Brett and Jeff Malm were each 2 for 4. Josh Sale plated a run and had a stolen base. Roberto Gomez won his third straight game while Andrew Bellatti pitched 3 shut-out innings with 5 strikeouts to get the save.

VSL Phillies 4, VSL Rays 3 
The VSL Rays put together a late rally but fell short as they lost to the VSL Phillies. For the second consecutive afternoon, the Rays outhit their opponent but failed to come up with that first win of the season. Iago Januario was 2 for 4 with a 2 run homer. Jhonnathan Teran was 2 for 3. Jose Paez had a triple and an RBI. German Marquez suffered the loss for the Rays.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Minor Moves: Garko, Hudson, Lobaton, Thompson

The Bulls outfielder Kyle Hudson was traded to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies) for outfielder Rich Thompson. Thompson was the sixth round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2000 draft. He spent his ten year career spent between the Blue Jays, Pirates, Royals, Diamondbacks and Phillies organizations. Much of his career was spent in the minor leagues with six MLB games under his belt in 2004 with the Royals. This season Thompson was hitting .307 with 4 doubles, 2 triples and 11 RBI's in 29 games for the Iron Pigs. 

Thompson replaces Kyle Hudson who was in his first season with the Rays organization. He was hitting .291 with a double, triple and 8 RBI's in 31 games with the Bulls this season.

Another new face is welcomed into the Rays organization as Ryan Garko has been assigned to the Biscuits. Garko was signed by the Rays as a free agent out of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He began his professional career in the Indians organization as their third round pick in the draft. He worked his way through the organization making his MLB debut with the tribe on September 15, 2005. He went on to play in the majors for seven seasons before heading to the Korean league in 2011.

One final roster move announced today was Jose Lobaton was promoted to the Biscuits to continue his MLB rehab schedule at the Double-A level. Lobaton who is recovering from a shoulder injury spent two games with the Stone Crabs where he went 0 for 5 with a walk.

Minor League Breakdown: The Pitching Prospects

Overall state of the farm

The Rays minor league teams have had a pretty good week overall. 15 wins and 11 losses make up for a 57.7 winning percentage. Especially the Stone Crabs have been on a tear as of late. Their team OPS improved by nearly 5 points (from .644 to .692) from the 29th of April to yesterday. Looking at the pitching, we can see that Montgomery and Port Charlotte (while still being worst in the Southern League) improved by a significant margin over the last week while the Hot Rods' pitching continues to decrease from the very high level it showed at the beginning of the year and while the Durham Bulls' pitching remains historically bad. It can be seen that the pitching level decreases with each minor league level.

OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown.

Prospects stats overview

As sample sizes are still pretty small, I won't comment on pitchers with less than 20 IP. Here is the list:
(click on the image for a better view)

Prospects on the rise
  1. C.J. Riefenhauser and Felipe Rivero ... After being #1 and #2 on the prospects-on-the-rise-list the last time, they continue to shine. Both show pinpoint control and the ability to strike batters out on a consistent basis. Their stat lines over the last two weeks: 13.1 IP, 8.8 K/9, 0.7 BB/9, 1.47 FIP, 0 ERA (Riefenhauser) and 14.1 IP, 9.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.02 FIP, 1.23 ERA (Rivero)
  2. Ryan Reid ... Do you remember his '08 season? 6.4 H/9, 4 BB/9 and 11.4 K/9 with an ERA of 2.91. It's only been 24 innings, but his 6.25 K/BB ratio is excellent
  3. Chris Archer ... He's slowly coming back after a horrid start. A 2.24 ERA over his last 24 IP with 9.4 K/9 are solid. The key: A BB/9 ratio below 5 (exactly 4.5, which is not good for most pitchers).

Prospects to be falling
  1. Joseph Cruz ... Will he ever be able to come back to old form. Remember the days when he was the hottest sleeper prospect in the system? 9.5 BB/9 and 4 K/9 (no, you have read correctly ... it's not the other way around) over his last 11.1 IP and a 0.83 K/BB ratio over the season are not pretty.
  2. Matt Torra ... While a HR/9 rate of 2.25 will decrease and improve his results, only 3.6 K/9 won't do it.
  3. Enny Romero ... While the ERA is fine, his peripherals are not. 5.6 BB/9 vs. 3.9 K/9 over his last 16 IP. A 1.18 K/BB ratio over the season? A pretty low BABIP. Not the start to the season we've hoped for.
All of the stats provided above are excluding the stats from the previous day. I preferrably use FanGraphs as source for the stats. Click on each stat for its explanation:

Scores and Highlights from 5/15

Pawtucket Red Sox 8, Durham Bulls 2
The Bulls struggled to find runs as they dropped the series opener to the Red Sox 8-2. Both of Durham's runs came in the fourth inning via two solo home runs. Matt Mangini was first to go deep later followed by Leslie Anderson. Matt Torra was charged with the loss for the Bulls. Hideki Matsui went 0 for 4 in hit Bulls debut.

Jacksonville Suns 5, Montgomery Biscuits 4
The Biscuits dropped Tuesday's matinee against the Suns by the score of 5-4. The Biscuits held on to a slim lead going into the ninth when the Suns struck with a three run inning that doomed the Biscuits. Tyler Bortnick led the offense for the Biscuits with a 3 for 4 afternoon, connecting for his first Double-A homer. Kyeong Kang was the only other Biscuit with multiple hits, going 2 for 4 with a double. Kirby Yates was charged with a blown save and the loss for the Biscuits. Former Biscuit catcher Jake Jefferies was the hero for Jacksonville as his three run homer in the ninth was the game winner.

Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Fort Myers Miracle 2
The Stone Crabs squeezed by with a narrow win in a close game against the Miracle on Tuesday night. The game was tied 2-2 going into the ninth when Phil Wunderlich drove home Mike Mahtook for the game winner. The Stone Crabs continue to hit the ball well as three hitters had extra base hits. Wunderlich, Steven Tinoco and Robby Price each enjoyed a multi-hit night. CJ Riefenhauser picked up the win to improve to 5-0 on the season. Chris Rearick notched his seventh save of the season.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 5, South Bend Silver Hawks 4
The Hot Rods held off a late game surge by the opponent as they picked up the win to clinch the series against the Silver Hawks on Tuesday night. The Hot Rods overcame an early deficit to take the lead and held the lead throughout the game despite a last ditch effort by the Silver Hawks that fell a run short. Jake Hager was 2 for 3 with 2 double and 2 RBI's. Josh Sale and Drew Vettleson each had a solo homer. Ryan Carpenter picked up the win and Austin Hubbard the save.

VSL Mariners 6, VSL Rays 4 
Despite outhitting the Mariners 13-10, the VSL Rays could not get enough runs for the win and fell to 0-2 on the season. All but one VSL Rays managed to get on base with five managing multiple hits. Iago Januario was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI's. Carlos Orasma was charged with the loss for the Rays.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/14

Durham Bulls 1, Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 0
The Bulls took the series against the Yankees by winning the finale 1-0 on Monday. Both clubs dueled through six scoreless innings before Juan Miranda homered for the game's only run. Alex Cobb threw five scoreless frames to start but left with a no decision. Jhonny Nunez was the winner and Dane De La Rosa picked up the save.

Montgomery Biscuits 3, Jacksonville Suns 2
The Biscuits picked up a walk-off win against the Suns on Monday night. The Suns tied the game in the top of the ninth, looking to send the game into extra frames. But the Biscuits were having no part in extra innings as Hak-Ju Lee drove home the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Biscuits the win. Lee finished the night 3 for 5. Mike Sheridan and Omar Luna each went 2 for 4 with the plate. Kyeong Kang had the Biscuits lone extra base hit, a double. Shane Dyer allowed just one hit in 7 innings. Adam Liberatore picked up the win.

Charlotte Stone Crabs 13, Fort Myers Miracle 1
The Stone Crabs offense came alive on Monday night in a 13-1 beat down of rival Fort Myers. The Stone Crabs offense scored 13 runs on 16 hits including a big six run inning in the sixth and. The offense came up with a bunch of milestones including six RBI's by Cody Rogers, back to back homers by Derek Dietrich and Riccio Torrez and four triples in the game. Rehabber Jose Lobaton was the only starter not to reach base in the game. Of the 16 hits, 8 of them were for extra bases. The offense was in support of Grayson Garvin who turned in a great one run performance to earn his first professional win.

South Bend Silver Hawks 2, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0 (Game One)
The Hot Rods were shut-out 2-0 in the first game of Monday's doubleheader. The Hot Rods offense struggled in the loss, recording just one hit in the game. Drew Vettleson delivered a double in the fourth inning for the Hot Rods lone hit. Felipe Rivero suffered the loss, despite recording 6 strikeouts in 5 innings. Jason McEachern lowered his ERA below 2.00 by pitching 2 no-hit innings to close out the game.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 3, South Bend Silver Hawks 2 (Game Two)
The Hot Rods earned a split in the doubleheader by winning game two. South Bend took the lead early but by the end of the third, the Hot Rods had tied the game. It was Ryan Brett's RBI single in the fifth that would prove to be the game winner. Jeff Malm continues to swing a hot bat as he was 2 for 3 with a double and a homer. Drew Vettleson and Juniel Querecuto each had a double. In addition to plating the winning run, Brett also had 2 stolen bases. Jacob Partridge was the winner and is now 4-0. Charlie Cononie threw 2 no-hit innings for his third save of the season.

VSL Mariners 16, VSL Rays 6 
The VSL Rays kicked off the 2012 campaign with a big loss to the VSL Mariners. The Rays gave up the early and could not recover, surrendering runs in seven of the nine innings. Gianfranco Aldazoro was 2 for 3 with a home runs and 4 RBI's. David Colina and Iago Januario drove home the other Rays runs. Henry Centeno was charged with the loss.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Minor Moves: Acosta, Torres, Segovia, Vogt

Bulls catcher Stephen Vogt was recalled by the Rays today resulting in a shift at the catcher position system wide. Here are the resulting moves:

  • Mayo Acosta was promoted to the Durham Bulls 
  • Alejandro Torres was promoted to the Charlotte Stone Crabs 
  • Alejandro Segovia was activated from the Bowling Green Hot Rods inactive list 
  • Stephen Vogt was recalled by the Tampa Bay Rays 

Acosta was hitting .278 with 8 doubles, 3 home runs and 15 RBI's in 22 games with the Stone Crabs. The promotion to Triple-A marks the first time he has been promoted above Charlotte.

Torres has appeared in just six games for the Hot Rods this season. He is just 3 for 20 with an RBI in those games. This is his second stint with the Stone Crabs having spent a portion of the 2011 season with the Stone Crabs.

Segovia has been reactivated by the Hot Rods after playing 14 games for the Hot Rods this season. He is hitting .250 with 3 doubles, a triple, a homer and 3 RBI's in 44 at-bats.

Vogt is making his second appearance of the season with the Rays after being named to their opening day roster. Vogt heads back to the big league club still searching for his first MLB hit as he is 0 for 13 so far the major league level. For Durham, Vogt has hits .214 with a double, triple and a homer in 19 games this season.

Archer, Buschmann Named Pitcher of the Week

The Rays farm system notched the pitcher of the week award in two of the four affiliates for the week ending May 13. Chris Archer was named the Pitcher of the Week for the International League while Matt Buschmann received the honor in the Southern League.

Archer was 2-0 for the Bulls during the week. He started out the week with a six inning gem on Tuesday to put an end to his recent string of bad luck on the mound. His momentum carried over to his following start on Sunday in which he struck out a season high nine hitters. Archer is now 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA in eight starts this season. Archer joined the Rays as part of the Matt Garza trade in 2011. This is his third career pitcher of the week award.

Meanwhile Buschmann had a career night in his only start of the week on Sunday. He pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings allowing just one hit while recording a career high 12 strikeouts enroute to his first Southern League win. He is now 1-1 with a 5.02 ERA in six games this season for the Biscuits. Buschmann joined the Rays to start the season after spending his entire career in the Padres organization. This is also his third career pitcher of the week award.

Scores and Highlights from 5/13

Durham Bulls 3, Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees 1
The Bulls bounced back with a Mothers Day win over the Yankees. The game was tied 1-1 heading into the seventh when the Bulls put together back to back one run innings to earn the win. Shawn O’Malley was 3 for 5 with an RBI. Kyle Hudson was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Stephen Vogt was 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. Matt Mangini was also 2 for 4. Chris Archer picked up the win, striking out 9 in 6 innings on the hill. Ryan Reid pitched 2 no-hit innings with 4 strikeouts. Brandon Gomes notched the save.

Jacksonville Suns 6, Montgomery Biscuits 2 (Game One)
The Biscuits dropped game one of Sunday’s doubleheader 6-2. The game was a scoreless tie through the first three frames until Jacksonville broke for a run in the top of the fourth. The Biscuits countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to take their only lead of the contest. The Suns then pushed across 5 unanswered runs to hand the Biscuits the loss. Ty Morrison was 2 for 4 and was the only Biscuit with multiple hits. Greg Sexton and Brad Coon each drove home a run. Jake Thompson was charged with the loss. Scott Shuman threw a no-hit inning, striking out 2 of 3 hitters faced.

Montgomery Biscuits 7, Jacksonville Suns 1 (Game Two)
The Biscuits split the doubleheader by winning game two by the score of 7-1. The bullpen combination of Merrill Kelly, Alex Koronis and Kirby Yates worked the game, holding the Suns to just 1 run on 3 hits. David Wendt was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate with a triple and 3 runs scored. Tyler Bortnick, Ty Morrison and Emeel Salem each drove home a run. Koronis picked up the win.

Bowling Green Hot Rods, South Bend Silver Hawks (Postponed-Rain) 
Sunday’s Mother’s Day matinee between the Hot Rods and the Silver Hawks was postponed due to rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Monday.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scores and Highlights from 5/12

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees 3, Durham Bulls 2 (10 innings)
The Bulls and Yankees battled through extra innings for the second night in a row but this time it was the Bulls that found themselves down by one when it was all said and done. Both clubs exchanged two run innings in the early going and the 2-2 tie held through the end of nine. But it was in the tenth when the Yankees pushed across the winning run and handed the Bulls the loss to even the series. Henry Wrigley led the offense by going 3 for 5 with a solo home run. Leslie Anderson also had a solo homer for the Bulls. Shawn O'Malley and Stephen Vogt each had a two hit night as well. Josh Lueke suffered the loss for the Bulls and is now 0-2 on the season.

Montgomery Biscuits, Jacksonville Suns (Postponed-Rain)
Saturday's game between the Biscuits and Bulls has been postponed due to rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.

Fort Myers Miracle 3, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
Despite outhitting the Miracle 11-6, the Stone Crabs found themselves on the losing end of the series opener 3-1. The Miracle took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. The Stone Crabs lone run came in the bottom of the second on a bases loaded single by Steven Tinoco to score Brett Nommensen. Wilking Rodriguez suffered the loss and is now 0-4 on the season.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, South Bend Silver Hawks 3 (6 innings, rain) 
The Hot Rods should give a hold to Mother Nature as they won a rain shortened contest 4-3 on Saturday. The rain came at the perfect time as the Silver Hawks put up three runs in the sixth before the weather struck. Three of the Hot Rods four runs came off the bat of Josh Sale who struck a three run homer in the fourth inning. The other run came in the fifth on an RBI double by Jeff Malm. Jake Floethe pitched five scoreless innings to earn the win and improve to 5-1.