There is nothing better than to see one of your team’s outfielders leap and rob a home run. If Mikie Mahtook wants to start proving people wrong, his catch Sunday was an excellent place to start.
Triple-A International League: Louisville Bats (CIN) 5, Durham Bulls 1
Alex Colome was solid, but Greg Reynolds for Louisville was better as the Bulls fell 5-1. Colome went 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2 and managing a 7-3 groundout to flyout ratio. It certainly was not his best outing, but it was nice to see him have a solid performance after suffering a letdown in his first Triple-A start following his scintillating MLB debut. Reynolds went 8 innings allowing just 1 run for Louisville. But even as Reynolds pitched great, a few different Bulls had his number. Wil Myers just cannot be stopped right now and went 1 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored in this one, Tim Beckham went 2 for 4 with an RBI, and Jesus Flores went 2 for 3. The Rays said that they wanted Myers to work on his baserunning, and that seems to be going extremely well as he has stolen 4 bases in his last 4 games. For some perspective, Myers stole 4 bases in his previous 95 games before this streak.
Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 1
The issue with homer-robbing catches is that even the best outfielders can only make a few of them. When you’re allowing a lot of hard-hit balls, you’re in trouble. Between a tough outing from Merrill Kelly (4 IP, 6 ER) and a non-existent offense, the Biscuits got clobbered on Sunday. But boy did Mikie Mahtook look good. He had a nice day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base. And then in the 5th inning, he did this.
Wow. Mahtook’s prospect stock has declined significantly the past couple of years, but a few games like this and everything will change. He’s still an extremely athletic outfielder with power and speed, and you never know if a catch like that could start a good run for him.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 9, Lake County Captains (CLE) 1
Want some hope for Matt Moore? Look no further than Taylor Guerrieri in Low-A. Guerrieri got hit hard in a couple straight starts after dominating previously, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits in 10 innings, but on Sunday he was pretty much back to normal to help lead Bowling Green to victory. Guerrieri went 6 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, managing just a 2-2 strikeout to walk ratio but forcing 13 groundout and just 2 flyouts. Great to see Guerrieri get right back on track and hopefully Moore can soon do the same. And looking at the score, Guerrieri did quite a bit of run support in this one. Justin O’Conner had a big game, going 1 for 3 with a homer, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Tommy Coyle went 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, 2 RBI, and 3 runs scored, and Leonardo Reginatto went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Coyle has half of his season’s home run total (4) in his last 3 games, but the most impressive player right now has to be O’Conner. The Rays have been waiting for a long time for O’Conner to break through and maybe now it’s finally happening. In his last 10 games, O’Conner has a .306/.419/.528 line with 2 homers, 2 doubles, 6 RBI, and a 10-6 strikeout to walk ratio. It’s only 10 games, but in terms of contact, plate discipline, and power, everything is coming together, and maybe this streak can last.