The Tampa Bay Rays seem to create talent out of nowhere, and they may just have something with Jaime Schultz, a 14th rounder in 2013. Schultz has only thrown 2 games in full season ball so far in his career, but he has an outstanding 2.76 ERA and an 11.5 K/9 in his early minor league career. Schultz has electric stuff, there is no doubt, but bad makeup, an injury history, and the fact he was 22-years old on draft day led him to drop. The Rays decided his stuff was worth the risk, and now he has thrown 10.1 scoreless innings for Low-A Bowling Green this year, including a 12 strikeout performance on Thursday.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 7, Columbus Clippers (CLE) 5
The pitching wasn’t great, but the offense was outstanding to allow the Bulls to pull out of this one with a win. The team as a whole managed 13 hits, 4 of which were doubles. Mikie Mahtook led the way with a 2-5 performance that included a double, 2 RBIs, and a run scored. Jayson Nix and Jerry Sands would also add 2-5 performances with doubles of their own. Recently demoted from the big leagues, Kevin Kiermaier only saw one plate appearance in the game, but it was an impactful one as he smacked a 2-RBI double. Overall a solid day for the Bulls offense.
Enny Romero was the starting pitcher and this game just about summed up who he is as a pitcher. He struggled with command, which led to 3 walks and an inefficient 96 pitches in just 4.0 innings of work. His 2 runs and 3 hits allowed were not awful, but when you give up so few hits you should last much longer in the game. Romero has great stuff, but still has significant work to do with locating his pitches. Behind him, Brandon Gomes made his first appearance since being sent down, and it was not a good one, as he allowed 3 runs in 2.0 innings of work. Luckily the Bulls had a trio of dominating relievers in C.J. Riefenhauser (0.79 ERA), Jake Thompson (1.08 ERA) and Kirby Yates (0.45 ERA) to stop the bleeding in the next three innings. Not a great day for the Durham pitching staff, but the dominance in the late innings gives us a glimpse at what the Rays could have on their hands for the future.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 7, Huntsville Stars (MIL) 6 in 13 innings
Victor Mateo started the game for the Biscuits and was mediocre, going 4.0 innings and letting up 5 runs on 8 hits. The bullpen, however, would dominate. Matt Ramesy threw 3.0 scoreless innings, not allowing a single hit. Then Matt Lollis came on for an inning and he too did not allow a hit to lower his ERA to 1.96 on the season. Santiago Garrido went 2.2 scoreless innings, and Jim Patterson finished off the 11th, but would allow the go-ahead run in the 12th. Bryce Stowell then threw a scoreless 13th. Mateo made it a tall task, but thanks to the bullpen the Biscuits could hold on to get this game well into extra innings.
The offense battled throughout this game. They were down almost the entire game, but a three run 8th tied things up and made the game go to extras. Once again in the 12th, they scored a run to re-tie things up after the Stars and taken the lead again. Cameron Seitzer would then play hero with a walk-off double in the bottom of the 13th inning. Richie Shaffer went 3-5 with a homer and a double to lead the way. Jeff Malm also went 3-5 in a great win for the Biscuits.
High-A Florida State League: Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 6, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
The Stone Crabs got a good performance out of starter Leonel Santiago, who allowed just one run in 5.0 innings of work, but they couldn’t say the same for their bullpen. Parker Markel came in and allowed 4 runs in his 1.2 innings of work, though two of them were unearned. Ryan Garton tried to clean things up, but he too allowed a run in his 1.1 innings of work.
The offense tried to make up for the bad pitching performance, but they could not do so. Patrick Leonard led the way with a 3-4 performance and a triple, though he was the only Stone Crab hitter with a multi-hit game. Leonard refuses to stop hitting this season, and out of any Rays’ prospect he has likely boosted his stock the most. Tyler Goeddel added a triple of his own, but 8 of the Stone Crabs 10 hits would go for singles, and they could not plate enough runs to bail out the pitching.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 5, Lake County Captains (CLE) 0
Jaime Schultz waited until just last week to make his season debut, but he has dominated in his 2 starts so far. In this contest, he went 5.2 innings, allowing no runs and striking out an outstanding 12 batters. The Rays though enough of Schultz to send him to their annual winter development camp last year despite the camp normally being reserved for top prospects. He must have picked up something, as he has allowed no runs in his first 10.1 innings this year. The Hot Rod bullpen was great as well, as Ian Kendall and Colton Reavis combined to go 3.1 innings and allowed no runs.
Offensively the Hot Rods didn’t need much, but they still managed to plate 5 runs. Granden Goetzman continues to hit well, and he added a 2-4 performance in this game. No other Hot Rod would have multiple hits, but Ariel Soriano did have a key 2-RBI double, and also scored a run. Not a bad day overall for the Hot Rods.