The Tampa Bay Rays minor league affiliates had a great day at the plate, with 4 of the teams that played scoring more than 7 runs. Despite that, their 3-3 record and pitching still left more to be desired.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 11, Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 10
The Bulls offense had a field day against former Rays’ farmhand Kyle Lobstein, who was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the Rule 5 Draft and had his rights retained by the Tigers in exchange for Curt Casali, and the rest of the Mud Hens’ pitching staff. Justin Christian led the way, going 3 for 5 with a homer and 4 RBIs out of the leadoff spot. Vince Belnome also had a great day, going 3 for 3 with a homer. Belnome had a 3 plate appearance cameo in the big leagues on July 3rd, and by the looks of his .333/.429/.611 line in his last 10 games, he really wants to be back with the Rays. All-in-all, 7 Bulls had multiple hits, and only two would go hitless.
Despite the offensive breakout, the pitching staff still managed to make things interesting. Matt Andriese lacked his best stuff, giving up 7 runs (6 earned) in 5.2 innings while striking out 5 and walking 2. Most concerning is that the usual ground ball master gave up 4 homers. Adam Liberatore go the final out of the 6th inning before Steve Geltz threw 2.0 shutout innings. Josh Lueke then made the Bulls sweat by allowing 3 runs in the 9th and letting the Mud Hens get within one, but ultimately he finished out the game.
Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 4, Montgomery Biscuits 2
It was the Biscuits’ fielding that cost them big in this game, as two errors from Jake Hager and one each from Jeff Malm and Braulio Lara led to 3 of the 4 Suns’ runs being unearned. Dylan Floro had a solid start, going 7.1 innings and allowing 3 runs (1 earned) while managing his usually great groundout-flyout ratio at 15-5. It was nice to see Floro rebound from his recent struggles, as he had given up 4+ runs in each of his last 3 starts before this game. Bryce Stowell got 2 outs behind Floro without giving up a run, and then Lara gave up an unearned run in his inning of work.
Offensively, meanwhile, the Biscuits managed just 5 hits, no two by the same player. Taylor Motter did hit a solo homer, but not much else was doing.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 9, Dunedin Blue Jays 2
It was another offensive breakout, as the Stone Crabs smacked 17 hits. Leonardo Reginatto had a great day, going 3 for 5 with a double and 3 RBIs. Patrick Leonard also added a 3 for 5 day with a pair of RBIs, and Maxx Tissenbaum launched his 4th homer of the year as part of a 2 for 5 performance. Tissenbaum has showcased nice contact abilities, hitting .309 and only striking out 25 times this year, though he has only walked 12 times and could stand to improve in that area. Overall 7 Stone Crabs had multiple hits and only Justin O’Conner went hitless.
Austin Pruitt had a solid start, going 6.0 innings and allowing 1 run on 7 hits. In relief, Ryan Garton threw 2.0 shutout innings before Marcus Jensen threw the final scoreless inning. Overall, all a great day for the Stone Crabs as a whole.
Low-A Midwest League: Quad City River Bandits (HOU) 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
This time the Rays’ affiliate was on the wrong side of an offensive explosion, as they got whomped by the River Bandits. Starter Jacob Faria allowed 5 runs (3 earned) in 3.0 innings of work, raising his ERA on the season to 3.73. William Gabay was good in relief, throwing 3.0 shutout innings, but then Luis Cabrera allowed 4 runs in 3.0 innings. The offense meanwhile managed 8 hits, however they went just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Juniel Querecuto and Kean Wong both went 2 for 4 out of the top two spots in the order.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 9, Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 5
In this game, Casey Gillaspie did what an advanced first round bat should do in short season ball- dominate. He went 3 for 5 with a homer, a double, 3 RBIs, and a run scored. Grant Kay also did Grant Kay things, going 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored to raise his average on the season to a decent .435. Jace Conrad, Bralin Jackson, and Wilmer Dominguez all also added multi-hit performances. Enderson Franco had a good start, giving up 1 run in 5.0 innings, and Trevor Dunlap was also solid, allowing an unearned run in 2.0 innings. Justin McCalvin wasn’t as good, giving up 3 runs in his 2.0 innings of work.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Pulaski Mariners 9, Princeton Rays 7
Angel Moreno led another offensive breakout, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. Moreno, just 17, skipped over GCL after a great 2013 season with DSL. The results haven’t been quite as good so far this year, but when the Rays are aggressive with any prospect, you know that he is talented. Nic Wilson also continued a recent hot streak that has seen him hit .366/.386/.634 in his last 10 games, going 2 for 5. Jose Paez also was solid, going 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBIs.
The pitching couldn’t do anything on the day, spoiling the offense’s great night. Hyrum Formo and Roel Ramirez struggled, giving up 4 runs each in 4.0 and 1.2 innings respectively. Kyle Bird then allowed an unearned run in 1.1 innings before Ruben Paredes finished with a shutout innings.
Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays were off