The Tampa Bay Rays have emphasized the international free agent market in the last few years, signing heralded players like Jose Mujica, Jose Castillo, David Rodriguez, and most recently Adrian Rondon. But the best player from their past few classes could end up being one who was less heralded at the time he signed- German Marquez. He was solid once again on Wednesday, throwing 5.0 scoreless innings to help Bowling Green to a shutout victory.
The Triple-A Durham Bulls were off
Double-A Southern League: Chattanooga Lookouts (LAD) 5, Montgomery Biscuits 3
Mike Colla put together a nice start for the Biscuits, throwing 7+ innings and allowing 2 runs while striking out 9 and walking 1. At one point this season it looked like Colla might not have too much time left in the Rays’ organization, but in his last 10 starts he has put up a 2.52 ERA and a 47-11 K-BB ratio in 5o.0 innings to ensure that he stayed around. Andrew Bellatti couldn’t hold onto Colla’s lead, giving up 3 runs in the top of the 9th to earn the loss.
Offensively the Biscuits got a pair of homers- one each from Taylor Motter and Justin O’Conner, who was making his Double-A debut. O’Conner’s raw power has finally shown up in games this year thanks to an improved hit tool, and that was the case once again in his first Double-A action. Luke Maile also added a 2 for 3 night that included a walk and a run scored. Ultimately though, the Biscuits came up short.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 1
Jaime Schultz only had pitched 37.0 innings for Low-A Bowling Green, but the Rays saw his 1.95 ERA and 58 strikeouts as more than enough to warrant a promotion to High-A. Making his debut at the level, Schultz once again showcased his dominant stuff, allowing just 2 hits and 0 runs while striking out 4 over 5.0 innings. However he did struggle with control, walking 5 in the game. Jordan Harrison, who was moved to the bullpen to accommodate for Schultz, threw 2.0 innings in relief and gave up 1 run. Zach Cooper and Colton Reavis each then threw a scoreless inning.
On offense, Johnny Field led the way by going 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. The Rays 5th round pick in 2013, Field impressed by putting up an .827 OPS in 82 games at Low-A, and has followed that up with a .775 OPS in his first 18 games at High-A. Also with 2-hit performances were Patrick Leonard and Tommy Coyle. Tim Beckham made his first appearance at High-A as he continues to rehab back from an ACL injury, going 1 for 4 and playing second base.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 3, South Bend Silver Hawks (ARI) 0
German Marquez had a nice start for the Hot Rods, throwing 5.0 innings of 1-hit ball and striking out 6 while walking 2. Coming into this year Marquez was lauded for his advanced feel for pitching and a devastating curveball, but he had yet to put everything together for consistent in-game results. Now in his last 10 games he has put up a 2.78 ERA to lower his season’s ERA to 3.55, and it appears that he is finally finding the consistency that we have been looking for. Behind him, Andrew Hanse threw 3.0 shutout innings before Josh Kimborowicz threw a scoreless inning.
All the Hot Rods got from the offense was a 3-run 6th, but thanks to the pitching staff that’s all they would need. Elias Torres led the way, going 3 for 3 with an RBI. Alexander Simon added a 2 for 4 night, and Ty Young was on base 3 times thanks to a hit and 2 walks.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 6, Williamsport Crosscutters (PHI) 2
The Renegades had no extra base hits in this game, and went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. However, they still managed to put up a solid 6 runs. Jace Conrad and Braxton Lee both had nice nights, each going 2 for 5 with a run scored and a stolen base. Wilmer Dominguez also did a nice job at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a run scored.
Chris Pike was the starter for the Renegades, and he turned in a nice outing. Pike would go 5.0 innings, allowing 1 run while striking out 6 and walking none. The bullpen also did a good job, allowing 1 run over the next 4.0 innings to ensure that the Renegades got the win.
The Advanced Rookie Princeton Rays were off
Rookie Gulf Coast League: Game 1: GCL Red Sox 6, GCL Rays 1 in 7 innings
Blake Bivens had a great start for the Grays, going 4.0 scoreless innings and allowing 2 hits while striking out 5 and walking none. Bivens has a solid 3.21 ERA through his first 14.0 innings as a pro. Brock Burke has not been so good in his first professional action, posting a 10.29 ERA, and that continued with his outing Wednesday. Burke would go 2.0 innings, allowing 6 runs (4 earned) while walking 2 and striking out 1. Luis Nunez then finished things off with a scoreless inning. Meanwhile no one on offense had multiple hits. David Rodriguez was the top performer, going 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.
Game 2: GCL Red Sox 4, GCL Rays 2 in 7 innings
It was just about the same story in game 2 of the Grays’ double-header. Angel Yepez had a nice start, throwing 4.0 shutout innings, however Junior Feliz gave it up in relief by allowing 4 runs in 2.0 innings. Meanwhile the offense couldn’t do much to make up for the bullpen’s blunders, managing just 2 runs. Matt Reida had a nice day, going 2 for 2 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. Reida, a non-drafted free agent signee out of the University of Kentucky, has been solid for the Grays this year, posting a .307/.397/.436 line. Matt Ford also had a solid 2 for 3 night, but ultimately the Grays fell short.