The Durham Bulls are 18-8 so far in 2013, the best record in the International League’s South Division. At the end of the season, they have the ability to be just as good–but a big part of that is going to depend on when several of the Rays’ top prospects who fill their roster are called up to the major leagues. Two of those top prospects, Chris Archer and Wil Myers, came up huge for Durham on Tuesday as they dominated the Syracuse Chiefs.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 7, Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 1
After seeing just how good he was last season for the Rays, everyone knows how talented Chris Archer. But early on the season for Durham, Archer’s performance lagged far behind what you would have expected for a pitcher who was supposedly big league-ready as his ERA was just 6.84. But after the way Archer pitched on Tuesday, any concerns are gone. Archer dominated the Chiefs for 6 sharp innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2. He also managed a 7-3 groundout to flyout ratio, showing great command of his fastball and slider and blowing hitters away. It had to be nice for Archer to get some run support right from the start, with the Bulls getting him 1 run in the top of the 1st and another in the 4th before they broke they game open with 4 runs in the 6th. Central to that offensive effort was Wil Myers, who ignited the 6th inning rally with a leadoff home run, his third of the season. Leslie Anderson also went 3 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored, Brandon Guyer went 2 for 5 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored, and Craig Albernaz had a double and 2 RBI. Great all-around effort for the Bulls, the exact opposite of what the Rays did on Tuesday.
High-A Florida State League: Lakeland Flying Tigers 7, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5 (10 innings)
Devastating loss for Charlotte as they went from leading 4-3 after 8 innings to allowing 2 runs each in the 9th and 10th to lose the game. Ryan Carpenter got the start for the Stone Crabs and was OK, going 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. He allowed a homer each in the 1st and 2nd but did a nice job limiting the damage from there. Behind him, Lenny Linsky was great, going 2 shutout innings allowing 2 hits while striking out 1. He got 3 of his outs on the ground. Linsky has a 3.68 ERA and an 11-3 strikeout to walk ratio to begin the season, and maybe he’s finally making progress after his career got derailed by a shoulder injury. Austin Hubbard and Eliazer Suero, though, blew the game in the 9th and 10th to lead to the Charlotte loss. Hector Guevara had a huge game for the Stone Crabs, going 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Jake Hager went 2 for 5 with a stolen base, and Brett Nommensen and Richie Shaffer also has multiple hits. Shaffer has not hit in 4 straight games and collected multiple hits in 2 straight as he appears to finally be breaking out after he started slowly in his first full year as a professional.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 8, Peoria Chiefs (STL) 0
Dominant effort by the Hot Rods as this one was never close. The Hot Rods 3-hit Peoria in the game, and that was started by Jeff Ames, who went five 1-hit innings striking out 5 while walking 1. Ames has been unbelievable all season, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 22-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 5 starts and 25 innings pitched, and he’s emerging as another interesting pitching prospect for the Rays. Brandon Henderson followed Ames with 2.2 perfect innings before Ryan Garton allowed 2 hits over the final 1.1 IP as he finished the shutout. On the offensive side, Tuesday’s game marked Tyler Goeddel‘s first game since going down with a hamstring injury, and he looked as good as ever despite missing five days, going 1 for 2 with a triple, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Goeddel has been huge to begin the year, managing a .286/.378/.443 line with 3 doubles, 4 triples, 9 RBI, and 7 stolen bases in 8 attempts. Goeddel also was great to begin 2012 with Bowling Green, but this time his plate discipline is vastly improved as his strikeout to walk ratio is 10-10, and a promotion to High-A should come relatively soon if he keeps this up. The only question should that happen will be where Goeddel fits in as Shaffer currently slots in as Charlotte’s third baseman. Which one would move off of third base first? Goeddel had a great game, but the star of this one was Luke Maile, who went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles, a homer, 4 RBI, and a run scored–quite a game for a player who hadn’t hit a homer entering Tuesday. Ryan Dunn and Granden Goetzman also had multiple hits for the Hot Rods, who stand at 18-6, the best record in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division.