One of the craziest parts about these minor league recaps is seeing not just the top prospects but the forgotten players be the ones that often impress the most. So many playres have been lost in the minor league shuffle and our desperate to get attention back. With a few more performances like what they did Monday, somebody may have to take a glance at J.D. Martin and Brandon Guyer.
Martin is showing exactly the type of dominance that earned him a big league opportunity with the Nationals in 2008 and 2009. (Credit: Flickr user natshq)
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 7, Gwinnett Braves 0
One major difference between following the minor leagues and following the major leagues is the emphasis on individual statistics, especially for top prospects, and lessened importance of team results. It’s nice, though, when those couple individual performances you care about are enough to lead the team victory. It certainly helps when the biggest individual performance comes from the starting pitcher. J.D. Martin got the start for the Bulls in this one and made his best effort emulating what Matt Moore did against the Red Sox on Monday, going 8 innings allowing no runs on just 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. He threw just 101 pitches, 70 strikes, and retired 18 in a row from the 2nd to the 8th to cap an incredible season with his best performance yet. On the year, Martin is 12-4 with a 2.82 ERA and an 87-20 strikeout to walk ratio in 20 starts and 121.1 innings pitched. Jeff Beliveau tossed a perfect 9th to complete the shutout and 4-hitter. Martin wasn’t working with a ton of run support as the Bulls only pulled away with 4 runs in the 9th. Brandon Guyer led off the game for the Bulls with a home run but that was only the start as he went 3 for 4 with a homer, a triple, a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, missing only a double for the cycle. Guyer kept his average steady at .300 for the second straight game after he hadn’t been hitting .300 since April 9th. Guyer’s batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS have gone up each month of the season as Guyer just keeps improving as he puts his shoulder injury behind him, and you have to wonder at what point he will become a big league factor again. Other notable performances in this game included Cole Figueroa, who went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI, and Evan Frey, who went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Big game for the Bulls as Martin’s heroics and strong offense tuned this one into an easy win.
Double-A Southern League: Mobile BayBears (ARI) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 1 (7 innings)
This game finished early because of rain and it had to feel a little like the Biscuits’ anguish was halted prematurely as well. Jake Floethe managed a nice 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio but got hit hard went he left the ball up, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, striking out 5 while walking 4. He allowed 2 runs each in the 4th and 5th after tossing shutout ball with all 5 of his strikeouts in the first 3 innings. Hopefully Floethe can sustain that type of dominance a little longer the next time around. Andrew Chafin went the shortened complete game for Mobile, allowing 1 run on 5 hits in 7 innings, striking out 5 while walking 1. Hector Guevara was one of the few Biscuits to have a strong game against Chafin, going 2 for 2 with a double. This pitcher’s duel evaporated pretty quickly, and the end result wasn’t even close.
High-A Florida State League: Dunedin Blue Jays 9, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
The Stone Crabs’ 5-game winning streak came to an end as little went right in this game. Parker Markel got the start and struggled once again, going just 2 innings allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 1 while walking 2. His ERA on the season stands at a ghastly 6.37. Ryan Carpenter followed with his second relief appearance of the season but certainly got his work in, going 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 2. The Stone Crabs were hoping that at the very least they would give their bullpen a night off in this game between the starting pitchers Markel and Carpenter, and that they did, with position player Ben Kline taking the mound for his first career appearance and allowed a K.C. Hobson home run but nothing else in an inning of work, even striking out a batter. On the offensive side, Lucas Bailey drove in both Charlotte runs with a 7th inning 2-run single and Jeff Malm went 3 for 4 with a run scored. Better luck next time, Stone Crabs.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Beloit Snappers (OAK) 1 (Game 1, 14 innings)
The Hot Rods and Snappers were knotted at 1 after 10 innings on Sunday, but Ryan Dunn and the Hot Rods came up big in the 14th when the game resumed on Monday to find their way to victory. It was a pair of teammates fresh up from Short Season-A Hudson Valley that tossed the first 9 innings for Bowling Green, with Jordan Harrison tossing the first 6 and Austin Pruitt tossing the next 3. Harrison went 6 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 4 and walking 4, before Pruitt tossed 3 no-hit innings, striking out 4 while walking 1. Pruitt took a pretty straightforward path to the Hot Rods, pitching well for the Renegades before getting promoted, while Harrison has taken a crazy path this year, beginning with the Hot Rods in a relief role, getting called up to Charlotte for a pair of emergency appearances, then going down to Hudson Valley to start before pitching well to end up back in Bowling Green. Marcus Jensen finished Sunday on a strong note for the Hot Rods, allowing just a hit while striking out 2 in a shutout inning. Then it was Ryan Garton who did all the pitching for Bowling Green on Monday to earn the win, going 4 innings allowing just a walk while striking out 4. Garton has had his ups and downs this season but has been amazing of late, managing a 1.31 ERA in his last 10 appearances. It was Ryan Dunn who earned Garton his win with a walk-off 3-run homer in the 14th to finally bring this game to a close, drilling a go-ahead homer in extra innings for the second straight game. That’s pretty incredible. Tyler Goeddel, Luke Maile, and Justin O’Conner all went 2 for 6 for Bowling Green in the victory. It took two days, but it was a well-deserved victory for the Hot Rods.
Beloit Snappers 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 7 (Game 2, 9 innings)
There are tough losses and then there are games like this. The Snappers scored 7 runs in the 9th inning to leave the Hot Rods absolutely stunned. Matthew Spann got the start and was decent, going 4.2 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 8 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Eduar Quinonez got the last out of the 5th and Stone Speer allowed just a walk in the next 2 innings, striking out 2, before Nick Sawyer tossed a perfect 8th. But the results were disastrous when Sawyer went back out for the 9th. Sawyer just totally lost control, allowing the first 6 hitters to reach on 4 walks and 2 singles to make it a 7-5 game before Nick Rickies drilled a grand slam off Marcus Jensen to seal the improbable comeback and unfathomable collapse. Several big offensive performances went to waste as the Hot Rods fell apart. Leonardo Reginatto went 4 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, Marty Gantt went 3 for 4 with a triple, a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored, and Tyler Goeddel went 2 for 6 with an RBI. The Hot Rods would like to forget about this game as soon as possible.