Minor league systems are always highlighted for their top prospects- but the less heralded players can often step up and make an impact. We have already seen the Rays have one guy in Merrill Kelly turn from little known organizational pitcher to a guy who seems on the cusp of a big league role after dominating at the Triple-A this year. Could Victor Mateo be a similar type of player? This year he has posted a 3.39 ERA and was named a Southern League All-Star, so maybe this is his breakout season.
Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSH) 16, Durham Bulls 3
Alex Colome had been great in his limited time at Triple-A this year, giving up just 2 runs in 4 starts (26.2 innings). That changed in a hurry on Saturday, as he gave up 9 runs in just 1.1 innings. His ERA is still just 3.54- a testament to how good he had been before this start- but you never want to see a pitcher struggle this badly. He and Doug Mathis would combine to give up 11 runs in the 2nd inning, and that all but put the Bulls out of the game. They were even forced to allow normal position player Robby Price to pitch just to get through the game (he gave up 3 runs). Offensively Mike Fontenot had a nice 3-4 with a double and Vince Belnome smacked a 2-run homer, but other than that the offense was relatively quiet.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 1, Mobile BayBears (ARI) 0
We’ll start with the positives in this game- Victor Mateo had a brilliant start, going 8.0 innings and allowing no runs on just 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3. Matt Ramsey also had a scoreless inning of work to earn his 4th save. The former University of Tennessee standout has been a pleasant surprise this year, as he has put up a 1.34 ERA and struck out 34 batters in 23.1 innings.
Now for the bad news- the Biscuits offense managed just 5 hits, and they would go 1-13 with runners in scoring position en route for 1 run. A Richie Shaffer RBI single following a Jake Hager double would be all that the Biscuits would get in this one. Luckily, the pitching staff’s outstanding day bailed them out.
High-A Florida State League: Palm Beach Cardinals 2, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
Like Montgomery, the Stone Crabs’ offense struggled. Maxx Tissenbaum went 2-3 with a solo home run, but the Stone Crabs as a whole managed just 3 hits. Reinaldo Lopez had a nice start, going 6.2 innings and giving up just 1 run while striking out 3. He has a solid 3.04 ERA so far this season, though his 49-34 K-BB ratio is nothing special. Kevin Brandt would go 1.2 innings and give up a run, though his ERA still sits at just 1.42 this year. Parker Markel would then throw 0.2 innings while allowing no runs. However, the solid pitching wasn’t enough thanks to the poor offensive day.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 3
A Rays affiliate got another good outing from their starter- this time thanks to Chris Kirsch. He would go 6.0 innings, allowing 1 run on just 3 hits. William Gabay would also have a decent outing, throwing 2.0 scoreless innings in relief, though he did make things interesting by allowing 5 hits. Colton Reavis entered the game in the 9th looking for the save with a 3 run lead. He got this save, his 4th, though he allowed 2 runs to make the Hot Rods sweat a bit before all was said and done.
The offense had a solid day as well, smacking 11 hits and going 4-14 with runners in scoring position. Yoel Araujo led the way with a 2-4 performance including a double and 2 runs scored. Kean Wong also would go 2-4 with a double, and so did Pat Blair. Alexander Simon would be yet another player with a 2-4 night (though no double for him), and that would cap off a nice win for the Hot Rods.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Staten Island Yankees 10, Hudson Valley Renegades 6
This game would be a nice showcase of some of the Rays 2014 draft talent. After Oscar Armenta struggled by giving up 5 runs in 3 innings, both Chris Pike (9th rounder) and Bradley Wallace (10th rounder) would make their professional debuts. Both would throw a scoreless inning in relief. The top 5 hitters in the Renegades were all 2014 draft picks. 1st rounder Casey Gillaspie would smack a solo shot in a 1-4 night that also included a sac fly. Also, 13th rounder Jace Conrad would go 2-5 with 2 RBIs, and 6th rounder Mac James hit a double. Not a bad showing from the recent draftees, but not a great showing from the Renegades as a whole.
Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 3, Bristol Pirates 2
Hudson Valley had a nice showing from 2014 draftees, but Princeton got some good showings from a couple of 2013 draftees. Former 1st rounder Nick Ciuffo went 2-4 with a double and a run scored, and former 4th rounder Thomas Milone would go 3-4 with 2 doubles. Jose Paez also added a nice 3-4 day at the plate. On the pitching side, Hyrum Formo gave up just 2 unearned runs in 3.2 innings, and Damion Carroll and Ruben Paredes both went 2.2 scoreless innings in relief.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 10, GCL Orioles 3
It was a 10:00 A.M. start for the GCL Rays, but the offense didn’t show signs of being tired. They would get 9 hits and draw 4 walks and would also take advantage of 5 Orioles’ errors en route to 10 runs. Non-drafted free agents Jonthan Freemyer (2-5 with a double and 2 runs scored) and Matt Reida (2-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored) led the way. Henry Centeno would go 5.0 scoreless innings as the starter, and he was followed by 3.0 shutout innings from Jordan Harrison. Bret Dahlson finished off the game by allowing 3 runs in the 9th.