The Hudson Valley Renegades have now won four consecutive games, with highly touted draftees from the last two seasons leading the way. The Renegades are looking like the class of the system right now, and players like Hunter Lockwood and Casey Gillaspie give them a real chance at their second New York-Penn League title in three years.
Triple-A International League: Pawtucket Red Sox 7, Durham Bulls 4
The good news: Mikie Mahtook hit a 3-run homer in the 9th inning of this game. The bad: Enny Romero allowed 3 home runs on his way to 6 runs allowed in 4.2 innings pitched. Romero entered Sunday having allowed exactly one earned run in his previous three starts, but he fell apart in this game and his seen his ERA ballon to 5.42 on the season. Enigmatic Enny is still firmly around. In the “they’re still around?” category, Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke combined for 2.1 innings allowing only an unearned run while striking out 4. Other than Mahtook, the Bulls offense did not do much. Vince Belnome was 1 for 3 with a double in the loss.
Double-A Southern League: Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 1
A bullpen collapse gave this game a lopsided score, but there are actually several highlights to talk about from the Biscuits in this game. Dylan Floro was outdueled by Dae-Eun Rhee, but he pitched excellently once again. He went 6 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 8 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was 8-2 like usual. Floro has been ridiculous since his rough start to the season, allowing more than 2 earned runs just once in his last 10 outings. Over that span, he has a 1.51 ERA, a 48-8 strikeout to walk ratio, and has completed 6 innings in every start. Numbers can only go so far, but Floro is beginning to establish himself as a legitimate starting pitching prospect for the Rays.
On the offensive side, Jake Hager also continued his breakout season, going 2 for 4 with a double. Hager has 24 extra-base hits already in 2014 after just 19 all of last season, tapping into the power potential that the Rays always knew that he had. Alejandro Segovia had an even bigger performance in this game, though, going 2 for 4 with a solo homer and a double, and Luke Maile also went 2 for 4. Maile has a rock solid .274/.348/.411 line on the season, including a .313/.360/.487 line since May 13th. Who knew that the Rays would hit on so many catching prospects at the same time?
Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
Another game where the loss had nothing to do with the starting pitcher. Chris Kirsch was excellent, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, striking out 2 while walking 2 as well. It has basically been the same story for him all year–he has a 3.32 ERA, but he’s not striking anybody out at all. For now, at least Kirsch is building some confidence and you hope that his secondary pitches will begin coming around soon. Johnny Field went 2 for 4 with a double and the only run scored for Bowling Green. Field is the latest “gritty” college player to succeed at Bowling Green, managing a .270/.351/.422 line, but he has a distinct advantage over the Tyler Bortnicks of the world: he is currently playing centerfield and doing so quite well.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 9, Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 4
The Hudson Valley Renegades are surging, and a key piece of that success is 2014 first rounder Casey Gillaspie. After a horrible start to his pro career, Gillaspie’s line is at .333/.432/.533 in his last 37 plate appearances, and Sunday was the latest example as he went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored. One of those runs came on Hunter Lockwood’s first inning grand slam to give the Renegades an early 4-0 lead. Lockwood is still trying to figure out the plate discipline side of hitting, but his power is real and he may have even more in the tank. Coty Blanchard and Bralin Jackson also contributed multi-hit games to the Renegades’ dynamic offensive attack.
On the mound, meanwhile, Hunter Wood looked good again. The right-hander went 4 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was an excellent 7-1. It was interesting that the Rays sent Wood down to Short Season ball because he really wasn’t doing that badly at Low-A. With a 0.92 ERA in four starts, Wood is showing that he wants to be with the Hot Rods before long. Eli Echarry and Ryan Pennell finished the game with 3 perfect innings, doing their best to match the success of the bats.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 5, Pulaski Mariners 3
The P-Rays have the Rays’ second and third round picks from last season right at the top of their batting order, and they have been dynamic. In this game, Riley Unroe went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored and Thomas Milone was even better, going 2 for 3 with a triple, 2 walks, a stolen base, 2 RBI, and a run scored. Both players have show excellent approaches at the plate for players coming out of high school, managing a combined 13 walks against 18 strikeouts, and combining that discipline with their tools makes them extremely interesting prospects. Carter Burgess and Cristian Toribio also contributed 2 hit games to help Princeton to their 5 runs in this game.
Who is Jose Alonzo? Well, the 21 year old right-hander was awesome in the Gulf Coast League last year and has been even better to begin 2014, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA and a 16-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 15 innings pitched. He was as good as ever in this one, allowing just an unearned run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 5 in the process. Alonzo is a projectable pitcher at 6’4″, 191, and if he keeps pitching like this, we’ll know much more about him by the time the year is through. Damion Carroll also threw 2 scoreless relief innings in the win for the P-Rays.