The Undercards: Jose Mujica Finally Surfaces for GCL Rays
By Robbie Knopf
It is always a little scary when a top prospect simply disappears off the map and doesn’t appear in a game for an entire season. Luckily, whatever was holding Jose Mujica back is over as he finally got into his first game for the GCL Rays.
Triple-A International League: Gwinnett Braves 7, Durham Bulls 4 (10 innings)
Seven unanswered runs after a four-run third inning did the Bulls in against the Braves. Mike Montgomery showed signs of life, completing 5 innings for the first time since July 25th, but he did allow 4 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits in 5.2 innings pitched, striking out 3 while walking 4. If Montgomery is progressing towards moving past his struggles, though, that is far more important than one loss. Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke then combined for 3.1 shutout innings of relief behind him before Cory Burns‘ fourth Durham appearance turned into a disaster to end the game. Vince Belnome accounted for most of the Bulls’ offense with a three-run homer as part of a 2 for 5 day while Mikie Mahtook had the other RBI.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 9, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN) 6
The Biscuits also joined the Tampa Bay Rays and Durham Bulls with a bullpen collapse, but luckily, they had already put the game out of reach. Five multi-hit games led the way for Montgomery, with Ryan Brett, Luke Maile, Kes Carter, Taylor Motter, and Hector Guevara racking up two hits each. Carter has looked like an entirely different player since moving up to Montgomery from Charlotte more out of necessity than anything else, hitting to a .261/.361/.415 line in 205 plate appearances. Willie Argo also contributed a double and 3 RBI while Richie Shaffer drove in a run for the third straight game. Dylan Floro gave the Biscuits a decent start, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings, striking out 2 while walking 1. Parker Markel, Santiago Garrido, and Andrew Bellatti all pitched well in relief behind him to navigate through Braulio Lara‘s rough game.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 3
This game featured the rehabbing duo of David DeJesus and Ryan Hanigan, and while Hanigan went 0 for 4, DeJesus went 1 for 2 with 2 walks, an RBI, and a stolen base. The actual offense in this game, though, game from the 6-7-8 spots in the Charlotte order. Jonathan Quinonez went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a run scored, Thomas Coyle went 3 for 4 with a double, a stolen base, Soan RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Ariel Soriano went 2 for 4 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Soriano has upped his OPS from .682 to .799 since moving up to Charlotte, but we need to see more plate discipline from him before we read into it at all. On the pitching side, Jaime Schultz had one of his less flashy starts, but it was enough. He went 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out just 2 while walking 2 but forcing a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Jordan Harrison, Marcus Jensen, and Zach Cooper struck out 4 while walking none amid 3.1 shutout innings to end the game.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 6, Connecticut Tigers 2
After hitting .400 through his first 24 professional games, Kay is down to .341 on the season after a slump. However, that doesn’t mean that he was a complete flash-in-the-pan. In this game, he went 2 for 4 with a triple, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored to lead the Hudson Valley offense. Leopoldo Correa also went 2 for 3 with a walk. Nolan Gannon took the hill for the Renegades and delivered a solid start, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. To illustrate how much work his command needs, his groundout to flyout ratio was a terrifying 2-8 (and that ratio tends to overstate actual groundball rate). Edgar Gomez and Kyle McKenzie were excellent to end the game, going 4 innings combined allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 5.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Game 1: Princeton Rays 7, Greeneville Astros 2
Game 2: Astros 5, P-Rays 2
The first contest was the completion of a suspended game from Friday, and this is the game we will talk about a lot more. After Hyrum Formo struck out 2 in a scoreless inning on Friday, Brent Honeywell took over for Saturday and was excellent, going 5 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. He even forced a 7-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Honeywell may get the nod for the best pro debut of any of the Rays’ top draft picks as he has a 1.07 ERA and a 40-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 33.2 innings pitched for Princeton. In terms of Honeywell’s run support, Cristian Toribio had a huge game, going 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored while Jose Paez went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Toribio has a strong .265/.329/.471 line for the P-Rays this season, with his power for a young shortstop being especially intriguing.
In Game 2, Mario Fernandez and Tomas Michelson allowed only 1 run in 5 innings between them, but the 4 runs allowed by Rafael Cordova between them were enough to send Princeton to the loss. Angel Moreno did homer in this game, his second homer since coming to the US, while Patrick Grady went 1 for 2 with a double and a walk.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 3, GCL Orioles 2
The performances of a pair of top prospects are far more important than the actual results from this game. Jose Mujica started for the GCL Rays as he finally made his 2014 debut. He allowed 2 hits in an inning of work, but he struck out 1 as he tossed a scoreless inning. It is nice to see that he is OK, and while this lost year of development is annoying, he is still just 18 years old. The other top prospect was Andrew Toles, who certainly looked like his usual self in this game. He went 2 for 3 with 3 stolen bases and 2 runs scored, including the winning run on a passed ball. He may not be far away from returning to the Stone Crabs and putting his “personal matter” in the past entirely. Angel Yepez also had a nice game behind Mujica, going 5 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. Yepez is relatively young (19) and has pitched very well since moving up from the Venezuelan Summer League, pitching to a 1.85 ERA and a 35-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 48.2 innings pitched.