The Undercards: Boog Powell Parallels Evan Longoria
By Robbie Knopf
When your performance in a game puts you in the company of Evan Longoria, typically you’re doing something right. On the same day that Longoria went 4 for 4 to help lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, Boog Powell‘s 4-hit performance of his own was enough to lift the Montgomery Biscuits.
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Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 7, Jackson Generals (SEA) 4
The Biscuits bullpen almost let the team’s early lead get away, but the offense came up with a couple of extra runs to ensure that Jaime Schultz received the win that he deserved. Schultz lasted 6 innings allowing 1 run on 7 hits, striking out 9 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was even 5-2. Schultz has looked electric so far this season, going 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA, a 14.4 K/9, a 3.9 BB/9, and a 0.4 HR/9 in 20.2 innings pitched. As long as he has even passable control, his mid-90’s fastball, sharp curveball, and solid changeup could allow him to dominate hitters.
A nice complement to Schultz’s excellent game was all of the run support he received. It was Boog Powell that led the way, going 4 for 5 with a double, a stolen base, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He drilled a 2-run single in the second inning and an RBI double in the fourth. Powell’s hits weren’t cheapies either (like a couple of Longoria’s hits were) as three of them were line drives and the fourth came on a perfect bunt.
Powell still needs work hitting the ball with more authority and stealing bases at a higher rate. However, he was pushed up to Double-A after just 14 games because of his advanced plate approach, and that has certainly lived up to the billing in the early going. Powell has a .309 average and a .424 OBP to begin the season, and if the rest of his game could come together, the Rays could have themselves quite a prospect.
Daniel Robertson also had a great game, going 2 for 5 with 2 doubles, an RBI, and a run scored, and Patrick Leonard, Richie Shaffer, and Hector Guevara also had multi-hit games for Montgomery. This is the third year in which Guevara has spent time in Montgomery, but he’s still somehow just 23 years old and below the league’s average age. Johnny Field also went 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored in the Biscuits win.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 4, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
Blake Snell has now tossed 21 straight scoreless innings to start his season, but his last two outings have been much less satisfying than the first two. After beginning the season with an 18-2 strikeout to walk ratio in two appearances relieving Drew Smyly, Snell has dipped to a 9-9 mark in his first two starts of the year. In this game, he went 6 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits and 4 walks while striking out 6. His groundout to flyout ratio was 8-3. Snell needs to continue improving his control if he is going to take the next step as a prospect.
The offense for the Stone Crabs came from unlikely sources: catchers Mike Marjama and Armando Araiza. Marjama laced a 2-run double before Araiza contributed an RBI single in the fourth inning, and another run later scored on a double play ball in the seventh. Braxton Lee and Jake Bauers also continued their strong starts, with Lee going 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, while Bauers went 1 for 2 with 2 walks. Lee is making himself look like a prospect while Bauers has done enough to warrant a longer discussion of his abilities in a few hours.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 2 (7 innings)
Just like the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Saturday, their affiliates played and the result was the same. Luckily for the sanity of the Hot Rods, they didn’t need a rally to secure their win. Justin Williams needed a big game to shake off a sluggish start and got it, going 2 for 3 with his first homer and outfield assist of the season along with 2 runs scored. Jace Conrad also had a 2 for 3 day with a solo homer, but he’s just getting greedy at this point. He has hit to a .346/.382/.538 line with 2 homers and 7 stolen bases in 7 attempts.
A few other Bowling Green players had nice games at the plate, with Coty Blanchard going 1 for 3 with a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, Riley Unroe going 1 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base, and Taylor Hawkins delivering a 1-for-2 day with an RBI. Riley’s average and OBP are getting into a reasonable range at .25o and .344 respectively, and now he has to start making good on his power potential.
Next: Tampa Bay Rays Game 18: Erasmo Ramirez, Late Rally Key Win