If the Tampa Bay Rays are still contending come September, they will call up Blake Snell. There’s no guarantee, but the more information that comes in, the higher the probability increases. Snell continues to pitch out of his mind, and we also learned about how the Rays plan to use him the rest of the year.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 9, Louisville Bats (CIN) 0
There were a lot of great things about this game, but none of them really compare to Blake Snell. The lefty continued his breakout year with 5 no-hit innings, striking out 9 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was also 6-0–yes, every out came on a strikeout or a groundout. Snell’s numbers since coming up to Triple-A are getting ridiculous as he has a 1.42 ERA, a 29-5 strikeout to walk ratio and just 10 hits allowed in 19 innings. That 1.42 ERA has actually raised his overall mark on the year. Between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, Snell is 11-4 with a 1.28 ERA and a 135-45 strikeout to walk ratio in 108.2 IP.
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MiLB.com had a nice story on the game in which Snell talked about how his changeup and breaking ball took him to the dominant effort. The most interesting tidbit, though, is that Snell will be limited to 5 innings in each of his starts the remainder of the year. At most, he can make 5 more starts given the Bulls’ schedule–they are unlikely to make the playoffs–and only 4 prior to September 1st. That sets up Snell to have 128.2 innings maximum before the Rays can call him up, leaving him at least 10 or 15 frames for relief work in the major leagues. The hope is that the Rays are still playing well enough at that point to warrant giving Snell that chance.
Everett Teaford allowed the no-hitter to be broken up, but he allowed just that 1 hit in 2 innings, striking out 1 and forcing 3 groundouts. C.J. Riefenhauser then struck out the side in the eighth, getting past a hit-by-pitch, before Jim Miller finished the 1-hitter with a perfect ninth, striking out 1. The no-no couldn’t last, but it’s difficult to quibble when Bulls pitching struck out 14 while walking only 2 and forced 10 more outs on the ground.
Mikie Mahtook didn’t hit at all in his most extended Triple-A stretch of the year, managing just a .230/.289/.326 line in 149 plate appearances before the Rays brought him back up. However, he showed positive signs in his 4 games with the team, hitting a go-ahead homer in his final game, and he has returned to Durham with confidence. In this contest, he went 2 for 4 with a home run and 5 RBI. In his 3 games back with the Bulls, he is 3 for 13 (.308) with 2 homers and 8 RBI.
Also having big games were Joey Rickard, who went 2 for 4 with a triple, 3 RBI, and a run scored, and Taylor Motter, who delivered a 1-for-2 performance with a double, 2 walks, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. Jake Elmore went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored out of the leadoff spot while Desmond Jennings had a nice rehab game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. Marc Topkin reports that Jennings is set to rejoin the Rays, although we will have to see if he is activated on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 8, Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 2
The Rays love that Tyler Goeddel and Patrick Leonard are playing so well, but continued strong play will make their Rule 5 decision more difficult. In this game, Goeddel went 3 for 4 with a homer, a walk, a stolen base, 2 RBI, and a run scored while Leonard went 1 for 2 with 3 walks, a steal, and 2 runs. In his last 83 plate appearances, Goeddel has a .352/.446/.592 line with 2 doubles, 5 homers, 12 RBI, and even a 12-10 strikeout to walk ratio. His line on the season is up to .260/.336/.397. Leonard’s triple-slash is better at .271/.362/.471, but suddenly Goeddel has passed him in home runs.
Johnny Field added a 2-for-5 performance with a homer and a double while Dayron Varona and Cameron Seitzer each went 3 for 5 with an RBI. One of Varona’s hits was a triple. Daniel Robertson also took a baby step towards getting back on track following his broken hamate bone, going 1 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI.
Taylor Guerrieri started for Montgomery and was excellent if not Snell-esque. He gave up an unearned run on 2 hits in 5 innings, striking out 3 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was an insane 12-1 as his command continues to stand out even against the best competition he has seen as a professional. Ryan Garton followed with 2 shutout innings, getting past 2 hits and a walk with a strikeout, before Kyle McPherson allowed a run over the final 2 innings.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 10, Charlotte Stone Crabs 3
It’s always tough to be the catcher when your team is on the losing end of a game like this, but Maxx Tissenbaum managed to play well nonetheless. He went 3 for 3 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored at the plate and also threw out the only runner that attempted to steal against him. Tissenbaum has suddenly caught fire offensively, going 14 for his last 34 (.412) with a 5-4 strikeout to walk ratio. Tissenbaum is at High-A more to work on his catching than to improve offensively, so it was a little discouraging that he wasn’t hitting. Now his overall numbers look fine.
The only other real highlight for Charlotte was Yoel Araujo going 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, unless you want to count Kyle McKenzie retiring the only batter he faced. German Marquez allowed 7 runs, 5 earned, on 7 hits in 4 innings, although he did strike out 5 while walking 1, before Eduar Quinonez allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 4.2 innings, enticing 8 groundouts against 1 flyout.
Low-A Midwest League: Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0
This game actually marked Hyrum Formo‘s best start in a while as he tossed 5.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 9 hits, striking out 1 while walking 2. Jordan Harrison stranded an inherited runner before allowing 2 of his own in 1.2 innings before Brian Miller finished the game with a scoreless frame. Riley Unroe, Nick Ciuffo, Cristian Toribio, and Coty Blanchard all went 1 for 3 in the loss, with Unroe also drawing a walk.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL) 3, Hudson Valley Renegades 2
I was in the press box for this game and will have some scouting notes for later today, but I’ll recap this one like normal for now. Lefty Michael Velasquez started and looked quite mediocre, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 7 hits in 5 innings, striking out 3 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was 6-3. Behind him, the Renegades bullpen was electric as Tim Ingram got past 2 hits with 3 strikeouts in 2 innings before Brandon Koch allowed a lone hit in his 2 frames while striking out 5. Koch has a 0.84 ERA and a 16-2 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 10.2 innings pitched.
Hector Montes continued his hot streak with a 2-run double for both Hudson Valley runs. Jake Cronenworth also went 2 for 4 with a stolen base while Cade Gotta went 1 for 3 with a walk and Danny De la Calle went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
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Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 6, Burlington Royals 3
We began this Tampa Bay Rays minor league recap with a great start from a lefty pitching prospect, and we’ll finish it with one as well. Brock Burke started and tossed more than 5 innings for the first time in his young career. He finished with 6 shutout innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was also a solid 9-5. Burke isn’t missing many bats yet (6.5 K/9), but he has been solid in his next pro season nonetheless, going 3-1 with a 3.58 ERA, a 1.9 BB/9, and a 0.5 HR/9 in 37.2 innings. Burke, who just turned 19, was an above-slot signing as the Rays’ third round pick last year and the team remains excited about his future. We’ll have to see if they start him at Bowling Green or Hudson Valley next season.
Garrett Fulenchek and Bryan Bonnell were iffy in relief, but there were some offensive highlights. Brett Sullivan continues to be a pure power hitter for the P-Rays, going 1 for 5 with a 3-run homer in this game. He is hitting just .234 with a .267 on-base percentage, but his 6 homers lead the team. Landon Cray had a huge game, going 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored while Peter Maris went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run. Cray has had a little bit more of an even season, hitting to a .260/.376/.386 line.