While the big league club enjoyed the beginning of the All-Star Break, every single minor league affiliate was in action. The upper minors squads picked up wins while the low minors recorded losses.
Memphis Redbirds 6, Iowa Cubs 4
Luke Weaver (SP): 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K’s
Adolis Garcia (RF): 1-4, 2B, RBI, R
Edmundo Sosa (SS): 2-3, 2 RBI, BB, R
Patrick Wisdom (3B): 1-2, 3 BB, 2 R
The Memphis Redbirds picked up their 60th win of the season on the back of an eighth inning rally. The win was the clubs 10th straight win against the Iowa Cubs. Luke Weaver made his first start in Memphis since being optioned before the All-Star Break, working four solid frames and striking out more than his fair share of Cubbies. Matt Bowman worked 1.2 innings of relief and was tagged for a pair of runs.
Memphis trailed 4-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. Patrick Wisdom kicked off the rally with a single to left field. After a Carson Kelly fly out, Adolis Garcia doubled to score Wisdom. In the next at bat, Edmundo Sosa roped a line drive to center that scored Garcia. Wilfredo Tovar then added a single of his own to put runners on first and second with one out. The Cubs then changed pitchers to bring in Dakota Mekkes. Meekness promptly threw a wild pitch to advance both runners before walking Luke Voit to load the bases. Edmundo then reached on a fielding error that scored an additional run. Alex Mejia plated the final two runs of the inning with a single to center field.
The win moves Memphis to 60-35 on the season.
Springfield Cardinals 10, NW Arkansas Naturals 6
Jake Woodford (SP): 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K’s
Victor Roache (LF): 2-3, HR, RBI, BB, 2 R
Johan Mieses (DH): 2-5, HR, 4 RBI, R
Jeremy Martinez (C): 1-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 2 R
Springfield also picked up a win in the late innings, but in more dramatic fashion than Memphis. Springfield went into extra innings tied 5-5 with the Naturals. The Naturals scored one run in the top of the tenth off of Hector Mendoza. In the bottom of the frame, Northwest Arkansas made a pitching changed to bring in Bryan Brickhouse (65 grade name). With Evan Mendoza starting on second base per the MiLB extra inning rules, John Nogowski grounded out to third and Lane Thomas walked. After a strikeout, Brickhouse threw a wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third. Blake Drake then drew a walk to load the bases. Another wild pitch from Brickhouse allowed the tying run to score. Victor Roache was then intentionally walked to reload the bases. Then with two outs and the score tied, outfielder Johan Mieses launched a grand slam to left field. Springfield wins 10-6.
In his most recent System Sunday article, our resident prospect guru A.E. Schafer mentioned how the hole in the system really starts here at Springfield. I can’t agree more, as these recaps tend to be the most boring to write. There’s never any impact prospects to write about, and I routinely find myself scrapping the box score to come up with a somewhat-notable performance from a non-prospect. Palm Beach doesn’t get much better.
That being said, Jeremy Martinez is worth a couple of words. The 2016 4th rounder out of USC turned some heads in his draft year, displaying excellent contact skills and pate discipline. There wasn’t a whole lot of pop, but the offensive bar for catchers is pretty low. Then the 2017 campaign came around, and, well, things went poorly. Really, really, poorly. So bad that he fell off a lot of radars altogether. Turn the calendar to 2018, and things seem to have rebounded a bit. Across 35 games, Martinez is slashing .279/.350/.423 and running a nearly 1:1 K/BB. Not lighting the world on fire, certainly, but enough to make us remember that he had a blend of tools and skills that put him on prospect radars not too long ago. Is going to turn into a top prospect? No, probably not. But there’s enough here to build a solid backup catcher profile.
It’s funny to think that a few years ago, Martinez would’ve gained a lot more attention in the system. The farm has seemed, for a very long time, to have a tough time developing backstops to play behind Yadier Molina. Now in 2018, the system has two top catching prospects at the top in Kelly and Knizner. Then there’s the low minors, were an interesting amount of catching depth is percolating up. Martinez is lost in the shuffle, but keep an eye on him nonetheless.
Palm Beach Cardinals 4, Lakeland Flying Tigers 3
Casey Meisner (SP): 6.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K’s
Andy Young (2B): 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, R
J.B. Woodman (RF): 1-4, RBI
Shane Billings (LF): 1-2, BB
Casey Meisner, the former A’s farmhand, recorded another quality start for the Palm Beach squad on Monday. He recorded five scoreless frames to start the game before finally being tagged in the sixth. Isaac Paredes got the Flying Tigers on the board in the sixth with a solo homer to left field. In the following inning, an Andy Young fielding error would allow Lakeland to score two more runs.
Andy Young made up for the two runs he ceded on defense with two RBI’s of his own during the game. In the bottom of the third, Young tripled to right field to score Danny Hudzina and Chase Pinder. Young has built a fine season at the plate in the tough environment of the Florida State league. Across 80 games, Young is hitting to the tune of .277/.373/.432. He’s also waking 8.6% and striking out 17.2% of the time. The strikeout rate is actually improved from his previous stops in the minors, where he routinely ran a 20%+ strikeout rate. He’s at least earned a shot at AA to see what he can do in a friendlier hitting environment.
Fort Wayne Tin Caps 4 at Peoria Chiefs 0
Alvaro Seijas (SP): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K’s
Fabian Blanco (RP): 2 IP, 2 H, R
Dennis Ortega (DH): 1-4
Julio Rodriguez (C): 1-3
There isn’t much to talk about from the offensive side of the ledger for Peoria. The Chiefs only combined for four hits in the contest, none of them for extra bases. Fort Wayne starter Osvaldo Hernandez was strong, tossing six innings and ceding no hits and no walks.
Hernandez’s opposition, Peoria starter Alvaro Seijas, turned in one of his better starts of the year. The young righty has had a tough go of things this year pitching as a 19 year old in full season ball. The promotion was challenging, but the 5.06 ERA might be near the worst case scenario. His peripherals also aren’t much better through Monday. He’s only striking 5.66 batters per nine while walking 3.94 batters per nine. Seijas is young, however, and there’s plenty of time for him to iron out his fastball-curveball combo.
The loss moves Peoria down to 52-41 on the season.
Tri-City ValleyCats 2 at State College Spikes 1
Jake Dahlberg (SP): 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K’s
Brady Whalen (1B): 2-4, 2 2B, R
Edwin Figuera (2B): 2-4, 2B, R
Joe Gomez (C): 2-3
Spikes starter Jake Dahlberg turned in his second consecutive start with at least seven innings of work and one run allowed. Dahlberg is a college lefty taken in the 21st round of the 2017 Draft. He’s been old for every level he’s pitched at, State College included, but has been effective at each level. This season he’s tossed 36.1 innings, recording a 2.72 ERA while striking out 7.68 batters per nine and walking only 1.73 batters per nine. No real word on his repertoire as of yet.
The offense was largely quiet on Monday, with the exception of corner infielder Brady Whalen. Whalen is another person of interest brought up by A.E. Schafer in Sunday’s article. He’s a big, physically projectable switch hitter originally drafted as a prep shortstop in 2016. Last year he showed impressive pate discipline and promising power for a teen in pro ball, he’s continued the trend this year. The BB% and K% are ridiculous (18.8% and 17.8%, respectively), and overall he’s running a 133 wRC+ for the season so far. He’s a switch hitter, and the splits are a little funny, but development for switch hitters is never too linear. Last year he mashed from the left side of the plate and struggled mightily from the right, and this season things are the exact opposite. The sample size is very small of course, so take that with a big grain of salt.
Burlington Royals 6, Johnson City Cardinals 5
Kyle Leahy (SP): 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K’s
Donivan Williams (2B): 3-4, 2 2B, R
Carlos Soto (C): 1-4, 3 RBI
Nolan Gorman (3B); 1-5, 2B, 2 R
Johnson City might be my favorite minor league affiliate to follow this year. Two of the guys with notable performances on Monday, Soto and Gorman, are big reasons why. With Gorman, it’s obvious why he’s so intriguing. He was a first rounder this summer, so there’s a bit of shiny new toy going on. He’s also hit the ground running in pro ball and wields an ungodly amount of raw power. At Johnson City, he’s running a 157 wRC+ over his first 102 PA’s. It sounds like the Appy League has started to pitch around Gorman, so maybe a promotion could be in his near future.
Soto was one of my favorite signings of the 2016 period. He’s a young, big bodied catcher from Mexico with a sweet left handed stroke. Left handed hitting catchers are rare, which automatically gives him value. He’s also shown impressive plate discipline for such a young plate to go along with modest pop. Time will tell whether he stays behind the plate or not.
GCL Cardinals 10, GCL Nationals 3
Derian Gonzalez (SP): 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K’s
Mateo Gil (SS): 2-6, RBI, R
Luken Baker (1B): 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
Raffy Ozuna (3B): 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB, R
DSL Mets 2, DSL Cardinals Blue 1 (Suspended, Rain)
Julio Puello (SP): 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K’s
Malcom Nunez (3B): 1-2
Jean Selmo (DH): 1-2, 2B, RBI
DSL Cardinals Red 2, DSL Tigers 0 (Completed Early, Rain)
Ludwin Jimenez (SP): 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K’s
Franklin Soto (SS): 1-2, 2B, RBI, R
Adanson Cruz (CF): 1-2, RBI
MEM: Austin Gomber
SPR: Anthony Shew
PMB: Jesus Cruz