Sacramento River Cats 5, Memphis Redbirds 2
Genesis Cabrera (SP) - 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR
Harrison Bader (CF) - 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, K
Justin Williams (RF) - 1-2, 2 BB, 1 K
Coming into the season, the case could be made that Memphis had to makings of a Triple-A juggernaut. Their strength didn’t lie in top scale prospects, per say, but rather remarkable depth and a handful of toolsy breakout candidates (hi, Randy). Since then, a combination of injuries, underperformance, and promotion attrition has left the Redbirds with a skeleton crew.
Harrison Bader’s home run was his first extra base hit in eight games at Memphis. He’s gathered eight hits now in 32 PA’s, with two walks against seven strikeouts.
Justin Williams is back, by the way. He returned to the field on July 30 after his third extended IL trip of the season. Williams got a late jump on the season because he punched a TV, and has now proceeded to miss most of the months of June and July due to injury. In the scant amount of time that he has actually played, Williams has been a non-factor, batting .265/.315/.398 in 28 games between Double-A and Triple-A. I should mention that his line in Memphis has been more robust, but there seems to be substantial BABIP noise built into the sample. In case you’re wondering (I was, b/c of Cabrera’s poor start), Tommy Pham has been worth 2.5 fWAR for the Rays in 2019. So, yeah.
Thursday’s loss drops the Redbirds to 51-65 on the year. They’ll take on Sacramento again at 9:05pm CDT tonight.
Arkansas Travelers 6 @ Springfield Cardinals 1
Alex Fagalde (SP) - 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 4 HR
Dylan Carlson (CF) - 1-3, HR, RBI
Zach Kirtley (1B) - 1-3, 2B, K
In one of last week’s DFR posts, there were comments asking about Alex Fagalde. I did a little digging, liked what I found, then tuned in for this clunker start. Just my luck, I guess. Fagalade was a 30th round senior sign out of UC Riverside in 2017. He arrived at UC Riverside via two years at Cuesta JC in southern California, where he was serviceable but by no means a world beater. At Riverside, he pitched to a 2.47 ERA out of the bullpen as a junior then transitioned to the rotation and gave the Highlanders 79.2 innings of 3.39 ERA ball as a senior. He struck out more batter from the ‘pen, and has generally showed great command at every stop along the journey. Scouting reports from the 2017 Draft have him pegged as a big-bodied (6’3, 220lb), durable control artist that might have upside as a senior sign. Fagalde’s fastball sits right around 90mph, but garners more swings and misses than usual because of a spin rate that scouts suspect is on the higher end of the spectrum (or perhaps just very efficient). He mixes in a slider, curve, and splitter as well, with each playing up to at least average because of Fagalde’s command.
Springfield is now 51-65. They’ll face Arkansas again tonight at 7:10pm CDT.
Beloit Snappers 6, Peoria Chiefs 3
Dalton Roach (SP) - 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 8 K
Jonatan Machado (LF) - 1-4, 2B, RBI, K
Wadye Ynfante (RF) - 2-4, 2B, K
Brendan Donovan (2B) - 1-3, 2 BB
There isn’t much to say about the seasons that Machado and Ynfante are having, and I feel like another Donovan update would be too repetitive, so let’s focus in on a guy who surpassed Peoria already but hasn’t gotten enough airtime in the Palm Beach recaps. Juan Yepez, the return for Matt Adams, is having a sneaky good season split evenly between Peoria and Palm Beach. Since getting a late start to the year on June 4, Yepez has hit a healthy .281/.365/.461 for a 141 wRC+ across two levels. The component elements are remarkably consistent, with similar plate discipline and batted balls numbers at both stops. In fact, his strikeout rate actually decreased moving up to Palm Beach, with the standard Roger Dean power downgrade being the only real smudge on the resume. He’s putting the ball in the air more now than at any other point in his minor league career, which whether intentional or not appears to be helping him in his Peoria/Palm Beach return tour. Yepez will play the rest of the season at 21 years old.
The Chiefs are now 43-72. The series with Beloit will continue tonight at 6:30pm CDT.
State College Spikes 4, Batavia Muckdogs 1
Scott Politz (SP) - 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
TERRY FULLER (RF) - 1-4, 2B, RBI
David Vinsky (CF) - 1-4, 2B, RBI
Dariel Gomez (1B) - 2-4, 2B, K
Most of the Spikes offense came in the first inning on the back of doubles by Vinsky and Fuller. Both extra base hits were missiles off the bat, but Fuller’s in particular was mere inches away from being a round tripper to straight away center. 2019 has been a success for the big man, but plenty of questions still loom moving forward. On the positive side of the ledger, he’s walking at a ~16% clip and his strikeout rate has breathing room under 30%. He’s also remade his body substantially, looking better conditioned and more capable in the outfield than he did on draft day. The power hasn’t shown up this year (.132 ISO), which brings up the more pressing issue: his swing. The State College video on MiLB.tv isn’t great, but Fuller’s swing is still noticeably rough mechanically. I like the current iteration more than the power-or-nothing stroke he employed in high school, I must say, but there’s still a ways to go. A mid-teens BB% and 80-grade raw power isn’t a bad place to start, though.
The victory improves the Spikes’ record to 26-26. They’ll face Batavia again tonight at 6:05pm CDT.
Elizabethton Twins 7 @ Johnson City Cardinals 6
Jose Moreno (SP) - 6.1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Mateo Gil (SS) - 2-5, 3B, HR, 2 RBI
Malcom Nunez (3B) - 3-5, 2B, RBI, K
Liam Sabino (2B) - 2-4, RBI, BB, K
The home run was Gil’s fourth on the year, quadrupling his 2018 total in 54 fewer plate appearances. Ok, yes, quadruple in this instance is a fancy way to present four versus one. I just couldn’t come up with a good segway into a Mateo Gil blurb, okay? I digress. With the exception of a two game jaunt through Palm Beach in early June, Gil has spent the entire 2019 campaign in the Appy League. Keep in mind that Gil was exceptionally young for his draft class, and was still eighteen years old until two weeks ago. He is six weeks younger than Bobby Witt Jr., the prep shortstop who went second overall to the Royals this year. I’d like to throw in that Witt Jr. is currently running a 66 wRC+ in the AZL, while Gil has hit to a near-average 92 wRC+ in a tougher circuit. I’m not saying Mateo Gil > Bobby Witt Jr. by any means, as I believe Witt Jr. is the superior prospect in terms of tools and potential, but I am saying that the correct way to value an unformed, far-off player like Gil is against his age cohort rather than his draft class. And if the club had selected a prep shortstop this year that went straight to the Appy League and held his own, we’d probably value him more aggressively in the farm system hierarchy.
Johnson City is now 26-22. They take on Elizabethton again this evening at 5:30pm CDT.
GCL Nationals 6, GCL Cardinals 3
Inohan Paniagua (SP) - 1.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Tyler Statler (RP) - 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Diowill Burgos (LF) - 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, K
Tyler Reichenborn (CF) - 1-4, 3B, BB
DSL Cardinals Red 5, DSL Brewers 4
Angel Cuenca (SP) - 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 1 HR
Fernando Brazoban (RF) - 2-5, 3B, 4 RBI
Luis Andujar (1B) - 2-3, 2B, 2 BB
DSL Cardinals Blue 12 @ DSL Nationals 4
Yordy Richard (SP) - 4 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Darlin Moquete (RF) - 2-3, 3B, 4 RBI, BB
Hansel Otamendi (CF) - 1-4, 3B, RBI, BB
Jose Zapata (DH) - 2-5, 2B
MEM: Daniel Ponce de Leon
SPR: Tommy Parsons
PMB: Alvaro Seijas
SC: Adrian Mardueno
JC: Hector Soto