Two of the four minor league affiliates were in play on Memorial Day. Memphis picked up the win while Peoria dropped one to Quad Cities. Springfield and Palm Beach will pick up play with night games today.
Memphis Redbirds 2 Colorado Springs Sky Sox 1
Ryan Helsley (SP): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K’s
Preston Guilmet (RP): 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K’s, SV (10)
Alex Mejia (SS): 3-4, RBI
Adolis Garcia (RF): 2-3, BB
The Redbirds have been rolling as of late, winning nine of their last eleven games. The last three in particular have been dominant. Over the last 27 innings, the Memphis pitching staff has given up only one run. Starter Ryan Helsley did more than pull his weight on Monday, fanning ten while only allowing four baserunners across seven innings of work. The Sky Sox only run of the game was unearned after the runner reached on a passed third strike. Across two levels this season, Helsley is running a 3.34 ERA with a 10.45 K/9 and 3.34 BB/9. He’s been especially effective at AAA, recording a 1.29 ERA through three starts.
Memphis answered the unearned Colorado Springs run in the bottom of the first with a Luke Voit RBI single. The Redbird bats went quiet through the next five frames, before shortstop Alex Mejia broke the 1-1 tie in the seventh. Patrick Wisdom also singled in the seventh inning, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. On the year, Wisdom is slashing .304/.362/.494 to the tune of a 121 wRC+. He’s not a real prospect at this point, but could be making marginal improvements that let him carve out a role as a corner bat on a big league bench.
The win improves Memphis to 32-20 on the season. They currently hold a five game lead on the Nashville Sounds in the South Division of the PCL. The action will continue today against Colorado Springs at 12:05 CST.
Quad Cities River Bandits 5 Peoria Chiefs 4
Johan Oviedo (SP): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 4 K’s
Julio Rodriguez (C): 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB
Bryce Denton (DH): 2-4, 2 2B, R
Zach Kirtley (1B): 3-5, RBI, R
Scott Hurst (RF): 1-3, RBI, 2 BB, R
Starter Johan Oviedo worked an inefficient five frames but was able to limit the damage to only one run. The big Cuban righty has struggled mightily in his Midwest League debut. Through eight starts he’s running a 6.56 ERA with some uninspiring peripherals. He’s striking out nearly a batter per inning, but walking nearly as many as well. His groundball rate has also plummeted. It’s early, of course, and Oviedo is young. The preliminary returns are just something to keep an eye on with a prospect whose always garnered a mixed bag of opinions.
The Peoria offense struck late with three runs in the ninth to tie the contest 4-4. Reliever Bryan Dobzanski recorded the loss in the ninth, however, allowing one run on three hits while only striking out one. Catcher Julio Rodriguez highlighted the offense on Monday with a pair of doubles. Rodriguez hasn’t been talked about much as a prospect, but the 20 year old is mashing in the Midwest League so far. Across 26 games he’s running a .277/.315/.525 line and a 127 wRC+. He’s running a sustainable BABIP (.301), which may be suppressed by foot speed given that he’s a catcher, and his strikeout and walk rates aren’t anything to be alarmed about. There aren’t many reports on his defense behind the dish, but a catching prospect with real pop is always something to keep an eye on.
For a system that has failed to develop catching talent over the last handful of years, there’s suddenly an influx of talent at the position. Rodriguez, paired with his teammate Dennis Ortega, makes for some promising depth behind the Knizner-Kelly duo in the upper minors. Ortega is a name often brought up in Derrick Goold chats as a player to keep an eye on, and is very much the anthesis of Rodriguez at the plate. Ortega’s approach is more contact oriented, with lower strikeout rates and better on base skills. The power isn’t there, at least not yet.
The loss moves Peoria to 25-24 on the year. They’ll play a double-header against the Burlington Bees later today.
MEM: Kevin Hergret
SPR: Conner Greene
PMB: Austin Warner
PEO (GM1): TBD
PEO (GM2): Alex Falgade