Your tri-weekly minor league highlights roundup
The Mariners farm is both more exciting and more functional than it’s been in a long time, which means it’s worth paying attention to how the prospects are performing down at the lower levels of the organization. In addition to our stalwart State of the Farm weekly roundup that takes a longer view on the farm, we’ll have minor league roundups thrice a week or so to share some highlights, gifs, and notes in our Midshipmen’s Log (it’s a baby sailor, get it? **waits patiently for ‘ba dum tiss’ on the drums** yeah yeah).
West Virginia Power (20-17) bitten by the Charleston RiverDogs (21-17), 6-5
This one was a slugfest featuring a couple of former Mariner prospects in starting pitcher Jio Orozco (traded in the Ben Gamel deal) and 2018 second-rounder Josh Stowers (traded for Shed Long). Speaking of trades, the Power and the RiverDogs traded blows of the longball variety, with Josh Stowers putting Charleston ahead on a two-run home run off Clay Chandler, breaking a 2-2 tie, before Onil Peña cranked a 400-foot blast of his own and then Jake Anchía followed it with this moonshot:
The Power come back to tie it up off solo bombs from Onil Peña–a no-doubter, 400 ft-plus–and Jake Anchía, who sneaks one just over the LF foul pole for his 6th on the season. pic.twitter.com/T0QWAc8BOD
— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) May 15, 2019
The two teams remained deadlocked at five until the bottom of the ninth, when the RiverDogs walked it off on a wild pitch, which remains the crummiest way to lose a game.
Arkansas Travelers (22-14) pooped on by the Springfield Cardinals (17-21), 3-1
The Travs continued a mini-skid, only able to scrape up one run on a Donnie Walton solo shot. The Travs did have some hits; they were just unable to string them together. Walton led the way with a double and the HR, and Chris Mariscal also doubled, continuing his hot hitting. The Travs pitching held the Cardinals mostly at bay, with starter Nabil Crismatt giving up three runs, two on a two-run HR. Reggie McClain continued to look strong in Double-A play with two innings of no-hit ball where he walked none and struck out two, and Wyatt Mills contributed a 1-2-3 inning of his own.
Modesto Nuts (18-21) skin the Visalia Rawhide (26-12), 9-0
The Rawhide came into this game with an 11-game at home winning streak and a .684 winning percentage, but the Nuts quickly did away with that. No video for this one, which is a bummer because it would have been interesting to watch Logan Gilbert’s second Cal League outing after his turn through the rotation was skipped last time. He started the game with a 1-2-3, eight-pitch first inning with two groundouts. However, he walked the first batter he saw in the second and then hit the next, putting two on with none out. Gilbert was struggling to locate his slider, but able to get strikes off the curve and changeup, and he used those to get back into counts, getting top prospect Luis Alejandro Basabe to ground out and then striking out the next two batters he saw. After a quick first out, Gilbert again got into some trouble in the third, giving up back-to-back hits including a double (although the first runner was erased on a caught stealing), and then an error by the normally-surehanded Johnny Adams cost him another extended inning, although Gilbert would escape without allowing a run to score. He didn’t have a clean inning in the fourth either, giving up a leadoff infield single, but again rebounded to retire the next three batters with a groundout-popup-strikeout. Gilbert would have to battle again in the fifth, his final inning of the day: after striking out the first batter, he walked the next and then surrendered a single where the runner took second on an error, and then stole third. But again, Gilbert rebounded to get a strikeout and an infield popout. He didn’t have great command (94 pitches, 61 strikes), and only punched out five batters in five innings, but Gilbert’s warrior mindset was on display again today. It’s very fun to watch him face adversity, struggle, and win, right before our eyes. (Or today, thanks to the magic of radio.)
Although! A helpful fan at the game sent this video, so we do have some images of Gilbert throwing baseballs:
— Big Case (@caseydillaz) May 15, 2019
Cal Raleigh had an authoritative double down the RF line in his first at-bat as he continues to heat up but the Nuts weren’t able to push him across. Eugene Helder got the Nuts on the board in the second, though, with a solo shot that just snuck over the fence. The Nuts beat up on Oregon alum Matt Mercer in the fourth, loading the bases for a Matt Sanders grand slam, and then continued to pour it on in the seventh, taking a series of bases-loaded walks to push the lead out to 9-0.
Sam Tuivailala relieved Gilbert with a scoreless inning, walking one and striking one out, and Penn Murfee added another scoreless inning. JT Salter finally saw his perfect Cal League streak broken as he walked a batter with two outs, but retired the next batter he saw to keep his scoreless innings streak alive (8), and Joey Gerber preserved the shutout.
Tacoma Rainiers (19-21) crash the Vegas Aviators (23-17), 9-7
Reader, I confess; I stopped watching this one after the Rainiers fell behind 6-0 in the first inning as Christian Bergman couldn’t clear the first, and the Rainiers were held scoreless for their first three innings. But the ballpark at Vegas is a wacky place where no lead is truly safe, especially with the Athletics’ assailable pitching staff. The Rainiers cranked nine runs out over innings 4-9. Austin Nola got the Rainiers their first two runs, with a solo shot in the 4th and then an RBI single in the 5th scoring Kyle Seager, who had doubled earlier in the inning (Seager had a hit, a walk, and a strikeout in his first rehab appearance). The big blow came in the 6th, when Connor Kopach—a 2018 draftee doing fill-in duty in Tacoma while J.P. Crawford and Shed Long are up in the bigs—hit a two-run shot scoring Ryan Court, and then Braden Bishop followed that up with a two-run shot of his own scoring Billy Cooke. (Cooke, a 2017 draftee, has been up from extended spring filling in for Bishop/Smith before he promoted; he’s due to head back down, but had himself a day today with two hits and a run scored). Two innings later, it was Bishop again with a go-ahead solo shot. The Aviators would tie things up in the 8th, but in the 9th, Ben Bracewell walked the first two batters he saw—one of whom was the speedy Ian Miller—and Ryan Court doubled both runners home to give Tacoma a 9-7 edge that Matt Festa was able to protect for his first Triple-A save. After Bergman, the pitching held together well; Ryan Garton offered 3.1 scoreless innings, Tayler Scott pitched two scoreless with five strikeouts, and Nick Rumbelow, who has struggled in Tacoma, gave up two hits but no runs.
Justin Dunn takes the mound for an early game for first-place Arkansas, who will hopefully bounce back after their two-game skid. If you have MiLB TV, Charleston has an especially good video feed with which to watch top prospect Jarred Kelenic.
Arkansas at Springfield, 9:00 AM PT (RHP Justin Dunn)
West Virginia at Charleston: 4:05 PT (RHP Ryne Inman)
Modesto at Visalia, 6:00 pm PT (LHP Ray Kerr)