Danny Hultzen was originally scheduled to start against Diamondbacks prospect Trevor Bauer. Bauer was promoted to AAA before the game, and started on Friday night. This was baffling for many people, and some speculated that the Diamondbacks didn’t want the pitchers facing each other, although that makes no sense to me. Hultzen had probably his best start, going 7 innings and walking just 1 while striking out 8 (just 1 run allowed).
After a few days off because of an apparent injury, Nick Franklin returned to the lineup in Jackson on Friday and went 4 for 4 (3 extra base hits) and a walk. He had a .840 OPS before the game, which according to my projections, would translate to a .704 OPS in the Majors.
Chris Sorce of High Desert has retired due to a wrist injury. His final start was the crazy 26-11 game last week. I guess if you have to go out, go out on a bang right? Sorce made 8 starts for the Mavericks this year, posting an ERA of 7.11 but a FIP of 3.44. Amazingly, Sorce posted a lower FIP than ERA in every stop he made. The Mariners drafted him in the 26th round in 2009. Last year, he started 27 games for High Desert, throwing 165 innings, striking out 105 batters and walking 43.
To replace him, Cam Hobson was promoted to High Desert and started Thursday. His start didn’t go very well, as he went 4.2 innings and gave up 7 hits and 7 runs with 2 strikeouts and 1 walk.
On Friday night, Andrew Carraway made his 2nd career AAA start, facing the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals). He showcased a moving fastball that he likes to keep low. It has some pretty solid movement, but not real great velocity. He also showed off a curveball that really had hitters missing. You can see how he could be a very effective ground-ball pitcher. In the first, he walked a guy and then got a single to get the runners 1st to 3rd, but then got a double play to end the inning. He got another GIDP in the 4th, and got lots of weak contact overall (other than a hard double off an inside fastball in the 2nd) He walked the lead-off hitter in the 5th, which came back to bite him even though he didn’t give up hard contact. The 5th ended up being a long inning for him as another walk killed him. Obviously he was erratic at times and had some control problems, and this was probably embodied when he attempted and botched a pitchout. As the game went along, his breaking stuff was staying higher and higher. He wasn’t “lucky”, but it did seem like his results were better than his command and stuff. I am not sure whether he can get such weak contact in the Majors.
Vinnie Catricala continues to be an easy out at the plate, as he popped up in the infield in his first appearance. After a strong spring that made him a household name as a bat only prospect, Vinnie isn’t doing the one thing he usually does well, and that is hit. Carlos Triunfel made an incredible jumping catching to save a hit and a run. Offensively, he chased a pitch that bounced before it hit the plate, and then struck out later in the at-bat on a breaking ball way out of the zone. I wish I had video of that at-bat to show all the silly anti-Brendan Ryan fans/bloggers that want Triunfel in the Majors. A similarly frustrating prospect, Trayvon Robinson, had a similarly frustrating game. He struggled big time with breaking balls, but also showed off his speed tool by reaching on an infield single, stealing 2nd, and scoring on a bloop Luis Rodriquez single. He then made an extremely goofy play out in center field. Carlos Peguero hit a monster home run and Luis Jimenez hit a big double.
The Venezuelan summer league team has started their season. There isn’t really anyway to keep up with them live, the best way I know how is to just check this page every day. The team has started off hot at 4-0 (the Pythagorean W-L has them at 3-1 for what it’s worth). The average pitcher on the team is 19 years old, 2nd oldest in the 4 team league (the Tigers team’s pitchers are 18 years old, the Phillies are 19.2 innings). The hitters are 18.8 years old on average, oldest in the league. Pedro Okuda is the oldest player on the team at 22 years old. As a general rule, when a player is older than the other player’s in his level, he is not considered a prospect and his statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are more physically developed than their peers. The team has 4 batters at age 17, Gianfranco Wawoe (which is much more fun to say than type), Jhonbaker Morales, Georvic Perez, and Danilo Sojo. 2 pitchers, Ugueth Urbina (the son of the former MLB pitcher) and Carlos Rodriguez are 17 years old. I will be honest, I don’t know much about these guys.