The big news is that Nick Franklin and Danny Hultzen have been promoted from AA to AAA. I don’t have a lot of room for numbers, but Hultzen was nothing short of dominant in AA with a 1.19 ERA/2.84 FIP/3.35 SIERA. He gave up line drives just 11.4% of the time, leading to a .460 OPS against. Franklin hit .323/.396/.507 (the slugging and on base percentage professional career highs) but has still has work to do defensively. Hultzen will start for Tacoma on Saturday. To make room for Franklin and Hultzen, Tacoma put Cesar Jimenez on the DL. They also released Johan Limonta, who was poor defensively without a real position with a very mediocre OPS of .726.
Francisco Martinez and Rich Poythress are about ready to come off the DL for AA Jackson, but Johermyn Chavez and Daniel Carroll are still pretty far off from coming back.
Danny Hultzen threw the first inning of the Southern League All-Star game. He was having a little bit of control issues to start the game, as he walked the 2nd hitter he faced on 4 pitches, mainly outside to the righty. However, he started by blowing 2 fastballs past the first hitter for swing and misses and a strikeout. He followed the walk by getting a double play to end the inning.
Denny Almonte worked a full count in his first at-bat and then pounded a homer on a low outside pitch. He hit another medium deep fly-ball in his next at-bat. Joe Dunigan was getting shifted on, and his first at-bat ended when he chased breaking balls to strikeout. In his 2nd at-bat, he whiffed on 2 straight fastballs, then hit some fouls before missing on another fastball. Nick Franklin walked in the first as Tyler Skaggs wasn’t throwing many strikes, and then stole a base on a curve. He hit a ball to the warning track the other way and had a 1 pitch ground-out to pitcher. His final at-bat was ugly, as he had a bad looking swing before he chased a breaking ball for a strikeout. His defensive woes continued when he made a bad throw on a potential double play. Another ball took a hop and gave him a lot of trouble. Jesus Sucre was the starting catcher, but he certainly didn’t look like an all-star at the plate. Sucre got fooled on a bad change and then on a high fastball (that he fouled off). He ended up flying out to left field on a breaking ball in the dirt. In his 2nd plate appearance, he hit the first pitch he saw for a hard ground-ball to 2nd base. Defensively, he didn’t look very good either, as a bad throw was stopped by Franklin with a good block. Another ugly throw by Sucre cost the team a run.
Taijuan Walker also got to make an appearance. He gave up a hard double and then hit the next batter. He did get a whiff on his fastball and a looking strikeout. A decent curveball turned into a ground-ball hit and his 2-seamer was getting called strikes. Carter Capps got to face one batter and he hit 99, 99, 100, then 99 MPH on the radar gun. He got a chopper ground-ball to Franklin and Franklin promptly threw it in the dirt, almost committing an error.
In the California League versus Carolina League all-start game, 5 members of High Desert were on the California League team. Julio Morban and Jack Marder did not play thanks to injuries. Stephen Romero was scheduled to start but came off the bench instead thanks to being hit in the head with a pitch on Saturday. He took over at 2nd and missed the first ball hit to him. In his first at-bat, he chased the first pitch and fouled it off. He then hit a weak ground-ball that got through and motored into 2nd thanks to some lazy defense. His 2nd time up he struck out swinging. Brad Miller came in to play 3rd base and made a good play there. Offensively, he pulled a low pitch for a double and had a walk against Dylan Bundy after the previous 2 hitters struck out. He swung and missed on the first pitch, but hit a couple of fouls. A 2-2 pitch just missed before a full count pitch wasn’t even close. In batting practice, he put on a show that caught several people’s eyes. John Hicks started at catcher and he lined out in his first at-bat. In his second, he had a big whiff on 3-0 on a high fastball. He then missed another before chasing one out of the zone for a strike. He made a not very good throw on a stolen base defensively.
Jamal Austin lead off in the Midwest All Star game and walked to lead off the game. He also had two hits, including a triple. Jordan Shipers got 2 outs but gave up an unearned run with a strikeout.
The AAA Tacoma Rainiers faced Trevor Bauer and the Reno Aces. Andrew Carraway started for Tacoma and got ahead of rehabbing Stephen Drew 1-2 before falling into a full count. He ended the at-bat by getting a called strike on a low and away fastball. He had an easy 2nd inning, and it looked like hitters couldn’t time his fastball. He struck-out Mike Jacobs on what looked like a high changeup for his 4th strikeout to start the 3rd inning. A hanger was hit for a line drive but turned into an out. Drew lined out to left his 2nd time up. The first baserunner Carraway gave up was starting the 4th, when Adam Eaton hit a weak ground-ball up the middle. A bloop hit with the runners going tied the game after a mediocre throw by Trayvon Robinson was not stopped by Vinnie Catricala even though he really should have stopped it. Carraway started the 5th with a swinging strikeout on a high fastball. His 6th and final inning was an easy 3 ground-ball inning.
Trevor Bauer was hitting 92-95 MPH on his fastball but was really wild for the most part. The Rainiers made him throw 24 pitches in a scoreless first. He did get a lot of late swings on the fastball. Robinson got up 3-1 but struck out on a 94 MPH fastball. Luis Jimenez banged a ball of the wall for a hard double, and had another long at-bat before a curve at the bottom of the strike zone was a looking strikeout. Alex Liddi had a walk and then hit a solo homer just over the right field wall. He then struck out on a breaking pitch way out of the zone. Carlos Peguero walked and mashed a long homer to right field. Catricala struck out looking but got a breaking ball up for a hit. Adam Moore walked but chased a breaking ball for a strikeout. Luis Rodriguez creamed a line drive double. Against Zach Kroenke, Catricala smashed a hard liner but it turned into an out.
Against Mike Demark, who was hitting 92-94 MPH, Jimenez was shifted on, but got up 3-0. Jimenez took a big hack and then took an outside breaking ball to walk. A hanging breaking ball was hit hard by Liddi for a single. Demark got Peguero to whiff on a pitch, then broke his bat on a foul and then whiffed on a ball up and in. After a good luck Mike Wilson infield single, Catricala took, then whiffed on fastballs for strikes before whiffing on another.
Steven Hensley took over for Carraway in the 7th for Tacoma. Hensley immediately walked Ryan Wheeler to lead off the inning on a long at-bat. Geoff Blum then hit what looked like would be a double play, but the umpire said that Luis Rodriguez (who has been excellent defensively) wasn’t on the bag. Hensley was throwing quite a bit of soft sliders, which isn’t a great looking pitch. He got a looking strikeout to end the inning. Hensley came out to pitch the 8th, and was hitting 94 MPH on his fastball. The fastball looked pretty good when he had command of it. He got a whiff on a slider that really didn’t look that good. A 3-2 fastball behind the batter was another lead off walk for Hensley. He followed it with a swinging 3 pitch strikeout on a slider. Eaton then got a slap single on a slider, and it could have been worse as Liddi almost didn’t get to the ball out in left field. He got a weak fly-ball out before being replaced by Steve Delabar.
Delabar got Stephen Drew to swing through a change in the dirt. In the 9th, he got a whiff on his fastball, but gave up a bloop single and then walked Blum. All of the sudden, he had massive control issues. A ground-ball loaded the bases before a wild pitch and a walk was followed by a strikeout on a high fastball. He then induced a weak grounder back to himself and fielded it and made a nice throw to home. However, Adam Moore dropped it and they didn’t get an out. Another grounder turned into out 2, but brought another run home. He got to 1 pitch away from getting out of the inning, only to give up a triple past Peguero. Scott Patterson then came in to face Drew. After putting a curveball in the zone to get ahead 0-1, the next 4 pitches were all balls. Drew then stole 2nd and the runner on 3rd tried to score. The throw home was good and ended the inning, but not before the runner (in a 4 run AAA game in the 9th) trucked Adam Moore. Moore had problems getting up, but there has been no announcement as far as an injury goes.