As the dog days of summer set in, there's not really that much noteworthy to report on when it comes to the pitching prospects in the organization. Drew Hutchison wasn't sharp in first AAA start in three weeks last night. Bradenton (Pirates affiliate) came to Dunedin and hit the entire rotation.
There is a fair bit of news out of Lansing. Jordan Romano went to the DL after exiting his last start with an apparent arm injury. Jon Harris started last night, and also exited in abnormal circumstances after throwing a first pitch fastball with two out in the 6th inning of an otherwise strong outing. He went to the ground, grabbing his leg, and hobbled around when he eventually got up but apparently walked off smiling, no hopefully nothing serious and just a bas cramp or something. The newly promoted Justin Maese debuted this weekend, and though he wasn't as dominant as his last few starts in Vancouver, as will be covered below, it was overall quite decent.
A final little tidbit out of the rookie level, as Bluefield lost a marathon 20 inning game with Greeneville over 6.5 hours that was reminiscent of the Canada Day game. Vlad Guerrero had 10 plate appearances, going 3/8 with 2 four pitch walks, and by my unofficial count seeing 37 pitches on his own. It's tough to lose a game like that (especially when it's the 6th straight), but frankly it was pretty much deserved, since Greeneville essentially waved the white flag to start the 16th by bringing in a position player. But Bluefield could not score against him over two innings, nor the next position player pitching (another two). Curiously, for the 20th inning, Greeneville went back to a real pitcher. Bluefield sent infielder Juandy Mendoza to the mound in the 19th, and he put up one zero before allowing the winning run in the 20th. Insult to injury: Bluefield blew a 3-1 9th inning lead last night to drop #7 in a row.
- Hutch was not sharp, giving up 3 home runs. Hopefully just a blip working off rust.The 2nd inning was a microcosm of what makes him so frustrating: a strikeout on a slider that wasn't handled putting a runner on. Then from the stretch, a stolen base, infield single, and home run. Back in the windup, another K and two weak rollers on 6 pitches
- Conner Greene has his best AA start this year, sitting 93-96 on the Portland gun (after the first couple batters when he was 88-90), holding his own against a lineup featuring big time prospects Moncada and Benintendi. Still not missing bats though.
- Jeremy Gabryswzski struggled through 4 innings, as he got squared up a bit. Fastball 91-92
- Shane Dawson battled through 6 innings with a 84-86 fastball and high 60s curve, alternating stretches of being hittable and successful, but finishing strong
- John Stilson had a couple relief outings. In the first following Greene, he was 94-96 on the stadium gun, which is the premium velocity he used to have, so good to see. In the second, he struck out the side.
- Shafer was the latest victim of the Bradenton wrecking crew, 8 hits over 2 innings, though there was some element of "BABIP" there. Fastball 91-92, so normal.
- Rios had a short and "meh" outing coming back from the Futures Game.
- Chris Rowley's 94 pitches were a season high, and though the peripherals were mediocre (two of those walks were on a stretch of 9 nine straight balls when he momentarily lost the zone), but unlikely last time out he mostly managed contact well.
- Angel Perdomo was back to dominating the Midwest League after a rough Future's Game. He didn't miss as many bats as usual, but more importantly, was able to pound the zone while still inducing weak contact (a couple hits were infield singles). Velocity ranged a bit, high 80s into low 90s on the Peoria gun, with some slow curves.
- Tayler Saucedo had a rough outing, not helped by too many GB finding holes. Tom Robson's ability to find the zone teetered for a couple innings, but he mostly got by, before things feel apart in his last inning with some hard contact
- Maese clearly had some jitters, with two HBP and a walk in his first 4 batters. After that, he didn't issue any more free passes, though also no strikeouts. For the mot part, he was a weak contact machine, with the exception of the 3rd when three hard hits and two ground balls through holes were strung together. Retired 9 of last 10.
- Stop me if you've heard this before: another very good Jon Harris start where he was efficient, managed contact, but didn't miss many bats. I guess I don't understand why he hasn't moved up, it's pretty clear he can keep Midwest League hitters off balance.
- Andy Ravel finally missed some bats!
- TJ Zeuch had an up and down (essentially pro) debut. He got two easy 6-3 outs to start, then 3 hard extra base hits. Apparently his fastball was in the mid-90s in the first, though no specific readings were passed along. Easy 2nd, then two walks and two swinging strikeouts in the 3rd
- Zach Jackson also debuted and was sort of all over the place. When he was around the plate, the Boise batters cold hardly touch him (5 whiffs on 8 swings)
- Dalton Rodriguez was a ground ball machine. Had issues staying in the zone his last outing.
- Patrick Murphy had an uneven start, at times dominating, at times on the ropes and getting squared up. Fastball 92-94