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Early/mid-June minor league report: Bo Bichette is now hitting .400

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

With all the draft focus, I've once again been remiss on the minor league side. But the truth is, there hasn't been a whole lot going on until the last couple night with T.J. Zeuch, Justin Maese and Patrick Murphy all on the disabled list. I thought they might be phantom D.L. stints aimed at managing innings, but now that it's been multiple starts that's less likely the case. And then after catching last Friday Max Pentecost missed a couple games and hit the DL too. So that's great.

One guy who has been busy is Bo Bichette. Lansing had a double header last night, and here's how that went:

  • Started game one with a ground ball single the other way, pulled a line drive double to the gap, then pulled a ball right out of the park
  • Going for the cycle, fell behind 0-2 with two fouls, fouled off three more pitches in the midst of working the count full, then lined a breaking ball up the middle to finish 4/4
  • Started game two with a piddly infield single, lined a double to the opposite field gap to run the day's tally to 6 for 6 and his season average to .399 before having the temerity to strikeout.
  • Knocked a breaking ball the other way for a fliner single in his last at-bat to finish 7/8 and run season line to 88 hits in 220 at-bats, for a cool, even .400 batting average on the season

In non-Bichette goings on, Yennsy Diaz made his second full-season start and had one of the dominant outings he flashed last summer. Over 4.2 innings, he struck out 8 while allowing a run on 3 hits and 3 walks over 4.2 innings. He was sitting 94-95 on the South Bend gun, touching multiple 96s. He racked up 15 swinging strikes on 39 swings (62% contact rate).

The raw potential is very exciting, but the consistency isn't there and at his best he's still generally effectively wild at best. That was on display in his first start, when he struck out the side in the first, loaded the bases with none out in the 2nd and got out of it. He was pulled after that, finishing with 54 pitches, 4 strikeouts and 10 swinging strikes.

Speaking of fireballers, Conner Greene was up as high 98-99 MPH, sitting in the mid/upper-90s throughout his 6 innings in which he allowed 1 run on 5 hits. He walked four, three of which came in the 3rd when he lost the zone for a stretch. He managed contact well with over 50% ground balls and a couple pop-ups, but missed just 4 bats on 39 swings.

Ryan Borucki rebounded from one of his rougher starts of the year with 7 dominant shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts. Both pitchers were getting a pretty generous zone, but he piled up 17 whiffs on 44 swings (61%). Speaking of the rough earlier outing, the good news is the stuff was fine, in its normal velocity. Just not his night and he got shelled.

Glenn Sparkman tossed 5 shutout innings as he continues to ramp up, now halfway through his rehab period. He was really strong early with 4 strikeouts, before tailing off some though he finished with a run of weak contact and a strikeouts. He was able to miss bats, with 11 whiffs on 34 swings.

Jon Harris turned in an okay start, 2 runs over 6 innings with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts while working around 93-94 MPH. There was a lot of contact early, with about a half dozen hard hit balls over the first 4 innings. His last two innings were really weird: infield single-K-infield single-K-walk-K-walk-K with a caught stealing in each inning. He did get some swinging strikes (10).

Jordan Romano turned in a solid start last night in Dunedin's last game before the All-Star break, struggling early but working out of trouble before finding his groove later with 4 straight strikeouts. He allowed 2 runs over 5 innings, but uncharacteristically only piling up 6 swinging strikes on 37 swings.

His much better outing was his start last weekend, 9 strikeouts over 7 innings of 1 hit ball, albeit with hit by pitches. The first two batters reached but Romano set down the next 18 in a row before leading off the 7th with a hit batter. He was sitting mid-90s early, touching 96-97. Though again, not many missed bats in this one either, just 7 on 36 swings.

Those are some of the highlights of the past 10 days or so, I'm going to try to get back to more frequent updates as the short season gets underway (as it did for Vancouver last night, with a nice debut of 5 shutout innings for Juan Nunez who missed all of last year).