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Late May/early June minor league notes: Reid-Foley, Rowley, Greene, Perdomo, more

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With the run-up to the MLB Draft, I've been remiss on the minor league side over the last week. Below are some of the more significant highlights from the past 10 past days down on the farm.

Sean Reid-Foley

  • It seems that every year like clockwork, Reid-Foley turns it on right around Memorial Day. In 2015, he struck out 10 over 5.2 one-hit innings on May 30th; in 2016 on May 31st he struck out 10 over 8 innings. This year was no different as he turned in his best start of the season on May 28th.
  • Over season highs of 6.2 innings and 102 pitches, Reid-Foley allowed 2 runs on 5 hits (one home run) and a walk while striking out 9. He piled up 16 whiffs on 52 swings (69% contact rate), but most encouraging was showing the high end fastball velocity that's been mostly lacking this year so far as he touched up to 96-97 on the stadium gun. On the other side, of the 15 balls in play, about 5 were hit really hard
  • He followed up with another quality outing yesterday, 6 shutout innings with 8 strikeouts and 5 hits allowed. Superficially, this looks even better, and indeed he piled up 17 swinging strikes on just 44 swings (61% contact) and didn't allow quite as much hard contact. But the electric velocity wasn't there, as he worked in the low-90s and topped out at 93.

Other New Hampshire starters

  • Jon Harris had a pair of mixed outings, allowing a combined 6 runs (5 ER) over 11 innings, with 11 hits (3 HR) and 6 walks against 12 strikeouts. The first outing started miserably, with the first 10 pitches going HR, HBP, BB, BB but Harris limited the damage and settled in, including a run of 5 straight strikeouts. He also touched 95-96 on the Reading gun.
  • Chris Rowley turned in another couple strong outings, going a combined 13 innings while allowing 2 runs on 10 hits with 2 walks against 13 strikeouts. The second outing was particularly impressive as he basically made one mistake, a solo home run but otherwise was dominant. The positive development is missing more bats, as Rowley achieved 29 swinging strikes on the two outings for a 67% contact rate.
  • Conner Greene turned in an excellent start, almost going the distance in a 7 inning game. He had to settle for 6.2 innings, allowing a two run shot to the last batter after a two out error extended the game. 14 of 18 balls in the play were kept on the ground, and though he battled his control early he was hitting 98-99 in the early going (down to the mid-90s later).

Angel Perdomo

After a run of messy starts, Perdomo finally got back on track and turned in a couple of quality starts. In Lakeland last weekend, he took a one hit shutout into the 6th innings, before things fell apart some. He settled for 1 run on 3 hits over 6 innings, with two free passes against 7 strikeouts. He was very good, but not overwhelming with 9 whiffs on 46 swings.

It was a similar story against Jupiter, as he took a no hitter into the 6th with a ton of weak contact generated before things got away from him after a bunt single, ground ball single, a sac bunt he threw away, and eventually another another error behind him. That resulted in 4 runs (3 ER) that sullied his overall line as he finished with 5 strikeouts and two walks. He was popping 93-94 early, settling in at 90-92 after the first inning or so. The one major drawback was not getting ahead of batters, though he missed a solid number of bats.

Other Dunedin starters

  • Ryan Borucki dominated in Lakeland, striking out a career high 10 with 18 swinging strikes (56% contact rate on 41 swings). He did allow one home run among the 5 hits and 2 walks he allowed. That was followed up by 5 solid innings with 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk against 5 strikeouts, but it was an atypical outing in that he allowed a lot of hard contact early before a run of strikeouts over his last couple innings. I'm guessing he gets the bump to AA before the end of the month, there's little left to prove at high-A.
  • Glenn Sparkman made his 2017 debut on June 1st, starting his 30 day rehab clock and meaning the Jays will have a decision to make by Canada Day day. His fastball was 93-94 early, falling to 91-92 in the latter of the 2nd onward, and slider around 84. It was a decent debut, as he went 3.1 innings allowing 3 hits, a walk and striking out 3. A couple errors behind him got him into a jam, and then he gave up harder contact late.
  • Jordan Romano turned in a pair of solid starts, a combined 11 innings allowing 6 runs (but just 2 earned) on 9 hits and 3 walks against 12 strikeouts.
  • TJ Zeuch pitched 6 innings in Lakeland two weekends ago (allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, 3 hits and 5 strikeouts) and hasn't pitched since. I thought he was being skipped to manage innings, as some other pitchers have been, but he was placed on the DL today, curiously retroactive only to June 3rd.

Patrick Murphy

Murphy continues to pitch really, really well. He went 7 shutout innings last weekend against Great Lakes, allowing just three hits and two walks. He only struck out one batters (and only had one swinging strike on 52 swings!), but perhaps most importantly pounded the strike zone with the exceptional of a couple brief stretches where he lost the zone. The other interesting point is that while he had a bunch of ground balls early, that shifted to almost exclusively balls in the air in the last four innings.

His other start was likewise successful, 6 innings in which he gave up just an unearned run, though 9 hits and a walk offset by 6 strikeouts. A handful of the hits were simply well placed, and overall the contact was reasonably managed. Murphy's fastball was a little firmer, in the mid-90s, and he got 10 swinging strikes on around 50 swings.

Other Lansing starters

  • Justin Maese started on Memorial Day, and though the overall line was pedestrian (6 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 4 walks, 5 strikeouts), he induced a lot of weak contact (12 ground balls and a popup on 17 balls in play). In addition to a home run, it was one of those days were a bunch of balls found holes. Maese did fall behind too many hitters, and lost the strike zone early. He went on the DL after that start, hopefully just another situation where a start is being skipped to manage innings.
  • Andy Ravel had a dominating start, striking out 9 strikeouts over 5 inning, with 14 swinging strikes in an uncharacteristic type outing. That was followed up with rough outing with 6 runs allowed in 5 innings.