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Weekend minor league notes: New Hampshire pitching rolls

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

The penultimate weekend of the 2017 season was a pretty good one across the affiliates, with the major disappointment being Patrick Murphy's Dunedin debut being washed out and pushed to tomorrow. That's means it'll occur at the Fire Frogs rather than at home, and there will be limited if any good info about his stuff compared to in Dunedin with the tracking system they have.

Starting in New Hampshire, they got three good starts this weekend, starting with Conner Greene on Friday. The looks just okay - 6.2 innings, 4 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks against just 3 strikeouts - but it was a pretty good outing, especially in the middle stages and before he ran out of steam in the 7th and gave up a solo shot as well as getted tagged for two runs he left on.

His fastball ranged from 93-98, and he got some swings and misses on both his curve and changeup. He didn't keep the ball on the ground as much as he usually does, at under 50% and 6 of the hits were hard, well squared up balls. But he threw strikes (70/104 pitches), and missed bats, piling up 14 swinging strikes on 53 swings (74% contact). Those are critical process elements he hasn't done enough of this year.

Ryan Borucki was even better on Saturday, turning in 7 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits while striking out 7 and not issuing any walks, though he hit 3 batters. Two of the hits were on the infield (one initially an error) and the other a ground ball through, as he really didn't up anything in the way of hard or well struck contact. 67% of contact was on the ground (10 of 15), though it was more a start where he firmly in control than overpowering or sheer dominance (9 swinging strikes on 43 swings, 79% contact).

Finally, Jon Harris turned in one of his better outings of 2017, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, with just a walks against 8 strikeouts. He managed contact very well, and even managed to miss bats with 13 striking strikes on 49 swings (73% contact rate). It could have been even better and perhaps even a longer outing, but for a couple of two out lapses. In the first, he gave up a double and run scoring single back to back.

The 6th inning was even more aggravating, as Harris struck out the first three batters on 9 pitches, which should have been an immaculate inning. But the last batter reached on a wild pitch. He got ahead of the 4th hitter and made a bid for a "super immaculate inning" (I don't think there's even been 4 strikeouts on 12 pitches), but gave up back to back singles to score the second run.

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Chris Rowley turned in a decent outing in his first outing back in AAA, working 7 innings and allowing 2 ER on 8 hitsw against a walk and 3 strikeouts. Unfortunately, it was the two unearned runs which he contributed to in his last inning that got him the "L". With two out, a single sent a runner on first to third, where Roemon Fields made a wild throw, though Rowley wasbacking it up. He tried to get the trailing runner at 2nd, and threw it into RF to score both runs.

After not making it out of the 2nd in his previous start, Yennsy Diaz rebounded with one of his better outings Saturday, going 7 innings. He did give up 4 runs on 7 hits, as he too run out of steam in his 7th inning and gave up a leadoff home run as part of a two spot. But he struck out 9 and only walked one, and throwing strikes is one of his bigger issues so that's no small feat.

He piled up 17 swinging strikes with his fastball/curve combination (at 65% contact rate on 49 swings). As usual, he gave up more balls in the air than on the ground, but actually had more ground balls in the second half of the outing after almost all balls in the air early. He's been one of the brighter spots for Lansing in the second half, a pleasant breakout in 2017.

There were some interesting relief outings. Jake Fishman struck out 7 batters over 2 innings, the first reaching on a wild pitch (that runner scoring). Zach Jackson did something similar, as he struck out 3 batters, one of whom reached but was then erased on a double play.

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Some quick non-pitching hits:

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr had a big night Saturday, going 3/4 and driving in 5 while finishing a triple shy of the cycle.
  • Reese McGuire, in addition to hitting the stuffing out of the ball since he came off the DL (.383/.431/.723 in 64 AA plate appearances), came up huge defensively this weekend. He threw out 3 of 4 runners attempting to steal Friday night, and another 1 of 2 Saturday in addition to picking off a runner at 1st.
  • Riley Adams hit a home run for Vancouver Saturday, running his line to .321/.388/.462. With Logan Warmoth slumping amidst a lot of swinging-and-missing and groundout, he's their leading hitter.
  • Kacy Clemens broke out of a downtrend yesterday, seemingly the only Vancouver hitter who showed up tot he park as he hit a home run for Vancouver's only run while adding two doubles.