Brewers lefthander Zach Braddock was placed on the disabled list with minor shoulder tendinitis on Friday, putting a hold on what has otherwise been an outstanding season at low Class A West Virginia.
A 2005 18th-round pick out of a New Jersey high school, Braddock went 3-1, 1.30 with 59 strikeouts in 42 innings for the Power. The 19-year-old lefty already had two double-digit strikeout performances to his credit, including his last outing when he whiffed 11 over seven innings in a win against Asheville.
With Braddock on the shelf, the Brewers activated 2006 first-round pick Jeremy Jeffress at West Virginia. Jeffress, who went 16th overall in the draft last year, ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Rookie-level Arizona League where he went 2-5, 5.88 with 37 strikeouts in 34 innings.
HIGHS: There were two excellent pitching matchups across the minors on Friday, one of which took place in Rochester as Twins righthander Kevin Slowey met up with Rays 6-foot-9 righthander Jeff Niemann. Both pitched well, but Slowey emerged the victor in the Red Wingsâ€™ 3-0 win. Slowey scattered seven hits over eight shutout innings, struck out seven and did not allow a walk in the victory. Niemann allowed three runs on six hits and struck out seven over six innings of work . . . Triple-A has been fun for Giants outfielder Brian Horwitz since he was called up earlier in the week. Horwitz went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles in Fresnoâ€™s 6-1 win against Salt Lake. Signed as a nondrafted free agent in 2004, the 24-year-old batted .309/.371/.390 in 136 at-bats at Double-A Connecticut this season . . . Reds first baseman Joey Votto continues to heat up at Louisville. The 2002 second-round pick went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs in the Batsâ€™ 10-1 win against Buffalo to improve his overall numbers to .319/.426/.503 and is currently riding a 17-game hit streakâ€”collecting two hits or more in 12 of those 17 games.
LOWS: Only one low at this level, but itâ€™s low enough to stand alone. Blue Jays righthander Josh Banks lasted just one inning in Syracuseâ€™s 10-4 loss to Pawtucket, allowing 10 runsâ€”all earnedâ€”on 11 hits. The 2003 second-round pick saw his ERA jump nearly two full points after that brief outing . . . to 5.47. [...] Continue Reading »
The commissionerâ€™s office suspended Braves minor league second baseman Brandon Monk for 50 games for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance in violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. His suspension will take effect tonight.
The product of La Grange (Ala.) High was drafted by the Braves in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. Monk was batting .174/.216/.232 with four doubles in 69 at-bats for low Class A Rome this season.
New Orleans was supposed to feature perhaps the minor leagues’ most talented collection of young outfielders, but because of injuries and big league service time, the configuration never came together.
Carlos Gomez and Ben Johnson patrolled the Zephyrs’ outfield on Opening Day, but Lastings Milledge was with the Mets. Milledge was optioned to New Orleans during the second week of April, but by that time Johnson was on the disabled list. When Johnson returned from injury, Gomez was in the bigs and Milledge was on the shelf.
The same turnover had not affected the Zephyrs’ rotation, as an equally young pitching staff had kept the club in contention. Though Zephyr Field has traditionally played as a pitchers’ haven, New Orleans hurlers had surrendered the second-highest total of home runs in the Pacific Coast League to date. And it hasn’t been a statistical fluke. [...] Continue Reading »
The Brewers fast start has them six games up on the No. 2 Cubs in the National League Central race. But a 3-7 stretch in which the young offensive core has managed just 3.5 runs per game (after averaging five per game previously) has prompted the Brewers to dip into their minor league system.
Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, J.J. Hardy, Bill Hall and Co. get a new partner in crime: third baseman Ryan Braun, who had been terrorizing the Pacific Coast League from day one of the season. Braun, 23, leaves the Triple-A Nashville Sounds with .342/.418/.701 numbers in 117 at-bats. His 10 homers and 12 doubles are the biggest reason he towers above the PCL in slugging percentage. Braun’s closest competitor, Sacramento’s Hiram Bocachica, was at .628.
With just three errors in 34 Triple-A games, Braun’s defense has come a long way from 2006, when he committed 31 errors in 118 games. It’s even come a long way from where it was in spring training, where Braun had four errors in seven games.
ZEBULON, N.C.–We’ll have more from White Sox lefthander Gio Gonzalez soon, but we felt like his Thursday outing had to me immediately addressed.
The 2004 first-round supplemental pick struck out 12–one shy of his career-high in Double-A Birmingham’s 2-1, 11-inning loss to Carolina. Gonzalez allowed a run on three hits over six innings of work.
His fastball ranged between 91-94 mph, with his trademark video game hammer curve and average changeup. But the highlight, at least for us, wasn’t when Gonzalez struck out the side (third baseman Lee Mitchell, first baseman Grant Psomas and catcher Brett Hayes) in the fourth. [...] Continue Reading »
Ryan Braun didn’t get a hit on Thursday night, but he probably won’t remember that part of the day at all after finding out that he’s headed to Milwaukee. The Brewers decided that they could wait no longer to promote Braun to fix the team’s absolute lack of production at third base. Of course, the Brewers’ problems could be worse–even with the Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino’s struggles at third, Milwaukee still has the second-best record in the National League.
Veteran second baseman Nick Green hit two home runs including a grand slam as Indianapolis beat up on Scranton/Wilkes Barre starter Steven Jackson.
Joey Votto’s is an International League pitcher’s worst nightmare right now. Votto extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a 3-for-5 night that included a home run. Votto is hitting .425/.500/.650 in May, thanks in large part to his decision to get contact lenses around the start of May. Before that he was unaware that he had an astigmatism in his right eye. [...] Continue Reading »
This weekâ€™s installment considers all transactions reported between May 12-18.
Last weekâ€™s transactions available here.
Released: RHP Lorenzo Church, OF Jon Zeringue
Selected to major league roster: SS Mark Reynolds
Outrighted off 40-man roster: RHP Casey Daigle
Reinstated from disabled list: SS Octavio Ojeda
Designated for assignment: RHP Casey Daigle
The cases of Zeringue and Reynolds, both 2004 picks out of college, highlight how unpredictable the draft can be. Arizona parted ways with Zeringue just three years after making him their second-round pick out of Louisiana State. Double-A Mobile needed his roster spot for Justin Upton, who was recently promoted from high Class A. Zeringue, 24, was hitting a miserable .143/.233/.270 in 63 at-bats, and had batted .263/.310/.401 in 1,027 at-bats entering the season. Reynolds, on the other hand, has been offensive machine from the moment he first tried on his Yakima Bears uniform in 2004. And he had done it, up until this season, without having a set position. The 23-year-old Reynolds, a 16th-round pick from Virginia in 2004, settled in at third base for Mobile, hitting .306/.394/.537 before getting called up. Arizona selected Daigle with the 31st overall pick of the 1999 draft, which, along with his 6-foot-5 height, helps explain how he remained on the 40-man roster despite not getting more than a cursory big league look since May 2004. Coming into the season, he’d gone 47-55, 4.67 with 512-270 strikeouts-walks in 802 minor league innings. [...] Continue Reading »
Justin Upton homered again. Roger Clemens‘ appearance in Trenton drew 75 media members and Luke Hochevar continued to struggle in Wednesday’s action.
Mike Pelfrey struck out four while allowing one run in six innings for New Orleans.
Hong-Chih Kuo and Eric Stultz combined on a five-hit shutout as Las Vegas beat Tacoma. Kuo, sent down when Tony Abreu was promoted to the big leagues, threw four solid innings, then handed the ball to Stultz, who had been a starter until Kuo’s arrival. Stultz responded with five one hit innings for his best outing of the season. [...] Continue Reading »
It was another typical night in Lancaster last night as the JetHawks beat Inland Empire 16-8 in a game that would be called a slugfest anywhere else, but is just another normal night at Clear Channel Stadium.
We can call last night’s game typical because the average Lancaster home game involves more than 17.6 runs, nearly double the minor league average of 9.2 runs per game. If the winds die down in Lancaster there is a chance that those numbers will moderate some over the rest of the year, but right now, Clear Channel Stadium makes Coors Field in its worst years look almost tame. In 1996 at the height of Coors Field’s hitter boosting powers, the average Rockies home game saw 15 runs scored. [...] Continue Reading »
GREENSBORO, N.C.–Rockies righthander Josh Sullivan hadnâ€™t pitched in nearly a month, but looked just fine in his first May start in low Class A Ashevilleâ€™s 3-0 shutout at Greensboro on Wednesday.
Sullivan, a 2005 fifth-round pick out of Auburn who hadnâ€™t taken the mound since April 27, threw 54 pitches and topped out at 93 mph over his 3 1/3 inning outing.
The 22-year-old righthanderâ€™s delivery reminded several scouts in attendance of Astrosâ€™ righthander Matt Albersâ€”with loose windmill-like mechanics, reaching down to increase torque before reaching his release point. [...] Continue Reading »
For as much as everyone else in the Double-A Mississippi lineup has been hitting, Van Pope falls into the ‘One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other’ category.
The 2004 fifth-round pick is hitting just .148/.204/.254 in 142 at-bats for the M-Braves.
“He shows signs of settling in, signs of coming around,” Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman said. “He’s very aggressive when he’s in the box and sometimes he just goes outside the zone too much.” [...] Continue Reading »
The Red Sox knew when they drafted outfielder Jason Place that he was far from a finished product.
The raw, toolsy 19-year-old has struggled to string together consistent at-bats in his first full season at low Class A Greenville this year, hitting .212 with 53 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.
Often compared to Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur because of his aggressive approach and huge raw power, Place has shown that kind of power in the South Atlantic League with four homers and eight doubles so far.
But Francoeur whiffed just 68 times for the entire 2003 in the Sally League, and Place’s strikeouts remain an emphasis of major concern. [...] Continue Reading »
Steven Wright recorded 10 strikeouts in 12 outs, but lost. Heath Rollins saw his 42-inning streak of not allowing an earned run end, while the minors strikeout leader, Yovani Gallardo, and ERA leader, Henry Sosa, both pitched effectively.
Homer Bailey returned from a brief stint on the disabled list with a very effective 5 2/3 inning outing. Bailey allowed only one unearned run (thanks to his two errors), while striking out seven. Bailey also had a two RBI single. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Bailey’s fastball was sitting in the low 90s. His command still wasn’t outstanding–he threw 57 strikes in 92 pitches, but he seemed to be effectively wild with his secondary pitches. [...] Continue Reading »
Orioles fans have been on high alert on the Bill Rowell scene this season.
Rowell, who has been in the O’s extended spring camp in Sarasota, Fla., battling an oblique strain since the minor league season began, flew into Maryland Tuesday night and has already been added to the Shorebirds’ roster. The 6-foot-5 third baseman is expected to be in low Class A Delmarva’s lineup Wednesday.
Baltimore’s first-round pick last year batted .328/.415/.503 in 195 at-bats between Rookie-level Bluefield and short-season Abderdeen last season after signing for $2.1 million.
Aaron Bates popped his head into Chad Epperson’s office less than 12 hours after high Class A Lancaster had suffered its worst loss in franchise history and had a simple message for the JetHawks manager: “We’re going to get them today.”
Bates carried through on his promise almost single-handedly.
The Lancaster first baseman set a California League record by homering four times in a 14-12 victory over Lake Elsinore on Saturday.
“I’ve never seen a minor league curtain call,” Epperson said, which is exactly what Bates took after his fourth blast in the eighth inning. “This guy could go on and have a 10-year career in major league baseball, make numerous all-star teams and never have a night like that again. This young man prepares the right away, loves to play, loves to hit and it’s nice to see him come through.” [...] Continue Reading »
Brett Smith is on a pretty impressive roll for Trenton, while Jake Fox just keeps on hitting.
Who would have thought that Joe Koshansky would turn into a high-average, low power hitter in Colorado Springs? Koshansky doubled for only his 10th extra base hit of the season on Monday, but he’s hitting .317 with a .393 on-base percentage. Ian Stewart was the star of the game for the Sky Sox as he tripled, doubled and started the game-ending double play. [...] Continue Reading »
Red Sox righthander Daniel Bard has been in extended spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., working on his delivery and secondary pitches before heading out to a full-season club again.
The Sox have targeted his return date as sometime prior to June 1, but as of right now Bard’s destination is uncertain. [...] Continue Reading »
Jay Bruce and Darren Ford have been punishing pitchers this week, but nothing compares to the wild Lancaster-Lake Elsinore series this weekend.
Baseball America Dodgers correspondent Tony Jackson reports on a fight between Dodgers prospects Matt Kemp and Delwyn Young that occurred before Thursday night’s game at Portland.
Both Triple-A Las Vegas players were apparently suspended one game each for the altercation. This isn’t the first time Kemp has been involved in such a situation, as he got into it last May while at Double-A Jacksonville in a game at Birmingham, where then-Barons manager Chris Cron pulled his team from the field after the seventh inning.
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