One of the key planks in Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s plan to rebuild the hapless franchise is rebuilding the team’s pitching depth. While top prospects like Luke Hochevar and Tyler Lumsden have struggled, the Royals are getting outstanding seasons from a couple of lesser known lower-level prospects. On Tuesday Daniel Cortes and Matt Mitchell dominated once again.
In his second start since being promoted to Triple-A, Louisville lefthander Matt Maloney struck out 10 batters in five innings to pick up his first Triple-A win. He did give up four runs thanks in part to three walks. Maloney’s season got a kick start from his trade to the Reds from the Phillies in the Kyle Lohse deal. After striking out 8.2 batters per nine innings before the trade, he’s fanning 13.1 batters per nine since.
Mike Pelfrey only worked 2 2/3 hitless innings before being lifted on Tuesday. The Zephrys reported that he was lifted because of a pitch count issue, but considering that he threw 43 pitches it seems like it was a case of the Mets keeping their options open: Pelfrey’s name has been floated as a possible big league promotion to fill a rotation spot on Saturday.
Nate Schierholtz added to his impressive season with a triple and a home run for Fresno. Schierholtz is slugging .558 for the Grizzlies. Salt Lake clinched its division despite the loss thanks to Colorado Springs’ loss.
Joe Mather was one of the surprises of the first half of the season, but he couldn’t carry it over after his promotion to Triple-A Memphis. That’s changed recently. Mather has hit six home runs this month, raising his slugging percentage for Memphis to .476 and giving him 31 for the year (13 at Triple-A). He homered in Memphis 8-2 loss to Iowa on Tuesday.
Chris Davis was destroying the California League before his promotion, but there was the caveat that it was the California League. So all Davis has done is step up his power hitting since being promoted to Double-A Frisco. Davis hit 12th home run for Frisco and his 36th home run overall on Tuesday. He’s slugging .766 in 26 games since his promotion.
While the Yankees were beating the Red Sox in the big leagues, the Yankees’ Double-A Trenton affiliate was doing the same thing to Boston’s Double-A Portland affiliate. Jeff Marquez easily outdueled Michael Bowden in the Thunder’s 7-3 win. Portland’s Felix Diaz pitched a shutout in the nightcap for a split.
Adam Mills, Erie’s 40-year-old closer/mentor, has been reliable this season, but he was not up to the task on Tuesday. Mills gave up four runs in the ninth to fall to Harrisburg 5-4. Jeff Larish hit his 26th home run for Erie. It was Mills’ first blown save after recording saves in 23 straight opportunities.
Gaby Hernandez has great stuff and the ability to dominate hitters when he’s on. But he has yet to develop the consistency teams look for in a major league starter. That was in full evidence last night as he turned in one of the worst outings you’ll see anywhere this month. The damage: eight hits, one walk and nine runs in only 2/3 of an inning. Chris Mason picked up his 15th win for Montgomery with five solid innings.
Colby Rasmus continues to finish strong. The Cardinals’ center fielder hit his 28th home run of the season and his third in three games as Springfield beat Wichita 5-4.
High Class A
Daniel Cortes is throwing up zeroes in start after start. Cortes held Salem scoreless in a 5-2 Wilmington win. The Royals prospect hasn’t allowed an earned run in four of his past five starts.
Craig Cooper hit two home runs, added a triple and drove in seven and Jose Lobaton added two more home runs as Lake Elsinore beat Visalia.
Low Class A
On the day he was named the Midwest League MVP, Gorkys Hernandez tripled and stole his 53rd bag as West Michigan swept a doubleheader against Fort Wayne.
Jonel Pacheco tripled and homered for Hickory and Anthony Watson combined with two relievers to shut out Asheville. Pacheco is hitting .379 with eight home runs this month.
Travis Snider and Brian Pettway homered for Lansing while Juan Francisco and Drew Stubbs homered for Dayton in Lansing’s 10-5 win.
Matt LaPorta has simply destroyed South Atlantic League pitching since his promotion. LaPorta went 3-for-5 with his seventh home run in 18 games for West Virginia. LaPorta is now hitting .333/.415/.739 for the Power. Jeremy Jeffress allowed one hit in five innings while striking out eight to pick up the win.
Carlos Ladeuth carried a no-hitter into the seventh as Tri-City beat Vermont.
Hudson Valley was completely stymied by Brooklyn’s Nick Waechter. The Renegades got only one hit as Waechter threw his first complete-game shutout.
Justin Byler homered for a second consecutive day as State College beat Batavia.
Joe Savery picked up his first pro win with five solid innings against Jamestown. Savery, who will pitch in the Arizona Fall League next month, allowed one run and four hits in five innings.
Greg Hallman hit two more home runs and came a triple short of the cycle for Everett. The outfielder is tied with Ian Gac for the Northwest League lead. Gac got two new teammates as the Rangers called up teenagers Engel Beltre (acquired from the Red Sox in the Eric Gagne trade) and Cristian Santana from the Rookie-level Arizona League.
Jesus Montero hit his fourth home run for the GCL Yankees as they beat the Twins 6-4.
Cody Johnson doubled and tripled for Danville. Johnson is hitting .358/.426/.705 in August. Jason Heyward doubled in his third game since being promoted from the GCL Braves.
Anthony Seratelli doubled in Devery Van De Keere in the 15th inning as Idaho Falls beat Orem in a marathon game.
Matt Mitchell keeps piling up the strikeouts. Mitchell struck out seven while holding the AZL Brewers to one hit in four innings. Mitchell, a 14thh-round pick from a Barstow, Calif., high school, now has 72 strikeouts in 55 innings for the AZL Royals.
It was another rough day for Cubs first-rounder Josh Vitters. The third baseman went 0-for-5, dropping his batting average to .067, and he also committed two errors. But the Cubs’ second draft pick, supplemental first-rounder Josh Donaldson out of Auburn, is off to a much better start at Boise, going 3-for-3 with a home run (his eighth) and double to improve his average to .336.
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