A pair of Yankees prospects had big days, Jake McGee has a reason to hate bus trips and Shane Robinson just keeps on hitting.
Prospect Of The Day
Heading into last Friday’s game, Austin Jackson (Yankees) had seven RBIs for the entire season, a pretty pathetic amount, even if he’s batting second in the Trenton order. He’s fixed that problem. Less than a week after a four RBI night, Jackson tripled, homered and drove in seven for the Thunder. Jackson had struck out in his first two at-bats during yesterday’s day game, but he made up for that with a grand slam in the fourth inning. He later added a three-run triple.
When Jose Tabata (Yankees) injured his hamate bone last year, the thought was that it might take a while for his power to return. It definitely has, as Tabata finally hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday. It raised his slugging percentage to .294 . . . When Oswaldo Sosa (Twins) was dominating the Florida State League last year, there were still some concerns that his 88-90 mph fastball/cut fastball aresnal would have more trouble against more advanced hitters. That’s definitely been true this year, as Sosa has been rocked to the tune of a .300 opponents batting average this year. But he did respond with one of his best starts of the season on Wednesday, holding Harrisburg to two hits and one run in six innings, lowering his ERA to 6.37 . . . Jordan Zimmerman (Nationals) has flown through the Nationals system. The 2007 second-round pick is having nearly as much success in Harrisburg as he did with high Class A Potomac. Zimmerman allowed one run in four innings, lowering his ERA in three starts with Harrisburg to 2.76. Even more impressively, he has a .217 opponents batting average and a 16-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 innings . . . It’s been an up-and-down year for Jon Niese (Mets). The 21-year-old righthander has been very good at times, allowing one run or less in seven starts. And he’s also been pretty bad as control difficulties have kept him from working into the sixth in six of his 10 outings. He was good and bad on Wednesday–he allowed only one run and four hits against Connecticut, but he continued to struggle with his control, walking four in 5 2/3 innings. He’s now walked 21 in 48 2/3 innings . . . Travis Snider (Blue Jays) hit his fifth home run in 27 games since being promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. Snider’s averages are still ugly (.206/.336/.381), but he is hiting .246/.363/.508 since May began . . . When the Pirates signed Yoslan Herrera before the 2007 season, there was some speculation that the Cuban defector could help out the Pirates very quickly. Instead, he’s adding weight to the theory that many Cuban defectors are overrated. Herrera, making his 34th start as an Altoona Curve, allowed five hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings. Herrera has actually been OK this year–3-4, 3.25, but his 27 strikeouts in 44 innings are a reminder that he seems to have left some of his fastball back in Cuba.
What To Look For Today
J.D. Durbin will try to turn around his lost season. Last year, Durbin won six games for Philadelphia. Now he’s back in Double-A, demoted after going 0-5, 9.42 with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’ll make his first start for Reading against Trenton.
Prospect Of The Day
Sometimes its the little things that don’t really get noticed that can affect a season. Montgomery’s Jake McGee (Rays) entered the season as the Biscuits No. 1 starter, but that honor came with a price. Because of the quirks of the Southern League schedule, teams play five games against an opponent before moving on, which meant that McGee was always the Biscuit starter for the first game of every road trip. So McGee would step off the bus, try to get loose, start, then repeat the process five days later. He made three starts like that in April and one more in May, going 2-1, 4.91 in those four outings.
At home, where he doesn’t have to worry about unfolding himself from an uncomfortable bus ride, he’s been much better, going 2-1, 2.76, including a dominant start on Wednesday night as he struck out nine in seven scoreless innings while touching 97 mph. He started things off with an 11-pitch, 11-strike first inning.
"Everything went right where I wanted it," McGee told the Montgomery Advertiser. "I knew it was going to be a good night, and they were swinging through almost every pitch."
The bad news for McGee is that the Biscuits will hit the road again next Monday with a trip to Chattanooga, and once again, McGee will be the series-opening starter.
Cameron Maybin (Marlins) isn’t making much of an argument for a big league call-up. The 22-year-old outfielder went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Jacksonville, lowering his overall numbers to .239/.363/.403. Maybin has now struck out 61 times in 42 games . . . Maybin’s teammate Chris Coghlan is having no such problems. Coghlan doubled, stole his 14th base and scored two runs in Carolina’s win. The second baseman has shown he knows how to get on-base–he’s now hitting .309/.390/.448 . . . Sam Fuld (Cubs) hasn’t enjoyed his demotion to Tennessee–on Wednesday he finally got his first hit. In 22 at-bats he’s hitting .045/.045/.045 . . . Tyler Colvin (Cubs) had the weird line of the night–0-for-1 with three walks. What’s weird about it is that Colvin has not been a guy who likes to walk to first, although that might be changing. Colvin walked only 15 times in 502 at-bats last year. He now has nine walks in his last 34 at-bats, and six in his last 10 . . . Rafael Soriano threw a scoreless inning in a rehab assignement with the Mississippi Braves . . . It’s not easy to get noticed if you’re Chris Errecart. The Brewers first-base prospect usually gets nudged out of the spotlight by the hitting of teammates Mat Gamel and Matt LaPorta, but Errecart is having a fine season in his own right. The California Bear went 3-for-5 with two doubles on Wednesday, rasing his overall numbers to .302/.389/.535 . . . Michael Saunders (Mariners) hit his fifth home runs and stole his ninth bag of the season.
What To Look For
Clayton Kershaw will face Chris Volstad in Zebulon, N.C., in one of the best pitching matchups of the night.
Prospect Of The Day
You may question his glove, but it’s hard to question Max Ramirez‘s bat. The Rangers prospect hit his 10th home run of the season, his second in two nights, as part of a 4-for-5 night. Ramirez raised his average to .391/.460/.689. It is the Texas League, but Ramirez is pillaging righties (.382/.449/.676), lefties (.467/.556/.800), at home (.394/.468/.773) and on the road (.388/.454/.624). With the Rangers having holes at both designated hitter and first base, it would be a surprise if Chris Davis and Ramirez don’t end up getting cups of coffee before the season ends.
Thomas Diamond (Rangers) made his 2008 debut for Frisco. It didn’t go well, as he allowed six runs on four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Diamond missed all of 2007 after having Tommy John surgery. Another Tommy John survivor had an even uglier 2008 debut. In his first start since surgery last May, Thomas Fairchild (Astros) allowed eight runs in one innings, which gives him an ugly 72.00 ERA to carry around for the next five days . . . Chris Johnson played some shortstop for low Class A Lexington last year, which would seem to demonstrate that he has enough glove to stick at third base. Right now it’s a struggle. Johnson had two hits Wednesday, raising his average to .319/.361/.452, but he also had his 16th error. His .852 fielding percentage is the worst among regular third baseman, as Johnson is still trying to tame his strong throwing arm . . . Shane Robinson (Cardinals) sure can hit. He raised his average to .409/.448/.583. There are plenty of concerns about how Robinson’s lack of size, but Robinson has handled everything the Texas League can throw at him . . . Daniel Cortes‘ (Royals) season has been hindered by a quad injury that sidelined him for nearly a month. And it explains why he hasn’t gone more than five innings in any of his five starts, but he’s been pretty sensational in small bites. Cortes allowed three hits and one run in five innings, lowering his ERA to 1.96.
What To Look For Today
After blitzing the California League, Henry Rodriguez (Athletics) has been shelled in the Texas League. He’ll try to improve on his 1-4, 7.66 record when he faces Northwest Arkansas.
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