Padres lefthander Juan Oramas knows a thing or two about pitching at high altitude and in parks that favor hitters. After all, San Diego loaned him to the Mexican League last season, where he struck out 89 batters in 90 innings, while allowing just four home runs, in a swingman role for Mexico City.
Perhaps that experience prepared Oramas, 20, for life in the high Class A California League, where last night he came within two outs of pitching the third perfect game in the league's 69-year history. The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Lake Elsinore lefty completed 8 1/3 innings while striking out nine and allowing only the one hit. The Storm completed their three-game sweep of Lancaster, bolstering their Cal League-best record of 25-13.
“Through the first five, I was just kind of flying through—I felt good,” Oramas told the Southwest Riverside News Network through an interpreter. “I knew it was going to be a good day. I went out in the eighth and realized this could be a special day.”
The Padres signed Oramas out of Mexico in November 2006, but he's only now making his U.S. debut this season. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League, followed by another in the Mexican League, before breaking camp with low Class A Fort Wayne in April. Oramas stifled Midwest League batters in five relief appearances for the TinCaps, going three innings each time and finishing with 25 strikeouts and three walks in 15 innings of work.
Improbably, Oramas has pitched even better since joining the Lake Elsinore rotation. He's gone 2-0, 2.14 through four starts (his first in full-season ball) with 24 strikeouts, nine walks and no home runs allowed in 21 innings.
International League Delights
Monday was a grand day for Triple-A International League catchers. Columbus' Carlos Santana slammed two home runs and drove in all five of the Clippers' runs as part of a 2-for-2 night in which he also walked twice. Santana hit a grand slam in the fifth inning (a "towering" blast to right-center field) and a solo shot in the seventh, raising his season average to .333/.461/.626 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs through 123 at-bats. In his past five games, he's gone 7-for-15 (.467) with four homers, a double and nine RBIs. He leads the IL in walks (28) and on-base percentage.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Jesus Montero cannot match the shiny overall numbers of Santana, but we'll give him a pass seeing as he's four years younger and competing at the same Triple-A level. Last night, Montero nearly matched Santana's exploits. The Yankees' top prospect went 1-for-2 with a grand slam (an estimated 450-foot shot to left-center field) and two walks of his own. In the nine games since returning from his benching last week, he's gone 5-for-26 (.192) with a double, a triple, a home run and eight RBIs.
Triple-A Pitchers Turn The Corner
Fresno lefthander Madison Bumgarner got rocked for 11 runs on 21 hits in his first two Pacific Coast League starts. But after a seven-inning, complete-game shutout yesterday at Oklahoma City, the 20-year-old had quietly strung together a run of strong outings. In his past six starts, Bumgarner has gone 3-0, 1.54 while striking out 26, walking 11 and allowing just 22 hits (only one home run—back on April 19) in 35 innings. The 6-foot-4 lefty credits his recent success to two things: a newly-implemented cut fastball and a slight change in his mechanics. He told MiLB's Alex Raskin: "I was turning my upper body too much before. It's hard to even see on film, but as soon as I made the adjustment, my confidence came back and I've been getting outs and hitting the inside corner. The change in mechanics really helped everything."
Over in the International League, Indianapolis righthander Brad Lincoln struck out 10 Toledo batters in seven innings—though he did take the loss after allowing three runs on three hits. Too bad, because he carried a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings. After a recent stretch of quality starts, Lincoln, 24, seemed poised to lend a hand to the Pirates' beleaguered big league pitching staff, a collective that has allowed more runs than any club but the Diamondbacks. Toss out an ugly six-inning, six-run start on April 30 and Lincoln has gone 4-2, 2.25 in his last six starts. In those 40 innings he's allowed 29 hits (two home runs allowed) while striking out 32 and walking seven.
Adjusting To Life At Sea Level
He may not win another minor league batting title, and he probably won't take home league MVP honors again. But that doesn't mean that Mariners third-base prospect Alex Liddi hasn't enjoyed a productive season for Double-A West Tenn. The 21-year-old native of Italy snapped a mini funk yesterday, going 2-for-5, scoring two runs and connecting for a solo home run in a Diamond Jaxx victory. He had been 4-for-24 (.167) with eight strikeouts in his past seven games. Liddi now is batting .285/.340/.485 with four home runs in 130 at-bats, and while it may seem like a far cry from his .345/.411/.594 line from last season, remember that he's not in High Desert anymore.
Another West Tenn player who has continued to thrive even after a move back to sea level is left fielder Carlos Peguero. He still trails Mike Stanton for the Southern League lead for home runs and RBIs, but there's no shame in Peguero's early performance: .333/.420/.638 with 12 home runs and 28 RBIs through 141 at-bats. He hit No. 12 yesterday, as part of a 3-for-5 day, though his longball pace had cooled considerably after a hot start. Peguero has hit three home runs in 17 games since April 28, when he connected for three in one game. Perhaps the best news for his development was that his 17-to-39 walk-to-strikeout ratio (.44) was by far a career best. Peguero set the previous standard (.27) back in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2006.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog