Low Class A Lakewood's lineup was already loaded with young talent, populated by prospects like Sebastian Valle, Domingo Santana and Jiwan James. Well, add 18-year-old first baseman Jonathan Singleton to the list. An eighth-round pick last year from a California high school, Singleton was called up to Lakewood from extended spring training two weeks ago and has done nothing but hit since joining the BlueClaws. Singleton boasts plus bat speed and an advanced feel for hitting for his age and has shown those assets off in starting out with a .442/.519/.773 line through 44 at-bats. He's already homered four times, with the latest coming last night as part of a 4-for-4 effort against Hagerstown. He's also drawn nine walks already in 13 games and is riding a 10-game hitting streak.
"For 18 years old he sees the ball way beyond those years,'' Lakewood hitting coach Greg Legg told the Asbury Park Press. "You've probably seen him already laying off changeups. He doesn't waste at-bats. I'm not tinkering with him.
"He's one of those guys that when they come to bat you're not going to go get a popcorn. You're going to stay and wait and say, "Hey, let me watch and see what he does.' Hopefully he keeps that focus for a long period of time and we get to see him some day over there at Citizens Bank Park."
Delgado's Tough Luck
Braves righthander Randall Delgado struck out a season-high 12 hitters for high Class A Myrtle Beach last night, but it wasn't enough. Delgado gave up an RBI double to Lynchburg DH Neftali Soto in the top of the first inning, but he settled in from there. He didn't allow another hit until the fifth and finished his evening after seven innings having given up just the one run on five hits with no walks and the 12 punch outs. Normally, a 1-0 deficit in the first wouldn't be a big deal, but it is for the Pelicans, the Carolina League's lowest scoring team. Lynchburg lefty Matt Fairel tossed seven shutout innings of his own, and the 1-0 lead stood up as the Pelicans were shutout on three hits.
Delgado took the loss, dropping his record to 2-4 even though he's allowed three runs or less in eight of his 10 starts. The 20-year-old was still able to lower his ERA to 2.43, fourth best in the CL, in 59 innings and took over the league's strikeout lead with 68. Over his last two starts, Delgado has tossed 14 innings and given up just one run on eight hits, with 17 strikeouts and one walk. He hasn't issued more than two unintentional walks in any start all year.
Arrieta Clips Red Wings
Orioles righthander Jake Arrieta wasn't as sharp last night as he was in his previous start, when he fanned 10 over seven shutout innings, but the outcome was just as good. The 24-year-old with Triple-A Norfolk went seven innings against Rochester last night and gave up seven hits and two walks, but he was still able to limit the Red Wings to one run and strike out six. His 112 pitches on the evening were a season-high. Arrieta picked up his fifth win to improve to 5-2 with a International League-best 1.86 ERA in 63 innings.
Arrieta got a boost from 27-year-old outfielder Danny Figueroa, who was called up to Triple-A for the first time in his career earlier in the day yesterday and then proceeded to hit a two-run home run for his first career Triple-A hit (and just the sixth homer of his career). That was all the offense the Arrieta and the Tides needed, winning 2-1.
Naylor Coming On
Phillies righthander Drew Naylor fell off the prospect radar a bit after going 8-11, 4.22 for high Class A Clearwater last year, certainly not an encouraging sign considering the pitcher-friendly environments of the Florida State League. The Phillies moved the 23-year-old Australian up to Double-A Reading this year and Naylor stumbled out of the gates, going 1-3, 5.56 in his first four starts. He's turned it around lately though, going 3-1, 2.34 in his last five outings, culminating with a complete-game shutout of Portland last night. Naylor allowed three hits (all singles), one walk and struck out six. Most impressively, he finished the night retiring the last 16 hitters he faced.
"All my pitches were working," Naylor told the Reading Eagle. "I threw a lot of fastballs. The curveball didn't feel as good as I wanted it to, but it got better as the game went on. My changeup was one of my best pitches; it kept the hitters off-balance. I was throwing it for strikes, so they kept swinging at it. That pitch helped me out a lot."
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