• Triple-A Pawtucket center fielder Josh Reddick launched two solo home runs in a Red Sox loss to Buffalo yesterday, hitting both shots against righthander Dillon Gee. Though Reddick, 23, generally has been undermined by an impatient approach this season, he's been trending up in 36 games since July 7, batting .331/.367/.561 with six homers, 12 doubles and an 8-to-19 walk-to-strikeout ratio over those 139 at-bats. That probably will be enough to earn a September callup to Boston, where Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava and now rookie Ryan Kalish have made the most of unexpected playing time. (Reddick hit .160 in an 11-game trial this season.) For the season, Reddick is batting .250/.292/.430 with 13 homers and 23 doubles in 388 at-bats.
• Though he only occasionally touches 90 mph, Buffalo righty Dillon Gee leads the Triple-A International League with 150 strikeouts. He gets in trouble when he elevates the ball (league-leading 22 home runs allowed, 4.87 ERA), but he mixes a fringy sinker, change and slider so well that he's been able to amass 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings over 152 frames. To be fair, Gee paces the IL in whiffs only because Jeremy Hellickson and Daniel Hudson received big league callups. Adding their big league strikeouts to their IL totals results in 148 for Hellickson and 158 for Hudson. The 24-year-old Gee notched his 13th win of the season yesterday, allowing four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings to Pawtucket. He struck out six and walked two.
• Oklahoma City lefty Michael Kirkman, the Pacific Coast League leader with 130 strikeouts in 131 innings, made his big league debut Saturday by throwing 1 1/3 scoreless, no-hit relief innings against the Orioles. The 23-year-old struck out three of the four batters he faced, two of them righthanded batters. With an above-average fastball and breaking ball, Kirkman has a future in Arlington, possibly as a high-leverage reliever to complement righthanders Neftali Feliz and Tanner Scheppers. Triple-A lefthanded batters managed to hit just .213/.266/.244 with 43 strikeouts in 160 at-bats against Kirkman. He allowed no home runs to same-siders and just four extra-base hits and 12 walks.
Youngest Pitchers In Triple-A
• Jumping straight from low Class A to Double-A did not slow down Astros righthander Jordan Lyles. The 19-year-old went 7-9, 3.12 with a 3.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for Corpus Christi this season, fanning 115 in 127 innings. Houston responded by promoting Lyles to Triple-A, where he became the PCL's youngest pitcher, an honor held earlier this season by Madison Bumgarner. Roughed up for nine runs on 19 hits in his first two starts for Round Rock (7.59 ERA), Lyles limited Oklahoma City to two runs over six innings in his most recent start on Saturday. Despite the positive result, he might be running out of gas. Lyles didn't strike out any of the 23 RedHawks batters he faced, though he walked only one and hit another with a pitch.
• The distinction of youngest pitcher in the IL is not so clear cut. The Twins' Deolis Guerra pitched in the league but got touched for a 6.84 ERA and nearly two home runs per nine innings, which earned him a demotion to Double-A. The Tigers farmed out Rick Porcello to get him right, and while he made four starts, he's no longer prospect eligible. Not even close. The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg and the White Sox's Chris Sale landed in the IL briefly as they shot to the big leagues, but neither was expected to stay long.
For those reasons, I'm going to designate 22-year-old Norfolk lefty Zach Britton as the youngest pitcher in the IL. The Orioles ’06 third-round pick graduated from Double-A Bowie after a strong first half that included 7.0 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings. On his way to Norfolk, Britton dazzled spectators at the Futures Game, showing a firm low-90s sinker and a hard slider in a one-inning stint. Since joining the IL on July 1, Britton leads all pitchers with his 1.31 groundout-to-flyout ratio [Edit: Actually, that's his WHIP. Britton's G/F ratio is actually 2.27. ME], while going 2-3, 3.08 and striking out 39 and walking 18 over 49 2/3 inning. He's allowed only one home run in nine starts, ironically enough in Norfolk's spacious Harbor Park. Deepening the irony, he surrendered the shot to lefty-hitting Brandon Moss.
Youngest Batters In Triple-A
• Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas hit his first Triple-A home run for Omaha on July 20. In 35 games since then, he's batted .301/.320/.510 with seven bombs, nine doubles and 23 RBIs over 143 at-bats. Of course, he also sports a 5-to-16 walk-to-strikeout mark, indicating that he's not quite big league ready. But as the youngest position player in the PCL at 21, that's understandable. Interestingly, one of Moustakas' Triple-A walks was intentional, as was the case for nine of his 26 free passes for Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
• Gwinnett first baseman Freddie Freeman leads the IL with 244 total bases, which is all the more impressive when you consider he doesn't turn 21 for nearly three weeks. He hit well in the first half, but the Braves ’07 second-round pick has gone supersonic since the Triple-A all-star break, batting .370/.434/.609 with seven home runs and 12 doubles in 138 at-bats.
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