AA Dish: Volstad, Now With K’s

Chris Volstad is adding more strikeouts to his outings, Chris Tillman had arguably his best outing of the 2008 season and P.J. Walters nearly threw a nine-inning complete game for Springfield in yesterday’s Double-A action.

SOUTHERN LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

Criticism of Marlins righthander Chris Volstad for not striking out enough batters should end if Volstad continues to pitch the way he has pitched as of late. Volstad, who consistently works ahead in the count and is one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues at inducing groundouts, has the secondary pitches to strike batters out, and now he’s using those pitches to strike batters out.

Last night against West Tenn (Mariners), Volstad allowed one run in seven innings, finishing with eight strikeouts and no walks. After striking out six batters in 17 innings through his first three games, Volstad has racked up 23 strikeouts in 21 innings in his last three games. BA subscribers can click here to read a first-hand scouting report of Volstad’s second game of the season, where he showed signs of improved offspeed pitches.

The Carolina-West Tenn game was the only game of the night in the Southern League, but Volstad’s performance would have shined even with a full slate of games.

What To Watch For Today

Carolina righthander Ryan Tucker takes the hill today at home for the second game of the five-game series against West Tenn.

EASTERN LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

Bowie (Orioles) righthander Chris Tillman has had a bit of an up-and-down start in his first season with the Orioles, but he certainly delivered last night. Tillman went 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run, finishing with six strikeouts and two walks. Tillman’s performance this season must be taken into context given his age; he is the youngest pitcher in the Eastern League, and the second-youngest pitcher in Double-A behind Dodgers phenom Clayton Kershaw.

After last night’s game, Tillman now has a 2.91 ERA through five starts with a 20-14 K-BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings.

Prospect Nuggets

Justin Maxwell has been primarily a center fielder, spending some time as a corner outfielder, but he played first base last night for Harrisburg (Nationals) and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. Maxwell is hitting just .235 this season, but a 27-18 BB-K ratio has his on-base percentage up to .422, while nine of his 19 hits going for extra bases have kept his slugging up at .420 . . . New Hampshire (Blue Jays) DH Travis Snider’s initial transition to Double-A hasn’t gone too smoothly through his first seven games. He went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout yesterday, putting him at .120/.267/.120 (3-for-25, no extra-base hits) with 16 strikeouts . . . Lefthander Ricky Romero, Snider’s New Hampshire teammate, allowed five runs to go with four walks and two strikeouts in his 3 1/3 innings of work . . . Trenton (Yankees) center fielder Austin Jackson went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts . . . Portland left fielder Jeff Corsalleti’s prospect status is a bit fringy, but the 25-year-old went 4-for-4 with a double and a triple last night to put his 2008 line at .419/.500/.814 through 43 at-bats  . . . Bowie (Orioles) right fielder Nolan Reimold has had some trouble early on this year, but he went 2-for-4 with a triple yesterday, although he did commit a throwing error, his third error of the season . . . Erie (Tigers) left fielder Wilkin Ramirez still doesn’t seem to have an optimal approach at the plate, but that didn’t stop him from having a big night yesterday. The 22-year-old went 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double to go with a walk and a strikeout.

What To Watch For Today
Binghamton (Mets) lefthander Jon Niese is your EL ERA leader at 0.71 through 25 1/3 innings. He pitches today at home against New Britain (Twins) righthander Yohan Pino. Reading (Phillies) righthander Carlos Carrasco looks to bounce back today against New Hampshire (Blue Jays) after allowing six runs in five innings in his last outing.

TEXAS LEAGUE

Prospect Of The Day

Springfield (Cardinals) righthander P.J. Walters nearly tossed a complete game, throwing 99 pitches in 8 2/3 innings before righty Fernando Salas recorded the final out. Walters allowed four runs, struck out nine and walked two, putting his ERA at 3.25 through six games with a 34-8 K-BB ratio through 36 innings.

Prospect Nuggets

Midland (Athletics) shortstop Cliff Pennington struggled at the plate (0-for-4) and in the field (a throwing error and a fielding error) . . . Springfield center fielder Jon Jay went 2-for-4 with a stolen base . . . Tulsa (Rockies) shortstop Chris Nelson went 2-for-5 with two strikeouts . . . Frisco (Rangers) catcher Max Ramirez keeps on hitting, going 2-for-5 yesterday, though he allowed two stolen bases in two attempts. Frisco shortstop Elvis Andrus dropped to ninth in the lineup. Andrus went 1-for-5, was thrown out at home plate and committed a throwing error, his sixth error of the season . . . San Antonio first baseman Kyle Blanks went 2-for-5 with a double and a walk, but committed his second error of the year.

What To Watch For Today

Midland (A’s) righthander Henry Rodriguez has struggled in his initial exposure to Double-A after performing well in three starts with high Class A Stockton. He faces Corpus Christi (Astros) righty Brad James today. Northwest Arkansas (Royals) righthander Carlos Rosa was the Texas League player of the week last week and goes today against Springfield.

Minors | #Daily Dish

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