BAPR Plus: April 11

If you’re looking for a good pitching performance from Tuesday, Dodgers lefty Scott Elbert’s dominant outing leads the way, and if you’re looking for a great hitting performance, you can also stick with the Dodgers, as Etanislao Abreu finished with nine total bases on his 5-for-5 night. Tuesday also featured rehab appearances by Bartolo Colon, Rafael Furcal and Jon Lester, who hasn’t allowed a run in two starts.

Triple-A

Ottawa’s J.A. Happ pitched five hitless innings, but Buffalo rallied to score five runs after Happ left to pick up the win.

Yunel Escobar’s RBI double in the ninth helped Richmond to a 4-3 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Eric Duncan had a day to forget as he went 0-for-5 with a hat trick of three strikeouts.

Here’s a shocker–Kevin Slowey showed pinpoint control, walking no one in six scoreless innings as he led Rochester to a win.

In two starts, Durham’s Jason Hammel has a 0.90 ERA and he’s allowed four hits in 10 innings. But he doesn’t have a win, as Durham has lost both of his starts 2-1.

New Orleans’ Philip Humber struggled on Tuesday, giving up four runs including a home run to Rick Ankiel. Mike Parisi pitched extremely well in an emergency start for Memphis, scattering three hits in five innings.

Nathan Haynes, Brandon Wood and Terry Evans each homered in Salt Lake’s win on Tuesday. I’ll link to the Salt Lake newspaper’s story, but purely for comedic effect–hopefully something happened to keep the actual game story from being posted. Even though the game was played in Salt Lake, the Tucson paper has a better account.

Ryan Braun homered and doubled for Nashville. Felix Pie did exactly the same thing in Iowa’s extra-inning win, but I can’t find a game story to link to. But neither of them could equal Etanislao Abreu’s evening. Las Vegas’ leadoff hitter went 5-for-5 with a home run.

Double-A

Fernando Martinez doesn’t seem bothered by facing Double-A pitchers who are often five or more years older than him. The 18-year-old homered and tripled on Tuesday as Binghamton beat Erie. There was prospect news galore in this game. Kody Kirkland returned from an ankle injury, but his error in the 11th led to the B-Mets winning run. Erie’s Jair Jurrjens pitched well, while Kyle Sleeth, making his first appearance of the season, had to leave the game after a Brett Harper grounder struck him in the ankle. Sleeth told Ron Leonardi that he should be OK.

Red Sox prospect Clay Buchholz struggled in his Double-A debut. The righthander hit his 75 pitch limit in the fifth inning, forcing him to leave after allowing three runs.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has gotten off to a better start in 2007 than he did in 2006. The catcher slugged two home runs on Tuesday to help lefthander Matt Harrison pick up a win. The Jackson Clarion Ledger doesn’t seem to run game stories, but they did feature third base prospect Van Pope in today’s paper.

Jacksonville’s Scott Elbert has the pitching performance of the day–he threw five no-hit innings while striking out nine. There was bad news for the Dodgers however as shortstop Chin-Lung Hu left the game after injuring his shin in a play at the plate.

Rockies prospect Greg Reynolds faced the minimum 21 batters over seven innings in a near-perfect Double-A debut with Tulsa. Reynolds, the No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft, allowed only two hits, both of which were erased by double plays.

High Class A

Stockton starter Jared Lansford had to be scratched because of tightness in his right arm. His replacement struggled while Bakersfield’s Michael Schlact was in control on Tuesday night.

Tuesday’s Rancho Cucamonga-Inland Empire game began with a bizarre sight–Rafael Furcal stepping in to face Bartolo Colon. In the battle of rehab assignments, Colon and the Quakes beat Furcal and the 66ers. Colon pitched effectively and was helped by two Hanley Statia doubles, while Furcal went hitless.

Visalia’s Brandon Burgess hit a pair of home runs while High Desert starter Marwin Vega became the latest Mavericks starter to wish he was anywhere else rather than pitching in the pitcher’s hell that is High Desert–Vega allowed 10 runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Winston-Salem’s Justin Cassell pitched six scoreless innings and the Warthogs hitters battered the Myrtle Beach pitching staff to the point where Pelicans manager Rocket Wheeler waved the white flag–he brought in left fielder Derrick Arnold to finish off the game.

Cliff Lee pitched two scoreless innings for Kinston in a rehab assignment.

Clint Everts seems to be using his fastball more, and it’s paying off as the onetime top prospect dominated Salem on Tuesday.

Low Class A

Every year a gaggle of Latin prospects will emerge on the scene with strong seasons in low Class A. If you’re looking for a candidate in Midwest League, look no further than Dayton third baseman Juan Francisco. The 19-year-old was already on the prospect radar (he ranked 26th in the Reds system in our Prospect Handbook), but he could quickly climb that list this year. Francisco had the best day of what’s been a good first week on Tuesday, coming a double short of the cycle. Rafael Gonzalez, one of the Reds most talented but inconsistent prospects, picked up the win with five shutout innings.

The Cardinals are going with a tandem-starter system in Quad Cities, but that didn’t keep starter Blake King from picking up his first win of the season. King allowed only four hits in five shutout innings to lead the Swing to a shutout victory over Cedar Rapids. Angels’ prospect Sean O’Sullivan picked up the first loss of his pro career despite a relatively effective outing.
Phillies 2006 first-round pick Kyle Drabek picked up the win in his first start of the season for Lakewood as they beat West Virginia 9-1. The Power’s offensive leader was shortstop Jimmy Mojica, who went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. At this time last year, Mojica was earning a job in the independent American Association. He proved to be one of the best young players in independent ball, as he made our Independent Leagues Top Prospects list after the season–the Brewers signed him in December.

A pair of pitchers working back into form treated Greenville fans to a great pitching matchup as Columbus’ Wade Townsend dueled Greenville’s Jon Lester. Lester showed that he’s not far from moving on up as he builds up his arm strength after last year’s cancer treatments. He pitched four more scoreless innings on Tuesday, giving him eight shutout innings this season. Townsend wasn’t as effective, allowing three runs in three innings. Willie T. Smith of the Greenville News writes that Lester has been nearly unhittable.

“Tonight I thought, at times, he was more dominating than he was the first time out,” said Greenville manager Gabe Kapler. “The first time out he pitched great but, tonight, at times he looked unhittable. His cutter had a lot of sharp break to it. He threw his fastball by guys. He had that one inning where he lost a little bit of his command. But, overall, I thought he did a great job commanding the strike zone, getting swings and misses and inducing weak contact.”

Adam Cowart helped Augusta to a 6-0 start with a very effective outing, even if he wasn’t particularly happy with his performance.

Delmarva’s Pedro Beato struggled (four runs in five innings), but the Shorebirds rallied to beat Hickory.

Greensboro’s Graham Taylor had a stretch of nearly 41 innings last season without a walk. He’s gone 12 innings this season without a free pass this season. He shut down Lake County on Tuesday night with six scoreless innings. Daniel Garcia added a pair of home runs for the Grasshoppers.

Minors |

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