Today’s roundup includes two scorching Cubs, a Tiger alternating between hot and cold months, two sluggers in New York farm systems, big action in the Great Minor League Home Run Race and a slick-fielding shortstop finding his way with the bat. Also, if you don’t get the title reference, see the video below.
Make A Miracle
The Baseball Miracles Foundation, which brings baseball equipment and pro-level coaching to places it wouldn’t otherwise exist, needs your help. Their team, headed by White Sox scout John Tumminia, is planning to head to South Africa this October to help spread the game. Toward this end, they’re looking for donations, financial or otherwise, to help get them there. White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has already reached into his wallet, and so can you. To give, you can send to the White Sox at 333 W. 35th Street, Chicago, IL, 60616, care of Tumminia. You can also get in contact via this link.
|MINOR LEAGUE HOME RUN RACE
International League • AAA
Hernan Perez, ss, Toledo (Tigers): After a scorching June, Perez sunk in July. Continuing the pattern, he’s back on fire this month. The versatile infielder—who got a taste of the majors last year—went 3-for-4 on Wednesday with a triple, a run and two RBIs in the Mud Hens’ win over Columbus. He’s riding a five-game hitting streak and has hit in seven of his last eight games. He’s slashing .373/.415/.533 this month with four doubles and two longballs. Overall, he’s at .287/.327/.406 with 31 doubles and six apiece of triples and homers.
Pacific Coast League • AAA
Kris Bryant, 3b, Iowa (Cubs): He’s done it again. After missing a couple of days with a toe injury, Bryant got back on track on Wednesday, slamming home run No. 41 as part of a tw0-hit effort. The blast puts him one ahead of Joey Gallo in the Great Minor League Home Run Race. With one more homer at Triple-A, he’ll have 20 apiece at two different levels. That’s stunning. Moreso, Gallo is one Frisco blast away from doing the same thing.
Eastern League • AA
Dilson Herrera, 2b, Binghamton (Mets): Because he helped the Pirates make the playoffs and end their October drought, the Marlon Byrd trade is always going to be worthwhile for Pittsburgh. Still, Pirates fans must cringe when they check Herrera’s line. He crushed it this year in the Florida State League, then jumped to Double-A at midseason and hasn’t missed a beat. After Wednesday night’s 3-for-4 effort with a homer (his ninth with Binghamton and 12th overall), he’s up to .336/.407/.564 in 53 games with the B-Mets.
Southern League • AA
Addison Russell, ss, Tennessee (Cubs): Addison Russell homered on Wednesday. He also homered on Tuesday. He also homered on Monday. Bart Simpson should write “Addison Russell is a very good hitter” 500 times on the chalkboard before every episode. Russell, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Arismendy Alcantara, Dan Vogelbach, Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. What an incredible collection of talent the Cubs have assembled.
Texas League • AA
Cory Spangenberg, 2b/of, San Antonio (Padres): Like Russell, I wrote about Spangenberg Wednesday. He stayed hot, so I’m writing about him again. He was 2-for-4 on Wednesday with a pair of doubles, a run, an RBI and a walk, and remains blistering hot after coming back from his concussion this year. The hit streak is up to 13, and he’s hitting .351/.392/.508 in 45 games since his return with 14 doubles, five triples and two homers.
Florida State League • Hi A
Aaron Judge, of, Tampa (Yankees): The biggest man in the Yankees’ organization is arguably having the biggest year in the Yankees’ organization, and his reign of terror (as far as pitchers are concerned) continued in a big way on Wednesday. The hulking outfielder went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a longball. The homer was his 17th this year, tying him for third in the system with teammate Eric Jagielo and Triple-A outfielder Zoilo Almonte.
California League • Hi A
Matt Olson, 1b, Stockton (Athletics): The Adam Dunn impersonation continues. He clubbed his 36th homer of the year Wednesday night, further extending his Cal League lead and inching him closer to becoming the third player this season with 40 longballs. To put that in perspective, there hasn’t been more than one 40-homer hitter in any season in the past decade. Olson, who was 2-for-4 with the homer and two RBIs on Wednesday, has thumped his way to a .943 OPS this year. He also leads the minors with 110 walks.
Carolina League • Hi A
Cleuluis Rondon, ss, Winston-Salem (White Sox): He’s a spectacular defender (even though there’s room for some polish), and his glove alone might get him to the big leagues. He’s starting to hit a little bit, too. He collected three hits Wednesday night against Salem, including an opposite-field triple (he scored when the throw got past third) and a nice piece of hitting to reach out and poke a single over shortstop on a fastball away. After a promotion precipitated primarily by Tim Anderson‘s injury, Rondon has held his own with the Dash, working to a .270/.330/.393 line in 44 games.
South Atlantic League • Lo A
Rafael Bautista, of, Hagerstown (Nationals): Mallex Smith has 86 stolen bases this year, which is good for the overall lead. Right behind him in total and success percentage is Bautista, the Nationals’ center fielder at low Class A who has burned up the basepaths for 66 swipes in 77 tries this year. Not surprisingly, Bautista plays a fine center field with plenty of easy range. He’s also hit this year, which makes him more intriguing than the average glove-only burner. He’s hitting .294/.350/.389 this year and has struck out just 70 times in 442 at-bats this year.
Midwest League • Lo A
Austin Kubitza, rhp, West Michigan (Tigers): He’s most certainly old for the level, but he’s handling his business as the Whitecaps push for the Midwest League championship. His team won the first half and has a three-game edge in the second half. Kubitza, Kevin Ziomek and, for a while, Buck Farmer had a big hand in that dominance. Kubitza spun 7 2/3 shutout innings on Wednesday with just five hits and a walk on his ledger and six strikeouts to boot. He’s surrendered just 92 hits in 125 innings this year and fanned 136. That ring is going to be sweet.