Minor League Roundup: Elton, Joey and the Mook

Today’s roundup features the end of Mookie Betts‘ amazing streak, more awesomeness from Gregory Polanco, homers from the usual suspects, a performance from Ben Lively almost sure to induce Armageddon, Bill Swerski’s Super Fans and a couple of doses of classic rock.

JJ’s GIF Of The Day

Mookie Betts’ on-base streak ended on Saturday after 66 games when he went 0-for-4 at Double-A Portland, though he drove in two runs. He actually reached on an error on the infield grounder GIFed below, which was a borderline call that could have possibly been scored as an infield single. (Perhaps David Ortiz can petition the Eastern League on Betts’ behalf?)

Mookie Betts (Source: Milb.tv)

Mookie Betts: Hit or reached on error?

 

Betts would have come up in the bottom of the ninth, but Portland secured the win in the top of the ninth thanks to an excellent defensive play by—who else?—Betts. If he had failed to nab the line drive, the tying run would have scored from third, which would have given him another chance to try to extend his on-base streak, which stretches back to last season at high Class A Salem, in the bottom of the ninth.

Mookie Betts (Source: Milb.tv)

Mookie Betts: Team player

 

Mookie Meter

Mookie Meter

It’s a sad day here at Meter headquarters. As you might’ve heard, Betts’ consecutive-games-on-base streak ended on Saturday. He could have hung his head, packed it in and called it a season. But no, that’s not Mookie. He woke up the next morning, got a hit, scored a run and stole a base. He also started in center field for the first time in his career, which marks the beginning of Boston’s effort to find a defensive home for him, what with second base (Dustin Pedroia) and shortstop (rookie Xander Bogaerts) blocked for the foreseeable future. He reached base three times over the weekend, but moving to a different spot on the diamond gets him the boost he needs for Off The Chart status. Still, the streak is dead, and that’s a sad moment. Please accept some Elton John as tribute.

 

International League (AAA)

Gregory Polanco, rf, Indianapolis (Pirates): With the (projected) Super Two cutoff date approaching, it may be only a matter of time before Polanco gets to strut his stuff in Pittsburgh. He went 7-for-12 this weekend, including consecutive games of three hits on Saturday and Sunday. It’s just a matter of time, which, as we all know, keeps on slipping into the future.

 

Pacific Coast League (AAA)

javier-baez-2014-bm

Javier Baez, ss, Iowa (Cubs): On Saturday, Baez connected on his fourth homer of the season, but it’s been a rough go for one of the 10 best prospects in the game. He’d struck out 46 times in 113 at-bats entering Sunday and had an OPS of .521. What’s important to remember here, Cubs fans, is that he’s just 21 years old, won’t turn 22 until Dec. 1, and is in Triple-A. Every little thing’s gonna be all right now.

Eastern League (AA)

Peter O’Brien, c, Trenton (Yankees): He did it again. After sitting on Friday while Joey Gallo went and crushed not one, not two, but three homers, O’Brien crushed one of his own on Saturday against the Portland. In 34 at-bats since moving to Double-A, O’Brien, a second-round selection in 2012, has slammed five homers. That’s one every seven at-bats or so. If he had a true defensive position, he’d be a Top 100 Prospect. Still, the Yankees will work him at catcher, right field and DH in an effort to try to find him a home somewhere on the diamond.

Southern League (AA)

Andrew Heaney

Andrew Heaney, lhp, Jacksonville (Marlins): Come here, Marlins fans. Jose Fernandez‘s injury hurts, I know. It hurts bad. Before you pack it in for the year and turn your attention to the Heat, Dolphins or the latest Pitbull single (Dále!), take a second to look at your young arms. Anthony DeSclafani came up the other day and took it to the Los Angeles Puigs (or are they still called the Scullys?). With the second pick in this year’s draft, you’ll have a great chance to select one of this year’s talented trio of either Texas fireballer Tyler Kolek, North Carolina State ace Carlos Rodon or polished prep lefty Brady Aiken. That’s saying nothing of Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner. Then there’s Heaney, who’s demolishing the competition at Double-A. He allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings against Pensacola on Saturday, and has struck out 24 against just seven walks this month.

Texas League (AA)

Jorge Bonifacio, rf, Northwest Arkansas (Royals): One of the best bats in the system, Bonifacio’s start at Double-A this year hasn’t gone as well as his stint there did last year. He’s slashing .246/.308/.353 this season and has walked twice against 15 strikeouts this month. On Sunday, however, Bonifacio had it all clicking. He went 2-for-3 with a a double (his ninth) and a three-run homer (his third) in the Naturals’ loss to Tulsa. He’s got the approach to be a very fine hitter, but with below-average speed and just adequate defense, he’ll have to hit his way to the big leagues.

Florida State League (Hi A)

Adam Brett Walker, rf, Fort Myers (Twins): On Wednesday, Walker hit a grand slam against Brevard County. On Sunday against Daytona, he did it again. On Wednesday, his slam came off Jed Bradley. On Sunday, he touched up Zack Godley. He’s hitting just .219/.284/.361 this year, with seven of his 36 hits having gone for extra bases. Basically, if he ever faces Shawn Kelley with the bases loaded, Kelley had best duck. Any other pitcher in most any other situation, however, should be fine.

Carolina League (Hi A)

Joey Gallo, 3b, Myrtle Beach (Rangers): He hit four homers this weekend, moving his minor league-best total to 18. With it becoming more and more obvious that he cannot be stopped by mere mortals, a question: Who would win in a battle of Gallo vs. legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka? Before you answer, consider this: Gallo’s bat is named Ditka.

 

California League (Hi A)

Ben Lively, rhp, Bakersfield (Reds):  The minors’ premier control artiste walked two hitters on Sunday. It’s the second straight start he’s done so. Prior to those two outings he’d walked three in his previous 42 2/3 innings. What to make of this? Is the world as we know it ending? Will the owners name Alex Rodriguez as Bud Selig’s replacement? Are rivers of fire soon to follow? Getting back to reality, Lively was brilliant again on Sunday, surrendering only one run on five hits and the two walks over seven innings. He’s got an ERA of 0.81 in the Cal League. Lively by name, deadly by practice.

South Atlantic League (Lo A)

Miguel Andujar, 3b, Charleston (Yankees): The Yankees like Andujar very much, and on Sunday he showed the assembled masses in Savannah exactly why. The 19-year-old went 3-for-5 with two homers, three runs and five RBIs in his team’s win against the Sand Gnats. No, his numbers are not pretty right now, but all the ingredients are there for him to be a top-shelf third baseman with the chops to hit for both average and power. It just might take a while.

tyler-skulina-2013Midwest League (Lo A)

Tyler Skulina, rhp, Kane County (Cubs): Combining on a no-hitter will get you in this spot just about every time, and that’s exactly what Skulina did on Saturday against Quad Cities. Skulina, the Cubs’ fourth-rounder from last year, chucked the first 7 1/3 innings before handing the ball to Nathan Dorris for the final five outs. Overall, Skulina has gone 2-1, 2.19 this season and has allowed just 29 hits in 42 1/3 innings. He’s walked 17, however, so there’s something to iron out, but the 32 punchouts are promising.