With Josh Norris running around from game to game, and dodging rain drops, you get a fill-in Minor League Roundup correspondent today.
Another day, another dominating performance for Red Sox second baseman Mookie Betts. He went 3-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season at Double-A Portland. Going back to last season, Betts now has reached base in 50 consecutive regular season games. He extended his hitting streak to 16 games and has had two or more hits in 12 of his 21 games this year. He’s yet to have a day this season where his batting average hasn’t been above .400.
International League (AAA)
Marcus Stroman, rhp, Buffalo (Blue Jays): Every start now for Buffalo might be Stroman’s last in the minors. Dustin McGowan has been struggling at the big league level, while Stroman just gets better and better. Consider this his valedictory speech: six innings, no hits, no runs, one walk and 10 strikeouts. He got ahead of almost every hitter, forced plenty of defensive swings and was locating his fastball with clinical precision.
IL Notes: Gavin Floyd pitched well for Gwinnett (5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 SO), but it’s going to take an injury to provide an obvious path to Atlanta’s rotation. The Braves already have to push David Hale (1-0, 2.31) aside to find room for Mike Minor . . . Red Sox righthander Anthony Ranaudo picked up his second win with five scoreless innings in a rain-shortened game for Pawtucket . . . The Yankees’ Ramon Flores went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. He’s an excellent hitter who puts together professional at-bats, but as a corner outfielder/first baseman with below-average power, he’s never going to fit the corner profile.
Pacific Coast League (AAA)
Gary Brown, cf, Fresno (Giants): Once looked at as the club’s center fielder of the future, the 25-year-old Brown is now more likely a future backup. But he can still run and shows occasional power. He went 2-for-5 with a home run for Fresno in a win against El Paso.
PCL Notes: Marlins catcher Kyle Skipworth isn’t all that much of a prospect at this point, but the 2008 first-round pick still has power. He hit his fourth home run of the season last night for New Orleans. He’s swinging for the fences a little too much. He has struck out in exactly half of his 40 at-bats and has just three singles . . . The Astros have altered Triple-A Oklahoma City’s rotation from a four-day tandem situation (two pitchers alternating starting and relieving every four games) with a six-man rotation. Righthander Mike Foltynewicz threw four scoreless innings, albeit with four walks and three strikeouts in his first start under the new format.
Eastern League (AA)
Deven Marrero, ss, Portland (Red Sox): He understandably gets lost in the shadow of Betts’ amazing start to the season, but the Portland shortstop is having a great start of his own. He went 2-for-4 with a double on Tuesday, raising his batting line to .306/.386/.403. When you consider Marrero is an excellent defender, it’s a great sign that he’s stinging the ball as well.
EL Note: Yankees lefthander Manny Banuelos allowed two hits and struck out four in three scoreless innings in his return to the Eastern League. He’s working back from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss all of the 2013 season.
Texas League (AA)
Tyler Anderson, lhp, Tulsa (Rockies): He doesn’t have the top-notch stuff that fellow Rockies prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler possess, but when he’s locating, the crafty Anderson can quickly rack up outs, even if he rarely looks dominating doing it. Anderson put together one of his best starts of the year on Tuesday, allowing three hits and three unearned runs while striking out five in Tulsa’s loss to Arkansas. Unlike Gray or Butler, Anderson doesn’t project as a front-of-the-rotation starter, but he could end up as useful back-end innings-eater.
TL Notes: Royals lefthander Noel Arguelles has never been the same since shoulder surgery sapped his velocity just after he signed for nearly $7 million. But at this point, he really has little to offer even at the Double-A level. Arguelles allowed eight baserunners and four runs in three innings last night. That raised his ERA for the season to 14.29. He’s given up at least one run in all of his eight relief appearances this year and now possesses an almost unfathomable 3.16 WHIP . . . Rangers third baseman Ryan Rua hit his third home run in the past four games and his sixth of the season. There may be questions about where he can play defensively full-time, but Rua has hit for power wherever he’s gone. He had 32 home runs last year between low Class A Hickory and Double-A Frisco and has a 1.101 OPS this season.
California League (Hi A)
Lance McCullers Jr., rhp, Lancaster (Astros): McCullers struck out 10 of the 19 batters he faced, as he allowed just three hits and one walk in five scoreless innings. His tandem-start partner Kyle Smith followed up by picking up seven strikeouts among the 11 outs he recorded in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Cal League Notes: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa continues to sit with a shoulder injury. He last played on April 24 . . . Padres righthander Joe Ross put together the best start of an excellent beginning to the season. He threw six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and no walks, lowering his ERA to 1.95 . . . Mariners third baseman D.J. Peterson hit his second home run of the season. It’s been a relatively quiet start to the season for the 2013 first-round pick, who is hitting .284/.329/.432 at High Desert, the best hitter’s park in the minors . . . Rockies shortstop Trevor Story‘s bounceback season continues. He had three more hits on Tuesday and two steals, giving him 16 swiped bags this season. On the downside, he also committed his fifth and sixth errors of the season . . . Athletics third baseman Chad Pinder has always been able to hit. He showed that again on Tuesday with a home run and triple for Stockton.
Carolina League (Hi A)
The entire league schedule was rained out.
Florida State League (Hi A)
Tyrone Taylor, cf, Brevard County (Brewers): Taylor had the best day of any prospect on Tuesday, hitting for the cycle as part of a five-hit day. (It was the first cycle in Manatees team history.) He also scored five runs and drew a walk as Brevard County shut out Clearwater 20-0.
FSL Notes: The Mets have enviable starting pitcher depth, but one pitching prospect who has taken a significant step backwards is Gabriel Ynoa. The righty gave up nine hits and seven runs in 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday, raising his ERA to 6.93. After walking just 16 batters in 136 innings last year, Ynoa’s control has disappeared—he’s walked nine in 25 innings this year . . . Tigers righthander Edgar de la Rosa allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings. It was his second one-hit appearance in his last three starts. He allowed one hit in eight innings on April 19 . . . Biggest turnaround over the past year? It may be lefthander Daniel Norris. At this time last year, Norris had a 9.56 ERA coming off of a brutal 8.44 ERA for his 2012 pro debut. Since April 30 of last year, he’s compiled a 2.28 ERA. He threw five scoreless innings yesterday for Dunedin, lowering his ERA to 0.75. It’s good work by Norris, as well as Lansing pitching coach Vince Horsman, Dunedin pitching coach Darold Knowles and Toronto pitching coordinator Dane Johnson.
Midwest League (Lo A)
Alex Reyes, rhp, Peoria (Cardinals): Reyes carried a perfect game into the fifth before walking B.A. Vollmuth and giving up a two-run home run to Ryan Huck in the fifth. He struck out the side in the first and whiffed eight overall. After walking 12 in his first two outings, Reyes has walked two in his last two starts.
MWL Notes: Tigers righthander Jonathan Crawford threw six scoreless innings . . . Padres right fielder Franmil Reyes missed the cycle by a double, going 4-for-5 with a triple and home run . . . A’s center fielder Jacob Hanneman missed the cycle by a home run, going 3-for-4 with a double and triple.
South Atlantic League (Lo A)
Aaron Judge, rf, Charleston (Yankees): Judge hit his second home run of the season as part of a 3-for-4 night. With his power, there are many more to come.
SAL Notes: Orioles righthander Hunter Harvey had his roughest outing of the season, giving up four runs in five innings while walking four. It was his second consecutive outing with control troubles—he walked five last time out . . . Rockies outfielder Raimel Tapia hit his first home run of the season. He was batting eighth for Asheville . . . Fellow Tourists outfielder David Dahl had three hits, giving him a pair of three-hit games in his past four.