Jake Odorizzi, rhp, Rays: Back down from a spot start in the big leagues, Odorizzi was dominant in the first game of the International League playoffs. The Durham righthander allowed one hit and three walks in seven scoreless innings. Odorizzi was spotting his 90-92 mph fastball for most of the night. The only real trouble he encountered came in the seventh. After Indianapolis’ Robert Andino reached on a Tim Beckham throwing error, Odorizzi walked two of the next three hitters to fall into a bases-loaded, one-out situation. But he struck out Brett Carroll and induced Lucas May to hit a flyout to escape the inning with no damage. Durham responded by scoring twice in the eighth for a 2-0 win.
Anthony Ranaudo, rhp, Red Sox: Some nights, pitchers just don’t have their best stuff. At other times, they do—but it still seems like nothing goes right. Luck was not Ranaudo’s friend on Wednesday night as Pawtucket battled Rochester in game one of the IL playoffs. He lasted just two innings, giving up seven hits and four runs. If you look at the stat line, you may believe that Ranaudo was simply roughed up, but bad luck and poor defense robbed him of any chance he had.
In the first inning, Rochester’s James Beresford hit a chopper down the first base line that Mark Hamilton reached but didn’t get a glove on. It ended up bouncing down the line for a double. In the second inning, Rochester’s first two hits came on a poorly-hit groundball that ended up as an infield single and a sawed-off flyball that landed just beyond the infield. Ranaudo was chased from the game after Jeff Clement started off the third inning by hitting a high popup that catcher Dan Butler and Ranaudo both misread. It landed just inside the foul line just 10 feet from home plate for a bizarre infield single. In all Ranaudo gave up seven hits, but only three of them were actually solidly-struck balls.
Bryce Brentz, rf, Red Sox: While it was a bad night for Ranaudo and the PawSox, it was a good night for the Pawtucket right fielder. Brentz had two hits including a long home run that easily cleared the 390-foot sign in left-center field. He missed significant time with a knee injury this year, but when healthy he showed the same strengths and weaknesses he’s shown throughout much of his pro career. Brentz has excellent power (17 home runs during the regular season in 326 at-bats), but little else as he piles up lots of strikeouts, few walks and he’s average at best in the outfield. But power is hard to find, and Brentz provides it consistently, which will give him plenty of chances to refine his hitting.
C.J. Cron, dh, Angels: Cron had arguably the best day of any prospect on the first day of the full-season playoffs. The slugger hit a pair of home runs in Arkansas’ 8-3 win against Tulsa in the Texas League playoffs. Cron hit a three-run home run in the first and added a solo shot in the sixth. While it wasn’t a great season for Cron—he hit .274/.319/.428 for Arkansas—it was a great start to the playoffs.
Matt Wisler, rhp, Padres, and Mike Foltyniewicz, rhp, Astros: In the best prospect pitching matchup of the night, San Antonio and Corpus Christi had to wait until the starting pitchers had departed to settle things in this TL matchup. Wisler allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings while allowing two hits and three walks, but the opposing Hooks eked out a 2-1 victory. Starting for the victors, Foltyniewicz allowed one run in seven innings with seven baserunners allowed (five hits and two walks) and seven strikeouts. He was a little wild at times—he hit a San Antonio batter and had two wild pitches—but he also showed an ability to work out of jams. Foltyniewicz gave up a leadoff triple to Rico Noel to start the game, but he struck out Cory Spangenberg with a mid-90s fastball, then Noel was thrown out trying to score on a flyout to right fielder Domingo Santana.
Dylan Floro, rhp, Rays, and Taylor Rogers, lhp, Twins: Floro doesn’t garner much attention as a righthander with an 88-92 mph fastball more notable for precise command and sink than great velocity and no clear plus secondary pitch. But the man can pitch, and he’s shown that all year as he went 11-2, 1.77 in stops at low Class A Bowling Green and high Class A Charlotte. Pitching for Charlotte last night, Floro was masterful once again. He held the Miracle scoreless for eight innings in the Florida State League playoffs. While Floro was very good, Rogers, a 22-year-old, hard-throwing lefty from Kentucky, was even better. Rogers, who sits at 91-93 mph from the left side, struck out nine in nine scoreless innings. Charlotte took advantage of his departure to win the game 2-1 in the 10th innings.
Yordano Ventura, rhp, Royals: Ventura’s day was notable for what it wasn’t. The righthander with one of the best fastballs in baseball was expected to start the first game of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs Wednesday night, but the Royals scratched him for an unspecified violation of team rules. The Storm Chasers survived quite well without Ventura. Fill-in starter Brian Sanches got the win as Omaha topped Oklahoma City 3-1. A Royals official said no decision has been made yet whether Ventura will pitch later in the playoff series.
The Storm Chasers’ path to the playoffs was one of the wildest in the minors. With two days left in the season, Omaha had to win twice and Memphis had to lose twice for the Storm Chasers to make the playoffs. Omaha did its part by beating Round Rock 6-1 and 8-4 in its final two games. More improbably, Memphis lost on Sunday after leading 4-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a four-run Oklahoma City rally that included a Jose Martinez home run. Martinez then drove in the winning run with a walk-off single in the 11th. The next afternoon, Oklahoma City’s Jonathan Singleton hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to knock out Memphis 2-1.
Kris Bryant, 3b, and C.J. Edwards, rhp, Cubs: In the other Florida State League playoff game, Bryant went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. It was a Cubs’ prospect showcase as C.J. Edwards threw five scoreless innings as well, striking out eight.
Aaron Sanchez, rhp, Blue Jays: While Edwards was dealing, Sanchez was roughed up by Bryant and his cohorts. Sanchez gave up four runs (three earned) and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. It was the second time in the past three starts that he’s given up four or more runs.