Archie Bradley, rhp, Diamondbacks: It wasn’t Archie Bradley’s best start of the year. In fact, it might have been his worst start in more than a month, but it was more than enough. Pitching in the first game of the Southern League playoffs, Bradley allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings of work and struck out four as Mobile beat Mississippi. Bradley had gone 6-0, 1.24 in six August starts as he dominated the league similar to the way he did in April, when he went 4-1, 0.79.
Wil Swanner, c, Rockies: Swanner served this year as yet another cautionary tale of how Asheville’s hitter-friendly tendencies can inflate a player’s prospect status. After hitting .302/.385/.529 for Asheville last year as a catcher whose bat was significantly ahead of his glove, Swanner dropped to .239/.324/.425 this year in the still hitter-friendly California League. Considering that Swanner’s glove will likely never be plus behind the plate, he has to hit better than that to keep climbing the ladder. Thursday Swanner provided some heroics for Modesto hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra-innings. It helped extend the game, but Modesto still fell thanks to Tom Belza’s RBI double in the 12th.
Jackie Bradley Jr., of, Red Sox: Pawtucket evened its series with Rochester at one game apiece thanks in part to Bradley’s two hits. Bradley went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored for the PawSox. Fellow Pawtucket outfielder Bryce Brentz, who homered in game one, doubled last night as well.
Jonathan Singleton, 1b, Astros: Oklahoma City fell behind Omaha two games to zero in their best-of-5 Pacific Coast League series but it wasn’t Singleton’s fault. Singleton hit a three-run home run, but the RedHawks didn’t get much else in a 7-4 loss.
Trayce Thompson, of, White Sox: Thompson’s second half of the 2013 season was a disaster. You can take a look at the numbers any way you want, but when Thompson posted a sub-.600 OPS in July and August, there was no positive way to spin it. He struck out too much and didn’t provide nearly the power you would expect from a prospect with some of the best raw power in the White Sox organization. But on Thursday, Thompson did everything for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. Thompson homered and also drove in Micah Johnson with an RBI single, providing two of the Barons’ three runs in a 3-1 win over Tennessee.
Chris Bassit, rhp, White Sox: Bassit is a fringy prospect thanks to marginal velocity and the lack of a clear plus secondary pitch, but the former Akron righthander went 4-2, 2.27 in eight late-season starts with Double-A Birmingham and he was dominant on Thursday. Bassit held a prospect-laden Tennessee lineup to three hits and one run while striking out nine in seven innings.
Randall Grichuk, of, Angels and Cyle Hankerd, of, Angels: Grichuk hit his second home run in two games as Arkansas took a 2-0 lead in its Texas League playoff series with Tulsa. Grichuk, who hit 22 home runs during the regular season, has kept his power surge going during the postseason as well with a home run off of Tulsa starter Tyler Matzek. Left fielder Cyle Hankerd provided the big blow as he added a three-run home run in the ninth inning for the 4-1 win.
Pierce Johnson, rhp, Cubs: After an excellent start in the low Class A Midwest League and an even more dominant late-season run in the high Class A Florida State League, Johnson dominated his first playoff start, holding Charlotte scoreless over five innings. Johnson didn’t walk a batter while striking out six. Johnson has now not allowed a run in six of his past eight starts.
Jesse Hahn, rhp, Rays: In the same game that Johnson dominated, Hahn was roughed up, being chased after 1 1/3 innings in which he allowed four hits and four runs. Hahn had a great season for Charlotte this year, but he was sidelined in late July by arm soreness. He’s thrown only 6 1/3 innings since then. Hahn’s stuff was still quite good on Thursday as he sat 91-94 mph, but the rust showed in his lack of control. Hahn, who pitched at Virginia Tech, missed all of 2010 and 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery and missed time last year with a broken foot, so injuries have been a recurring theme of his now four-year pro career.