The Week Ahead In The Minor Leagues (July 7-11)

Series To Watch At The Park

Addison Russell

Addison Russell (Photo by Larry Goren)

Jacksonville at Tennessee (July 10-14). The rare five-game, weekend-bridging series marks the Smokies’ home debut for newly acquired Addison Russell. Russell, acquired in the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland, played his first game for the Smokies on Sunday and was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. In a series this length, expect to also see Smokies’ pitchers Corey Black and Pierce Johnson, while Jacksonville boasts starter Justin Nicolino and catcher J.T. Realmuto.

MILB.tv Series of the Week

Missoula at Grand Junction (July 8-11). This Rookie League midweek series is notable for the pro debut of Kyle Freeland, the lefthander selected by his hometown Rockies with the ninth overall pick out of Evansville. Freeland will start Wednesday night. Freeland hit 96 mph in the fall after pitching at 89-93 mph last summer in the Cape Cod League, and he maintained that stuff through the college season. Freeland has a loose arm and plus-plus control and projects to have big league command, and his 15-1 strikeout-walk ratio ranked second in the country. Also pitching in this series is Missoula’s Brad Keller, who gets the start Tuesday. Keller, drafted by the Diamondbacks in the eighth round last year, was a Presbyterian recruit with a big body who surged forward with velocity as a high school senior. There were reports he touched as high as 96 mph as a senior. Keller throws a slider and changeup as well, and the slider has some power to it in the low 80s.

Prime Promotions

If you wanted an answer to the age-old question, “Do the chickens have large talons?”, Lakewood is offering the chance to find it.

The BlueClaws on Thursday are offering a salute to the 10-year anniversary of the iconic movie, “Napoleon Dynamite” as they play host to Delmarva.

Among the features of what should be a dynamite night are

  • Music and video clips from the movie will be played throughout the game
  • A Ham & Tater Tots Platter will be available in the concession stands
  • Tetherball will be set up for fans to play
  • Raffles with prizes such as a Vote for Pedro shirt, nun-chucks, and a 32-Piece Set
  • Photo studio for glamour shots set up on the concourse
  • Napoleon Dynamite-themed in-game promotions

If that isn’t enough, since July 10 is a Thursday, the BlueClaws as usual will have have beer and soda for $1 and chicken wings for 50 cents.

All in all, sounds like a killer time.