AA Dish: Pitching Prospects Galore

Chuck Lofgren had his third awful outing, Fernando Martinez may have played his way out of Friday’s Hot Sheet consideration after yesterday’s performance and Wes Hodges hit two home runs and had seven RBIs in yesterday’s Double-A action—and that was just one game.

In other action, the Southern League featured a pair of pitching prospect showdowns as Clayton Kershaw squared off against Ryan Tucker and Wade Davis went up against Jeff Samardzija, Daryl Thompson had another impressive outing, Jaime Garcia was dominant and Will Inman allowed seven unearned runs, but no earned runs.

Southern League

Carolina (Marlins) 2, Jacksonville (Dodgers) 0
Jacksonville lefthander Clayton Kershaw struck out six and walked two in six innings, but the one run he allowed was one more than Carolina righty Ryan Tucker let cross the plate. Tucker went six shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks to go with five strikeouts in the victory on the road. Carolina second baseman Chris Coghlan and center fielder Cameron Maybin each went 1-for-4.

"I threw OK. It’s just frustrating any time you can’t get a win," Kershaw said. "But I’m progressing. I went deeper in the game than I have before and got a higher pitch count. I didn’t command my curveball as good as I would like, but it’s a good progression so far."

Tennessee (Cubs) 3, Montgomery (Rays) 2
Jeff Samardzija continued his trend of showing above-average stuff and a below-average ability to strike players out, but he was generally effective for Tennessee. The righthander allowed two runs in five innings, finishing with two strikeouts and two walks. One of the more interesting lines in Samardzija’s night: only one groundout and 11 flyouts. Montgomery righthander Wade Davis allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings with three strikeouts and a walk.

Chattanooga (Reds) 7, Huntsville (Brewers) 5
Chattanooga righthander Daryl Thompson could be one of 2008’s breakout prospects after lowering his ERA to 0.59 yesterday. Thompson allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking none. Thompson, 22, was the Southern League pitcher of the week and now has a 20-1 K-BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings through three starts. His lone run allowed came on a home run from third baseman Mat Gamel, who went 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Gamel’s teammate, right fielder Matt LaPorta, went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.

Birmingham (White Sox) 2, Mississippi (Braves) 1
Birmingham righthander Kyle McCulloch, 23, walked four batters but struck out six and allowed just two hits in six scoreless innings.

Mobile (Diamondbacks) 8, West Tenn (Mariners) 7
West Tenn catcher Adam Moore went 2-for-4 and center fielder Mike Saunders went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a stolen base and two strikeouts, but it wasn’t enough for the DiamondJaxx.

Texas League

Springfield (Cardinals) 9, Midland (Athletics) 1
Springfield’s offense gave Jaime Garcia plenty of run support, and the lefthander in turn shut down Midland’s lineup. Garcia allowed one run on three hits through six innings, striking out eight and walking just one. Perhaps just as impressive was Garcia’s 10 groundouts and zero flyouts, meaning all 18 of the outs he recorded came either via the strikeout or the groundout. At the plate, catcher Bryan Anderson went 2-for-6 and second baseman Jose Martinez went 2-for-5. Midland 21-year-old righthander Vin Mazzaro couldn’t quite hang with Garcia, as Mazzaro allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings, finishing with four walks and two strikeouts.

Tulsa (Rockies) 11, San Antonio (Padres) 5
San Antonio righthander Will Inman put up one of the strangest lines of the season so far. Inman, who the Padres acquired at midseason last year from the Brewers, walked four and allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. Yet, of those seven runs, none of them were officially earned runs. Inman also finished with four strikeouts.

For Tulsa, center fielder Dexter Fowler went 1-for-2 with a double and three walks, stealing a base and scoring three runs. Shortstop Chris Nelson had a pair of hits in five at-bats, scoring a pair of runs and driving in two more, but he also committed his seventh fielding error of the young season.

On the mound, righthander Brandon Hynick didn’t have one of his best days, allowing five runs (they were all earned) in three innings with four walks and three strikeouts. Reliever Pedro Strop found a little more success than Hynick had, striking out two in a scoreless ninth inning.

Arkansas (Angels) 10, Frisco (Rangers) 8
Frisco’s offense continued to get contributions from a diversity of talented prospects. Right fielder John Mayberry doubled and stole his second base of the season in a 2-for-4 performance. Catcher Max Ramirez and DH Taylor Teagarden each went 1-for-5 with a home run, while first baseman Chris Davis went 0-for-2 with a throwing error but also drew three walks. Lefthander Matt Harrison struggled on the mound though, allowing four runs on three walks and five strikeouts in five innings. For Arkansas, shortstop Hainley Statia went 1-for-4 with two walks.

Corpus Christi (Astros) 3, Northwest Arkansas (Royals) 2
Corpus Christi shortstop Tommy Manzella went 2-for-4 with a double and turned two doubles plays, while catcher Lou Santangelo went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the Hooks’ victory. Northwest Arkansas righthander Julio Pimentel had a strong performance in his team’s loss, allowing one run in 6 1/3 innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

Eastern League

Akron (Indians) 11, Binghamton (Mets) 10
Did Fernando Martinez just play himself out of contention for Friday’s Hot Sheet? The Binghamton center fielder was having a great week until last night, when he went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts out of the leadoff spot. Every other Binghamton Binghamton starter recorded at least one hit, including 23-year-old third baseman Dan Murphy, who went 3-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and a walk.

For Akron, it was lefthander Chuck Lofgren’s third outing of the year and his third poor performance. Lofgren lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) to put his season ERA at 6.92. He allowed seven hits, including a home run, and finished with three walks and three strikeouts. Akron’s 2-3-4-5 prospect punch of shortstop Josh Rodriguez (3-for-5), DH Matt Whitney (2-for-5 with two doubles), first baseman Michael Aubrey (2-for-4 with a double and a walk) and third baseman Wes Hodges (3-for-4 with two home runs) provided an explosive punch for the Aeros.

Harrisburg (Nationals) 8, Reading (Phillies) 2 in 11 innings
It was almost a completely three true outcomes day for Justin Maxwell. The Harrisburg center fielder went 2-for-5 with a home run, a walk and three strikeouts, knocking in three runs and scoring two. Phillies lefthander Josh Outman hurled six shutout innings, allowing four hits, two walks and recording six strikeouts.

“He changed speeds very well, and you’ve got to do that against this team,” (Reading manager P.J.) Forbes said. “It’s a good-hitting team over there. They have a lot of veteran guys who have an idea. To throw six shutout innings against them, that says a lot about the type of stuff he had, and the command.”

Most of the Senators’ damage was done against Phillies 28-year-old reliever Jason Anderson, who allowed six runs in the top of the 11th. Phillies center fielder Greg Golson went 2-for-4 and drove in a pair of runs.

Bowie (Orioles) 6, Erie (Tigers) 5
Bowie righthander Chorye Spoone didn’t have his best control, but he still allowed just one run on two hits through five innings. Spoone struck out four, but he also issued four walks. Bowie right fielder Nolan Reimold went 2-for-3 with a walk and a fielding error, and six-foot-nine righty Kam Mickolio allowed a run in an inning out of the bullpen.

Portland (Red Sox) 3, Connecticut (Giants) 2
Portland only had five hits, but Mark Wagner’s two extra-base hits provided plenty of pop for the Sea Dogs. Wagner, the top catching prospect in the Red Sox system, went 2-for-3 with a home run and a double, finishing with two runs scored and two RBIs.

Trenton (Yankees) 4, Altoona (Pirates) 0
Righthander Daniel McCutchen went seven scoreless innings for Trenton with four strikeouts, two walks and four hits allowed. Trenton center fielder Austin Jackson went 1-for-4 and right fielder Jose Tabata went 0-for-2 but walked twice and scored two runs.

New Hampshire (Blue Jays) 4, New Britain (Twins) 2
Shortstop Trevor Plouffe had a rough night as the leadoff hitter in New Britain’s loss, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.