AA Dish: Saunders Gets Three

Michael Saunders is rising up the Mariners depth chart, Phillies righthander Carlos Carrasco was masterful against Trenton and Cubs righthander Jeff Samardzija struggled with the long ball in yesterday’s Double-A slate.

Prospect Of The Day
With Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien graduating from prospects to big leaguers (presumably), Chris Tillman traded to the Orioles and Carlos Triunfel putting up a .642 OPS in the California League before he was suspended for disciplinary reasons, Michael Saunders could emerge as the top prospect in the Mariners organization. The toolsy center fielder is making a strong case with his performance for West Tenn, including yesterday when he went 3-for-4 with his 11th double and a walk. The 21-year-old Saunders is now batting .311/.370/.485 in 167 at-bats.

Prospect Nuggets
Since 1995, there have been 319 instances in which a major league pitcher has given up at least three home runs and was still credited with a win. In 2004, Tim Wakefield gave up six home runs against the Tigers, yet still came away with the victory as the Red Sox won 11-9, a record for the most home runs allowed by a pitcher earning the win since at least 1960. But usually giving up three home runs is not a winning formula, as Tennessee righthander Jeff Samardzija found yesterday. The Cubs farmhand allowed three home runs to Mississippi (Braves) batters, surrendering six runs in five innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Samardzija took the loss to fall to 3-4, while his ERA rose to 6.14 in 48 1/3 innings with more walks (32) than strikeouts (28).
What To Watch For
Righthander James McDonald is scheduled to pitch tonight for Jacksonville (Dodgers) at Carolina (Marlins).
Prospect Of The Day

The game of the day was in Reading, where Phillies righthander Carlos Carrasco was outstanding, but Trenton (Yankees) broke a 0-0 tie in the 10th inning for a 3-0 victory. Carrasco overmatched the Thunder lineup, going seven shutout innings with four hits allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts. Carrasco, who ranked as the top prospect in the Phillies system entering the year, now has a 3.44 ERA with a 59-22 K-BB ratio in 55 innings.

"The stuff’s there," Reading manager P.J. Forbes said. "He’s shown the flashes that he’s going pitch in the big leagues. We’re waiting to see the consistency that comes along with his stuff. He’s got three plus pitches, plus command and now it’s just a matter of him piutting it together every five days."

Prospect Nuggets
Trenton righthander Mark Melancon come on in the eighth inning and tossed three innings of shutout relief to keep the Yankees in the game. Melancon didn’t allow a hit, walking one with four strikeouts . . . Bowie (Orioles) righthander Chris Tillman (5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) was solid but not dominant, though he is the youngest pitcher in Double-A. Bowie right fielder Nolan Reimold got on base via a walk, but his 12-game hitting streak came to an end as he went hitless in his other three plate appearances . . . Erie (Tigers) left fielder Wilkin Ramirez had his third straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with his third triple and a walk, bringing him up to .320/.368/.587 in 172 at-bats . . . Akron third baseman Wes Hodges reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with his eighth double and a walk, putting him at .289/.347/.497 in 149 at-bats . . . Travis Snider Strikeout Tracker: 63 in 43 games after the New Hampshire (Blue Jays) DH went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
What To Watch For Today
Akron lefthander David Huff leads the EL with a 2.14 ERA in 46 1/3 innings. He starts tonight at home against Altoona (Pirates).
The Texas League had the day off, but today should be a good one. Northwest Arkansas (Royals) righthander Daniel Cortes makes his second start since returning from the disabled list with a quad injury, while righthander Thomas Diamond, the Rangers’ 2004 first-round pick who missed all of 2007 after having Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch in 2008, is listed as Frisco’s probable starter.