AA Dish: Fowler Shows Power And Speed

As we did last year, we’ll look around the minors every weekday with BAPR Plus, a supplement to the Baseball America Prospect Report, which is available by e-mail every weekday.

Dexter Fowler flashed his diverse set of tools, Elvis Andrus came through in a clutch situation, Matt Torra built upon his second-half success from a year ago, Austin Jackson got his hitting on track and Cameron Maybin continued to collect hits for his new organization in yesterday’s Double-A action.

Eastern League

Austin Jackson got his bat going as Trenton’s (Yankees) DH, as the Thunder won 13-7 at Binghamton (Mets). Jackson went 2-for-4 with a double and two walks, scoring runs in three of his four times on base. Trenton right fielder Jose Tabata had less success, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout. Third baseman Danny Murphy, the No. 11 prospect in the Mets system, had a great day at the plate (2-for-4 with two doubles and a stolen base) and a poor day in the field (two throwing errors). Fernando Martinez, playing center field and hitting leadoff for Binghamton, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout, while second baseman Emmanuel Garcia went 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

Akron (Indians) outlasted Harrisburg (Nationals) in a 13-11 victory on the road. Akron third baseman Wes Hodges went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and three runs scored, while DH Matt Whitney went 2-for-5 with a home run. Shortstop Josh Rodriguez struggled, however, going 0-for-5 with a walk out of the two hole. For Harrisburg, leadoff hitter Mike Daniel reached base in all five of his trips to the plate. The 23-year-old left fielder went 4-for-4 with a walk, a double and a stolen base. Right fielder Justin Maxwell, hitting cleanup, went 0-for-3 with a strikeout but drew two walks and scored a pair of runs, while blast-from-the-past Yurendell de Caster went 4-for-5 with a homer and two doubles.

Blue Jays lefthander Ricky Romero made his first appearance of 2008, although it didn’t last long. Romero lasted 3 2/3 innings, and though he struck out five batters he also walked three and gave up four runs (three earned) for New Hampshire, which lost 4-2 at Connecticut (Giants). Connecticut second baseman Travis Denker went 0-for-1 and drew three walks, but he also nearly gave away as many free bases by committing two throwing errors.

Eerie (Tigers) left fielder Wilkin Ramirez homered in his 2-for-5 performance (with two strikeouts and a caught stealing) as the SeaWolves blanked Bowie (Orioles) 5-0. Orioles right fielder Nolan Reimold went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.

Altoona (Pirates) rallied for two runs in the eighth inning to beat Reading (Phillies) 3-2 at home. Pirates right fielder Brad Corley went 3-for-4 with a double. For Reading, shortstop Jason Donald went 1-for-5 with a strikeout, while center fielder Greg Golson went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Red Sox lefthander Kris Johnson went 4 1/3 innings and finished with two runs allowed, three strikeouts and a walk as Portland won 6-3 at New Britain (Twins).
Southern League
Diamondbacks righthander Matt Torra picked up right where he left off in the second half last season. The 31st overall pick in 2005 went six scoreless innings with no walks and five strikeouts, and he even picked a runner off first base in Mobile’s 5-0 win at home over Carolina (Marlins). Even though his team was shut out, Carolina center fielder Cameron Maybin did his part by going 2-for-3 with a walk and an outfield assist. Marlins lefty Aaron Thompson walked three batters in five innings, but he only allowed one run and struck out three, generally keeping the ball on the ground (seven groundouts, four flyouts).

Rays lefthander James Houser, in his first game since getting around having to serve his entire suspension for amphetamines, went five innings with five strikeouts, no walks, two hits and just one unearned run. Montgomery’s defense didn’t help Houser though by committing three errors, leading to three unearned runs against Houser, as Chattanooga (Reds) won 8-4 on the road. Reds righthander Josh Roenicke walked one and allowed one run in an inning of relief.

In the second game of the Chattanooga-Montgomery double-header, Montgomery catcher John Jaso went 2-for-4 with a solo home run to help the Biscuits to a 10-1 victory. Montgomery righthander Wade Townsend tossed one inning of relief, giving up one run on a homer in his brief work.

Huntsville’s (Brewers) run in the second inning was all the Stars needed to beat Mississippi (Braves) 1-0. Brewers third baseman Mat Gamel had a ncie day at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a double, two walks and a caught stealing. Huntsville left fielder Matt LaPorta went 1-for-4, while shortstop Alcides Escobar went hitless in four at-bats. Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.

Lefthander Donald Veal had a typical Donald Veal outing for Tennessee (Cubs), walking four batters in four innings with six strikeouts, finishing with two runs allowed (one earned) in the Smokies’ 5-2 victory at Birmingham (White Sox). Tennessee DH Tyler Colvin went 1-for-5 with an RBI.

West Tenn (Mariners) tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh but it wasn’t enough as the Diamond Jaxx fell 4-3 at Jacksonville (Dodgers) in seven innings. Third baseman Russ Mitchell’s 2-for-2 performance with two home runs powered the Diamond Jaxx, while shortstop Ivan DeJesus went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. Lefty Justin Thomas, the No. 25 prospect in the Mariners organization, struck out six, walked one and allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Mariners center fielder Mike Saunders drew two walks, stole a base and went 0-for-2 from the leadoff spot.

In the second game of the West-Tenn-Jacksonville doubleheader, DeJesus went 2-for-3 with a double and scored a run to help the Suns to a 2-1 victory.
Texas League
Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler showcased his power and his speed in Tulsa’s 7-2 victory at San Antonio (Padres). Fowler went 3-for-5 with two triples and three RBIs. Rockies shortstop Chris Nelson continued to make positive contributions on offense (2-for-5 with a stolen base), but a throwing error in the game was his fourth error of the season. For the Padres, left fielder Chad Huffman did all he could, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Lefthander Steve Garrison, the fourth-ranked pitcher in the organization, went five innings and allowed three runs on no walks and four strikeouts in his first start of the year. First baseman Kyle Blanks had a rough night, finishing 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus’ triple to right-center field with two outs in the top of the ninth propelled Frisco to a 5-3 victory over Arkansas (Angels) 5-3. The victory kept Frisco undefeated at 4-0, while it dropped the Travelers to 0-4. Andrus finished 2-for-5, first baseman Chris Davis went 1-for-4 with a double, DH Taylor Teagarden went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, and catcher Max Ramirez went 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.

Corpus Christi (Astros) defeated Northwest Arkansas (Royals) 6-1. Royals righthander Daniel Cortes walked three in 4 1/3 innings, but he only allowed one run and struck out four. Astros center fielder Eli Iorg went 1-for-2 with a triple, two walks and one caught stealing. Right fielder Mitch Einertson went 1-for-4 with a double.
Righthander Adam Ottavino struggled mightily for Springfield (Cardinals), which beat Midland (Athletics) 7-4. The Rock Hounds put up four runs in 3 2/3 innings against Ottavino, who walked four, struck out five and allowed one home run. Athletics shortstop Cliff Pennington went a modest 1-for-2 with four walks, although his teammates never drove him in to score any runs. Second baseman Justin Sellers went 2-for-5.  For the Cardinals, leadoff hitter Jon Jay went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, while second baseman Jose Martinez went hitless in five at-bats.