BAPR Plus: July 17

Collin Balester and Clay Buchholz both had brief appearances in their Triple-A debuts, while Adam Boeve found that he’s headed to Triple-A, but not before he finished his stay in Altoona in style.

Justin Christian was struggling to a season to forget at Double-A Trenton. But despite a .235 batting average, the Yankees promoted Christian to Triple-A Scranton in June. It’s made all the difference in the world as Christian has hit .340/.380/.489 with 11 steals in 11 attempts in 21 games. Christian had two hits including a home run and stole a base as Scranton beat Indianapolis 8-5 on Monday. The Yankees won despite a rough start for Tyler Clippard who gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Clay Buchholz’ Triple-A debut didn’t go exactly as he had hoped. Buchholz showed off a 95 mph fastball and a knee-buckling curveball, but he struggled to keep the ball down. Randy Ruiz hit a mammoth home run to drive in two runs in a three-run second. Buchholz was held to a 50-pitch limit which explains his line of three innings, three runs (two earned) and four strikeouts.

Colin Balester also made his Triple-A debut last night. Balester had a little bit longer leash, but he burned through 77 pitches in three innings before leaving the game. Balester struggled with his control as he gave up four walks but he danced around the trouble to allow only one run. Balester’s control problems seem to be a case of nerves in his first start with Columbus, as the Columbus Dispatch explained.

“You could see the stuff was there. He just couldn’t settle down and find the strike zone,” manager John Stearns said. “I thought he was getting the ball and throwing it too quickly between pitches. I’m normally a fast-tempo guy, but he was really wired out there on the mound.”

Danny Richar and Aaron Cunningham were swapped for each other last month, and the change of scenery seems to have been good for both of them. Cunningham has flourished in high Class A, while Richar is now hitting .358/.413/.568 in 23 games with Charlotte. Richar had four hits in Charlotte’s easy win over Buffalo.

Scott Moore hit his fourth home run in the past three games to help send Round Rock’s Troy Patton to the showers early. Patton, the Astros’ top pitching prospect, allowed nine runs in five innings in his second Triple-A start. Brooks Conrad hit a pair of home runs
for Round Rock, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Tyler Lumsden was even worse than Patton. The Royals pitching prospect gave up seven runs (six earned) in only 1 1/3 innings.

Andy LaRoche and John Lindsey each hit a pair of home runs as Las Vegas beat Portland. Portland lost despite hitting a pair of grand slams.

Michael Devaney allowed only one hit in six innings as he handcuff Trenton in Binghamton’s 3-1 win.

Adam Boeve had a moment that seemed right out of a movie on Monday night. The Altoona outfielder homered in the fourth inning. Then when he got ready to bat in the eighth, Altoona manager Tim Lieper called him over and told him that he was being promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis so this was his last Altoona at-bat. He walked up to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw for his second home run of the night. Recent Double-A callup Jason Delaney had a two home run night for Altoona as well.

Nick Hundley hit two of San Antonio’s five home runs in an easy win over Frisco. Will Venable, Matt Antonelli and Chase Headley also homered for San Antonio. John Mayberry did hit his second home run in two days for Frisco.

High Class A

Sarasota’s Danny Dorn homered and doubled twice to ruin Jeff Samardzija’s start. Samardzija gave up five runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings.

Chris Cody picked up his second win in three starts since being traded to the Brewers. Cody allowed two hits in six scoreless innings.

Chris Marrero hit his fourth home run with Potomac to lead the Nationals over Kinston.

As a 26-year-old in the California League, Brad Correll can be expected to star. But the former independent leaguer has produced beyond expectations. Correll’s four home run game may have introduced him to Red Sox fans, but he’s kept up the production since. Correll hit his 10th home run in 14 games with Lancaster to help the JetHawks beat Rancho Cucamonga.

As mentioned earlier the Danny RicharAaron Cunningham trade has worked out well for both teams. Cunningham is hitting .372/.386/.590 for high Class A Visalia, and he hit his second home run with the Oaks on Monday night. Chris Davis extended his hitting streak to 34 games for Bakersfield. With a hit tonight he would tie Brent Gates‘ California League record.

Low Class A

Sean O’Sullivan has had a great July. Sullivan threw eight scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out eight as Cedar Rapids blanked Fort Wayne 12-0. Sullivan is 2-0, 0.39 in three July starts and he has not allowed a run in his last two starts.

Kasey Kiker was ejected after buzzing Dennis Phipps with a pitch in the second inning, but Clinton’s bullpen pulled together to beat Dayton.

Kyle Cofield held Columbus to one hit in seven innings, but the Rome bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as the Catfish rallied to beat the Braves 3-2. Will Kline, the Devil Rays second-round pick, threw a scoreless inning in his pro debut.

Pedro Beato threw six decent innings, but Delmarva gave him plenty of run support to help Beato pick up his fifth win.

Christian Vitters hit his second home run in two nights but South Bend beat Kane County 4-2.

Short-Season/Rookie Leagues

It’s baby steps, but Jason Neighborghall has pitched scoreless innings in each of his last two outings. Neigborghall allowed one walk in an inning last night as he kept his vaunted command problems under control.

Jeff Hehr had five hits in six at-bats as Mahoning Valley beat Tri-City 16-4. Hehr was the Indians’ 20th-round pick this year out of Eastern Michigan. He’s now hitting .381 in 13 games.

Emeel Saleem went 5-for-6 with two doubles and a triple and stole his 16th base in 18 attempts. Saleem’s big day helped hand Drew Naylor his second straight bad start. Naylor gave up seven runs in 6 1/3 innings as Hudson Valley won easily 13-1.

Oswaldo Martinez, an 18-year-old righthander out of the Dominican Republic, threw four hitless innings in the AZL Cubs 8-7 loss to the Brewers. Martinez now has 22 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings.

Jeff Locke, the Braves 2006 second-round pick, threw five scoreless innings as the Braves shutout Elizabethton 2-0.
Matt Latos struck out four batters in 1 2/3 innings for Eugene.