BAPR Plus: May 16

Justin Upton’s hot hitting continued with a two home run game and Neil Walker is finding that giving up catching has helped his bat.

Kevin Slowey actually walked a batter on Tuesday–his third of the season, but he still pitched well enough to improve to 4-2, 1.46 as he allowed one run in seven innings.

Bryan Bullington has one of his worst starts of the season, but still improved to 6-1.

There’s nothing in Jorge De Paula’s past that would foreshadow what he’s doing now, but the righthander has turned in to Colorado Springs’ ace. De Paula allowed one run in six innings to improve to 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA. DePaula was originally signed by the Rockies in 1997, but was traded to the Yankees in 2001. He returned to the Rockies as a free agent this offseason, and has blossomed in his first exposure to the altitude at Colorado Springs–he’s holding hitters to a .161 average.

Brett Carroll has loved his promotion to Triple-A. The right fielder hit his fourth home run in seven games with Triple-A Albuquerque as the Isotopes topped Tacoma. Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentin homered in the loss for Tacoma.

Joe Mays threw his final game with the Las Vegas 51s on Tuesday. Mays had an escape clause in his contract if the Dodgers had not promoted him to the majors by yesterday. He exercised it and was released, so he’s now a free agent. In Tuesday’s game Delwyn Young went 4-for-4 with three doubles and James Loney added a pair of doubles.

Oklahoma’s Alfredo Simon was asked to wear it on Tuesday. The righthander stuck around long enough to give up 12 earned runs and 14 hits, raising his ERA to 7.83.


Neil Walker went 4-for-4 with a home run and a double. And after the game, he told the Altoona Mirror that he can noticed a difference in his hitting now that he doesn’t have to catch.

“The one thing I’™ve noticed from years past, when catching, I’™d hit balls and they’™d be off the wall, caught at the warning track, bounce at the warning track,’™’™ Walker said. ‘˜’˜This year, the five home runs that I have, they haven’™t been bombs, but they have kind of snuck out. You wonder if it would be any different if I was catching.’™’™

Rogearvin Bernadina’s 4-for-6 night included two doubles and three RBIs as he helped Harrisburg beat New Britain.

Trevor Crowe, Asdrubal Cabrera and Brian Barton all homered as Akron beat Bowie.

Tennessee’s Jake Fox went 4-for-4 with his sixth home run of the season to lead the Smokies past Chattanooga.

If he keeps this up, Justin Upton might make Mobile just a brief layover on his ascent to the majors. Upton homered twice on Tuesday night in his second game in Double-A. Add in his home run on Monday and Upton now has a 1.625 slugging percentage in eight at-bats with the BayBears. As you would imagine, Upton was a pretty happy man on Tuesday night, as he explained to the Mobile Press-Register.

“I don’t know (what’s going on),” said Upton, a big smile running across his face. “I’m just up there trying to get myself comfortable. … (Butler) told me when I got here that he wanted me to get comfortable and relax. He told me he was going to put me in the six (spot in the batting order). It seems to be working.”

James Houser held West Tenn to two hits in 6 1/3 innings as Mongtomery shut out the Diamond Jaxx.

Dan Smith lowered his ERA to 1.97 with seven shutout innings and Brent Lillibridge had three hits including a triple to lead Mississippi to its ninth win over Birmingham this season.

Edinson Volquez’ work to get back to the majors took a step forward with his promotion to Double-A Frisco. Volquez’ command was still a problem. He walked five in five innings but picked up the win as he allowed two runs.

Greg Reynolds has been one of the minors most consistent starters this season. Reynolds still has lasted at least five innings in every start and hasn’t allowed more than two runs in an outing this season. He was better than that last night–he gave up one run in 7 2/3 innings to lower his ERA to 1.58.

High Class A
Daniel Carte homered and drove in four in Modesto’s win over San Jose.

Ian Desmond homered and stole a base and Garrett Mock combined with three relievers on a shutout as Potomac beat Myrtle Beach.

Paulo Orlando saved David Cook. In the 10th inning, Rod Allen’s double should have been enough to score Cook with the winning run, but Cook fell down rounding third base. Orlando made the mistake meaningless by singling in Cook. Aaron Cunningham homered for Winston-Salem.

Vero Beach’s Jacob McGee and two relievers shut out Daytona.

Yovandy Suero has never been much of a hitter, but he’s also been able to run. Suero stole four more bases on Tuesday giving him 28 for the season to take over the minor league lead from Brian Bocock. Maybe more importantly Suero, 24, is showing some hitting ability this season as well–he’s now hitting .302/.402/.313, well above his .252/.312/.317 career stats in five previous minor league seasons.

Mark Hamilton had three hits including two doubles to pace Palm Beach’s 4-3 win over St. Lucie.

Oswaldo Sosa pitched six shutout innings in Fort Myers win over Clearwater. Clearwater starter Carlos Carrasco left after facing only three batters, but there is no explanation yet as to what lef to his early exit.

Ian Kennedy struck out 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings for yet another outstanding start. Kennedy (4-1, 1.43) has not allowed more than one run in seven of his eight starts this season.

Low Class A

Chris Valaika homered twice, Justin Turner homered as well as Dayton finished off a sweep of Fort Wayne.

Brett Anderson continues to roll along. Less than a year out of high school, the lefthander has had no trouble handling the jump to the Midwest League. Anderson struck out eight while allowing three hits and one run in seven innings on Tuesday. Anderson’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is a quite impressive 58-to-6 in 48 innings.

Carl Henry and Adrian Cardenas homered for Lakewood, but Kyle Drabek gave up three home runs as Lake County beat Lakewood.

One of the better pitching matchups of the week took place in Columbus last night. Jeremy Hellickson (5 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 2 BBs, 10 Ks) got the better of Tommy Hanson (6 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks), but the Braves rallied against the Catfish bullpen for the win.

Graham Taylor threw his first shutout since his days at Miami to lead Greensboro past West Virginia.