BAPR Plus: May 17

If you follow prospects at all you know that Justin Upton is on an amazing hot streak, but Heath Rollins amazing first full pro season, which includes a 38-inning stretch without giving up an earned run, might have gone unnoticed. Today’s BAPR Plus tries to rectify that oversight a little bit.


Jason Hammel is living proof that bad records happen to good pitchers. Hammel lost his fifth straight decision on Wednesday to drop to 1-5, which makes it sound like he’s been pretty brutal. The reality is that his teammates have been brutal for him. He picked up no decisions in his first two starts, as Durham lost 2-1 both times despite the fact that Hammel left one game with a no-hitter and another after giving up one run in five innings. Things have gotten worse since, the Bulls were shut out in four straight Hammel starts coming into last night. They finally scored him some runs against Pawtucket, but Hammel had his worst outing of the season in a 7-4 loss. Chad Spann and Kevin Cash homered for the PawSox.

Rehabbing Jim Thome had a bases-clearing double and Josh Fields homered to help Charlotte beat Columbus.


Fernando Martinez keeps showing up his elders. The 18-year-old homered and doubled as part of a three-hit night as Binghamton beat Connecticut.

Javon Moran is on an impressive hot streak. Moran hit a 425-foot home run as part of a three-hit night as he raised his season stats to .329/.382/.434. Over the last 10 games he’s hitting .425 with six stolen bases. While Moran’s home run was impressive, Mike Costanzo hit a reported 450-footer later in the game as Reading beat New Hampshire.

It wasn’t the most exciting way to win in extra innings, but Erie will take it. The SeaWolves’ Mark Hollimon scored on a passed ball to beat Trenton in the 10th. Brett Smith had carried a no-hitter into the fifth for Trenton, but he was not involved in the eventual decision despite allowing only one hit and one run over eight innings.

Jake Fox has largely put away his catching gear–he’s caught only six times in 35 games this season, but he has continued to hit. The Cubs’ prospect hit two home runs in a three-hit night for Tennessee. Fox is now 11 for his last 16 (.686) with four home runs over his last four games. Fox’s heroics proved the difference in a pitcher’s duel that didn’t live up to expectations. Sean Gallagher gave up four runs in six innings while Carlos Fisher gave up five runs (three earned) in six innings.

There might be a touch of bad blood between Mississippi and Birmingham after the Barons’ 6-4 win on Wednesday. Robert Valido flipped Mississippi shortstop Brent Lillibridge to break up a double play in the sixth inning which later paid off in a run scored. Afterwards, Mississippi manager Philip Wellman asked Birmingham manager Rafael Santana about the incident, as the Birmingham News explained.

“Wellman asked me if I ever got taken out like that and I said, `No,’cause I would have seen it coming,'” said Santana, a longtime major league shortstop.

Justin Upton’s amazing stretch with Mobile continued with another home run yesterday afternoon in a rain-shortened game. Upton is now 5-for-10 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in three games with the BayBears.

Kevin Ool outdueled Nick Adenhart as the Arkansas starter struggled a little, giving up three runs (two earned) in five innings. The Springfield paper has a feature on converted catcher Jason Motte who is trying to kick-start his career by moving to the mound.

High Class A
Brandon Hynick returned to form on Wednesday, throwing seven shutout innings in Modesto’s 5-0 win over San Jose. It was the sixth time in eight starts that Hynick has not allowed a run, as he lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.68.

Bakersfield pitchers couldn’t find the strike zone yesterday, which helped make life easy for Lancaster. Blaze pitchers walked 14 batters, including Jose Marte’s horrific three-hit, four-walk, five-run outing that saw him leave without recording an out. Bubba Bell and Taylor Teagarden both homered for the second consecutive game. Teagarden has now homered four times in his last five games.

Inland Empire’s James McDonald and Kyle Wilson combined to shut out Stockton.

Jake Stevens made an early exit as he was battered for seven runs in two innings in Myrtle Beach’s 12-0 loss to Potomac.

Chris Jimenez hit three home runs as Kinston handed Brandon Erbe the worst outing of his career. Erbe gave up 12 runs on 11 hits in three innings to see his ERA leap from 2.78 to 5.35.

His stuff may be outstanding, but Jeff Samardzija’s results have been less than impressive. He’s proven extremely hittable in the pitcher-happy Florida State League. Samardzija gave up nine hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings on Wednesday as he was outdueled by Wade Davis on Wednesday. For the season, Samardizja’s numbers are absolutely puzzling for a guy with a mid-90s fastball and an adequate changeup and slider. He’s only struck out 17 batters in 40 innings while giving up 53 hits as opponents are hitting .327 against him.

Jay Bruce doubled and tripled but Michael Hernandez homered and had three hits as Lakeland beat Sarasota.

Low Class A

Heading into last year’s draft, there was a lot of questions whether Heath Rollins would be a center fielder or a starting pitcher. The Devil Rays opted to make him a pitcher, and it’s working out outstandingly well. The 2006 11th-rounder lowered his ERA to 1.12 as he struck out nine over six shutout innings. Rollins now has a streak of 38 innings (six starts) without giving up an earned run.
Jeff Manship struck out eight in 7 2/3 shutout innings to help Beloit beat Peoria.

Max Sapp’s four-hit night wasn’t enough for Lexington in a 6-2 loss to Kannapolis.

Chris Coughlan homered twice as part of a four-hit game for Greensboro, but Taylor Green’s three-hit, five RBI night led West Virginia past the Grasshoppers for a 14-10 win.