See also: Weekend Dish
See also: Baseball America Prospect Report
Though there was a report over the weekend that the Royals have no plans of calling up Double-A sluggers Alex Gordon and Billy Butler when the rosters expand in September, that certainly did little to faze the two hitters as they continued their red-hot August.
The pair combined to go 11-for-28 (.392) in a four-game series at Corpus Christi, and Gordon connected for two homers in Sunday’™s 8-6 Wranglers’™ win.
“I was trying to go with the wind,” Gordon told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “If you get a ball up in the air here, it’s going to fly. That’s the approach I took at the plate.”
Gordon was Wichita’™s biggest bat the entire weekend, scoring six runs and driving in six with three doubles and three homers.
In his two-homer game Sunday, Gordon went deep in the first inning, then again in the seventh in what Hooks team officials said was arguably the longest home run hit in Whataburger Field’™s two-year history.
“When you can hit them that hard and that far, you can go through anything,” Hooks manager Dave Clark told the paper. “He could hit stuff through a tornado and he did. He absolutely crushed those balls.”
While he was having a solid season heading into this month, Gordon certainly turned it on recently, hitting .358 with 14 homers since July 1st. Those numbers have pushed the 22-year-old into the 20-20 club, and the 2005 first-rounder is hitting .319/.419/.567 in 411 at-bats overall.
Butler, the Royals’™ first-round pick in 2004, has also been rolling’"but strangely without the power numbers. Since June, Butler is hitting .362, upping his totals to .327/.385/.494 overall.
Twice As Nice
Four pitchers, including one prospect on a rapid rise, combined for a pair of no-hitters Sunday in the low minors.
Phillies righthanders Carlos Carrasco and Andy Barb combined for the first nine-inning no-hitter in low Class A Lakewood history, while Red Sox lefthanders Jeff Farrell and Yulkin German combined for the first no-hitter in short-season Lowell history.
Carrasco, a 19-year-old Dominican, is the best prospect of the bunch. He allowed one run on five walks while striking out nine over seven innings against Lexington before handing off to Barb, who didn’t realize that his 18th save of the season would be his most special.
“I didn’t know Carlos hadn’t given up a hit. I just knew we were up by a run and I had to bear down,” Barb told Gannett News Services.
The 21-year-old Barb, a draft and follow out of Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College in 2003, struck out three over two perfect innings to secure the no-hitter.
Carrasco must have been determined not to let the no-hitter get away. In his last start against Asheville, Carrasco was perfect for seven innings before allowing two earned runs in the eighth to take the loss. This time, with a little help from Barb, he held on to improve to 9-6, 2.25 with 143 strikeouts and 57 walks in 140 innings this season. Carrasco is holding South Atlantic League batters to a .177 average.
Lowell’s lefties, meanwhile, took advantage of a perfect pitcher’s day at Hudson Valley. Farrell, a nondrafted free agent out of Southern Connecticut State, allowed a walk and struck out two over five innings, and German struck out four without issuing a walk over the final four frames.
“Not to take anything away from the pitchers, but it was a really tough hitting day,” Lowell manager Bruce Crabbe said. “It was very bright out, the glare was very bad from the wall in center field where there were a couple of white billboards where the ball was coming out of. Both pitchers were lefthanded–it was a real tough day.”
Crabbe said there were only two or three well-hit balls all day for either team (the Spinners managed just two runs on four hits themselves). But he said Farrell and German did a nice job mixing speeds and locations.
German, a 22-year-old Dominican who spent the last three years in rookie ball, picked up the win to improve to 4-1, 1.56 on the season. He is old for the New York-Penn League, and his mid-80s fastball is not overpowering, but he has made progress with his offspeed stuff this year.
“Coming into this year his priority was to work on his command,” Crabbe said. “He’s been solid for me from day one, among the league leaders in ERA and innings pitched–one of best lefthanded pitchers in the league. He has an outstanding changeup, a good curveball, and he’s effective to both lefties and righties.”
• Tim Battle had a weekend to remember. The Charleston right fielder threw out a runner at the plate in the ninth inning on Saturday to set up a RiverDogs victory. On Sunday, he went 3-for-4 with three runs scored to lead Charleston to another victory. In August, Battle is hitting .375 with three doubles and three triples in 48 at-bats, as he tries to turn around what has been a disappointing season that’s included a demotion from high Class A back to the South Atlantic League. “I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the cage,” Battle told the Charleston Post-Courier. “I’ve been coming out here swinging and playing baseball the only way I know how and it worked for me. I am just trying to tough it out for the rest of the season.” For the season, Battle is batting .231/.289/.324.
• Mariners first baseman Bryan LaHair, 23, is building on his breakout 2005 season in the California League by excelling at both Double-A and Triple-A this year. Few batters have been hotter than the 6-foot-5 LaHair. He led the Pacific Coast League in the triple crown categories by going .583-6-14 last week, and he’™s hitting .325/.394/.515 overall for Triple-A Tacoma. The 39th-round pick hit .293/.371/.428 for Double-A San Antonio.
• With his fourth straight win last night, it appears Tyler Herron’™s rough orientation to the pros has abated. The Cardinals’™ first-round pick in 2005, Herron struggled to 0-3, 5.61 record for Rookie-level Johnson City in his debut before losing his first five decisions this year in a return engagement to the Appalachian League. Herron, 20, has shined in August, going 3-0, 0.46 with 17 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings with no home runs allowed. Last season he surrendered 11 bombs in 50 innings of work. Overall, the righthander is now 4-5, 3.66.
Contributing: Matt Eddy