Today’s Roundup includes Mark Appel’s best start as a pro, a bounceback from Jose Berrios and a speed skater slicing his way through low Class A.
|MINOR LEAGUE HOME RUN RACE
Pro For Protest
A protest filed by manager Jack McDowell of Rookie-level Ogden has been upheld by the Pioneer League, meaning a game against Grand Junction will be restarted from where it was called off--in the 7th inning, with Odgen ahead, 4-2.
On Tuesday night, McDowell, telling umpires the soggy field had become unplayable, refused to put his team back on the field.
The umpires disagreed, and when McDowell would not relent, the umpires declared a forfeit in favor of Grand Junction. The game will be replayed Wednesday prior to the night’s regularly scheduled contest.
International League • AAA
Maikel Franco, 3b, Phillies (Lehigh Valley). Franco muddled through the first half only to see a late spurt give his numbers a boost. For the second year in a row, the 22-year-old homered on his birthday, a grand slam no less, in a 5-4 win against Syracuse. The homer was his 16th and it was his fifth in the past 10 games, perfect timing for a September callup.
Christian Bethancourt, c, Gwinnett (Braves). While the pitching duel between top lefthanders Henry Owens (Pawtucket) and Daniel Norris (Buffalo) fizzled, Bethancourt lived up to his billing. The 22-year-old, who spent 13 games with Atlanta in June, returned from a left hand contusion Tuesday and had three hits, including his eighth homer, in a 7-1 win against Durham and Nathan Karns. A defense-first receiver, Bethancourt has shown more power the past two seasons, a positive development for him and the Braves.
Pacific Coast League • AAA
Alex Guerrero, 2b, Albuquerque (Dodgers). Guerrero has fallen off after posting an 1.152 OPS in the first half, but he slugged two homers Tuesday night, giving him 14 for the Isotopes in just 231 at-bats. He seems assured of a Sept. 1 callup, and several PCL managers have praised his bat-to-ball approach and surprising pop. But his defense remains in question, with one scout calling his movements at second base stiff and mechanical.
Eastern League • AA
Jose Berrios, rhp, New Britain (Twins). Berrios delivered six strong innings Tuesday (four hits, one run, two walks, four strikeouts) in a 5-1 win against Binghamton, a solid bounceback from a lackluster outing on Aug. 21 against Richmond. The youngest player in the EL at 20 years and eight days, Berrios has touched 97 mph this season and pairs that blistering pitch with a plus change and developing curve. He has gone 3-4, 3.54 at Double-A after wreaking havoc upon the Florida State League.
Southern League • AA
Tim Anderson, ss, Birmingham (White Sox). Anderson, who reached Double-A after just 141 pro games, bashed his first homer at the level Tuesday night for the Barons’ only run in a 6-1 loss to Mississippi. The 2013 first-rounder hit .297/.323/.472 at high Class A Winston-Salem and is now 10-for-22 in his first five games at Birmingham.
Texas League • AA
Mark Appel, rhp, Corpus Christi (Astros). In what was the best start of his pro career for the 2013 No. 1 overall pick, Appel fired two-hit ball over eight scoreless innings Tuesday night, striking out 10 to outduel Jake Thompson in a 1-0 win against Frisco. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Appel has been more efficient with each start since his bump from a disastrous stay at high Class A Lancaster. He struck out Jorge Alfaro three times and Joey Gallo once among his 10 whiffs, needing just 88 pitches to navigate a Frisco lineup that also included Nick Williams. The win was his first at Corpus Christi and lowered his ERA to 3.15 in six starts.
Carolina League • Hi A
Miguel Almonte, rhp, Wilmington (Royals). The 21-year-old Dominican was limited to four innings and 60 pitches, perhaps in preparation for his Arizona Fall League stint, but he looked dominant nonetheless, allowing only one hit and striking out seven against Potomac. Almonte has logged 105 innings and it’s clear the Royals would like to save some of those bullets for the Peoria Javelinas of the AFL.
Florida State League • Hi A
Tyrell Jenkins, rhp, Palm Beach (Cardinals). Jenkins, officially assigned to the Arizona Fall League, continued his sharp return from shoulder surgery, hurling six, one-run innings in a 2-1 win against Jupiter. He made his season debut on June 17, 10 months after surgery to patch the latissimus muscle in his right shoulder. At his best, Jenkins showcases a 93-96 mph fastball with a curve still in need of refinement.
California League • Hi A
Tyler White, 1b, Lancaster (Astros). White has been overlooked on a team with Rio Ruiz, Danry Vasquez, Brett Phillips and Lance McCullers Jr., not to mention the injured Carlos Correa, but on Tuesday night the former Western Carolina star ripped two homers and knocked in six runs as part of a 4-for-5 night in a 12-5 win at High Desert. White, 23, is slashing .293/.405/.499 across two levels with 14 homers.
South Atlantic League • Lo A
Eddy Alvarez, ss, Kannapolis (White Sox). The Olympic speed skater-turned-minor league shortstop clubbed his third homer since his promotion and fifth overall and went 2-for-4 Tuesday in the Intimidators’ 5-4 win against Rome. Alvarez, who had last played junior-college ball in 2011 before signing with the White Sox in June, won a silver medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in the 500-meter relay. He’s not a scouting darling--one evaluator said his only tool is makeup--but the 5-foot-9, 175-pound Alvarez is hitting up a storm, slashing .469/.519/.735 at Kannapolis and .346/.435/.509 overall at two levels.
Midwest League • Lo A
Rob Kaminsky, lhp, Peoria (Cardinals). The 2013 first-rounder out of high school in New Jersey, Kaminsky is showing he was worth the $1.785 million to buy him out of a North Carolina commitment. The lefthander twirled six scoreless innings Tuesday night to beat Clinton 7-0 and improve to 8-2, 1.69 in his first try at full-season ball. His WHIP is 1.00 and he’s walking fewer than three per nine.