The Week Ahead In The Minor Leagues (May 19-25)

Today’s look ahead features two prospect-packed rosters going at it in the Pacific Coast League, an intriguing series to take in on your computer, phone or tablet, and a nutty promotion in West Michigan.

What To Watch At The Park

Mike Foltynewicz (Photo by Tony Farlow).

Mike Foltynewicz (Photo by Tony Farlow).

Oklahoma City at Memphis (May 23-26): It’s like a Futures Game before the Futures Game. As you probably know, both these rosters are packed with future stars. The Redhawks’ roster is fronted by slugging first baseman Jonathan Singleton, who figures to be the next big name bumped to the Astros after outfielder George Springer got the call a few weeks back. He’s joined by outfielder Domingo Santana, who is at an .838 OPS as a 21-year-old in Triple-A. The pitching staff has fireballer Mike Foltynewicz, who might be a reliever in the long run but for now is using his high-octane heat out of the rotation.

On the other side, the Redbirds have the Outfield of Dreams, which features Oscar Taveras (a top-10 prospect in the game), as well as Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk. The trio is OPSing .837, .778 and 1.004, respectively, and Grichuk has already gotten a call to the big leagues for a nine-game cameo with the Cardinals.

Memphis also has Tim Cooney, a lefthander whom the Cardinals popped in the third round in 2012 out of Wake Forest. We rated him our No. 6 prospect in the system this year, and he makes his butter with a low-90s heater, a plus changeup and a mid-70s curveball. Series Of The Week

South Bend at West Michigan: The Silverhawks have won nine of their past 10 games, winning on Sunday with two runs in the bottom of the ninth. The Silverhawks have gotten plenty of production from the infield of Daniel Palka, Joe Munoz, Jamie Westbrook and Andrew Velazquez and surprisingly little production from outfielder Stryker Trahan, a converted catcher.

Unfortunately righthander Braden Shipley is not scheduled to pitch in this series.But there will be plenty of pitching for West Michigan with Austin Kubitza (5-0, 1.98), Kevin Ziomek (3-3, 1.64) and Jonathan Maciel (1-1, 3.41). West Michigan’s lineup isn’t as star studded, but outfielder Tyler Gibson, a big-money late-round signing in 2011, has hit .301/.414/.370 to put himself back on the prospect map.

Prime Promotions

As the song goes, one should purchase both peanuts and Cracker Jack at a ballgame. It’s puzzling that no drinks are recommended, but that’s a discussion for another day, or never. In any case, you may have adjust your plans on Monday and Tuesday if you’re planning on taking in a game at West Michigan, where the team has planned two peanut-free days, so as to better cater to those among us who are allergic to the shelled legumes. The security at Fifth Third Ballpark should be alert, however, for the peanut can be tricky. They’ve even been known to wear elaborate disguises to worm their way into our diets. A chart of the most common appearances is shown below:



The biggest question, however, will come during the seventh-inning stretch. When “Take Me About To The Ballgame” is sung, will the crowd be urged to amend the lyrics? If so, what will the audience be asked to purchase? Hot dogs and funnel cake (fits syllabically with the song)? Tofu and candied yams (also fits with the tune, but both items are unlikely to be found at any concession stand)? Tickets for Tuesday’s/Wednesday’s game (also fits into the lyrics, and would be a sly although slightly callous move by the PR department)?