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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Durham continues hot start

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A roster with plenty of prospects is off and running in 2017

Willy Adames is coming
Willy Adames is coming
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

It's important to not get caught up in small sample sizes, but I think it's worth noting that Nick Ciuffo has had a nice three games to start the season. He's batting 4-for-9 so far with a couple extra-base hits and just two strikeouts with two walks. It would be an interesting development for the Rays if his bat started coming along. Sometimes it takes a while to happen for young catchers. He certainly had two-way potential when the team made him a first-round pick in 2013.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (3-0)

Durham continued to hammer Gwinnett pitching in an 11-4 win Saturday. The Bulls actually trailed 3-2 through five innings, but they broke through with a five-run sixth that was heavily aided by a comedy of Gwinnett errors. In his Triple-A debut, Taylor Guerrieri struck out seven and allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Guerrieri only struck out seven-plus batters twice in 2016. Jake Bauers and Willy Adames each reached base three times.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (0-3)

Montgomery's offense continued to struggle in the early going with a 2-1 loss to Biloxi. The Biscuits had just three hits in the first seven innings before finally breaking through in the eighth when Nick Ciuffo led off with a triple and scored on Michael Russell's sacrifice fly. A half inning later, the Shuckers retook the lead. Starter Yonny Chirinos struck out five and allowed just a run on five hits in seven innings, and Fernando Baez was tagged with the loss despite striking out five and only allowing an unearned run in two innings, although it was his error to aid in the run scoring.

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (0-3)

Jake Fraley was a difference maker in his 2017 debut, but it wasn't enough in Charlotte's 7-6 loss to Bradenton. In the third, Fraley hit a three-run home run, and Dalton Kelly later followed with a two-run double to put the Stone Crabs up 5-1. That lead eventually evaporated, but Fraley's sacrifice fly in the ninth tied the game at six. Taylor Hawkins was summoned to pitch the game into extra innings, but a single and three walks provided the Marauders' winning run. Charlotte was able to knock out top Pirates prospect Mitch Keller early, but Jose Mujica was not much better with four runs charged to his line in 5 1/3 innings.

Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (2-1)

Robbie Tenerowicz's 11th-inning triple lifted Bowling Green to a 5-4 win over Fort Wayne Saturday. After the Hot Rods blew a 4-2 lead, Tenerowicz's three-base hit scored Rene Pinto to return the edge to Bowling Green, which held it for good. Jonah Heim's two-run double in the sixth gave Bowling Green a 3-1 lead, and Michael Brousseau's solo home run an inning later extended the lead to three runs. Peter Bayer was sharp in his first start of 2017, striking out seven and allowing just one run in five innings.

The preceding stories were not generated by the Associated Press computer using data from, and in cooperation with, MLBAM.

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Notable performances

Triple-A

OF Jake Bauers: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
SS Willy Adames: 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB
1B Casey Gillaspie: 1-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB

RHP Taylor Guerrieri: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
RHP Ryne Stanek: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Double-A

OF Justin Williams: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K
1B Joe McCarthy: 0-for-1, 1 K
C Nick Ciuffo: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
OF Cade Gotta: 0-for-4, 2 K

RHP Yonny Chirinos: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
RHP Fernando Baez: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 5 K

Class A-Advanced

OF Jake Fraley: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 K
C David Rodriguez: 0-for-4, 2 K
OF Manny Sanchez: 0-for-4, 2 K
1B Dalton Kelly: 3-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
2B Brandon Lowe: 2-for-2, 2 R, 2 BB

RHP Jose Mujica: 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
RHP Michael Santos: 2 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
RHP Taylor Hawkins: two-thirds IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

Class-A

OF Garrett Whitley: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 SB
CF Jesus Sanchez: 1-for-5
SS Miles Mastrobuoni: 2-for-5, 1 BB, 1 K
OF Eleardo Cabrera: 1-for-6, 1 K
2B Michael Brousseau: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
1B Nathaniel Lowe: 2-for-3, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB
C Jonah Heim: 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K

RHP Peter Bayer: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
LHP Porter Clayton: 2 1/3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K

Today's games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham @ Gwinnett 1:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, -.--) v. Lucas Sims (0-0, -.--)

Montgomery v. Biloxi 3:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Greg Harris (0-0, -.--) v. Luis Ortiz (0-0, -.--)

Charlotte @ Bradenton 1 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Michael Velasquez (0-0, -.--) v. Taylor Hearn (0-0, -.--)

Bowling Green @ Fort Wayne 3:05 PM (radio stream)
Travis Ott (0-0, -.--) v. Jerry Keel (0-0, -.--)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Gwinnett Braves
0-3 (T-3rd in IL South)
Offense: Will update after first series
Pitching: Will update after first series
Top 30 Prospects: 2B Ozzie Albies (2), LHP Sean Newcomb (8), RHP Lucas Sims (14), 3B Rio Ruiz (20), RHP Luke Jackson (28), OF Adam Walker

Biloxi Shuckers (Milwaukee)
3-0 (1st in SL South)
Offense: Will update after first series
Pitching: Will update after first series
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Luis Ortiz (3), SS Mauricio Dubon (11), C Jacob Nottingham (14), RHP Jorge Lopez (15), OF Michael Reed (30)

Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh)
3-0 (1st in FSL South)
Offense: Will update after first series
Pitching: Will update after first series
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Mitch Keller (2), 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (6), SS Cole Tucker (8), 3B Will Craig (9), RHP Gage Hinsz (12), LHP Taylor Hearn (20)

Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego)
1-2 (T-5th in MWL East)
Offense: Will update after first series
Pitching: Will update after first series
Top 30 Prospects: OF Jorge Ona (12), 3B Hudson Potts (14), SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (17), LHP Logan Allen (19)