Anthony Banda was impressive in a Durham Bulls victory. Brendan McKay walks three times. Josh Lowe continues strong offensive start to the season.
Triple-A Durham Bulls (3-3)
Anthony Banda led the Durham Bulls to a 5-2 victory over the Gwinnett Stripers. Banda’s thrown two good games. He allowed a solo homer as the only run in 5.1 innings of work. The big lefty struck out eight including number one prospect in the land Ronald Acuña Jr. twice while not issuing a walk. The Bulls surged to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third with three walks (Micah Johnson, Jake Bauers, and Justin Williams. The first run scored when Brandon Snyder reached on an error by the second baseman. The two other runs scored on wild pitches. The Bulls pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning after Johnson doubled and scored from second on a ground out to the first baseman by Bauers. After a Danny Santana homer cut the lead to 4-1 in the top of the fifth Joe McCarthy led off the bottom of the frame with a double down the first base line. Williams’ RBI single extended the lead to 5-1 Bulls. Carlos Franco homered off Hunter Wood to cut the lead to 5-2. Wood struck out the other four batters he faced including Acuña Jr. Ryne Stanek came on to pick up the save. He walked the lead off batter before inducing a double play ball by the next batter.
Prospect notes: Hunter Wood’s velocity has seen a sharp increase of about five MPH on the heater to start the season. He’s struck out 11 in 4.2 innings out of the bullpen. It’s good to see Justin Williams patience carry over from last season. I was hyper critical of his free swinging ways two winters ago. Much more likely to be an everyday guy with the improvements he’s made in plate discipline.
Josh Norris of Baseball America was in attendance and provided some highlight videos on Twitter. You really should be following the Baseball America guys on Twitter. Since their home base is in Durham, NC the amount of information you get on the Tampa Bay Rays AAA club is second to none.
Banda whiffed a pair in the first, including Acuña on this 94 mph heater. pic.twitter.com/aPKf1bHS8a— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 11, 2018
Banda picked Acuña apart again, finishing him this time with a swinging K. pic.twitter.com/kXl1UvUNMf— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 11, 2018
Jared Sandberg calls on Hunter Wood to get Acuña and it works. Acuña whiffs on three offspeed pitch, the last a hammer. pic.twitter.com/LztxJEUsfF— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) April 12, 2018
CF Micah Johnson: 1-for-3, 2B (1), 2 R, 1 K, 1 BB, SB (1)
1B Jake Bauers: 0-for-3, RBI, K, BB
SS Willy Adames: 0-for-3, K, BB
LF Joe McCarthy: 1-for-4, 2B (2), R, 2 K
DH Justin Williams: 1-for-2, RBI, 2 BB
LHP Anthony Banda (W, 2-0): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 0 BB, 1 HRA
LHP Jonny Venters: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 3 BB
RHP Hunter Wood: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB, 1 HRA
Ryne Stanek (S, 1): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 1 BB
Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (1-5)
The Montgomery Biscuits lost to the Birmingham Barons 5-2. Left hander Genesis Cabrera was on the bump for the Biscuits. Cabrera scattered three walks and two hits (one homer) and allowed a two runs shot as the only damage over five innings. He struck out six. The Biscuits offense was quiet for most of the evening. Andrew Velazquez, Nathan Lukes, and Dalton Kelly doubled for the only extra base hits. Nick Solak picked up two of the Biscuits five walks.
Prospect Notes: Nick Solak has looked very impressive at the plate in the small sample since coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Steven Souza Jr. trade. Good plate discipline skills. He’s played second, corner outfield, and was the designated hitter today. I as really pumped to see Brandon Lowe last year after getting promoted to Montgomery after tearing up the Florida State League where they don’t have any games on MiLB.tv. I still don’t think I’ve seen him look like a competent minor league batter in about 40 plate appearances in AA. He’s been swinging wildly leading to a massive strikeout rate and no walks. I don’t want to bury him based on some small sample and I know there has to be something in there to do what he did at Port Charlotte last year, but I’m still waiting to see any life.
CF Andrew Velazquez: 2-for-5, 2B (1), K
2B Brandon Lowe: 0-for-4, 2 K
DH Nick Solak: 0-for-2, 2 BB, SB (2)
C Brett Sullivan: 1-for-3, BB
1B Dalton Kelly: 2-for-3, 2B (2), 2 R, BB
LF Nathan Lukes: 2-for-3, 2B (1), RBI, BB
SS Jermaine Palacios: 0-for-4, 3 K
3B Jake Cronenworth: 0-for-4, K
RF Ryan Boldt: 0-for-4, 3 K
LHP Genesis Cabrera (L, 0-1): 5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 K, 3 BB, 1 HRA
RHP Ruben Alaniz: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 0 BB, 1 HBP
RHP Dalton Moats: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 HRA
RHP Jordan Harrison: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB
Class A-Advanced Port Charlotte Stone Crabs (2-5)
The Port Charlotte Stone Crabs dropped both games of a double header to the Daytona Tortugas.
The Stone Crabs lost a shootout in game one 11-8. The Lowe Brothers contributed most of the offense. Josh Lowe had a double and triple while picking up two RBI and scoring twice. His older brother Nathaniel Lowe had a double as part of a two hit effort with a RBI. The Stone Crabs offense tallied three triples (Josh Lowe, David Olmedo-Barrera, and Peter Maris). Lefty Brock Burke had a rough start. He only lasted 1.2 innings and allowed three runs on three hits and three walks. None of the Stone Crab pitchers had much success as all allowed at least two runs.
SS Lucius Fox: 2-for-5, 2 R, RBI, K
CF Josh Lowe: 2-for-5, 2B (2), 3B (1), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
LF Robbie Tenerowicz: 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI, BB
1B Nathaniel Lowe: 2-for-3, 2B (3), RBI, BB
DH Kevin Padlo: 1-for-3, R, K, BB
RF David Olmedo-Barrera: 1-for-4, 3B (2), R, K
3B Peter Maris: 2-for-3, 3B (1), R, RBI, BB
LHP Brock Burke: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 3 BB
RHP Deivy Mendez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 K, 2 BB
RHP Spencer Jones (L, 0-1): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 K, 0 BB
RHP Peter Bayer: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HRA
The offense got all the runs out of their system in game one as the Stone Crabs lost 2-0 in game two. Former USF Bull Brandon Lawson received the start in game two. He allowed two runs in 5.2 innings of work. Tristan Gray singled for the only hit of the game for the Stone Crabs. Josh Lowe and Kevin Padlo picked up a walk a piece.
Prospect note: Josh Lowe has gotten off to a hot start hitting .360/.448/.640. In 29 plate appearances he’s picked up two doubles, a triple, a homer and picked up three stolen bases while keeping it to a manageable six strikeouts and three walks. Nice to see Lowe driving the ball more with a reworked swing that’s built more contact. His plus raw power and speed should help him make the most out of his contact.
SS Tristan Gray: 1-for-3, K, CS (1)
CF Josh Lowe: 0-for-2, K, BB
RF Jesus Sanchez: 0-for-2, 2 K
3B Kevin Padlo: 0-for-1, K, BB
RHP Brandon Lawson (L, 0-1): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 K, 2 BB
RHP Roel Ramirez: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB
Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (3-4)
The Bowling Green Hot Rods lost 6-5 on a walkoff from the South Bend Cubs. The Hot Rods faced the top Cubs pitching prospect Jose Albertos. After Zach Rutherford singled with one out, Taylor Walls and Brendan McKay were issued walks to load the bases. Will somebody please throw McKay a strike? He’s been walked 11 times (one intentional) in 25 plate appearances. Ronaldo Hernandez drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. Walls scored the second run of the game on a wild pitch. Eleardo Cabrera started off the second inning with a single. He stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by the catcher. Carl Chester drove him in with a sacrifice fly center field to give the Hot Rods a 3-0 lead. The Cubs tied the game at three with single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Chester gave the Hot Rods a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh on his second sacrifice fly of the night. The lead was short lived as the Cubs answered with two in the bottom of the inning to take the 5-4 lead. Carl Chester was in middle of the action again in the top of the ninth. With two outs he singled to bring up the go ahead run to the plate in Vidal Brujan. Brujan hit an infield single, and Chester scored from first due to a throwing error by the first baseman and putting Brujan at third. Rutherford grounded out to keep the game tied at five. South Bend loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth after an intentional walk. Michael Cruz hit the ball on the ground to the second baseman Brujan, but the Hot Rods were unable to turn the double play to force extras.
Prospect Notes: It should would be nice to see somebody throw something in the zone to Brendan McKay. I’m glad that he’s not forcing things and accepting the walks, but we need to see the bat in action. Carl Chester seems to always find himself in the action. He’s a very good defensive center fielder and causes havoc on the bases.
2B Vidal Brujan: 2-for-5, K
SS Zach Rutherford: 1-for-5, R, K
DH Taylor Walls: 0-for-3, R, K, BB
1B Brendan McKay: 0-for-1, 3 BB
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 0-for-2, RBI, K, BB
3B Adrian Rondon: 1-for-4, K
CF Carl Chester: 1-for-2, R, 2 RBI
RHP Drew Strotman: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 7 K, 2 BB
RHP Phoenix Sanders: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 2 BB
RHP Tyler Day (L, 0-1): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 2 BB