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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Brandon Lowe, Franco homer again

A pair of hot-hitting infielders each went deep again Thursday.

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-All Star Game Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed it earlier this week, infielder Kean Wong and reliever Ian Gibaut were named International League All-Stars. With the way he’s hitting, Brandon Lowe may have been one too if rosters were decided a week later than they are.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (44-34)

Durham hit three home runs in a 12-1 win over Norfolk. Brandon Lowe went deep yet again, Jeremy Hazelbaker’s homer led off the three-run fifth, and Nick Ciuffo’s first Triple-A home run capped the eight-run sixth inning. With all the run support, Chih-Wei Hu pitched what was easily his best start of the season, allowing just one run in eight-plus innings.

2B Brandon Lowe: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI
RF Justin Williams: 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K
C Nick Ciuffo: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
CF Jeremy Hazelbaker: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K

RHP Chih-Wei Hu: 8+ IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (2-4)

Montgomery’s game was suspended.

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (2-5)

Charlotte was shut out by a 4-0 score. Lakeland limited the Stone Crabs to five hits. Blake Bivens was charged with all four Flying Tigers runs in 5 23 innings.

DH Lucius Fox: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
RF Jesus Sanchez: 0-for-4
CF Josh Lowe: 0-for-4, 3 K
SS Jermaine Palacios: 1-for-4, 1 K

RHP Blake Bivens: 5 23 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (4-4)

Bowling Green hammered West Michigan for 16 hits in a 13-1 win over the Whitecaps. None of the 16 hits were home runs. The Hot Rods scored four in the second and blew the game open with six in the third. In that inning, they had six hits, including extra-base hits from Moises Gomez, Jim Haley, and Taylor Walls. On the mound, Josh Fleming was sharp again, striking out five and allowing just one run in seven innings.

2B Vidal Brujan: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 CS
SS Taylor Walls: 4-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
LF Moises Gomez: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
DH Trey Hair: 2-for-3, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB
1B Jim Haley: 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB

LHP Josh Fleming: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (10-3)

Hudson Valley pitching shut down Tri-City in a 3-1 win over the ValleyCats. Paul Campbell gave up just one hit and struck out five in five scoreless innings, and Tri-City’s only run was unearned, charged to Simon Rosenblum-Larson. Tri-City had just two hits total. Adrian Rondon’s two-run double in the third opened the scoring, and Chris Betts later added insurance with a home run.

SS Tyler Frank: 0-for-4, 1 R, 1 HBP
DH Tanner Dodson: 1-for-4, 1 K, 1 HBP
2B Ford Proctor: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K
C Chris Betts: 1-for-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB
RF Marvin Malone: 2-for-3, 1 HBP

RHP Paul Campbell: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K

Rookie Princeton Rays (4-5)

Wander Franco homered again, but it was too little, too late in a 12-5 loss to Bristol. His two-run homer in the ninth cut Princeton’s deficit to seven. Bristol hit five home runs and led 10-1 through four innings. Out of five Princeton pitchers, only Michael Costanzo didn’t allow any runs. He struck out five batters in 2 23 innings.

SS Wander Franco: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
1B Carlos Vargas: 2-for-5, 1 R
2B Jake Palomaki: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB
CF Grant Witherspoon: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP

RHP Joe Peguero: 2 23 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
RHP Stephen Yancey: two-thirds IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
LHP Michael Costanzo: 2 23 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K

Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays (4-5)

The GCL Rays prevailed in an 11-inning, 12-11 slugfest over the GCL Twins. Kevin Melendez’s three-run homer in the ninth — the first of his pro career — gave them a 10-9 lead, but the GCL Twins forced extras. After the teams traded runs in the 10th, Kaleo Johnson doubled home the eventual winning run in the top of the 11th. Starter Fraylin Santos was charged with seven runs — three earned — in 2 23 innings.

CF Nick Schnell: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
SS Jelfry Marte: 1-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
1B Kaleo Johnson: 3-for-4, 3 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP
DH Kevin Melendez: 1-for-6, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4 K
LF Raider Brito: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
2B Cristhian Pedroza: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB

RHP Fraylin Santos: 2 23 IP, 5 H, 7 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K


Friday’s games (probables courtesy of

Durham @ Norfolk 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Ryan Weber (4-3, 2.17) vs. Matt Wotherspoon (2-4, 3.92)

Montgomery @ Jacksonville 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream) DOUBLEHEADER
Benton Moss (1-2, 3.09) vs. Cody Poteet (2-8, 5.86)

Resumption of suspended game followed by seven-inning game.

Charlotte vs. Tampa 6:35 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Kenny Rosenberg (4-1, 4.53) vs. Nick Green (5-2, 2.20)

Bowling Green @ West Michigan 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Jesus Rodriguez (4-3, 4.14)

Hudson Valley @ Tri-City 7 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)

Princeton vs. Bristol 7 p.m. ET (radio stream)

GCL Rays @ GCL Orioles 12 p.m.

*Listed as TBA on

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore)
41-36 (2nd in IL South)
Offense: 356 R (2nd) .714 OPS (6th)
Pitching: 3.88 ERA (8th) 1.35 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Cedric Mullins (9), LHP Chris Lee (10), OF DJ Stewart (16), C Austin Wynns (29), OF Joey Rickard

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami)
3-3 (4th in SL South)
Offense: 282 R (10th) .660 OPS (10th)
Pitching: 4.13 ERA (7th) 1.38 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Nick Neidert (5), OF Brian Miller (12), SS Joe Dunand (14), RHP Merandy Gonzalez (15), RHP Robert Dugger (23), RHP Jeff Brigham (28)

Tampa Tarpons (Yankees)
4-3 (T-3rd in FSL North)
Offense: 325 R (4th) .723 OPS (3rd)
Pitching: 3.22 ERA (1st) 1.26 WHIP (3rd)
Top-30 prospects: OF Estevan Florial (2), RHP Albert Abreu (6), RHP Freicer Perez (13), RHP Clarke Schmidt (14), IF Diego Castillo (27), OF Isiah Gilliam (31)

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit)
5-3 (3rd in MWL East)
Offense: 332 R (8th) .666 OPS (15th)
Pitching: 3.69 ERA (5th) 1.37 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: C Joey Morgan (31)

Tri-City ValleyCats (Houston)
7-6 (T-1st in NYPL Stedler)
Offense: 65 R (T-4th) .749 OPS (2nd)
Pitching: 3.23 ERA (4th) 1.21 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Gilberto Celestino (19), RHP Luis Garcia (31)

Bristol Pirates
6-3 (2nd in AL West)
Offense: 60 R (2nd) .787 OPS (5th)
Pitching: 5.83 ERA (7th) 1.65 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Shane Baz (3), RHP Steven Jennings (11), OF Conner Uselton (15), 1B Mason Martin (18)

GCL Orioles
4-5 (T-3rd in GCL South)
Offense: 33 R (17th) .636 OPS (15th)
Pitching: 5.31 ERA (16th) 1.47 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Lamar Sparks (25), RHP Grayson Rodriguez

Daily news and links

At FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan wrote about Colin Poche.

Wednesday in Reno, Kevin Cron and Socrates Brito hit back-to-back home runs twice.

At CBS Sports, R.J. Anderson wrote about Grant Desme — the former A’s prospect who retired from baseball to become a priest — returning to baseball with the Lancaster Barnstormers, an independent team.