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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Liberatore makes pro debut

The Rays’ top pick started for the GCL Rays Friday.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed it Friday, the Rays completed their draft class by signing No. 31 pick Shane McClanahan. They also signed 33rd-round outfielder Beau Brundage.

Also on Friday, Jesus Sanchez and Nate Lowe were selected for the 2018 Futures Game.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (50-36)

Durham was shut out in a 1-0 loss to Norfolk. The Tide’s leadoff batter homered, and that was the only run they needed. Forrest Snow struck out eight in seven innings. Rob Refsnyder had two of the Bulls’ three hits. Durham struck out 17 times and didn’t draw a walk.

2B Brandon Lowe: 1-for-4, 2 K
RF Justin Williams: 0-for-3, 1 K
C Nick Ciuffo: 0-for-3, 2 K

RHP Forrest Snow: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K

Durham’s site offers this recap.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (10-5)

Montgomery erased a 5-1 deficit before falling to Pensacola, 8-7, in 11 innings. The Biscuits scored three runs in the seventh to pull within one, and Nick Solak’s ninth-inning home run sent the game to extras. Neither team scored in the 10th, but the Blue Wahoos were able to get two in the 11th. Peter Maris’ RBI single got Montgomery back within one, but he was stranded on base. Genesis Cabrera was charged with five runs on five hits and five walks in 4 13 innings.

CF Nick Solak: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB
1B Nate Lowe: 1-for-5, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K
PR Jake Cronenworth: 1 R

LHP Genesis Cabrera: 4 13 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 5 K
LHP Matt Krook: 2 23 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
RHP Yoel Espinal: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (7-8)

Charlotte used a big fifth inning to earn a 6-4 win over Clearwater. Trailing 1-0, the Stone Crabs batted around and tallied five runs. Miles Mastrobuoni and Tristan Gray both hit RBI doubles. On the mound, Riley O’Brien had his best outing in the Florida State League yet, tossing 5 13 innings of two-run ball.

DH Lucius Fox: 1-for-5, 1 BB, 1 SB
CF Josh Lowe: 3-for-6, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB
RF Jesus Sanchez: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
SS Jermaine Palacios: 2-for-5, 1 R
C Zacrey Law: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K

RHP Riley O’Brien: 5 23 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 4 K

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (10-6)

Bowling Green pitched its way to a 6-1 win over Fort Wayne. After Tommy Romero was charged with a run in 4 13 innings, Phoenix Sanders was sharp in relief. He allowed an inherited runner to score, but he struck out six in 2 23 innings. The Hot Rods struck first in the third when Jim Haley singled in two runs and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

2B Vidal Brujan: 1-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 SB
SS Taylor Walls: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K
1B Jim Haley: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB

RHP Tommy Romero: 4 13 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
RHP Phoenix Sanders: 2 23 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (13-8)

A solid start from Nick Padilla was wasted in Hudson Valley’s 3-2 loss to Staten Island. In five innings, Padilla allowed just one unearned run, although it was due to his error. He struck out five batters. Doubles from Marvin Malone and Jake Stone in the ninth brought the Renegades within one run, but the tying run was stranded in scoring position.

SS Ford Proctor: 0-for-4
3B Tyler Frank: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 2B

RHP Nick Padilla: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 5 K
RHP Tanner Dodson: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K

Rookie Princeton Rays (11-6)

Princeton made another comeback in a 10-inning, 5-2 win over Burlington. Although it wasn’t as dramatic as Princeton’s two comeback wins Thursday, it still trailed 2-0 early in the game. In the 10th, after an intentional walk put two runners on base, Carlos Vargas hit his first home run of the season to give Princeton a three-run lead. Starter Miguel Lara allowed two runs in five innings.

SS Wander Franco: 1-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K
1B Carlos Vargas: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB

RHP Miguel Lara: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays (7-9)

Matthew Liberatore made his pro debut in an 8-2 loss to the GCL Orioles. After allowing a single to the leadoff hitter, his error on a pickoff attempt moved a runner into scoring position. He walked the next batter before inducing a double play, but a passed ball allowed that run to score. He struck a batter out in 1 23 innings.

SS Jelfry Marte: 1-for-4, 1 K

LHP Matthew Liberatore: 1 23 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB, 1 K


Saturday’s games (probables courtesy of

Durham vs. Norfolk 6:35 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Zach Lee (2-1, 2.21) vs. John Means (3-1, 3.70)

Montgomery vs. Pensacola 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Sam McWilliams* (3-4, 4.57) vs. TBA

Charlotte @ Clearwater 6:15 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Willy Ortiz (4-2, 4.03) vs. McKenzie Mills (0-2, 3.54)

Bowling Green @ Fort Wayne 7:05 p.m. ET (radio stream)

Hudson Valley @ Lowell 5:35 p.m. ET (radio stream)

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

GCL Rays @ GCL Orioles 10 a.m. ET

*Listed as TBA on

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore)
45-40 (2nd in IL South)
Offense: 391 R (2nd) .718 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 4.02 ERA (10th) 1.37 WHIP (10th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Cedric Mullins (9), LHP Chris Lee (10), OF DJ Stewart (16), C Austin Wynns (29)

Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Cincinnati)
10-5 (1st in SL South)
Offense: 319 R (9th) .683 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 3.93 ERA (5th) 1.22 WHIP (1st)
Top-30 prospects: OF Jose Siri (7), 2B Shed Long (8), RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (9), OF TJ Friedl (17), 1B Gavin LaValley (21), RHP Keury Mella (22)

Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia)
9-5 (2nd in FSL North)
Offense: 377 R (2nd) .728 OPS (2nd)
Pitching: 4.10 ERA (10th) 1.28 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Sixto Sanchez (2), RHP Adonis Medina (4), OF Adam Haseley (5), OF Mickey Moniak (9), SS Arquimedes Gamboa (19), RHP JD Hammer (26), RHP Mauricio Llovera (30)

Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego)
11-5 (T-1st in MWL East)
Offense: 368 R (7th) .671 OPS (15th)
Pitching: 3.70 ERA (4th) 1.32 WHIP (4th)
Top-30 prospects: LHP MacKenzie Gore (2), SS Gabriel Arias (10), 2B Esteury Ruiz (15), RHP Andres Munoz (19), C Luis Campusano (20), OF Jeisson Rosario (22), IF Luis Almanzar (24), RHP Mason Thompson (25), OF Tirso Ornelas (31)

Lowell Spinners (Boston)
9-12 (T-3rd in NYPL Stedler)
Offense: 81 R (10th) .650 OPS (10th)
Pitching: 3.74 ERA (8th) 1.31 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Cole Brannen (5), OF Tyler Esplin (28), RHP Durbin Feltman

Bristol Pirates
8-8 (3rd in AL West)
Offense: 92 R (5th) .769 OPS (5th)
Pitching: 5.25 ERA (7th) 1.60 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Shane Baz (3), RHP Steven Jennings (11), OF Conner Uselton (15), 1B Mason Martin (18)

GCL Orioles
6-10 (4th in GCL South)
Offense: 45 R (18th) .575 OPS (18th)
Pitching: 5.28 ERA (15th) 1.63 WHIP (17th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Lamar Sparks (25), RHP Grayson Rodriguez

Daily news and links

Baseball America broke down both the U.S. and World rosters for the Futures Game.