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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Hernandez, Whitley power Charlotte win

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Ronaldo Hernandez and Garrett Whitley each hit their first home run of the season Thursday.

Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

For the first time since Aug. 24, 2017, Garrett Whitley homered. A labrum injury cost him the entire 2018 season. He’s had a slow start, but that hasn’t been uncommon in his career. Through his first 12 games in 2017, he had a .413 OPS. In 2016, it was .519. In both seasons, he eventually settled in.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (4-9)

A late collapse cost Durham in an 8-5 loss to Norfolk. Aaron Slegers pitched well — allowing just two runs in seven innings — and he left with a 5-2 lead. But in the eighth, Colin Poche allowed a game-tying, three-run home run, and the Tides added three additional runs with two outs to win the four-game series.

CF Andrew Velazquez: 1-for-3, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.854)
2B Nick Solak: 1-for-4 (.807)
DH Christian Arroyo: 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K (.938)

RHP Aaron Slegers: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (5.17)
LHP Colin Poche: two-thirds IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (19.29)

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (7-5)

Montgomery’s game was postponed.

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (5-10)

Charlotte started its series against Fort Myers with a 6-3 win over the Miracle. After only hitting three home runs in their first 14 games, the Stone Crabs got two — Garrett Whitley and Ronaldo Hernandez each hit solo homers. With the run support, Paul Campbell pitched a strong outing. He struck out five and yielded just a single and a walk in 6 23 scoreless innings.

2B Tyler Frank: 1-for-5, 1 RBI (.450)
RF Moises Gomez: 0-for-4, 1 BB, 2 K (.459)
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 1-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.407)
LF Garrett Whitley: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB (.646)

RHP Paul Campbell: 6 23 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (6.60)

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (7-7)

Bowling Green earned a 13-inning, 8-5 win over Great Lakes. Thanks to two Chris Betts homers, the Hot Rods led 3-0, but the Loons eventually tied the game to force extra innings. Neither team took advantage of the free baserunner in the first two, but Kaleo Johnson’s two-run homer put Bowling Green back up in the 12th. Great Lakes tied it again, but RBI hits from Ford Proctor and Johnson in the 13th put the Hot Rods ahead for good. Michael Plassmeyer struck out seven in six scoreless innings.

DH Wander Franco: 2-for-7, 1 R, 1 3B, 2 K (.739)
C Chris Betts: 3-for-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB (1.017)
1B Kaleo Johnson: 2-for-7, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 K (.754)

LHP Michael Plassmeyer: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K (1.59)

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Friday’s games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham vs. Gwinnett 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Ryan Merritt (0-1, 14.73) vs. Kolby Allard (1-0, 0.96)

Montgomery @ Mobile 6:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream) DOUBLEHEADER
Josh Fleming (1-0, 1.50) vs. Adrian De Horta (0-0, 6.23)
TBA vs. TBA

Both games will be seven innings.

Charlotte @ Fort Myers 6:30 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Riley O’Brien (1-0, 3.38) vs. Bailey Ober (1-0, 0.00)

Bowling Green @ Great Lakes 6:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Caleb Sampen (1-1, 4.15) v. Jeronimo Castro (1-0, 0.00)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Gwinnett Stripers (Atlanta)
7-7 (2nd in IL South)
Offense: 65 R (9th) .767 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 3.93 ERA (3rd) 1.17 WHIP (1st)
Top-30 prospects: 3B Austin Riley (1), RHP Kyle Wright (4), RHP Bryse Wilson (6), LHP Luiz Gohara (10), LHP Kolby Allard (14), C Alex Jackson (23)

Mobile BayBears (Angels)
5-7 (5th in SL South)
Offense: 23 R (8th) .565 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 4.28 ERA (10th) 1.31 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Jo Adell (1), OF Brandon Marsh (3), 2B Jahmai Jones (5), LHP Patrick Sandoval (12), C Jack Kruger (17), RHP Jeremy Beasley (20)

Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota)
9-6 (3rd in FSL South)
Offense: 56 R (5th) .663 OPS (4th)
Pitching: 2.68 ERA (3rd) 1.12 WHIP (5th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Royce Lewis (1), OF Trevor Larnach (5), RHP Jhoan Duran (7), C Ryan Jeffers (9), IF Jose Miranda (13), OF Akil Baddoo (19), C Ben Rortvedt (22), 2B Michael Helman (27), OF Aaron Whitefield (28)

Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers)
6-7 (6th in MWL East)
Offense: 53 R (T-11th) .663 OPS (12th)
Pitching: 2.95 ERA (3rd) 1.29 WHIP (5th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Josiah Gray (19), 3B Miguel Vargas (21), SS Jacob Amaya (30)

Daily news and links

Quad Cities has had an interesting start to the season (Baseball America $).

His defense should be major league ready any day now: