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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Franco ends HR drought

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Wander Franco had been in a slump, but he’s reached base multiple times in three straight games.

Adam Sanford

Prior to 2018, Jake Cronenworth had performed well at every stop. The down season he had cost him his spot in top-30 rankings, but he’s off to a great start in 2019. His modest power increase could be attributed to the use of the MLB baseball in Triple A, but his walk rate is back in double digits, and his strikeout rate is a career low. However, in an organization with this much infield depth, he may have trouble finding an opportunity in the majors.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (22-15)

Durham piled up seven runs in the sixth in a 10-3 win over Lehigh Valley. The Bulls trailed 2-0 through four innings, but they went ahead in the fifth and put the game away in the sixth. They were aided by defensive mistakes. A pair of errors and a passed ball led to five of their runs. Arturo Reyes delivered another solid outing, striking out seven and allowing two runs in six innings.

1B Nate Lowe: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B (.881)
2B Nick Solak: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB (.822)
CF Jake Smolinski: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 HBP (.703)
SS Jake Cronenworth: 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.983)

RHP Arturo Reyes: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (2.30)

Durham’s site offers this recap.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (25-13)

Sam McWilliams was sharp in Montgomery’s 3-1 win over Mississippi. After Brian Shaffer opened with two scoreless innings in his Double-A debut, McWilliams struck out six and gave up just a run in six innings. The Biscuits had just three hits, but they led 2-0 through one inning and eventually held a 3-0 lead.

CF Josh Lowe: 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K (.771)
RF Jesus Sanchez: 1-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K (.746)
SS Lucius Fox: 0-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.679)
DH Brendan McKay: 0-for-4, 1 K (.447)

RHP Sam McWilliams: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (3.49)

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (19-19)

Charlotte hit three home runs, but it wasn’t enough in a 6-4 loss to Daytona. Carl Chester, Ronaldo Hernandez, and Garrett Whitley all went deep, but they were all solo homers. After Michael Plassmeyer allowed three runs in 4 23 innings, Joe Ryan made his Stone Crabs debut, allowing three runs in four innings.

SS Taylor Walls: 0-for-5, 1 K (.618)
2B Vidal Brujan: 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 K (.753)
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K (.596)
LF Moises Gomez: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 3 K (.689)
DH Garrett Whitley: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K (.798)
RF Carl Chester: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI (.681)

LHP Michael Plassmeyer: 4 23 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (3.52)

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (21-16)

Wander Franco’s home run wasn’t enough in Bowling Green’s 6-4 loss to South Bend. The star shortstop went 13 games without homering, and his solo shot gave the Hot Rods a 4-2 lead in the fourth. However, that was their last hit of the game. Shane Baz had another nice outing, striking out five and giving up two runs — one earned — in five innings.

SS Wander Franco: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI (.897)

RHP Shane Baz: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K (1.80)

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

Durham vs. Lehigh Valley 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. JoJo Romero (2-1, 9.00)

Montgomery vs. Mississippi 7:35 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Kenny Rosenberg (3-0, 1.74) vs. Kyle Muller (1-1, 2.45)

Charlotte vs. Daytona 1 p.m. ET (radio stream)
TBA vs. Packy Naughton (3-2, 2.35)

Bowling Green vs. South Bend 11:35 a.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Cam Sanders (2-0, 2.48)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia)
19-16 (3rd in IL North)
Offense: 182 R (6th) .801 OPS (5th)
Pitching: 4.21 ERA (2nd) 1.41 WHIP (6th)
Top-30 prospects: LHP JoJo Romero (5), RHP Enyel De Los Santos (6), LHP Ranger Suarez (8), LHP Kyle Dohy (15), C Deivy Grullon (30)

Mississippi Braves
17-20 (3rd in SL South)
Offense: 113 R (7th) .651 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 3.00 ERA (2nd) 1.29 WHIP (5th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Ian Anderson (2), OF Drew Waters (7), OF Cristian Pache (8), LHP Kyle Muller (11), LHP Joey Wentz (12), RHP Patrick Weigel (13), 3B CJ Alexander (18), RHP Huascar Ynoa (19), LHP Tucker Davidson (21), SS Ray-Patrick Didder (30)

Daytona Tortugas (Cincinnati)
19-18 (2nd in FSL North)
Offense: 145 R (4th) .657 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 3.84 ERA (11th) 1.29 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: 3B Jonathan India (4), OF Stuart Fairchild (10), SS Jose Garcia (11), C Hendrik Clementina (21)

South Bend Cubs
20-15 (3rd in MWL East)
Offense: 141 R (11th) .678 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 3.60 ERA (8th) 1.36 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: LHP Brailyn Marquez (3), OF Cole Roederer (4), RHP Riley Thompson (20)

Daily news and links

Baseball America subscribers can read about Joe Ryan, who appeared on its weekly Hot Sheet.

The Diamondbacks have seven of the first 75 picks in next month’s draft, and at BA, that warrants a look back at previous drafts where teams had a lot of picks, including the 2011 Rays.