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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Cronenworth makes pitching debut

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The college two-way star finally made his pro debut as a pitcher Saturday.

MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t want to say it was inevitable that Jake Cronenworth would end up pitching professionally, but didn’t it feel possible when the Rays added Brendan McKay and Tanner Dodson in back-to-back drafts, indicating they’re interested in two-way players? Except for 2018, he’s hit well professionally, but when he was drafted, it was a bit of a surprise that it was as an infielder and not a pitcher.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (25-16)

Durham closed with four straight runs in a 4-3 win over Rochester. Nick Solak’s RBI single in the fifth started the comeback, and in the seventh, he tied the game with a solo home run. An inning later, Nate Lowe’s bases-loaded walk gave the Bulls their first lead. After Jake Cronenworth made his professional mound debut with a scoreless first inning, Ryan Merritt allowed three runs in four innings.

2B Nick Solak: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI (.909)
PH Nate Lowe: 0-for-0, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.850)
LF Jason Coats: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI (.858)

RHP Jake Cronenworth: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K (0.00)
LHP Ryan Merritt: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (7.67)

Durham’s site offers this recap.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (27-15)

Montgomery was shut out by Jacksonville, 4-0. The Biscuits were hitless with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base. Riley O’Brien allowed all four runs.

RF Jesus Sanchez: 1-for-3, 1 BB (.792)
DH Brendan McKay: 1-for-3, 1 HBP (.464)

RHP Riley O’Brien: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 5 K (3.86)

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (21-21)

Charlotte couldn’t get out of an early hold in a 7-4 loss to Clearwater. The Threshers went up 1-0 in the first and led 6-0 through five innings. Paul Campbell allowed four runs in four innings, and Tanner Dodson allowed two in three frames. In the sixth, Carl Chester’s two-run homer capped a three-run inning, and the Stone Crabs scored in the seventh to pull within two before an insurance run was allowed in the eighth.

SS Matt Duffy: 0-for-2, 1 BB, 1 HBP
2B Vidal Brujan: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI (.745)
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 0-for-3, 1 RBI (.602)
RF Moises Gomez: 0-for-4, 1 K (.642)
LF Garrett Whitley: 0-for-4, 2 K (.739)

RHP Paul Campbell: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (5.49)
RHP Tanner Dodson: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (4.02)

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (24-18)

Bowling Green scored eight unanswered runs in an 11-3 rout of Lake County. Each team scored three times in the first, but Chris Betts’ solo homer in the third started a run of eight straight runs that put the game away. Kaleo Johnson also went deep, hitting a three-run home run in the fourth. In his first start of the season, Cristopher Sanchez allowed three runs in four innings, and Alan Strong struck out seven in five scoreless frames out of the bullpen.

SS Wander Franco: 2-for-6, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 SB (.899)
CF Michael Smith: 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.778)
1B Kaleo Johnson: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K (.744)
C Roberto Alvarez: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI (.678)

LHP Cristopher Sanchez: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (4.50)
RHP Alan Strong: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K (1.83)

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

Durham vs. Rochester 5:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Arturo Reyes (2-1, 2.30) vs. TBA

Montgomery @ Jacksonville 3:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Sam McWilliams (2-1, 3.49) vs. Sixto Sanchez (0-0, 0.00)

Charlotte @ Clearwater 1 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Michael Plassmeyer (0-0, 3.52) vs. Damon Jones (1-2, 0.76)

Bowling Green @ Lake County 1:30 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Luis Oviedo (4-2, 4.13)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota)
14-24 (5th in IL North)
Offense: 184 R (10th) .784 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 6.02 ERA (13th) 1.52 WHIP (12th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Brent Rooker (6), SS Nick Gordon (15), LHP Lewis Thorpe (17), LHP Stephen Gonsalves (18), OF LaMonte Wade (21), RHP Zack Littell (23), OF Luke Raley (24)

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Miami)
15-28 (5th in SL South)
Offense: 102 R (10th) .575 OPS (10th)
Pitching: 3.30 ERA (4th) 1.22 WHIP (3rd)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Sixto Sanchez (1), RHP Jorge Guzman (7), OF Brian Miller (14), RHP Jordan Yamamoto (18), RHP Robert Dugger (22), SS Joe Dunand (23), SS Bryson Brigman (26)

Clearwater Threshers (Philadelphia)
20-21 (3rd in FSL North)
Offense: 157 R (4th) .719 OPS (1st)
Pitching: 3.74 ERA (7th) 1.33 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: 3B Alec Bohm (1), RHP Spencer Howard (7), RHP Colton Eastman (11), LHP Zach Warren (17), C Rodolfo Duran (20), 2B Daniel Brito (21), OF Jhailyn Ortiz (22), OF Matt Vierling (27)

Lake County Captains (Cleveland)
23-17 (T-2nd in MWL East)
Offense: 177 R (2nd) .697 OPS (4th)
Pitching: 3.64 ERA (7th) 1.33 WHIP (8th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Tyler Freeman (3), C Bo Naylor (4), RHP Luis Oviedo (8), OF Will Benson (21), OF Quentin Holmes (27)

Daily news and links

MLB Pipeline selected a player from each organization who was undervalued in his draft.

Baseball America recently updated its list of the top draft prospects.