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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Franco starts June with big game

Wander Franco has four extra-base hits in his last two games.

Adam Sanford

On Sunday, Lansing had to face Shane Baz and Matthew Liberatore. For fans, it was fun to watch. For the Lugnuts, it likely wasn’t as fun. They scored a run in 16 innings.

Once again, Charlotte is back in Pinellas County. The Stone Crabs are in Dunedin for four games starting Monday.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (32-24)

Nick Solak homered twice, but it wasn’t enough in Durham’s 7-5 loss to Columbus. The Bulls had a 2-0 lead through three innings thanks to his eighth and ninth home runs this season, but the Clippers scored the next seven runs to open up a sizable lead. Ryan Merritt allowed two runs in four innings.

CF Andrew Velazquez: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K (.786)
2B Nick Solak: 2-for-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.862)
SS Jake Cronenworth: 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SB, 1 HBP (.998)
1B Dalton Kelly: 2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.641)
3B Emilio Bonifacio: 2-for-4, 1 BB (.628)

LHP Ryan Merritt: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (7.88)

Durham’s site offers this recap.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (32-23)

A pair of early runs weren’t enough in Montgomery’s 6-3 loss to Tennessee. The Biscuits had one hit in each of the first three innings, including a Jermaine Palacios RBI double and Jesus Sanchez home run. However, in the next five innings, they didn’t have any. Their next hit didn’t come until Brett Sullivan’s ninth-inning, two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to three runs. Brian Shaffer allowed three runs in four innings.

CF Josh Lowe: 0-for-3, 1 K, 1 CS, 1 HBP (.772)
RF Jesus Sanchez: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 SB (.824)
SS Lucius Fox: 0-for-4, 1 R, 2 K (.657)

RHP Brian Shaffer: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (3.07)

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (29-27)

Charlotte fell in an early hole and couldn’t get out in a 6-4 loss to St. Lucie. A two-run homer in the first gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, and they went up 5-1 with a three-run sixth. Tommy Romero was charged with four runs — three earned — in 5 13 innings. Michael Perez began his rehab assignment with a 1-for-2 effort and five innings behind the plate.

C Michael Perez: 1-for-2, 1 R
LF Garrett Whitley: 0-for-4, 2 K (.748)
PH Taylor Walls: 0-for-0, 1 BB (.767)
PH Moises Gomez: 0-for-1, 1 K (.725)
C Joey Roach: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI (.783)

RHP Tommy Romero: 5 13 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 8 K (2.60)

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (34-23)

Wander Franco and Shane Baz led Bowling Green to a Game 1, 7-0 win over Lansing. Franco homered in the first inning before the game was suspended, and he doubled in a run in the third. Nicholas Padilla was supposed to start, but Baz took over when the game was resumed. He threw five scoreless innings and struck out seven.

Matthew Liberatore continued to pitch well in the Hot Rods’ 4-1 win in Game 2. For the first time in his career, he pitched six innings. He struck out five and gave up just one run. Grant Witherspoon singled in the first run of the game in the first, and Ford Proctor hit a two-run double in the second.

DH Wander Franco (1): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI (.928)
CF Michael Smith (1): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB (.716)
3B Seaver Whalen (1): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HBP (.879)
1B Kaleo Johnson (2): 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB (.766)

RHP Shane Baz (1): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K (1.44)
LHP Matthew Liberatore (2): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (3.00)

Bowling Green’s site offers this recap.


Monday’s games (probables courtesy of

Durham vs. Norfolk 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Josh Rogers (2-5, 9.41)

Montgomery vs. Tennessee 7:35 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)

Charlotte @ Dunedin 6:30 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Paul Campbell (4-4, 4.50) vs. Nick Allgeyer (4-3, 2.44)

Bowling Green is off.

*Listed as TBA on

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore)
24-30 (4th in IL South)
Offense: 296 R (6th) .785 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 5.65 ERA (13th) 1.55 WHIP (13th)
Top-30 prospects: 3B Ryan Mountcastle (3), LHP Keegan Akin (6), RHP Luis Ortiz (13), OF DJ Stewart (15), LHP Josh Rogers (28)

Tennessee Smokies (Cubs)
28-27 (4th in SL North)
Offense: 228 R (3rd) .687 OPS (4th)
Pitching: 4.21 ERA (10th) 1.30 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Nico Hoerner (1), RHP Cory Abbott (8), LHP Justin Steele (9), RHP Oscar De La Cruz (21), RHP Thomas Hatch (22), 1B Jared Young (24), C Jhonny Pereda (26), RHP Keegan Thompson (29)

Dunedin Blue Jays
34-21 (1st in FSL North)
Offense: 249 R (1st) .706 OPS (2nd)
Pitching: 3.01 ERA (3rd) 1.21 WHIP (4th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Ryan Noda (14), OF Cal Stevenson (16), SS Logan Warmoth (25)

Daily news and links

ESPN’s Jeff Passan speculates how a team could break the draft.