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Rays prospects and minor leagues: Charlotte pitching shuts out another opponent

With some midseason additions, Charlotte’s pitching staff has been sharp lately.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte currently leads its division in the second half. A big reason for its success so far is shutting out half of its opponents. For the season, the Stone Crabs’ staff is fourth in the league in ERA but middle in the pack in walks and strikeouts.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (49-32)

Durham fell to Toledo in 10 innings, 7-6. Through 1 12 innings, the Bulls led 4-0. Emilio Bonifacio hit a two-run triple, Nathan Lukes hit a sacrifice fly, and Kean Wong hit an RBI single. But the Mud Hens scored the next five runs. The Bulls tied it in the eighth and plated their free baserunner in the 10th, but the Mud Hens scored twice in the bottom half of the inning. Ryan Merritt allowed four runs in five innings.

RF Joe McCarthy: 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K (.762)
DH Nate Lowe: 1-for-5, 1 K (.876)
2B Nick Solak: 0-for-5 (.882)
3B Kean Wong: 2-for-5, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K (.925)
1B Dalton Kelly: 3-for-4, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB (.736)

LHP Ryan Merritt: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (6.75)
RHP Ian Gibaut: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (2.45)

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (5-5)

Montgomery edged Jacksonville in 10 innings, 2-1. Through nine innings, the teams had dueling sacrifice flies. Sam McWilliams was great again, allowing just a run in eight innings, striking out seven. David Rodriguez won the game in the 10th with a walk-off single.

3B Taylor Walls: 0-for-4 (.269)
CF Josh Lowe: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 CS (.752)
SS Lucius Fox: 0-for-4, 1 K (.688)

RHP Sam McWilliams: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (2.23)

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (9-3)

Tommy Romero and two relievers shut out another opponent in Charlotte’s 3-0 win over Palm Beach. It was the Stone Crabs’ sixth shutout since the All-Star Game on June 15. Romero struck out three in five innings, Trey Cumbie had three strikeouts in three innings, and Chandler Raiden finished the game. None of their three runs scored on hits.

SS Wander Franco: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB (1.553)
C Ronaldo Hernandez: 0-for-4, 1 K (.689)
LF Moises Gomez: 0-for-4, 1 K (.670)
CF Garrett Whitley: 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 K (.724)
1B Jim Haley: 2-for-3, 1 SB, 1 HBP (.781)
3B Kaleo Johnson: 2-for-3, 1 K, 1 HBP (.834)

RHP Tommy Romero: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (1.86)
LHP Trey Cumbie: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (0.00)

Charlotte’s site offers this recap.

Class-A Bowling Green Hot Rods (7-2)

Bowling Green erased a 3-0 deficit in a 4-3 win over Lansing. The Lugnuts were the rare team to get to Shane Baz. They scored three times in the first two innings, and he finished with six strikeouts in four innings. In the seventh, Izzy Wilson tied the game with a two-run homer, and Jonathan Aranda’s RBI single an inning later gave the Hot Rods their first lead.

C Chris Betts: 0-for-4, 2 K (.740)
RF Izzy Wilson: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K (.878)

RHP Shane Baz: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (1.85)
LHP Cristopher Sanchez: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (2.15)

Bowling Green’s site offers this recap.

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (6-9)

Carlos Vargas homered, but it was Hudson Valley’s only offense in a 3-1 loss to Connecticut. It was just the Renegades’ fourth hit of the game, and they were already trailing by three. Edisson Gonzalez struck out eight and allowed two runs in five innings.

DH Greg Jones: 1-for-4, 1 K (.703)
1B Carlos Vargas: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI (.528)

RHP Edisson Gonzalez: 5 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K (6.92)

Rookie Princeton Rays (5-6)

Princeton allowed eight straight runs in an 8-4 loss to Bristol. Kevin Melendez’s homer in the third gave the Rays a 2-0 lead, and Aldenis Sanchez made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the fourth. However, the Pirates piled up eight straight runs to take the lead and pull away. Starter Jayden Murray struck out four in three scoreless innings.

1B Mason Mallard: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 K, 1 HBP (.733)
DH Kevin Melendez: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K (.945)

RHP Jayden Murray: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K (0.00)

Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays (3-2)

GCL Rays pitching dominated in a 6-0 win over the GCL Braves. The Braves were limited to one hit and drew just two walks. After Evan McKendry started with two hitless innings, Audry Lugo followed with two hitless innings of his own, striking out six. Dauris Cordero allowed the hit but struck out four in four innings, and Carlos Garcia finished the game. Saul Fortuna’s sacrifice fly in the second inning provided the only run the Rays needed.

DH Antony Bemboom: 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
CF Nick Schnell: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K (.571)
LF Zach Huffins: 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 SB (.785)

RHP Evan McKendry: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (0.00)
RHP Audry Lugo: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K (0.00)
RHP Dauris Cordero: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (2.35)


Sunday’s games (probables courtesy of

Durham @ Toledo 4:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Ryan Carpenter (2-5, 5.63)

Montgomery @ Jackson 7:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Josh Fleming (5-4, 3.87) vs. TBA

Charlotte @ Palm Beach 1 p.m. ET (radio stream)
Michael Plassmeyer (3-2, 2.78) vs. TBA

Bowling Green @ Lansing 1:05 p.m. ET (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
TBA vs. Sean Wymer (3-6, 6.95)

Hudson Valley @ Connecticut 4:05 p.m. ET (radio stream)

Princeton @ Bristol 6 p.m. ET (radio stream)
TBA vs. Santiago Florez (0-0, 0.00)

The GCL Rays are off.

*Listed as TBA on

Scouting the opposition

Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit)
36-44 (3rd in IL West)
Offense: 413 R (7th) .776 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 5.07 ERA (9th) 1.44 WHIP (7th)
Top-30 prospects: OF Daz Cameron (5), SS Willi Castro (9), C Jake Rogers (13), LHP Gregory Soto (15), RHP Kyle Funkhouser (16), IF Dawel Lugo (17), RHP Sandy Baez (19), RHP Bryan Garcia (22), LHP Matt Hall (23), OF Jacob Robson (24), OF Danny Woodrow (25), LHP Ryan Carpenter

Jackson Generals (Arizona)
4-6 (5th in SL North)
Offense: 349 R (2nd) .710 OPS (3rd)
Pitching: 3.52 ERA (6th) 1.28 WHIP (5th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Jazz Chisholm (1), C Daulton Varsho (3), 1B Pavin Smith (17), 3B Drew Ellis (21), C Dominic Miroglio (23), RHP Emilio Vargas (25)

Palm Beach Cardinals
3-8 (5th in FSL South)
Offense: 272 R (9th) .661 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 2.94 ERA (1st) 1.20 WHIP (3rd)
Top-30 prospects: 3B Nolan Gorman (4), RHP Griffin Roberts (18), 1B Luken Baker (23), OF Scott Hurst (27)

Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto)
4-5 (T-4th in MWL East)
Offense: 339 R (6th) .715 OPS (3rd)
Pitching: 4.45 ERA (13th) 1.43 WHIP 12th)
Top-30 prospects: SS Jordan Groshans (5), OF Griffin Conine (15), C Gabriel Moreno (20), RHP Sean Wymer (26)

Connecticut Tigers
6-9 (3rd in NYPL Stedler)
Offense: 49 R (T-7th) .590 OPS (11th)
Pitching: 3.82 ERA (9th) 1.36 WHIP (11th)
Top-30 prospects: None

Bristol Pirates
4-7 (5th in AL West)
Offense: 24 R (10th) .535 OPS (10th)
Pitching: 5.45 ERA (10th) 1.52 WHIP (9th)
Top-30 prospects: RHP Tahnaj Thomas (15), RHP Santiago Florez (30)

Daily news and links on Matthew Liberatore’s great start Friday.

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