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The Sports Daily > Burning River Baseball
This Is Next Year: Everyone’s Heating Up

AAA Columbus
by Mike Melaragno

The Clippers have raced out to a 10-4 record in June, 2nd best in the International League  behind Pawtucket who is 11-4. They have an IL-best 21 homers this month, retaking the season lead over Lehigh Valley (76 to 75). Richie Shaffer has led the way, batting .340 (18 for 53) with 6HR and 17RBI and Eric Stamets has hit .371 (13 for 35) with 3 home-runs and 8 RBI.
Tyler Naquin made his fourth start in five days since coming off the DL (tight lower back). He has been restricted to partial games, resulting in the snapping of his 14 game hit streak. In his career, Naquin has spent 66 days on the Columbus DL (active for 93 games).
Eric Stamets has a hit in 12 of his last 13 games, increasing his batting average 164 points, his OBP 149 points and his SLG 402 points. Stamets has 8 HR and 20 RBI in his last 13 games  Since his return from Akron on 5/15, he is hitting .388 (31 for 80; hit .036, 1 for 28, for Columbus in April).
Through his first 19 games at Columbus, Mike Papi has 12 RBI, batting .385 (5 for 13) with runners in scoring position (.146, 7 for 48, all other times). Of those 12 RBI, six have come in the 7th inning or later. He has also been tasked with a new position at Triple-A, appearing in CF in nine of his last 14 games (had played in CF twice in career previous).

AA Akron
by Gavin Potter

Advanced-A Lynchburg (40-28, – 0.5 GB Carolina League North – 5-3 this week)
by Justin Lada

The Hillcats started off the week with three straight wins, lost the next three and then won the final two. That’s good enough to put them a half game back of a playoff spot behind the Salem Red Sox but they’ll need a win on the final day of the first half (today) and a loss by Salem to take the lead.

Aaron Civale helped the Hillcats big time this week to put them in position of a playoff spot. They won both of his starts (8 IP 2H 1ER 0BB 4K vs. Wilmington 6/12 and 7 IP 6H 3ER 0BB 8K) and now has a 2.49 ERA (0.75 WHIP) in his four Lynchburg starts.

For your Triston McKenzie update – he had a rough start, for him anyway. 5 IP, 4H, 1ER, 5BB and 6K. The Hillcats won the All-Star’s lone start this week.

While pitching ruled the week for the Hillcats as usual (Shane Bieber also turned in a six inning, one run allowed start), they finished the week with a 12-5 rout of Fredrick. OF Jod Carter had two homers, Ka’ai Tom had a two run homer, two hits and four RBI. Martin Cervenka also chipped in a HR. Sam Haggerty and Sicnarf Loopstok also had two hits each.

Loopstok, 24, who appears to be moving away from catcher more and more (nine games) to the outfield and first base, is hitting .297 in his last 10 games and now sports a .284/.373/.505 slash line. He and Cervenka are a little older, unheralded but are certainly having good statistical years and good organizational pieces if nothing else. Winning may be secondary at the minor league level but creating a winning atmosphere around your other top prospects can be an underrated part of development.

Lynchburg finishes the first half vs. Fredrick Sunday, breaks three days for the High-A All-Star game Tuesday before hosting Fredrick for four games starting Thursday to start the second half.

Low-A Lake County
by Caitlin Boron

DSL Indians
by Joe Coblitz

The Indians wrapped up a much better week two of baseball by taking out their fellow Tribesmen on the Indians/Brewers 19-8 on Saturday. In all, they’ve won four of five largely thanks to a significantly improved offense while the pitching staff has continued to struggle.
In particular, Jonathan Lopez has knocked in 12 runs in 11 games while batting over .400 while Jhon Torres has knocked in 11 despite hitting .234. Exciting short stop Marcos Gonzalez has stolen two bases without being caught and is hitting .306/.358/.408.
On the pitching side, Wuilson Meza has been superb in relief including two straight three inning shut out appearances. He’s allowed only three hits all year and has struck out 10 in nine innings. Top starter Luis D. Garcia has not been as lucky lately with a three inning, five run appearance on Saturday. This ballooned his ERA from 0.90 after his first two starts and ten innings to 2.77.