by Gavin Potter
The Clippers had a full slate last week, playing eight games against Toledo, Buffalo, and Syracuse, going 5-3. On the season, Columbus is now 53-55, sitting just half a game back of Indianapolis in the International League West.
After struggling for much of 2017, Nellie Rodriguez showed some very positive signs last week. He had a monster game on Monday, going 2-4 with two home runs and four RBIs, then went on to collect hits in his next four games, and finished the week with a .333/.455/.667 slash line.
Julian Merryweather has seen his stock rise this season, and his start last week was a continuation of his success. Although he only pitched 4.1 innings, he allowed just one earned run and struck out six hitters, with only one walk. He now carries a 3.95 ERA in eight starts at AAA this season, with 8.78 strikeouts and 1.76 walks per nine innings.
The Clippers will finish their weekend series against Syracuse on Sunday, before heading out on 7-game road trip against Charlotte and Norfolk.
by Jay Alan
The Rubber Ducks started off this week with three consecutive losses (six in total) before finally beating the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on the road in the second half of a twin billing on Wednesday, July 19th to break the streak. Home cooking was just what the doctor ordered, as returning to Akron and Canal Park on Thursday led to three more consecutive wins against the Richmond Flying Squirrels, bringing the W-L total for the year to 49-47. The schedule for this past week was anything but ordinary starting with a game PPD on Monday due to rain. Then the Ducks finished a suspended game from May before Tuesdays game, with both only going seven innings, and a day/night double header (also seven innings) on Wednesday.
Ducks star slugger Francisco Mejia came out of the 7/22 game against the Richmond Flying Squirrels with what was reported as a groin injury. The loss of Mejia could be huge blow to Akron who would be losing a catcher, designated hitter, and a .322 batting average with 10 home runs and 36 RBI on the season.
The RubberDucks finish up their series against Richmond on Sunday followed by four game in three days (Double header on Tuesday) against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in Akron at Canal Park. Then on Thursday, the Ducks travel to Prince George’s Stadium for a weekend series against Bowie.
Advanced-A Lynchburg (17-11, – 1.5 GB Carolina League North, 4-2 this week)
by Justin Lada
Mother nature affected the Hillcats twice this week but they managed to make one of the games up. The first thing to note as always with Lynchburg is the annual check of Triston McKenzie‘s line. In Friday’s 3-2 win over Potomac, McKenzie fanned 10, walked one and allowed two runs in seven innings of work. Is 134 strikeouts lead the league. The 19 year old has also now thrown 199 career innings (career high 103.2 this year) and has 255 strikeouts, 60 walks, a 16-10 record and a 2.22 ERA. Did I mention he’s still 19 for another 2 weeks?
On Thursday the Hillcats pounded the P-Nats 10-4 thanks to five hits and two RBI from Sam Haggerty. He cooled down after his hot start but is having a great July (.353/.382/.510 in 12 games) so far. Jodd Carter added three hits a homer and two RBI. Carter had a great June and has parlayed that into a great July start giving him some interesting numbers on the year overall (.323/.391/.516 in 62 July ABs; .801 OPS on the year).
Gavin Collins continues to produce since his promotion with three hits this week including a pair of three hit games. On the pitching side of things, Shane Bieber threw six shutout innings to help Lynchburg sweep a double-header Tuesday 5-0 and he struck out six without allowing a walk. He hasn’t walked a batter since June 16, a span of seven starts without a walk.
Low-A Lake County (13-15, – 7.5 GB Midwest League East- 2-3 this week)
by Justin Lada
The Captains lost four of six on their roadtrip but did get a nice start from Juan Hillman in one of the wins on it (7IP, 5 H, 1ER, 1BB, 3K) and Brady Aiken provided the other (6IP 7H, 3BB, 2K). Hillman has backed up a few nice starts in a row now. In a 3-1 to loss to Kane County at home this week Hillman went eight innings and allowed just four hits and struck out four and got a no-decision. Aiken earned a win vs. Kane County during their home series allowing a run on three hits in five innings but did walk four and struck out two. Ben Krauth (2IP), Luke Eubank (1IP) and Henry Martinez (1IP) all had scoreless outings to hold that win. Connor Capel, Li-Jen Chu and Jose Medina all homered in the win.
In the other win vs. Kane County Micah Miniard had one of his best starts of the year allowing two runs in five innings. Logan Ice hit his seventh homer. Alsis Herrera spun three scoreless innings behind him and Dalbert Siri notched his ninth save. Siri has 48 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings.
Despite a slowish week, Mitch Longo had five hits and still leads the Captains in OPS a .919.
The Captains wrap a six game home stand vs the West with two against Clinton Sunday and Monday.
Short-Season Mahoning Valley
by Caitlin Boron
Looking at the Scrappers and their tear of the division, you’d never even know it was deadline season. Over the last week, it’s been fun seeing them play such dominant baseball, winning 6 of their last seven games. Their 3-game win streak has put them in sole possession of first place in the division, with a 20-12 record.
Last night’s 5-4 win over the Auburn Doubledays broke the tie in the division between the Scrappers and now second place West Virginia. The bats showed no sign of cooling down, especially from CF stud Oscar Gonzalez. He went 2 for 4 with two runs; a single in the first inning, scored on a Ulysses Cantu 3-run homer, and a single in the 8th scoring on a sac bunt from 2B Dillon Persinger. Over his last 10 games he has 13 hits, and 6 RBI.
Currently in the New York Pen League, Gonzalez leads in RBI with 19, moving up from third since the start of July. Within the team, he leads with a .316 BA, RBI, hits (37), doubles (7), and all of this being done with the most ABs (117).
In the coming week, the Scrappers have two series split with an off day on Wednesday. Starting Sunday they face State College at their home field Medlar Field at Lubrano Park for a 3-gamer. Thursday night they’ll return home to Eastwood field for another 3-game series with Williamsport.
by Justin Lada
After being out since May, speedy OF Gabriel Mejia is back rehabbing and is 4-7 with a steal in three games in his rehab stint. 18 year Tyler Freeman, the Indians competitive balance pick this year had three more hits as he continues to adjust to the pros well with a .961 OPS in 15 games. 2B Wilbis Santiago had two hits and two RBI in a 10-9 lead to the AZL Dodgers this week and is hitting .280.
21 year old reliever Adoni Kerry pitched two scoreless innings this week with three strikeouts. The AZL Indians also have two rehabbing arms this week, LHPs Sam Hetges and Sean Brady. Hentges, a 2014 4th round pick, has struck out six in five innings in three outing allowing four runs. Brady, a 2013 5th round pick, has struck out seven in six innings and allowed five runs in two outings.
by Justin Lada
The DSL Indians and DSL Indians/Brewers Co-Op have identical 16-24 records to this point. They squared off Thursday and Yefferson Yannuzzi for the DSL Indians struck out eight in 3 2/3 innings allowing three hits and a run. 2B/SS Jonathan Lopez added two hits that game bringing his average to .293 (.389/.406) on the year. Catching prospect Yanier Diaz had three hits this week and the 18 year old is hitting over .300.
19 year old OF Christopher Cespedes missed five games for the Indians/Brewers co-op team but came back on the 18th and promptly picked up seven hits this week and has an OPS of .909. 18 year old 2B prospect Makesiondoion Kelkboom continues to be out with an injury.