Minor League Roundup Full of Streaks
Todd Paquette | On 26, Apr 2014
It’s been a weak of streaks throughout the Indians minor league system, starting with the most impressive streak in Carolina Mudcats shortstop Erik Gonzalez, who has a hit in sixteen straight games. Not far behind is the Columbus Clippers catcher Roberto Perez who has a hit in 12 straight games. Clippers infielder Jose Ramirez has a streak of a different kind going. Ramirez has reached base in all 19 games that Columbus has played this season. How about a pitcher with a streak? Carolina Mudcats left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt has not allowed a run in 16 straight innings and has a ridiculous 0.37 earned run average on the season in 24.1 inning pitched. Finally a negative streak to talk about, the Lake County Captains have lost their last six games in a row. Remarkably they already had an 8 game losing streak prior to the current one.
Read more about the streaks, and lots more action this past week in the Indians minor League system.
The Clippers started the week losing three out of four games at home to the Toledo Mud Hens. The Clippers lost the first three games of the series but were able to avoid the sweep taking the final game by a score of 6-4. Columbus has won two of the first three games with the one more to go in a four game home set versus the Gwinnett Braves. Columbus will then leave to embark on an eight game road trip. The Clips are currently in third place in the International League Western Division with an (8-11) record.
The hitting stars of the week were second baseman Jose Ramirez and catcher Roberto Perez. Ramirez is currently the youngest player in the International League at just 21 years of age. Ramirez hit .462 with twelve hits, six runs scored, one double, two home runs, five runs batted, five walks and five stolen bases. Perez known for being a great defensive minded catcher had a .200 average in 280 at bats in the minor leagues last year. Perez hit .500 with five hits, 4 runs scored, one home run, three runs batted in, four walks and is currently on a 12-game hitting streak with a .400 average on the season.
The pitching star of the week was a tough choice between Josh Tomlin, T.J. House and Trevor Bauer. I ultimately chose Bauer but all were deserving. Bauer made one start and threw six and two-third innings, giving up six hits, one earned run, walking three while striking out three and got the win. With the Clippers on the season Trevor Bauer has made three starts and is 2-0 with 21 strikeouts and a 0.96 earned run average.
Columbus starts the week with a four game series on Saturday with the (6-15) Norfolk Tides, the Triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Tides feature one of the best young pitching prospects in the minor leagues in right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman. Gausman is ranked by both Baseball America and MLB.com as the Orioles second best prospect. The Clippers end the week with a four game series at the (15-7) Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Rays on Wednesday. Another top prospect the Clippers will face is Durham’s shortstop Hak-Ju Lee. MLB.com ranks Lee as the Rays #1 prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America ranks him as their #2.
The Akron RubberDucks started the week hot, sweeping a three game series against the Bowie Baysox on the road. Akron then hit a buzzsaw in the Trenton Thunder who took the first three games in a four game road set in Trenton. Akron pulled out the final game winning by a final score of 4-1. The RubberDucks went a very respectable 4-3 on the seven game road trip and head back home with a record of 10-10 tied for second place in the Eastern League Western Division
The hitting stars of the week were Francisco Lindor and Giovanny Urshela. Lindor hit .368 with 7 hits, one triple, three runs batted in and two stolen bases. Urshela hit .300 with six runs scored, six hits, one double, two home runs and four runs batted in. Urshela only hit eight home runs for Akron in 2013 in 445 at bats. This year Urshela has four home runs in only 66 at bats.
The pitching star of the week was starting pitcher Gabriel Arias. Arias made one start, pitched six innings, giving up five hits, one earned runs, walking none while striking out three and picking up a win. Arias was in the Philadelphia Phillies system last year before the Indians picked him up as a minor league free agent. Arias in three starts for the RubberDucks is sporting a 1.80 earned run average.
Akron returns to the friendly confines of Canal Park on Friday to start a six game home stand. First up is a three game series Friday through Sunday versus the (9-9) Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Monday through Wednesday the (10-7) Binghamton Mets, the Double-A affiliate for the New York Mets, come to town. The RubberDucks have Thursday off before heading out on a seven game road trip starting Friday.
The Carolina Mudcats went 3-3 on the week but deserved a much better fate losing the three games by a total of four runs. The Mudcats pitching staff were tremendous this week ending with a 1.76 team earned run average. The pitching staff has been great all year leading the Carolina league with a 2.57 team earned run average, almost a full run less than the second place team. Carolina started the week splitting a four game series at home versus the Frederick Keys, the Hi-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. After the series with the Keys the Mudcats left to start a seven game road trip starting on Wednesday. Carolina has split the first two games of a three game set on the road with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who are the Hi-A affiliate for the Kansas City Royals. In going 3-3 during the week the Mudcats record now stands at 11-9 on the season and sit in third place in the Carolina League Southern Division. Carolina starting pitcher Dylan Baker, who is one of the Indians bright young pitching prospects, suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg and hopes to be back in around 8 weeks.
The hitting star of the week were shortstop Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez hit .320 with five runs scored, eight hits, two doubles, one triple, one home run and four runs batted. Gonzalez is also riding a 16-game hitting streak. Gonzalez on the season has a .349 batting average. Gonzalez was added to the Indians 40-man roster in the off-season and offers fantastic defense and an ever-improving bat.
The pitching stars of the week were three starting pitchers D.J. Brown, Ryan Merritt and Shawn Morimando. Brown made two starts earning the win in one. Brown pitched 11 innings, giving up eight hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out seven. Merritt made one start earning the win. Merritt pitched seven innings, giving up four hits, no earned runs, walked none and struck out four. Finally Morimando made one start earning the win. Morimando pitched six innings, giving up six hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out five. Merritt is quite a story in that he leads all of minor league baseball in earned run average of 0.37 of all pitchers who qualify with enough innings pitched. Merritt has only allowed one earned run in 24.1 innings pitched on the year and has a streak of sixteen straight innings without allowing an earned run.
Carolina still has one more road game versus the (8-12) Wilmington Blue Rocks, the Hi-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Mudcats then travel to start a four game series on Saturday with the (9-11) Frederick Keys, the Hi-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The team has a travel day off Wednesday. Carolina finally heads back home for a four game set starting on Thursday versus the (8-12) Wilmington Blue Rocks who they had just played a series with on the road. The Blue Rocks feature shortstop Rual Aldaberto Mondesi who is ranked the third best prospect in the Kansas City Royals system by MLB.com and Baseball America. Mondesi is the son of former Major League All-Star outfielder Raul Mondesi.
A tough week again for the Lake County Captains as they dropped all six games they played. After a promising (4-1) start to the season the Captains have gone an unthinkable (1-14) and sit in last place in the Midwest League Eastern Division with a 5-15 record. The week started with the team losing the final two games of a three game series at home against the (12-7) Burlington Bees, the Low-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Captains then dropped all four road games versus the (8-11) Lansing Lugnuts, the Low-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The recipe for disastrous start has been the horrendous showing of the team’s pitching and defense on the season. The team sports a league worst 5.29 earned run average while also committing 35 errors in only 20 games played.
The hitting stars of the week were outfielder Clint Frazier and second baseman Paul Hendrix. Frazier in his first week of action of the 2014 season was coming off a hamstring injury, hit .286 with three runs scored, six hits, one double, one triple, two runs batted in and five walks. Hendrix hit .429 with two runs scored, six hits, two doubles, one run batted in and three walks.
The pitching stars of the week were right-handed pitcher Robbie Aviles and right-handed pitcher Jordan Milbrath. The team’s pitching really struggled this week but Aviles and Milbrath were two bright spots. Aviles made one appearance and pitched four innings, giving up four hits, no earned runs, walked none and struck out three. Milbrath made one appearance as well and pitched four innings, giving up one hit, no earned runs, walked one and struck out six. Milbrath a 35th round pick of last year’s draft has really started to open some eyes with a strong showing to start the season with a 1.86 earned run average in 19.1 innings pitched. Hopefully the Indians have found a diamond in the rough in the 6-foot, 6-inch, right-handed pitcher.
Lake County hopes to stop their six game losing streak as they begin a three game series on the road this weekend against the (12-8) South Bend Silver Hawks, the Low-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Captains return home on Monday and start a four game series versus the (10-10) West Michigan WhiteCaps, the Low-A affiliate for the Detroit Tigers.
Photo: Aaron Moody/Eastern Wake News