Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's Trip to the Minors

Before our brief foray into the top four levels of the minors, here's an update on the Tri-City team:
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel has pitched very well this month. In three games, Keuchel has given up three earned runs in 20 innings while striking out 15 and walking one. He has given up two home runs and has only gotten three runs in support, explaining his three no-decisions. Still, the former Arkansas star couldn't be having a better start to his big-league career and should start next season at Lancaster at least, possibly even Corpus.

Right-hander Wander Alvino has not been as good this month, giving up eight earned runs in 11 innings while striking out six and walking two. Alvino has lost both of his starts and has barely a 1/1 G/F ratio this month. Considering his K/9 rate has not been strong this season, the 22-year old may just not be that good a prospect. It'll be interesting to see if he gets a promotion to Lexington next season.

Outfielder Jacob Goebbert had a rough start to the season, but has bounced back in a big way this month. The 21-year old is 11 for 35 with eight doubles, six RBIs, four runs scored, three walks and five strikeouts. His 6.8 runs created is good for third on the team, behind J.D. Martinez and Barry Butera. Goebbert is also 4 for his last 9 and leads the organization in doubles this month.

Center fielder Brian Kemp has been struggling this month and saw his average drop all the way down to .274/.382/.318 on the season. Kemp is 8 for 37 with two walks, six runs scored and three RBIs and has just one extra-base hit, a triple. The 20-year old has also struck out six times, which is high for him. His lack of plate discipline may have also led to his demotion from the leadoff spot earlier this week.

First baseman/left fielder J.D. Martinez continues to mash, with a line of .405/.435/.643 this month. The 21-year old is 17 for 42 with five doubles, one triple and a home run, driving in a team-high eight runs while scoring another six. Martinez has created 11 runs this month and has created 24 total runs in 119 plate appearances with Tri-City in July and August.

Middle infielder Barry Butera also has been hot this month, since gaining playing time after Brandon Wikoff was promoted to Lexington. Butera is 7 for 17 in his last four games and has hit four doubles and stolen four bases this month. His line of .356/.396/.444 is second only to Martinez on the team, as his his 9 runs created. Butera's season line is a bit low at .246/.331/.299, but since he became a regular, his hitting has improved markedly.

Diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve was called up to Tri-City earlier this week and responded by going 3 for 12 in three games. The 19-year old is the second-youngest position player on the team behind Rene Garcia. It will be interesting to see if Altuve can still hit for power in the higher levels, but he's already hit a double in those three games.
Now for the rest of the minor leagues:
Left-hander Douglas Arguello pitched well for Corpus on Thursday in his return from the DL. Arguello made a few appearances with the GCL Astros and Tri-City before starting for Corpus and has immediately helped their pitching staff. Arguello lasted five innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while striking out three and walking none. The 24-year old did give up one home run and threw 72 pitches total in his return. Pitcher Brad James was thrust into a reliever's role, but he blew the victory for Arguello by giving up two runs in two innings of work for his first blown save. Ryan McKeller picked up his second victory with Corpus by tossing three shutout innings to end the game.

Catcher Jason Castro did not fare as well, going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts to drop his average down to .304....Outfielder Drew Locke, on the other hand, was 4 for 4 with an RBI, raising his average up to .330....Jimmy Van Ostrand and Nick Moresi each hit home runs, while Van Ostrand drove in the winning run on a fly ball single in the bottom of the 10th.

In Lancaster, Koby Clemens extended his hitting streak to 11 games by hitting a home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was Clemens' 16th home run of the season and the two RBIs gave him 102 for the season. Clemens finished the night 1 for 4 with a strikeout.

Right-hander Tip Fairchild tossed a gem of a start at Clear Channel Field, lasting eight innings while giving up eight hits and two earned runs. The 25-year old struck out nine and walked one to pick up his first victory of the 2009 season.

Lexington outfielder Steve Brown continued his torrid pace this month by going 3 for 5 with a double and two runs scored on Thursday. Brown is now hitting .257/.301/.422 and the double was his 16th of the season.

Lexington starter Robert Bono got hit pretty hard, giving up seven runs (four earned) in 5 1/3 innings of work while striking out three and walking none. Reliever Henry Villar followed by giving up four unearned runs in two-thirds of an inning, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out none. Even recently promoted Tri-City pitcher Anthony Noguera got hit some, giving up his first run in Lexington during his fourth appearance. Noguera lasted 2 2/3 innings while giving up three hits and one run, striking out one and walking two.
That's all for now, but I should be caught up now, so next week we'll be on a more normal posting schedule. Until then...

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