4/18/21 : Week Two Minor League Review ( 4/12 to 4/17 )
Position Players :
Yairo Munoz was 9 for 16 ( .563 ) in his return to Worcester with Lehigh Valley including a four hit game on Sunday. The 27 year old infielder was signed by the Phillies this off season as a minor league free agent. He played for Worcester last season as a member of the Red Sox organization.
Dalton Guthrie continued his hot hitting going 6 for 17 ( .353 ) during the week with 4 RBIs - he posted a .389 OBP. For the season he’s hitting at a .395 clip ( 15 for 38 ) with an OBP of .439 generally out of the lead off spot for Lehigh Valley. The 26 year old versatile defensive player was the club’s 6th round draft selection in the 2017 draft from the University of Florida.
Marcus Lee Sang had a solid week for Clearwater. He went 5 for 13 - .385 with a . 467 OBP. The 21 year old was the 2019 11th round draft selection from Northern High School, Owings, MD.
Jorge Bonifacio was 7 for 21 ( .333 ) for the week for Lehigh Valley including a three hit game on Sunday when he drove in six runs with a single, double and home run. The 28 year old outfielder re-signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent on 3/30/21.
Jadiel Sanchez went 6 for 19 (.315 ) with a home run and four RBIs during the week for the Threshers. He is 20 years old and was the 2019 12th round draft selection from Natividad Rodriguez Gonzalez High School in Arroyo, PR.
OF Jhailyn Ortiz hit two doubles and two home runs for Reading during the week. The 23 year old from the Dominican Republic has a .514 slugging percentage in his first 35 AB’s this season.
Ethan Wilson went 6 for 20 ( .300 ) during the week and stole 5 bases for Jersey Shore. The 22 year old outfielder was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft from the University of South Alabama.
Roman Quinn had a day on Sunday for Lehigh Valley reaching base in all five of his plate appearances ( single, home run and three walks ) and scoring three runs. The fleet footed 28 year old re-signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent on April 9th after spending spring training camp with the Miami Marlins.
Odubel Herrera on rehab assignment with Clearwater went 7 for 19 - .368. He also played center field defensively. Odubel will play for AAA Lehigh Valley this coming week as he continues his rehab effort.
In the not so driven by numbers department ( ya gotta watch the games to notice these things 🥸 ) DJ Stewart squared the baseball up quite a bit this past week for Jersey Shore but had little to show for it - a lot of “at em” balls or strong defensive plays made against him. He did hit one well beyond the fielder’s gloves on Saturday when he homered to left field and doubled on Sunday - keep working DJ - hopefully the hits will fall this coming week.
In Clearwater’s games it is noted that Odubel Herrera had a positive effect on his younger teammates - it was seen in the interaction in particular with left fielder Marcus Lee Sang as they came on and off the field together. Veteran leadership and presence can go a long way in development - we’ve noticed it with how the younger players and Scott Kingery interact positively on the backfields in extended spring as well. Guys who have been there are respected but also responsible for showing the way when they themselves are working their way back to the top of the ladder - that’s part of the stuff that can make or break team development - it creates a strong and exemplary attitude - just saying 🤓.
Yairo Munoz - photo by Cheryl Pursell
RH Andrew Painter made his second start another strong outing to start the season for Low A Clearwater - final line on 4/16/22 : 4 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 7 K’s - 65 pitches - 42 strikes - Andrew’s fastball sat in the 95-99 mph range, slider 80-84 and changeup 87 mph. In two starts he’s thrown 7 innings total, no earned runs allowed, 3 H, 3 BB and 16 strikeouts. It’s a follow up to a very strong spring training camp for the 19 year old.
RH Noah Skirrow - made a strong debut to his 2022 season in his initial start for Reading this past Wednesday - his line : 5 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K’s - 55 pitches -42 strikes. Noah ( 23 yrs old ) used his full mix of deliveries and kept the Akron hitters off balance. He was signed as an un-drafted free agent on 6/16/20 out of Liberty University and is from Cambridge, ON, Canada. Fastball generally sits low nineties … gets big break on both slider and curve ball - lots of vertical movement.
RH Cristian Hernandez - made his first start of the season a good one for Jersey Shore on 4/13. He pitched 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball allowing 2 hits and a walk while striking out four batters and threw 61 pitches - 37 for strikes. The 21 year old was signed as an international free agent on 7/9/17 from Cumana, Venezuela. He generally has a three pitch mix with the fastball sitting 93-95 and a curve and changeup.
LH Gabriel Cotto was perfect thru four innings in his start for Clearwater on 4/14 against St Lucie. He ended up pitching 4 1/3 innings and was charged with 2 runs ( 1 unearned ) allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 9 batters - totaled 61 pitches - 37 strikes. He featured an outstanding curve ball/changeup in the game - big break that produced quite a few swing & misses ( 12 of the 26 swings against him missed the baseball - 46 % 👍 ). The tall lanky 21 year old hurler ( 6’5” ) sat in the 91 to 93 mph range with his fastball ( sinker & four seam ) with the secondaries hovering in the 80-82 range ( good 10 mph differential ). He was the club’s 7th round draft selection in the 2018 draft from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in Gurabo, PR.
RH Adam Leverett - went five innings for Reading on 4/15 to earn the win. He yielded 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6 batters. The 23 year old was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft from Gordon State Junior College in Georgia. He uses a four pitch mix with the fastball generally sitting in the 90-93 range and with secondaries having good spin and movement. Attacks hitters with minimal free passes.
RH Victor Vargas threw four innings on 4/12 allowing one run on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 batters. The 21 year old signed as an international free agent on 7/2/17 and is from Cartagena, Colombia. He uses a Sinker, Slider and Change-Up mix with the heater ranging from 89-92 mph, smooth delivery, strong mechanics and high baseball IQ are assets for success. Attacks hitters to induce weak contact - generally throws strikes. We like his moxy and competitiveness.
RH Gunner Mayer pitched well on Sunday for Clearwater - 4 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 K’s. The 21 year old was the 2019 5th round draft selection from San Joaquin Delta JC in San Joaquin Delta JC, CA. His fastball sits in the 92-94 mph range and he also features a curve and change up.
RH Braden Zarbnisky, LH Brian Marconi, RH Francisco Morales, RH Bubby Rossman and LH Zach Warren each made two scoreless appearances during the week for Reading. Morales faced one over the minimum in his three innings of work, walked none and struck out three batters. Marconi struck out four in his three innings, the two combined to form a nice backend of the game tandem.
RH Matt Russell went four innings for Jersey Shore in relief on 4/15 allowing two runs on four hits and no walks. The 23 year old power hurler kept the Blue Claws in the game during his effort. He was signed as an un-drafted free agent in July of 2021 from Missouri State University.
RH Dominic Pipkin made two scoreless appearances for Jersey Shore - two perfect innings with three strikeouts. The 22 year old 9th round draft selection in the 2018 draft from Pinole, CA has been converted to a reliever this season. He’s a high octane pitcher who can reach the upper nineties.
LH Jonathan Hennigan threw three shutout innings for Lehigh Valley on 4/15 allowing just one hit while striking out four batters. The 27 year old was the club’s 21st round selection in the 2016 draft from Texas State University.
Team Records :
Lehigh Valley went 2-4 during the week and is now 5-7 overall
Reading went 2-4 during the week and is 3-6 overall
Jersey Shore went 1-5 during the week and is 1-8 overall
Clearwater went 1-5 during the week and is 1-8 overall
Obviously the objective of the game is to win, in the first couple of weeks our guys haven’t been in the W column much - there aren’t any excuses offered or made for that and yes they are indeed trying to win the games. In the minor leagues it’s also about individual development and that will remain the primary objective ( and yes winning is definitely an important part of the development plan as well ) - it is obvious that in the early going pitch counts are in effect regardless of the game score - also finding AB’s for multiple players will be an ongoing challenge. Hopefully the W’s start to come more frequently along with incorporating the individual development plans as the season progresses.
From my perspective there was likely a good bit of disappointment amongst players with their team and or role assignments coming out of spring camp. The messaging of expectations is key to continue an upbeat morale. Now two weeks into the season it’s time for fellas to own their roles and push harder to excel. “It’s not where ya start but where ya finish” is a challenge that must be incorporated into everyone’s mindset and approach - in sports, performances dictate getting noticed. Playing with an edge and chip on the shoulder isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it helps climb the ladder.
This coming week’s schedule :
AAA - Lehigh Valley will be home vs Rochester ( Nationals affiliate )
AA - Reading will be home vs Harrisburg ( Nationals affiliate )
High A : Jersey Shore will be home vs Asheville ( Astros affiliate )
Low A : Clearwater will be home vs Tampa ( Yankees affiliate )
Extended Spring Training : host Blue Jays ( 4/18 ), Tigers ( 4/21 ) & @ Blue Jays ( 4/23 )
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️