Minor League Player of the Day – Jesmuel Valentin (Rookie) - 2 for 5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 3 RBI's. With 7 teams playing for the first time on Thursday I thought there would be an abundance of players to chose from for this award, but instead I had to settle for Valentin who was the best of the bunch. After a rough 33 games with the Loons, Jesmuel got his Pioneer League career off to a bang with a couple of extra base hits on opening day.
AAA – The Isotopes scored 2 in the top of the 8th to break a tie and went on to defeat the Storm Chasers (Royals) 6 to 4. Nick Buss went 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and scored half of his team's runs, while Brian Barden also doubled and drove in 2. Rusty Ryal stayed hot with a 2 for 5 effort and newcomer John Baker went 2 for 4 with a couple of RBI's. On the mound Rob Rasmussen didn't have his best stuff as he allowed 9 hits and 4 runs over 4.2 frames, and his AAA ERA now stands at 9.42. His bullpen picked him up, however, including 2.1 perfect frames from Anthony Ortega and a scoreless inning from Jose Dominguez.
AA – The Lookouts scored a couple of late runs but that wasn't enough as they fell to the Smokies (Cubs) 3 to 2. Chattanooga actually had the bases loaded with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th and were down by 2. After a Rafael Ynoa single cut the deficit to just one, Joc Pederson and Brian Cavazos-Galvez both struck out to end the game. For Joc it was part of a 4 strikeout night, although he did single in his other at bat. Starter Chris Reed threw a decent game as he allowed just 4 hit and 2 runs over 6 frames, but he did walk 3 and only struck out 2. Jharel Cotton tossed the final 2 innings and allowed just 1 hit while punching out 3.
HiA – The JetHawks (Astros) jumped all over Garrett Gould as they defeated Rancho 11 to 3. Gould allowed 5 first inning runs, and 9 in total after giving up 4 walks and 6 hits (including 2 homers). Raydel Sanchez permitted a couple of more runs in relief, although three other bullpen arms held Lancaster hitless over the final 3 frames. At the dish O'Koyea Dickson had a big game as he went 2 for 4 with a double and a homer, his 9th of the year. Scott Schebler also had 2 hits including a double, while Bladimir Franco rounded out the extra base hits with a triple.
LoA – The Loons started their second half with a loss as they were washed away by the Whitecaps (Tigers) 6 to 3. The good news is that Corey Seager returned to the lineup and went 2 for 4 with a double, while Brandon Dixon went 1 for 4 in his professional debut. All star Tyler Ogle also continued to hit as he crushed his 10th homer of the year. On the mound Angel Sanchez got lit up again as he allowed 9 hits and 6 runs over 5.1 frames to pick up his 7th loss of the year. Luis Meza and Alan Garcia got through the final 3.2 innings without any issues, combining for 5 strike outs along the way.
Rookie Ogden – The Raptors crushed 4 homers on opening day and matched the Rockies with 13 hits, but they still lost 11 to 6. As mentioned above Jesmuel Valentin had the the best showing of the day as he went 2 for 5 with a double, a homer, and 3 RBI's out of the leadoff spot. Catcher Austin Cowen, 3rd baseman Alex Santana, and DH Pat Stover had the other homers for Ogden, while 2013 7th round pick Brandon Trinkwon went 2 for 3 with a double and a triple in his professional debut. Starter Scott Barlow allowed 6 hits and 6 runs over 3 innings in his return to the mound after taking a year off for Tommy John surgery. Ricky Perez also got rocked in relief to the tune of 5 runs (3 earned), while Jose Agusto Diaz permitted just 1 hit over 2 frames in his US debut after spending 2 seasons in the DSL.
Rookie Arizona – The Arizona Dodgers had an exciting opening day as they tied the game with 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th, then walked off with a 9 - 8 win over the Brewers in the 10th. Justin Chigbogu had the first big hit of the 9th inning rally as his single with 2 outs plated two runs, while Josmar Cordero was the one who tied the game one batter later with a double. In the 10th it was 2013 18th round pick James McDonald who plated the winning run with a walk-off single. Other offense highlights include doubles from Jeffry Rojas and Melvin Santana, who had both spent the last two season in the DSL. Starter Abdiel Velasquez allowed 3 early runs on 3 hits and 4 walks, then youngster Bryan Munoz gave up 3 more runs over 3 innings of relief. One other thing to note about this team is that it includes several international signees from this past season including shortstop Cristian Gomez, catcher Julian Leon, RHP Lenix Osuna, and RHP William Soto, and they are all 17 years old.
DSL – The Dominican Dodgers defeated the Indians 5 to 4 on Thursday. Luis Rodriguez and Jimy Perez had the only extra base hits for the Dodgers, both doubles, while Samuel Ortiz had the only multi-hit game by going 2 for 4. On the mound Welington Serrano allowed 4 hits and 1 earned run over 4 frames, then Kevin Guzman gave up a run in two innings of relief but recorded the win. Elou Jean picked up his 4th save of the season with a perfect 9th as he lowered his ERA to 1.50.
Coming up – All 7 teams will be in action again with Blake Johnson throwing for the Isotopes and Andres Santiago taking the mound for the Lookouts. The other three starters that have been announced are Lindsey Caughel for the Quakes, Francisco Villa for the Raptors, and Miguel Sulbaran for the Loons.
Minor League Transactions – AAA: Elian Herrera was promoted to the Dodgers, Chris Withrow returned to Albuquerque, and catcher Steve Cilladi was activated from the DL. LoA: Miguel Sulbaran returned to the team while Jordan Hershiser was sent to Ogden. Also 2013 3rd round pick Brandon Dixon joined the Loons.