Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Around the Minors: The week of Sept. 13

Sights and sounds from action across Minor League Baseball
September 19, 2021

Sept. 19

Sept. 19

Storming into the playoffs
After needing just one win to secure a place in the Double-A South playoffs, Montgomery never got to even take the field as Mother Nature canceled the doubleheader between the Biscuits and Barons, and it was Montgomery that had its ticket punched for the postseason. The Rays affiliate finished with a 62-56 (.535) record, one game ahead of Chattanooga.

Pulling a Bugs Bunny
It's not every day you get the chance to play all nine positions on the baseball field -- especially at the professional level -- but that's exactly what Noah Campbell did for Low-A Carolina. The Milwaukee infield prospect not only took the field at every spot for the Mudcats, but Campbell also earned the save in the club's 5-2 victory. No stranger to being a utility player, prior to Sunday afternoon, the 22-year-old had played every infield position as well as left field and pitcher.

Moving the velvet rope
The 20/20 club has a new member. Josh Stowers connected on his 20th dinger of the season for Double-A Frisco -- a rocket off the screen in left-center field in the sixth inning -- after having successfully swiped his 20th and 21st bases on Wednesday. The Rangers outfield prospect, who had never mashed more than seven homers in a season before, has stolen at least 20 bases in each of the first three years of his pro career.

Playoff szn
In one of the more intriguing postseason scenarios entering the final day of the regular season, the Down East Wood Ducks punched their ticket to the Low-A East Championship Series. In what could have been decided by a third tiebreaker had both Down East and Salem matched results on Sunday, the Wood Ducks who prevailed with a 5-2 victory over Charleston and then scoreboard watched as the Red Sox lost a 6-1 lead in the sixth and dropped a 9-7 decision to Delmarva.

Going the distance
For the first time in his career, Kyle Wright tossed nine innings, and the right-hander made a little bit of Triple-A Gwinnett history. The Braves hurler took a perfect game into the seventh inning before yielding a pair of hits without issuing a walk and fanning five. It was the first nine-inning complete-game shutout for the Stripers since Williams Pérez in 2016.

Three's a charm
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals needed three things to break their way in order to clinch a spot in the playoffs on the final day of the regular season -- and naturally, they got 'em. The Royals' Double-A affiliate took care of its own business with a 9-4 victory over Springfield, then needed losses from both Arkansas and Frisco (at the hands of Wichita and Amarillo respectively). The spot was ultimately decided by a head-to-head tiebreaker with the RoughRiders -- whom the Naturals held a 5-1 record against this season.

Popping off
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are headed to the High-A Central Finals. The Kernels have clinched the No. 2 seed in the High-A Central Championship Series and will take on the Quad Cities River Bandits -- affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The series begins on Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.

The comeback kids
The Double-A Northeast Finals are set thanks to a couple of comeback victories on Sunday. First, Bowie posted a three-spot in the eighth inning against Altoona, capped off by a two-run, go-ahead single from Cody Roberts to seal a 7-5 victory. Then, trailing 4-0, Akron plated five runs in its final two frames of work to punch its ticket with a 5-4 win over Somerset. The biggest knock coming off the bat of Jose Fermin who mashed a game-tying three-run blast in the eighth for the RubberDucks.

Wearing his PF Flyers
If you blink, you might miss it. What appeared to be a routine double into the corner in right field, turned into an inside-the-park two-run home run for Matt McClain. The third-ranked Reds prospect laced a ball off the wall in right and just never stopped running. The No. 17 overall selection in this year's Draft is sporting a 60-grade speed, however watching this play may tick that score up a notch. Sure, McClain gets a hint of fortune with the ball rolling under a portion of the wall, but there is no substantial delay from the outfielder to get the ball back into the infield. This is just pure hustle from the 22-year-old.

Blasting off into history
With his solo blast to left-center field in the fourth inning, Dermis Garcia set the Double-A Somerset single-season dinger record with 31 long balls. The Yankees prospect nearly doubled his career-high in homers which was previously set at 17 -- a mark he mashed in 2017 and 2019. The 23-year-old found the seats in four of his past seven games and is slugging .486 this season.

Sept. 18

Four score
Count 'em up, that was four straight games with a home run for Alek Thomas. The third-ranked D-backs prospect teed off again for the Triple-A Aces, waiting until his final at-bat of their 13-8 victory over the Bees to extend his long ball streak. Thomas is batting .324 with a 1.008 OPS at the highest level of the Minors.

Mussel-ing their way into history
It had been over 10 years since Fort Myers had a no-hitter. On Sept. 3, 2011, Alex Wimmers went the distance in a seven-inning feat against Jupiter. On Saturday, Regi Grace, Landon Leach, Bradley Hanner and Matthew Swain combined forces against Tampa for the fourth no-no in franchise history. The club's other two such milestones were Yohan Pino vs. St. Lucie on June 30, 2007 (seven innings) and Brad Thomas vs. Charlotte on July 12, 1999 (nine).

'That's a pretty grand feeling'
For the first time in months, the Minor League home run race has some separation, and it was done in grand fashion by MJ Melendez. The fourth-ranked Royals prospect crushed a grand slam for Triple-A Omaha for his 38th dinger of the year -- extending his lead over Miami's Griffin Conine by two long balls. The roundtripper was the 22-year-old's 10th since joining the Storm Chasers.

Sweet victory
With Triple-A Nashville's 6-4 win over Gwinnett on Saturday, Sounds skipper Rick Sweet earned his 2,094th victory to tie Lefty O'Doul ('35-'57) for 10th all-time in Minor League managerial victories. The 69-year-old, who began managing in the Minors in 1987, joined Stan Wasiak (2,530), Bob Coleman (2,496), Mike Kelley (2,390), Johnny Lipon (2,185), Spencer Abbott (2,180), Buddy Bailey (2,145), Larry Gilbert (2,128), Bill Clymer (2,122) and Jack Dunn (2,107) in the elite group.

Curtain up
After 56 career starts across four levels of the Minors, Shane Baz is headed to The Show. The top Rays prospect posted a career 3.09 ERA and 1.22 WHIP on the farm, but saved his best for last as the right-hander dominated at the Minors' highest level this season. Baz sports a 3-0 record with a 1.76 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP with 64 strikeouts across 10 starts (46 innings) for Triple-A Durham. The 22-year-old did not allow more than one earned run in nine of those outings with the Bulls.

Teeing off
As legendary radio voice John Sterling would say, "back-to-back-to-back, belly-to-belly-to-belly." Adam Engel, Mikie Mahtook and Micker Adolfo connected on consecutive home runs for Triple-A Charlotte in the first inning against Durham on Saturday, and the trio did it against 22nd-ranked Rays prospect Brent Honeywell. The long ball was the second of the season for Engel, Mahtook's team-leading 23rd of the year and second in the past three games, and 11th-ranked White Sox prospect Adolfo's ninth in 38 games with the Knights.

Getting it done on both sides
Talk about a one-man show. Astros outfield prospect Quincy Hamilton mashes a go-ahead home run in the second inning for Low-A Fayetteville, and in the next frame, the 23-year-old lays out on a diving play in center to take away extra bases. Hamilton even loses his hat in the process, but bounces right back up and sticks the landing. The judges say, "10s all around!"

Smooth as silk
A play is not supposed to look this easy. Top Yankees prospect Anthony Volpe shows his range to his left and plays a tricky hop effortlessly before executing a backflip pass to second in one fluid motion to start off the 6-4-3 double play for High-A Hudson Valley. The 20-year-old, who has been making plenty of noise of late with his bat, shows that he can flash the leather as well.

Sept. 17

Blissful feeling
There was nothing but good vibes around Ryan Bliss and Low-A Visalia after the 14th-ranked D-backs prospect notched the first cycle of his career. The 21-year-old homered in the first, doubled in the third, tripled in the sixth and completed the milestone with a base knock in his final at-bat with two outs in the ninth. Bliss also drove in a pair of runs and scored twice for the Rawhide. His four hits set a new career-high for the No. 42 overall selection in this year's Draft.

Dynamic duo
A pair of hurlers combined to twirl the first no-no for Low-A Modest since 2013. Jimmy Kingsbury and Kelvin Nunez yielded just a single walk to complete the milestone. The right-handed Kingsbury took the ball and tossed seven frames while fanning a career-high 10. The 17th-round selection in this year's Draft recorded a pair of whiffs in the second, third, sixth and seventh innings. His five-pitch walk to Kevin Richards in the fifth was the lone blemish of the evening. Nunez was perfect over the final two frames -- punching out the side in the eighth before needing just seven pitches to navigate through the ninth. It's the third no-no in Nuts franchise history and the first in the league since 2019.

Back and better than ever
This is nothing short of a miracle. Four months after suffering what appeared to be a career-ending injury during a freak accident in batting practice, Jason Adam returned to the mound for Triple-A Iowa and dominated. The 30-year-old right-hander set down the side in order -- fanning a pair -- in the eighth inning of a 3-3 game for the I-Cubs. The Cubs' farmhand suffered an open fracture of his left ankle in May.

Grand theft home plate
If you blink, you might miss it. That's how fast Juniel Querecuto gets down the line to successfully steal home for Triple-A Reno in the third inning. The timing was perfect on the play as the D-backs farmhand takes off with no hesitation and catches everyone off guard. There is not even a throw to the plate on the play. The swipe of home is the first for the Aces since 2013.

Do the hustle
This play is going to show up in the box score as a double to the third baseman, but really it's Adley Rutschman showing off what happens when you bust it out of the box and hustle the whole way. Baseball's top prospect slid safely into second on what was actually a bloop the found some grass in shallow left field. The knock also put the tying run in scoring position for Triple-A Norfolk in the eighth inning, and Rutschman was driven in by Tyler Nevin two batters later to knot up the score.

Sprinting into history
This truly is history with an exclamation point. Rays outfield prospect Jordan Qsar set the new single-season home run record for High-A Bowling Green with an inside-the-park homer. Draped in the Hot Rods' special Halloween jerseys, the 25-year-old slugger mashed one to the deepest part of the park and the ball hit the wall and took a favorable carom. Qsar never stopped running, and when he slid home safely it not only tied the game for Bowling Green in the sixth, but also set the new franchise dinger record at 23 taters.

Locked-in and loaded
For the second straight outing, MacKenzie Gore fanned eight for Double-A San Antonio. That mark is a season high for the fourth-ranked Padres prospect, who allowed a run on three hits and three walks over four frames on Friday. The left-hander has notched eight punchouts in three outings this season and has amassed 21 whiffs over his last 14 innings pitched.

Talk about making an entrance
One night after recording a multihit effort with an RBI in his Triple-A debut, Mark Vientos put together an even more impressive encore. The sixth-ranked Mets prospect was perfect at the plate -- finishing 3-for-3, falling a triple shy of a cycle, while reaching base four times with a walk and scoring twice for Syracuse. Through his first two games at the Minors' highest level, Vientos is batting .714/.750/1.286.

Joining elite company
The 30 homer club has its newest member as Nick Pratto connected with his milestone long ball in the third inning for Triple-A Omaha. The third-ranked Royals prospect became the ninth player in the Minors to accomplish the feat with his solo shot to right that gave the Storm Chasers a 2-0 lead. The dinger is his first in nine games and second in the month of September.

Digging those September vibes
It's been nothing but smooth sailing for left-hander Drew Rom since the calendar changed to September, and the 26th-ranked Orioles prospect took it up a notch on Friday. Rom twirled five perfect frames for Double-A Bowie while whiffing seven. The 21-year-old has not allowed a run over three starts this month whiling yielding just five hits and a walk with 18 strikeouts over 19 frames.

Checking off another first
In his 25th game since being called up to the Barons, Yoelqui Cespedes connected on his first Double-A home run. The second-ranked White Sox prospect turned around the first pitch he saw leading off the second inning and deposited it into the seats in left-center field. The 23-year-old mashed seven dingers over the first 45 games of his rookie season with High-A Winston-Salem.

Sept. 16

Sept. 16

Beasts of the East
As the saying goes, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Triple-A Durham took that fabled Yogi Berra-ism to heart on Thursday. Trailing by six after two innings, the Bulls rallied for eight unanswered runs to defeat the Knights, 8-6. The victory guaranteed Durham will finish with the top record in the Triple-A East. Esteban Quiroz struck the big blow, tying the game with a pinch-hit grand slam in the seventh inning. Miles Mastrobuoni drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the ninth and scored an insurance run on a wild pitch later in the frame.

Top Nationals pitching prospect Cade Cavalli retook sole possession of the Minor League strikeout lead with four punchouts in a day game with Triple-A Rochester to bring his season total to 166. But later, on the west coast, Carson Ragsdale just squeezed by him. The Giants' No. 25 prospect fanned five for Low-A San Jose, raising the bar to 167. With just a couple games left of the regular season, the lead might hold there; however, Yankees No. 9 prospect Ken Waldichuk, who sits at 159, gets the ball for Double-A Somerset on Saturday.

The Big Unit meets Ruckus
As a member of the D-backs' front office, Randy Johnson gets to see new ballparks and toss an easy first pitch, rather than lighting up the radar gun like he did as a player. As a special assistant to president and CEO Derrick Hall, the Big Unit attended a game in Amarillo, Arizona's Double-A affiliate. Johnson threw out the first pitch and saw how Sod Poodles mascot, Ruckus measured up. Literally.

Fowler takes flight
Playing on his fifth team of the season, Dustin Fowler is starting to get comfortable. After homering on Wednesday for the Triple-A Jumbo Shrimp, the Marlins outfielder posted his sixth career two-homer game. And then the left-handed hitter added a third for the first Jacksonville three-homer game since 2010. That season both Giancarlo Stanton and Mark Saccomanno completed the feat. Fowler, who began the season in Pittsburgh, totaled six RBIs in the milestone effort.

Sept. 15

The Emeralds' city
The Giants' High-A West affiliate has punched its ticket for the postseason and was the first team on the circuit to do so. San Francisco's No. 11 prospect Seth Corry and five relievers led the way as Eugene blanked Tri-City, 6-0. It was just the latest display of pitching prowess from a club that is used to seeing dominant efforts on the mound. They didn't even need to go to Kai-Wei Teng, who stands fifth in the Minor Leagues with 130 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings, to secure the playoff berth.

U can't touch this
Hits were impossible to come by against Low-A Modesto's Brayan Perez, who matched his career high with seven strikeouts while walking two over four frames against Stockton. The 21-year-old left-hander hasn't given up a hit since Sept. 3 after also recording a hitless inning while closing out the Nuts' game against the Grizzlies on Sept. 7.

New position, same old Pratto
Remember we said earlier that Nick Pratto was manning right field for the first time in his professional career for Triple-A Omaha? The third-ranked Kansas City prospect fared pretty well, and even made a web gem out of a failed pickoff attempt. When the throw sailed into right, Pratto scooped it up quickly and strong-armed the ball to Bobby Witt Jr. The third baseman deftly swiped Iowa's Johneshwy Fargas for the out.

Don't forget about 'the other guy'
Going into the Blue Wahoos-Trash Pandas game, all eyes might have been on Max Meyer, and for good reason. The third-ranked Marlins prospect wrapped up his first professional season as the Double-A South co-leader in strikeouts (113) with Biloxi's Noah Zavola while topping the circuit with a 2.41 ERA. But Cristopher Molina had the game of his life for Rocket City. The right-handed Angels prospect struck out a career-high 11 while allowing just a hit and two walks over eight frames in the 4-0 victory.

It's déjà vu all over again
If a seven-inning no-hitter was an art form, Trent Palmer would be Michelangelo. The right-handed Blue Jays prospect painted his second such feat of the season in Low-A Dunedin's 3-0 win over Clearwater in the nightcap of Wednesday's doubleheader. Palmer's first masterpiece came on Aug. 19 vs. Fort Myers. Against the Threshers, the 22-year-old struck out nine and walked two, while he fanned 10 and walked three in the earlier effort.

Big on the stolen bases
A Triple-A Durham player hadn't hit the 40 stolen-base plateau for the team since 2008, when Fernando Perez swiped 43. Second-ranked Rays prospect Vidal Bruján will be chasing that number now, though, after picking up his 40th against Charlotte. He stole second base in the first and third in the fifth to get to the milestone.

Adley adding up
Baseball fans probably don't expect to see a lot of triples from the backstop. Then again, Adley Rutschman isn't your garden-variety backstop. So it's less of a surprise that MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall prospect raced for go-ahead three-baggers two days in a row for Triple-A Norfolk against Jacksonville, especially considering he hadn't tripled at all this year entering this week. But it's still pretty impressive nonetheless.

Playing for like the thousandth time
Triple-A Omaha and Iowa started facing off in 1969 for Interstate 80 bragging rights. Wednesday marks game No. 1,000 between the two teams and the storylines abound. The top prospects for both organizations are in the lineup -- Kansas City's Bobby Witt Jr., who is already in the Minor Leagues' 20-20 club with 31 long balls this year, and Chicago's Brennen Davis, who homered in his first two at-bats for the I-Cubs. Watch third-ranked Royals prospect Nick Pratto in his first career appearance in the right field, while Storm Chasers teammate Lucius Fox becomes the seasoned veteran in his second pro start in center. It's all happening in this milestone game.

Sept. 14

Who needs a cycle anyway?
When Zack Gelof came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth for the Low-A Ports, he needed a triple for the cycle. Instead the A's No. 7 prospect belted his second home run of the game. It was his seventh of the season, marking the first career multihomer performance by the 21-year-old taken by Oakland in the second round (60th overall) this year. It also was Gelof's first five-hit game as a pro.

The Energizer bunny of home runs
This one just kept going and going and going. When Jordan Walker teed off for the fourth time in three days for High-A Peoria, the ball exited at 107 mph and landed on Jefferson Street beyond Dozer Park. St. Louis' No. 3 prospect has mashed eight of his 14 long balls this year for the Chiefs.

A Luisangel on their shoulders
When scorching Low-A Charleston scored three in the top of the 10th against Down East, things looked a little bleak. But all was not lost, because Luisangel Acuña came to the plate with one out in the bottom of the frame and the bases loaded. The eighth-ranked Rangers prospect promptly belted his 11th homer of the season to the deepest part of center field at Grainger Stadium, setting off a raucous celebration.

The Ginn-uine article
Pitching isn't always just about the K's. J.T. Ginn did have those too -- seven, to be exact -- as he twirled seven two-hit innings for the High-A Cyclones against the BlueClaws. But the fifth-ranked Mets prospect also made a dazzling play on defense. In the third inning, Ginn barehanded a slow roller by Johan Rojas, then jumped and threw across his body to cut down the runner at first base. The 22-year-old righty improved to 3-3 with a 3.42 ERA in nine games for Brooklyn.

Pages rewriting history books
On Monday, Andy Pages was named's High-A Central Offensive Player of the Week after becoming the only Minor Leaguer to hit the 30-homer plateau with one team this year. The 20-year-old already has set the Great Lakes' record for a single season, but he's not done yet. The fifth-ranked Dodgers prospect teed off for the fifth time in four games, smacking his 31st for the Loons in the fourth against the Timber Rattlers.

Second at-bat, second Triple-A homer
Knock, knock. Who's there? Brennen Davis. Brennen Davis who? Brennen Davis, who just went yard in his second consecutive at-bat in his Triple-A debut with Iowa, that's who! Pipeline's No. 14 overall prospect homered in the second and third innings for the second multihomer game of his career -- not counting when he teed off twice and scored Most Valuable Player honors at the Futures Game on July 13.

First at-bat, first Triple-A homer
Well, that didn't take long. Batting sixth and playing right field in his Triple-A I-Cubs debut, Brennen Davis got ahold of an offering by Omaha right-hander Ronald Bolaños (Kansas City's No. 25 prospect) and sent it out of the yard in his very first Iowa at-bat. The solo shot, Davis' third long ball of the month, kicked off a four-run frame for the Cubs.

Bring on Brennen!
Top Cubs prospect (and Futures Game MVP) Brennen Davis has moved to the highest rung of the Minor League ladder. It's the second promotion of the season for MLB Pipeline's No. 14 overall prospect. After batting .321 in eight games for High-A South Bend, Davis headed for Double-A Tennessee. He came back down to earth a bit with a .252 average. But the 21-year-old also belted 13 homers, scored 50 runs and drove in 36 in 76 games with the Smokies. Davis departed the Double-A South tied for sixth in doubles (20), sixth in OBP (.367) and fifth in OPS (.841).

Sept. 13

Flexing the clutch gene
With the score tied in the ninth inning and one out, Drew Ellis mashed a 2-2 pitch to left-center to give Triple-A Reno its first lead since the first inning. The go-ahead blast proved to be the difference for the Aces as the club tacked on two more runs en route to a 6-3 victory over Las Vegas. It was the 15th long ball on the season for the 15th-ranked D-backs prospect.

Swinging that boom stick
The scorching play of Cooper Hummel continued for Triple-A Reno on Monday night. The D-backs' outfield prospect crushed a two-run shot and later added a single to finish 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored for the Aces. The 26-year-old is 11-for-20 with jacks in back-to-back games, three doubles, seven RBIs and six runs scored over his last five contests.

All aboard!
The fans on the train that circles the outfield at Smith's Ballpark will not be soon forgetting this. Dodgers' farmhand Luke Raley led off the game with a monster shot to right for Triple-A Oklahoma City that nearly hit the train as it passed by at that moment. The looks on the faces of those inside the train truly tell the story of how close this really was. Raley finished the game 3-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs.

Familiar and welcomed sight
In his first game action since Aug. 28, Andy Ibáñez found the seats for Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers' infielder was on rehab assignment with the Express and launched a two-run shot to left in the seventh inning. He was removed from the game for a defensive replacement in the following inning.

Making it look easy
Don't try this at home, kids. With a screamer headed back to the pitcher's mound, Ryan Rolison effortlessly made the snag on the fly and calmly threw to third for the 1-5 double play. The play by the third-ranked Rockies prospect kept Triple-A Albuquerque's deficit to just a single run into the third inning.

Soaring to the next level
It's been a productive year for Gunnar Henderson, who earned his second promotion of the season on Monday to Double-A Bowie. The 2019 second-round Draft pick opened his second professional season with Low-A Delmarva and posted a .312/.369/.574 slash line with eight home runs and 39 RBIs over 35 games before being called-up to High-A Aberdeen on June 22. The 20-year-old shortstop thrived again with his new club -- launching nine dingers, three triples, 16 doubles, 35 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 65 games with the IronBirds. The fourth-ranked Orioles prospect is expected to suit up for the Baysox over the team's final seven games.

Ready for liftoff
In what will certainly be a fun ending to his season, Sam Bachman will take the ball for Double-A Rocket City on Friday after being promoted to the club on Monday. The No. 9 overall pick in this year's Draft made five starts with High-A Tri-City and posted a 3.77 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 15 strikeouts and four walks over 14 1/3 innings. The right-hander has yet to exceed four innings in a single start and has already notched three scoreless outings. The Trash Pandas will host the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Friday in their final series of the season.

The week that was
With the regular season winding down for most leagues, postseason berths were at a premium. The Minors' home run race between Griffin Conine and MJ Melendez took a turn for the first time in months. In fact, a lot of balls are leaving the yard at ridiculously fast velocities, but that didn't mean there wasn't room for domination on the hill. Plus, we took a closer look at our Labor of love and Low-A Kannapolis played host to a surprise engagement. Review the action here.