For some players, the minor league season is nearing its conclusion and guys are preparing for instructional leagues, the famous Arizona Fall League, or for some an opportunity to join the Big League Club for a few weeks as the rosters will expand in September.
As the seasons come to a close it is exciting to see so many Cardinal 9 Alumni who are finishing strong and in some cases setting records in the process. With each new runner, Corey Ray knocks in he will just extend his record of RBI’s in a single season for the Biloxi Shuckers. On top of that, he is on pace to do something only a few ballplayers accomplish in a single season, smash 30+ doubles, crush 30+ home runs and steal 30+ bases.
That combination of power and speed are rare in a baseball player and right now Biloxi fans and fans around the Southern League are getting a chance to witness a truly special season from a great individual. I can still remember watching him play at UofL one weekend when I was in town visiting my family and the biggest thing that stuck out to me that day was not his skill set. Rather, it was who he was as a person.
Ray was playing right field and between innings, someone from the bench would play catch with him. As the catcher would throw down Ray would toss the ball in for the last time and yell a thank you across the field to his throwing partner. It’s a simple act, but one that shows a great teammate, not just a great baseball player. Nick Solak is also putting together a great year and is on pace to join the 20/20 club of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases for Montgomery. Solak and Drew Ellis had monster weeks for their teams were included on the MLB Pipeline Team of the Week.
Weekly statistics are from the week of 8/15/-8/21/2018
Adam Duvall since being traded to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline has played sparingly as they push for National League East crown. This week he hit .250 in about a dozen at-bats. Duvall’s average is down this year but when he was playing every day he was still driving in a lot of runs and hitting the ball hard. Advanced metrics show that he is still hitting the ball hard, he is not striking out more than he has in the past, it has just been a complete season of hard-hit balls not falling in for hits. Regardless of how this regular season turns out, Duvall has a chance to play in the postseason again and win his second World Series ring.
Adam Engel continues to dominate on the defensive side of the game and he is even getting in on the offensive fun as the White Sox have busted out a home run chain, similar to the turnover chain that the Miami Hurricanes football team put on display last fall. A week after he was soaring above the wall in centerfield, “The Man of Steal,” hit .300 with 1 home run and 2 RBI’s. This rebuild has given Engel a chance to grow as a Major Leaguer and in his 2nd season in the MLB he is starting to make a name for himself on the South Side.
Chad Green worked 3 times for the Yankees this week just continued his dominant ways again. In three outings, Jolly went 4.2 innings, gave up just 1 hit and struck out 4. The Yankees have the second best record in baseball yet if the season ended today they would not be division winners and would have to play in the Wild Card game. An arm like Chad Green out of the bullpen in the playoff game will come in handy.
Matt Koch went 5.2 innings in his most recent start surrendering 4 earned runs on 8 hits while striking out 4. As the Diamondbacks battle down the stretch for a playoff spot, I will be interested to see if they recall Koch.
Kyle McGrath had a heavy workload this week pitching 4 times for El Paso and he was dominant. The Butler High School product only allowed 1 hit in 6 innings of work while striking out 1.
Josh Rogers did not factor into the decision in his most recent start for Norfolk even though he did pitch well. In 5 innings, Rogers struck out 2 and gave up 3 earned runs on 6 hits.
Cole Sturgeon hit .250 in 4 games for Pawtucket, including a double, a home run and 2 RBI’s.
Dean Kiekhefer pitched twice and was perfect this week totaling 1 inning, and striking out all 3 batters he faced for Nashville. In 29 games since being signed by Oakland, the Oldham County native has been solid and could also be on the move as rosters expand.
Chris Dominguez had a strong week at the plate batting .389 with 1 double and 1 RBI for the SkyChiefs. The Nationals seem to be all in on selling right now so Dominguez might get his shot at The Show in the weeks to come.
Will Smith hit .158 for Oklahoma City but did have a pair of doubles as he continues to work and adjust to pitching at AAA.
Derek Self was promoted to the Syracuse SkyChiefs on August 18th and will join former Card, Chris Dominguez. Since being promoted to AAA, Self has appeared on one game where he went 2.1 innings, gave up 2 hits, allowed 1 unearned run and struck out 2 in relief. This is Self’s third time in AAA and hopefully, this time around he can become a mainstay as he gets ever so close to a Big League mound.
Nick Burdi is on a rehab assignment with the Indianapolis Indians and in 1 total inning this week he has struck out 2 batters and gave up 1 earned run.
Zack Burdi is on a rehab assignment in the Arizona League for the White Sox and pitched one inning, allowed 1 hit and struck out 1.
Kyle Funkhouser went down with a fractured foot after stumbling over a broken piece of sidewalk and unfortunately, his strong season has come to an end prematurely. Between AA and AAA this year, Funk was 4-7 with a 3.96 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and had 96 strikeouts in 97.2 innings.
Jeff Arnold collected 2 hits in 3 games this week for Richmond.
Nick Solak hit .375 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs, plus 4 RBI’s as he also earned himself a spot on the MLB Pipelines team of the Week. Solak has 18 home runs and 21 stolen bases as he is on the verge of the 20/20 club this season.
Corey Ray continues to do unbelievable things this season. He busted out of a rough stretch to finish the week with 2 hits including his 26th home run of the season and Biloxi Shucker single-season record 71st RBI of the season.
Grant Kay was placed on the 7 day DL at the start of the season.
Jared Ruxer was released on 5/23 by the Kansas City Royals
Joe Filomeno was released on 4/23 by the Texas Rangers.
Drew Ellis was named to the MLB Pipeline Team of the Week this week after hitting .474, crushing 2 bombs, a double and a triple while knocking in 5 for the Rawhide. Ellis is also currently on a 7 game hitting streak dating back to August 12th.
Lincoln Henzman was not a factor into the decision in his start this week where he gave up 4 hits, 2 earned runs and struck out a pair of batters for Winston-Salem.
Devin Hairston scored a run while batting .067 this week for the Carolina Mudcats.
Brendan McKay the hitter went hitless in 3 games but did coax a walk in each of those 3 games. On the mound for the Stone Crabs, McKay the pitcher went 3.1 innings struck out 4 and gave up 2 earned runs.
Blake Tiberi hit .285 with a double in only a few at-bats this week for the St. Lucie Mets.
Jeff Thompson was released by the Detroit Tigers on July 21st.
Colby Fitch batted .067 this week but that one hit was a double to go along with 1 RBI for the BlueClaws.
Drew Harrington earned the win in his lone start this week where he went 6 innings, struck out 7 and gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits for Kannapolis.
Devin Mann hit .218 for the Loons with a pair of doubles to go along with 6 RBI’s.
Kade McClure was placed on the 7 day DL on May 14th.
Dace Kime retired from professional baseball on June 16th.
A Short Season
Josh Stowers had 2 doubles in 4 hits and 1 stolen base as he continues to have an All-Star first professional season for Everett.
Adam Wolf tossed 3 shutout innings this week for Connecticut, striking out 2 and only allowing 1 hit.
Riley Thompson started one game, went 3.2 innings, struck out 5 batters and did not allow an earned run for the Eugene Emeralds.
Liam Jenkins pitched twice, giving up 2 earned runs but striking out 4 across 2.2 innings for the AZL Indians.
Austin Conway had a perfect week for the Voyagers, going 3 total innings, striking out 3 batters and not allowing a hit.
2018 Draft Picks
*Josh Stowers was selected in the 2nd round, 54th overall, to the Seattle Mariners.
*Adam Wolf was drafted by the Detroit Tigers at 135 overall, in the 5th round.
*Devin Mann was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers, 164th overall, in the 5th round.
*Riley Thompson was taken in the 11th round by the Chicago Cubs with pick number 338.
*Sam Bordner was drafted by the Miami Marlins, 477 overall in the 16th round.
*Liam Jenkins was drafted in the 17th round, 523 overall, by the Cleveland Indians.
*Austin Conway was taken 918 overall in the 31st round by the Chicago White Sox.
Bryan Hoeing was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 36th round, 1066 overall.
* players who have signed professional contracts