Series Preview Uncategorized

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Hagerstown Suns August 2-5

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (53-54 overall, 23-16 second half, 2nd SAL North) at Hagerstown Suns (Washington Nationals) (14-23, 41-64, 7th SAL North)

The Crawdads take a short road trip for a four-game series at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium.


WHERE IS IT?: 274 East Memorial Blvd., Hagerstown. From I-81, take exit 6A (US 40 East) through downtown Hagerstown. Turn right at Cleveland Ave.


GAME TIMES: Thursday and Friday 7:05 p.m., Saturday 6:05 p.m., Sunday 2:05 p.m.


TICKETS: $12 Reserved, $10 Grandstand, $9 General Admission


PARKING: Free parking available at the stadium.



Thursday – Thirsty Thursday

Friday – Post-game Fireworks/ 80s Night

Saturday – Jim Palmer Bobblehead Giveaway (First 1,000 fans)

Sunday – Candy Drop


CONCESSIONS: Municipal Stadium has standard ballpark fare (Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, funnel cakes, etc.) There is also a beer garden down the left field line.


PROBABLES (Hickory/ Hagerstown)

Thursday: RHP Tyree Thompson or RHP Jean Casanova vs. RHP Jackson Tetreault

Friday: RHP Tyler Thomas vs. RHP Malvin Pena

Saturday: Tyler Phillips vs. RHP Brigham Hill

Sunday: RHP Noah Bremer vs. RHP Tomas Alastre


Recent Series History:

The Crawdads won the only two games played between the two teams this season during a rain-shortened series in May at Hagerstown. The Suns have not made a trip to Hickory since 2016 and this is only the third series overall between the division rivals over the past two seasons. The teams split a four-game series in 2017. Since 2009, which is the start of the Crawdads-Rangers affiliation, the teams are 46-46 overall, with Hickory holding a 31-24 margin at Municipal Stadium.


Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 10): 2018 stats: .287/.340/.439, 13 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 16 BB, 68 K, 23 SB, 4 CS. Last series vs. Charleston: 2-for-8, 2B, HR, 2 K. Has hits in 24 of his last 27 games. Had 15 steals in July. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd stolen bases.

RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 14): 2018 stats: 18 games (18 starts) 104 IP, 100 H, 39 R (36 ER), 3 HR, 3 HB, 12 BB, 98 K, 3.12 ERA, .248 OBA, 1.08 WHIP. Last start 7/29 at Greensboro: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K. In his last 29 starts stretching to 6/23/17 at Spokane 167.2 IP, 19 BB, 171 K. Sixteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Bishop Eustace HS, Pennsauken, N.J. Native of Lumberton N.J. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st walks-per-9-inning ratio among starters (1.04), T-3rd wins (8), 7th WHIP, 9th ERA, 10th innings. Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 18) 2018 stats: .241/.302/.442, 16 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 24 BB, 97 K, 8 SB, 3 CS. Last series vs. Charleston: 3-for-8, HR, 2 K. Obtained by the Rangers in 2017 from the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Lucroy. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 19): 2018 stats: 17 games (15 starts), 84.2 IP, 74 H, 45 R (39 ER), 4 HR, 8 HB, 44 BB, 101 K, 4.15 ERA, .239 OBA, 1.41 WHIP. Last start vs. Charleston 8/1: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K. Joined the Rangers after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers in 7/17. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-4th walks, T-8th hit batters, 9th strikeouts, T-9th losses (7).

C Sam Huff (No. 22): 2018 stats: .252/.309/.462, 19 2B, 3B, 15 HR, 19 BB, 103 K, 7 SB. Last series vs. Charleston: 4-for-11, 2 HR, 5 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.). Named to the SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 5th HR/ AB Ratio 1/20.93, T-6th HR, 10th slugging pct.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 27): 2018 stats at Hickory: .219/.269/.377, 7 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 13 BB, 42 K, 1 SB, 4 CS. Last series Charleston: 1-for-6, 2 K. Named SAL hitter of the week July 9-15. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.


Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Tyree Thompson: 18 games (15 starts), 83.1 IP, 90 H, 56 R, 43 ER, 12 HR, 4 HB, 31 BB, 51 K, 4.63 ERA, .276 OBA, 1.45 WHIP. Last start at Greensboro 7/27: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), HR, 2 BB, 5 K. Twenty-sixth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd losses (8), T-6th home runs allowed, T-10th runs allowed.

RHP Jean Casanova: 2018 stats: 21 games (7 starts), 57 IP, 59 H, 25 R (21 ER), 8 HR, 2 HB, 22 BB, 39 K, 3.32 ERA, .269 OBA, 1.42 WHIP. Last game at Greensboro 7/27: 1.2 IP, 1 H. 1 K. Thirty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Waukegan (Ill.) HS. Born in the Dominican Republic.

RHP Tyler Thomas: 2018 stats (overall): 17 games (16 starts), 83 IP, 64 H, 36 R (29 ER), 7 HR, 4 HB, 16 BB, 90 K, 3.14 ERA, .209 OBA, 0.96 WHIP. Last game 7/28 at Greensboro: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 HR, BB, 6 K. Acquired by the Rangers from the Chicago Cubs on July 19 in a trade for Jesse Chavez. Originally the seventh-round pick of the Chicago Cubs out of Fresno St. Attended Mira Mesa HS in San Diego.

RHP Noah Bremer: 2018 stats: 12 games (12 starts), 57 IP, 67 H, 30 R (26 ER), 5 HR, 19 BB, 50 K, 4.11 ERA, .300 OBA, 1.51 WHIP. Last start vs. Charleston 7/30: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of the Univ. of Washington. Attended Berkeley (Calif.) HS.

RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 27 games, 4 saves, 42.2 IP, 25 H, 11 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 27 BB, 78 K, 2.32 ERA, .171 OBA, 1.22 WHIP. Last game vs. Charleston 7/31: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K. Twenty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Petal HS (MS). SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st K-per-9 innings ratio among relievers (16.45), 2nd lowest OBA among relievers (.171).

RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 29 games, 4 saves, 48 IP, 18 H, 14 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 39 BB, 74 K, 2.06 ERA, .120 BA, 1.19 WHIP. Last game vs. Charleston 8/1: 2 IP, 1 H, 4 K. Eleventh-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Salt Lake CC. Attended Riverton (Utah) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st OBA by relievers (.120), 2nd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.88), 9th walks, T-9th games.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .250/.306/.396, 19 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 43 K. Last series vs. Charleston: 2-for-8, 2B, 5 BB, 1 K. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2013. A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Named to the SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.35).

IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .295/.359/.451, 18 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 26 BB, 85 K, 5 SB, 2 CS. Last series vs. Charleston: 3-for-7, 2 2B, BB, 2 K. Thirtieth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Adrian College (MI). Attended South Haven (MI) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 5th batting avg., 10th OBP, 10th OPS.

2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .253/.367/.328, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 44 BB, 47 K, 31 SB, 8 CS. Last series vs. Charleston: 3-for-13, 2 HR, K, SB. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2014. Native of Maturin, Venezuela. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st sacrifice bunts (13), 2nd stolen bases, T-4th walks, 5th OBP, T-7th CS.


Prospects to watch-Hagerstown (rankings by

OF Gage Canning (No. 13): 2018 stats (Hagerstown only): .207/.295/.402, 4 2B, 4 HR, 10 BB, 26 K, 2 SB. Last series vs. Lexington (Ky.): 1-for-7, 2B, 2 BB, 3 K. Fifth-round pick of the Nationals in 2018 out of Arizona St. Univ. Attended Ramona (Calif.) HS.

RHP Tomas Alastre (No. 25): 2018 stats: 18 games (18 starts), 95.1 IP, 107 H, 64 R (51 ER), 17 HR, 12 HB, 33 BB, 64 K, 4.18 ERA, .288 OBA, 1.47 WHIP. Last start vs. Lexington 7/31: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K. Signed with the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. A native of Valencia, Venezuela. SAL Top-10 rankings: T-1st hit batters, T-3rd runs allowed, 4th home runs allowed, 6th earned runs allowed, T-6th hits allowed.

RHP Jackson Tetreault (No. 27): 2018 stats: 18 games (18 starts), 99.1 IP, 101 H, 58 R (47 ER), 9 HR, 5 HB, 29 BB, 99 K, 4.26 ERA, .262 OBA, 1.31 WHIP. Last start 7/28 at Lakewood (NJ): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 8 K. Seventh-round pick of the Nationals in 2017 out of State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. Also attended Cameron Univ. in Lawton, Okla. Pitched in high school at Lennard HS in Ruskin, Fla. SAL Top-10 rankings: T-3rd losses (8), 9th runs allowed, 9th earned runs allowed, T-10th hits allowed.

RHP Brigham Hill (No. 29): 2018 stats (Hagerstown only): 8 games (8 starts), 37.2 IP, 36 H, 20 R (15 ER), 3 HB, 15 BB, 21 K, 3.58 ERA, .257 OBA, 1.35 WHIP. Last start vs. Lexington 7/30: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 K. Fifth-round pick of the Nationals in 2017 out of Texas A&M. Attended Nacogdoches HS (Tex.).


Others to watch-Hagerstown:

RHP Malvin Pena: 2018 stats (Hagerstown only): 4 games (4 starts), 20 IP, 22 H, 6 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 21 K, 2.25 ERA, .268 OBA, 1.20 WHIP. Last start at Lakewood 7/29: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 7 K. Signed with the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. A native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

2B Cole Freeman: 2018 stats: .235/.324/.325, 20 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 35 BB, 49 K, 21 SB, 5 CS. Last series vs. Lexington: 3-for-12, BB, K. Fourth-round pick of the Nationals in 2017 out of LSU. Also played college ball at Delgado CC (New Orleans). Attended Lakeshore HS in Mandeville, La. SAL Top-10 rankings: 3rd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.49), T-6th stolen bases, T-7th runs, T-9th games played.

C Alex Dunlap: 2018 stats (Hagerstown only): .265/.350/.529, 3 2B, 5 HR, 9 BB, 15 K. Last series vs. Lexington: 3-for-8, HR, BB, K. Twenty-ninth round pick of the Nationals in 2017 out of Stanford Univ. Attended The Woodlands School (Tex.).

Series Preview Uncategorized

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Hagerstown (Md.) Suns May 5-8

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (10-17, 7th South Atlantic League Northern Division) at Hagerstown Suns (Washington) (17-10, 1st Northern Division)

The Hickory Crawdads continue a two-city road trip with a four-game series at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium.


If you plan to go:

GAME TIMES: Friday 7:05 p.m., Saturday 6:05 p.m., Sunday 2:05 p.m., Monday 10:35 a.m. (Games are streamed through the Suns website or



Friday – Post-game fireworks

Saturday – Disney Night & Vacation Giveaway

Sunday – Superhero Day

Monday – Education Day


TICKETS: $12 VIP section, $10 Grandstand, $9 General Admission

 Where is it?: 274 East Memorial Blvd., Hagerstown. From I-81, take exit 6A (US 40 East) through downtown Hagerstown. Turn right at Cleveland Ave.

PARKING: Free parking available at the stadium.

 CONCESSIONS: Municipal Stadium has standard ballpark fare (Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, funnel cakes, etc.) There is also a beer garden down the left field line.


Probables (Hickory / Hagerstown):

Friday: RHP: Edgar Arredondo vs. RHP Carlos Pena

Saturday: RHP: Argenis Rodriguez vs. LHP Tyler Watson

Sunday: RHP: Tyler Phillips vs. RHP Sterling Sharp

Monday: RHP: Jonathan Hernandez vs. LHP McKenzie Mills


Recent Series History:

The Suns took the season-series 5-3 in 2016, including 3-for-4 at Municipal Stadium. Since 2009 – the start of the Crawdads affiliation with the Rangers – Hagerstown holds a 44-42 edge overall, but the Crawdads are 27-22 on the road.


About the Crawdads:

The Crawdads began the two-city road swing by winning game one of the series at West Virginia, then dropped the next two. The play in the field has been a concern of late. Hickory committed six errors in the Power series, and has at least one error in nine straight games, two or more in six of those. Collectively, the Crawdads are 11th in the 14-team South Atlantic League in fielding (.965)… After struggling the opening weeks of the season, the offense continues to perk up. Hickory has scored at least five runs in five of the last seven games. The homer pace has cooled off – only Yanio Perez and Anderson Tejeda have homered over the last four games – but Hickory’s 26 homers is one behind the SAL lead… The Crawdads remain at the bottom of the SAL in ERA (5.13), hits allowed, runs allowed, earned runs allowed and WHIP (1.54). Three of the starters in the six-man rotation and one tandem member have ERAs above 6.62 (Phillips). Hickory is 5-8 on the road.


Prospects to watch- Hickory:

CF Leody Taveras (No. 1 and Baseball America, No. 51 top-100 prospects): Signed as international free agent 2015 out of Tenares, Dominican Republic. In the middle of a six-game hitting streak (10-for-27) and has reached base in eight straight. Went 5-for-13 in the series at WV. Has played in all 27 games for the Crawdads, just one of two players to do so (3B Ti’Quan Forbes). Is second in the SAL in at bats. Has hit better on the road (.333/.397/.509) than at home (.189/.246/.245).

SS Anderson Tejeda (No. 7, No. 16 Baseball America). Signed as an international free agent in 2015 out of Bani, D.R. Went 3-for-12 in the series at WV and had the team’s only homer. Is 2-for-17 against lefties with 7 Ks. Strikeouts continue to plague the phenom with 34 in 89 plate appearances (38%).

OF Eric Jenkins (No. 14, No.26 Baseball America). Second-round pick in 2015 out of West Columbus High (Cerro Gordo, N.C.). After a promising couple of games for the 20-year-old, Jenkins has returned to his contact issues from a year ago. Has at least one K in seven straight and 11 in 36 PAs (31%). Speed is his game, but the SAL’s leading base stealer from a year ago has just one as he has posted a .129/.229/.161 slash. Recently moved to the No. 9 slot in the order after leading off all last year.

OF Yanio Perez (No. 15, 27 Baseball America): Signed as an international free agent out of Havana, Cuba. After claiming the SAL’s hitter of the week award, the 21-year-old cooled off to just 2-for-11 in the WV series. Has hit right-handers (.338) and left-handers (.333) equally, but powered up against lefties, slugging .750 against southpaws. Gone five straight games without a K.

2B Yeyson Yrizarri (No. 17 Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of the D.R. In an 0-for-11 funk with four Ks and a double play. Hitting just .128/.143/.213 on the road.

RHP Jonathan Hernandez (No. 17 Baseball America, No. 18 Signed as an international free agent in 2013 from the D.R. After a rough start, had his best outing of the year at WV on Tuesday, needing just 80 pitches to get through seven innings. Though he can through up to 97 mph, he is at his best when his changeup is working. Got 11 groundball outs in the start at WV.

RF Jose Almonte (No. 29 Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of Santo Domingo, D.R. Returned from the DL (leg) this week and went 2-for-7. Has six walks in 19 games after just 9 all last year. Hit 8 homers in 57 games last year, he is still looking for his first in 2017.

RHP Tyler Ferguson (No. 30 Baseball America): Sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. Continues to dominate over the last couple of weeks. Has been unscored upon over his last four outings (6.1 IP) with 11 Ks to just three hits allowed. The league is hitting .219 against him.


Others to watch – Hickory:

C Alex Kowalczyk: 12th-round pick out of Pittsburgh. Expected to be activated for the series after missing all three games at West Virginia. Likely to receive a bulk of the playing time while starting catcher Ricky Valencia is out with a hamstring injury. Is 0-for-4 in his lone game after joining the Crawdads last week.

3B Ti’Quan Forbes: 2nd -round pick out of Columbia (MS) High. After a hot start, has cooled up to .267 for the season. A likely candidate for a day off, has 2 Ks in each of the last two games and two errors over the last three.

2B Brallan Perez: 2012 international free agent out of Cartegena, Colombia. Rejoined the Crawdads to start the road trip and went 3-for-7 with a pair of walks in two games.

OF Franklin Rollin: 2013 international free agent out of La Romana, D.R. Has begun to receive more playing time lately, filling in at right for Almonte and as the DH. Went 5-for-13 in the WV series.

RHP Tyler Phillips: 16th round pick in 2015 out of Bishop Eustace High, Pennsauken, NJ. Finally put together a decent outing last time out Sunday against Columbia on the back end of a tandem with Demarcus Evans. Allowed one run on one hit and a walk over four hits. Not an over powering pitcher, he has to keep the ball down and let his defense work. The SAL is hitting .290 against him.


About the Suns:

Managed by Patrick Anderson in his fourth season with the Suns (255-190). Led the team to the SAL playoffs two of his first three season. Lost in the SAL finals in 2014 and in the first round last year… The Suns took a 2-1 series win against Rome (Ga.) and have taken four of the last five…The offense is nearly unstoppable as their team slash of .285/.353/.438 leads the SAL in all categories. Added to that, they lead the league in runs, hits, doubles, homers, RBI and have the fewest strikeouts. Hagerstown set the SAL record with 30 hits in a game at Lexington on Sunday… However, the pitching staff can be had as shown by a 4.26 ERA. The Suns are one of two SAL teams without a shutout. They’ve allowed 27 homers, tied for second most in the SAL.


Prospects to watch – Hagerstown:

SS Carter Kieboom (No. 4, No 8 Baseball America): First round pick (28th overall) out of Walton High (Marietta, GA). Currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak (13-for-30). Had a three-homer, five-hit game for the Suns during their 30-hit outburst on Sunday. He is fourth in the SAL in total bases and slugging pct. (.570), tied for 4th in hits and homers (5), 8th in batting avg. (.333). His brother Spencer made his MLB debut with Washington in 2016.

3B Sheldon Neuse (No. 6, No. 17 Baseball America) Second-round pick in 2016 out of Oklahoma. Three-time, first-team All-Big 12 for the Sooners. Tied for 5th RBI and 9th runs scored. Saw his seven-game hitting streak (9-for-27) snapped on Wednesday.

1B Anderson Franco (No. 14 Baseball America, No. 15 2013 international free agent out of Bani, D.R. Had four hits on Sunday, but is hitting at a .200/.303/.307 pace this season. Has a good eye at the plate (12 walks), but thin-railed (6-3, 190). Missed much of 2016 with a back injury.

CF Blake Perkins (No. 16, No. 20 Baseball America) Second-round pick out of Verrado High (Buckeye, AZ). Went 0-for-8 in the Rome series and is in the midst of a 2-for-29 skid. A natural right-handed hitter, the switch-hitter is hitting .339 as a lefty, but only .171 from the right side. He is currently second in the SAL in runs scored.

LHP Tyler Watson (No. 19, No. 27 Baseball America): 34th- round pick in 2015 out of Perry High (Gilbert, AZ). 6-5 lefty came out of nowhere to post a 1.88 ERA and 10 Ks-per-9 innings with short-season Auburn (NY) last year and got a late-season promotion to the Suns. Has fanned 34 of the 110 batters he’s faced. Fanned 8 over six innings in his last start. Signed away from a commitment to Loyola Marymount (CA).

LF Nick Banks (No. 25 Fourth-round pick in 2016 out of Texas A&M. Enters the series with a nine-game hitting streak (11-for-34). Named SEC Tournament MVP in 2016. Played for Team USA in 2015.

OF Daniel Johnson: (No. 29 Fifth-round pick in 2016 out of New Mexico St. Named the WAC player of the year in 2016. Tied for second in HRs (6), fifth in total bases and slugging (.565). Had five homers in his first ten games, but just one since. The left-handed hitter is hitting .339/.369/.645 against righties.


Others to watch – Hagerstown:

2B Jake Noll: Seventh-round pick in 2016 out of Florida Gulf Coast. Is 11-for-21 with five RBI and 6 runs scored.

LHP Jordan Mills: Free agent signee, last pitched for the Houston Astros chain in 2015. Unscored upon in his last eight outings, with 13 Ks and no walks over 13.1 innings.

LHP McKenzie Mills: 18th round pick out of Sprayberry High (Marietta, Ga.). Has 35 Ks to just seven walks over 25.2 innings this season. Allowed two runs (one earned) over his last three starts.

Note: Preston Scott was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday (undisclosed injury) and Jose Almonte returned to the lineup…. Suns RF Juan Soto (No. 100 prospect No.3 Nationals) went to the DL after suffering an ankle injury on Tuesday. His .360 batting average is third in the SAL.

Game story

Game story: Hagerstown at Hickory July 31

The Crawdads posted an 8-2 lead before hanging on late to a 9-6 win over the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Hickory (63-39 overall, 19-15 second half) has now won 7-of-8, while the Suns (50-51, 15-19) have lost 12-of-18.

What Happened?:

Here is my game story from the pages of the Hickory Daily Record.

The Good:

The lineup: All nine hitters had at least one hit with Jose Trevino and Juremi Profar getting at least two. Hickory, especially the right-handers, continues to be pitched to on or just off the outside corner of the plate. For the most part, the hitters have been able to discern balls/ strikes –and attack or lay off appropriately – or it pitches up the middle or away.

The few pitches that made their way over the inner half of the plate were hammered hard. None of the Suns trio of pitchers (Dave Van Orden, Luis Torres or Andrew Cooper) were able to present breaking pitches often enough to keep Crawdads hitters off stride, so it was easy pickings at times.


Jairo Beras: Read this.


Xavier Turner: His first two games with Hickory have certainly had its moments. In his first game last week at Asheville, he reportedly dislocated his shoulder on the first play of the first inning.

Returning from the disabled list, Turner crushed a fastball to medium left-center. Thinking triple out of the box, he caught sight of Corey Ragsdale’s stop sign after rounding the bag at second. As he put the brakes on, he slipped and stumbled. With the throw coming into the second behind him, Turner made it to third and slid around the tag of 3B David Masters.

At 6-1, 205 the Rangers 19th round pick showed good speed on the basepaths. He handled both plays in the field without concerns.

Juremi Profar: Had a pair of doubles, both on off-speed pitches away, and would’ve had a third if not for a brilliant catch in right by Dale Carey on a leaping dive on the track.

7th inning ABs: Facing reliever Luis Torres, Josh Morgan spoiled fastball after fastball away before succumbing on a fastball low and in on the tenth pitch. Eduard Pinto then worked a nine-pitch AB into a walk, again spoiling a bushel (correct term?) of fastballs. Able to watch this sequence, Jose Trevino spit on a fastball off the plate and then crushed the next one out of the park in left.

Yohander Mendez: Fastball command was a bit spotty, but he showed good arm action with the changeup that baffled the Suns hitters all night. Had 12 missed bats in 4.2 innings, all but two by my count coming on offspeeds. Didn’t use the curve as much on Friday, and what he did use was a bit loopy. But the change was definitely on. Finished at 77 pitches (49 strikes).

Scott Williams: For me the pitcher that has taken the largest step forward in the second half is Williams. Friday night was mostly fastballs with an occasionally slider mixed it. Fastball 94-96 has life but the biggest thing is simply confidence to attack hitters with it.

The Not-So-Good:

Chris Dula: A hit batter on the first pitch of the eighth, a single and two walks made Dula’s night a short one. Fastball is 94-96, but there is no control as to where it is going. Have to wonder if it at some point he makes a trip to Arizona.


Ariel Jurado: Just never looked comfortable all night. He usually is a get the ball and let’s go kind of pitcher, but on Friday there was much more walking around the mound than I recall. Fastball seemed a tick down and did not have the usual precision, as he walked two in an appearance for only the second time this season.

Series Preview

Series Preview: Hickory at Hagerstown June 1-3

The Hickory Crawdads start a week-long road trip to the Northern tier of the South Atlantic League as they visit the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns for three games and then travel to Lakewood, N.J. for four to face the BlueClaws.



Monday: Luis Ortiz (RH, 2-0, 1.76 ERA) and Luis Reyes (RH, 1-3, 5.44)

Tuesday: Cody Buckel (RH, 0-0, 0.00 in two starts) and Matt Purke (LH, 0-1, 4.50)

Wednesday: Brett Martin (LH, 3-1, 2.50) and TBA

Entering the series:

Hickory (34-16) scored only six runs on 12 hits the past three games, but took two of three from Rome to salvage a split in the four-game series with the Braves and complete a 5-2 homestand. The Crawdads now lead the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division by four games over West Virginia and by nine over third place Hagerstown… The team waited until the night of May 31 to make their first overnight road trip, leaving after Sunday night’s extra-inning game against Rome…Hickory went 3-1 against the Suns to open its 2015 season at L.P. Frans Stadium and is now 35-34 since the current affiliation with the Rangers began in 2009.  However, the Crawdads are 24-16 at Municipal Stadium… Despite having the second overall youngest pitching staff in the SAL, Hickory leads the league with a 2.52 ERA, trails only Lakewood in WHIP (1.19) and is third in strikeouts. Their 18 saves is second to Charleston, S.C.…The starters have not given up a home run since May 11.

Since a 1-4 start, the Suns (25-25) have hovered around the .500 mark much of the opening two months of the season. Hagerstown lost three of four to visiting Kannapolis during the weekend…The Suns roster is usually loaded up with college products and this year is no different. Hagerstown has the second oldest group of position players (22.7 age) in the South Atlantic League and the third oldest pitching staff (22.4)… The Suns trail only Hickory in errors allowed (47) and fielding pct. (.975), and has the second-best caught stealing ratio in the SAL (34.7%)…The Suns .260 team batting average is second in the league and they have struck out the fewest times.

Players to watch – Hickory:

RF Luke Tendler: After hitting .229 during a homerless May, Tendler looks to get healthy against a team he had success with to start the year. Tendler went 6-for-15 with two homers, four RBI and five runs scored during the four-game series vs. the Suns in early April. He is tied for third in the SAL in doubles (14) and total bases (85). A day off during the series may not be out of the question, as he has played in all but one game this season.

3B Josh Morgan: Though he ended May with his first back-to-back hitless games since May 1-2, Morgan still finished May with a .323/.411/.419 slash. He also showed good patience at the plate with ten walks in 109 plate appearances.

SS Michael De Leon: Hit .206/.241/.290 in May, but began to see pitches batter over the past week. He was 5-for-14 vs. Hagerstown in April.

Closer John Fasola: Only a game-tying, broken-bat RBI single with two outs in the ninth on May 31 kept Fasola from having a near perfect month. Fasola closed out seven of eight save opportunities in the month with just the one earned run allowed. He also posted 16 strikeouts to just two walks over 13.1 innings. Fasola leads the SAL with ten saves overall.

SP Luis Ortiz: Struck out 17 and walked three in 19.1 innings in May. After giving up a lone run in three starts, Ortiz was hit up for four runs allowed in 3.1 innings against Delmarva last Tuesday. With the uncertainty of the two starters to follow, Ortiz will be looked at to complete at least his normal five innings, if not longer, as his pitch count allows.

SP Cody Buckel: In his two starts since coming to Hickory, Buckel has been unscored upon in seven innings with three walks and five hits allowed.

SP Brett Martin: He hopes to return to the mound after a stiff back cancelled his previous start last Thursday.

Relief Corps: With Buckel still getting stretched out and the uncertain of Martin’s back – and his longevity on the mound will likely be limited at best – the relief corps will likely see a lot of innings in the series. Yohander Mendez has thrown 16.2 scoreless innings (eight appearances) since joining Hickory. David Perez gave up one unearned run during six games in May and struck out 16 to go with ten walks in 11.2 innings.


Players to watch – Rome:

SP Matt Purke: The former unsigned first-round pick (2009) of the Texas Rangers is making his second start (4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 K vs. Kannapolis on May 28) for the Suns since returning from “Tommy John” surgery. He also had shoulder surgery in 2012 and has made only 30 starts in the five seasons since the Washington Nationals took him in the third round in 2011. Ranked the 11th best Nationals prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2014 season, he has dropped of its top-30 list. Purke is still No. 28 on’s rankings.

SP Luis Reyes: He held Hickory to just three hits and struck out over five innings in a start during the season-opening series at L.P. Frans Stadium. He’s been hit hard over his last five starts, allowing 17 earned runs on 28 hits over 25.2 innings. Opponents are batting .342 against Reyes at Municipal Stadium.

C Raudy Read: The lone top-30 prospect ( on the Suns roster has struggled the past three weeks, as he is 7-for-39 (.179) since May 10. Read belted his first homer of the season on April 10 against Hickory as part of a 2-for-4 game with four runs scored.

LF Jeff Gardner: Hit .298/.319/.423 in May and finished the month with at least one hit in 17 of the last 18 games (27-for-69, .391), eight of those multi-hit games. Gardner (8th round, 2014, Louisville) went 2-for-10 against Hickory in April, with both of the hits coming on April 10 to go with two walks and four runs scored in that game.

3B Grant Debruin: Snapped at 10-game hitting streak on Sunday vs. Kannapolis (16-for-39, .410). Overall, his .319 average is sixth in the South Atlantic League. He signed with the Nationals as a free agent after playing two seasons with Joliet of the Frontier League.

1B Carlos Lopez: Played college ball at Wake Forest (12th round, 2012), he joined the Suns last week for his third straight season with the Suns.

UT Cody Dent: The son of former major leaguer Bucky Dent. The 22nd round pick of the Nationals in 2013 out of the University of Florida.