Results tagged ‘ Tyreque Reed ’

Flipping the Switch: A Look at the 2018 Hickory Crawdads with Manager Matt Hagen

Quite honestly, the Hickory Crawdads were a dreadful team to watch much of the first half. There were a few early successes – Catcher Melvin Novoa’s hot April that earned him a promotion and the season-long consistency of Crawdads opening day starter Tyler Phillips – but overall, the team didn’t hit well, didn’t pitch well, couldn’t hold leads, and so on. However, for me, what I will remember about this team is the ability for players to grind through the season and endure the process of development. Several players turned in big second half-seasons and kept the Crawdads in the playoff hunt until the final few days of the season.

The Crawdads came out of the South Atlantic League all-star break at 30-38, and promptly were swept at home in three straight by West Virginia to drop to its low point of the season at 30-41. But the Crawdads bounced back with a sweep of Augusta (S.C.) and then began to piece together series wins. An 18-10 July put the team within the .500 mark, which the Crawdads reached for the first time on August 4 at Hagerstown (Md.).

Hickory stayed within range of first-half Northern Division winner Lakewood (N.J.) for the second-half race and were within 2 1/2 games of the BlueClaws, when they traveled to L.P, Frans Stadium for a series on August 10. Lakewood took 3-out-4 to surge ahead, but a 5-2 road trip by the Crawdads followed and got the team again within 2.5 games of the BlueClaws. Lakewood returned to L.P. Frans for another series and again asserted its dominance with a 3-1 series win to put a bow on the second-half division title. Left with an outside shot at a wildcard slot – something unthinkable when Hickory finished sixth in the first half – the Crawdads took three-of-four at Delmarva (Md.) and the first game of the series finale against Greensboro. However, a loss to the Grasshoppers the next night officially knocked the Crawdads out three games from the end of the season. It was the second straight season in which Hickory was eliminated during the final weekend of the season.

The 70-68 record was the eighth time in ten seasons as the Texas Rangers affiliate the Crawdads had a winning record.

What changed? The hitting improved. The pitching improved. However, in talking with manager Matt Hagen, he was adamant that none of that would’ve occur had the accountability of the squad and their expectations had not changed. In talking with him the first half, there was a constant mantra of being one play short. A big hit in a key spot was missed. One pitch in a key spot wasn’t made. One ball wasn’t caught.

The attitude changed in the second half and the confidence came with it.

During an interview with Matt Hagen prior to the final game of the season on Monday, he talked about that shift in the mental approaches that occurred, as well as highlights of the season with some of the individual players.

Matt Hagen

Manager Matt Hagen from a game in May (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

 

Considering where you guys started, 0-6 and 1-8, that was a heck of a turnaround in the second half. What are some things you contribute that to?

Hagen: Our coaches did a really good job of getting the players better. The players got better, and I think we raised the accountability level and the expectation level. Some of the things we were doing early on, as far as not just not playing with the right level of focus and intensity, we challenged them to be accountable to it.

We flat out just played better. We had a 4.6 ERA in the first half and a 3.2 in the second half. Some of those guys that were hitting .190 at the break ended up hitting .260. So, we had several guys hit over .300 for the second half. So, that was a pretty good deal.

Was there a tipping point at some time in the middle of the season, maybe late June or early July? That time period was a point where there seemed to be a gear shift. You went on a long road trip right after the (July) 4th.

Hagen: It was our first series in Hagerstown (Md.). We had a team meeting and we talked about raising expectations and making sure that guys are completely switched on when they walk in the door, and when they walk out the door to go to the field. From that point on, we won a lot more games than we lost.

The pitching staff, what a turn around: DeMarcus (Evans), Tyler (Phillips), who pretty much had it all year, AJ (Alexy), he finished strong.

Hagen: Reid Anderson.

What were some of the things that you guys were able to figure out?

Hagen: I would give credit to (pitching coach Jose) Jaimes. He’s out there every day sweating in that bullpen with those guys.

Tyler, I think, was more of a continuation of the success he had last year in Spokane.

To see the transformation of Reid Anderson, who won only one game last year. His demeanor on the mound was better. His presence was better. His conviction was better. His belief was better. His confidence was better.

Reid Anderson 2018

Reid Anderson was in the SAL top-ten in ERA (3.22) and WHIP (1.13) in 2018 (Photo courtesy of Ashley Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

I think AJ has just completely progressed as a pitcher, everything from his preparation to his mentality to his repertoire, his control, his attitude. Everything has gotten better.

And then our bullpen, my goodness, our bullpen was probably one of the best one in the league in the second half. If we had a lead in the seventh inning, we held on to it.

You mentioned the bullpen, what a luxury to have DeMarcus and Joe (Barlow). I talked with him and he talked about the walks to the point of saying I’m not going to use the word. (Joe) Kuzia had a good second half. (Josh) Advocate, when he was healthy, had a good second half. Did you get a sense that those guys got together to change the attitude of the bullpen?

Hagen: I think they took a lot of pride being in the bullpen. They saw it as kind of a brotherhood down there. It’s a great collection of guys. They joke around a lot and they pick on each other, but it’s like a family and they hold each other accountable, too.

DeMarcus, his numbers tell the whole story; he was lights out. He and Joe Barlow were like 1 and 1A; take your pick. Statistically, they were two of the best three relievers in the league. You can’t even argue that. The other guys you named were really good down the stretch, too.

DeMarcus Evans 2018

DeMarcus Evans struck out 66 during the second half and had over 16 Ks per 9 innings to lead the SAL (Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

So, I think there was a confidence that kind of grew when one or two guys started having some success, and I think it got contagious down there.

 

Tyreque (Reed) was another guy that when the calendar turned to July, he found something. He talked about his approach going up the middle and going away, and he added the power back. What did you see with him, as far as flipping that switch?

Hagen: He came in right away and his first at-bat was a walk-off home run. Then, having not played at an affiliate yet, I think the rigors of playing against better competition, the hotels, the bus rides, the fans, playing under the lights, that kind of stuff caught up to him a little bit. Once he and Bubba (Thompson) kind of realized, hey, not only do we belong here, we can excel here, you just handed the keys over to them at that point. When Bubba was clicking in the leadoff spot, he was a guy that hit over .300 in the second half. Then, Tyreque, more or less, carried the middle of our lineup for the entire last month. If he were here all year, who knows where his numbers end up. We’d be talking a potential league MVP had he been here all year.

To watch those guys and to know the conversations that (hitting coach) Chase (Lambin) was having with those guys every day, making sure they stayed logged in, making sure they stayed confident and got their work in every day. It was a pleasure to high five those guys as they came around the base.

Tyreque Reed (2).jpg

Tyreque Reed finished third in the SAL in slugging pct. (,503) and OPS (.846) (Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

Bubba (Thompson) had a little hitch and then in July, he found a switch. It just seemed like a bunch of you found a switch at the same time.

Hagen: Bubba is a really talented kid and he can beat you in a lot of ways. One night, he’d go out – you talk about trying to leave your fingerprints on the game in a positive way – he may have gone 0-for-4 at the plate, but he might have made two or three plays in the outfield that might have won us the game. As young players do, they get locked in on the fact that maybe they didn’t have a great day at the plate, but you can still walk, you can steal two bases, you can still make plays in the outfield. He’s a special kid and not a lot of people can beat you in that many ways.

Bubba Thompson- Proffitt.jpg

Bubba Thompson stole 32 bases for Hickory and had a second-half slash of .300/.341/.441 (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

 

Yonny (Hernandez), I just like watching him play. You said it in the first meeting you and I had where you called him “The Mosquito”. He’s another guy that had a strong second half. You put him second in the lineup and that seemed to be a good niche for the guy with he and Thompson at the top of the order.

Hagen: The expectations were, we know he can play defense and we know he can run the bases a little bit. The question was, is he going to hit. You look up and he’s second in the league in walks and second in the league in stolen bases. He hit over .300 in the second half and raised his batting average over 70 points. Pretty special. He’s a disruptor, too. He gets on the bases and gets the pitchers thinking about him instead of the hitter. The next thing you know, the pitcher leaves a pitcher over the middle that (Ryan) Dorow or Tyreque and three runs are on the board.

He’s just a fun kid to watch. You just let him go out and do his thing. He attacks the game very aggressively.

Yonny Hernandez

Yonny Hernandez finished the season second in the South Atlantic League in steals (44) and OBP (.371) and third in walks (58) (Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

The three-headed monster at catcher wound up being two with (Yohel) Pozo and (Sam) Huff. Please with their progress this year?

Hagen: Yeah. The goal was to get them both over 400 at-bats and they both got their 400 at-bats. Two guys that made an all-star team. Obviously, Melvin was doing good enough to get promoted. He was on fire early.

From a defensive standpoint, they both finished the season, hopefully with winning records <Note: Yohel Pozo was 30-30 entering the final game of the season. Pozo caught the game, which Hickory lost to Greensboro.>

Sam Huff and Yohel Pozo

South Atlantic League All-Star Catchers Yohel Pozo (left) and Sam Huff played a big role in the pitching staff’s turnaround in the second half (Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

To see those guys mature, to where the pitchers have confidence in them – you’ve got to give them a lot of credit for the success the pitchers had in the second half, too. Because, they got better in calling the game and controlling the game. Two guys that can throw pretty well and I think they both finished in the top two or three in the league in receiving metrics. They’re getting pitches that are strikes called strikes, and stealing a few strikes here and there.

 

Was there any disappointment that Miguel (Aparicio) didn’t have the year I think folks were expecting from him, and maybe Pedro (Gonzalez), as well? Any concerns on their progress for this year?

Hagen: No, if we look it up, Pedro’s run production is the third best on the team, as far as scoring runs and driving in runs. The only downside there is the batting average is down a little bit. The slugging pct. is good. He’s had some leg issues that kind of plagued him all year, so his stolen bases weren’t as high as he wanted them to be. Earlier in the season, he was stealing bases when he was healthy. For me, I think Pedro actually had a good year.

Miguel was just up-and-down. He was player of the week one week, and then the next week you see a 19-year-old kid who’s going to struggle. He’d struggle to stay in his approach and then the next week he’d get hot again. Obviously, the power is there, as evidenced by the home run he crushed a couple of days ago over the advertisements there. For him, it’s just finding a way to be consistent.

Miguel Aparcio

Top-30 prospect Miguel Aparicio took home a South Atlantic League hitter of the week award in mid-July, but struggled much of the season and finished at .214/.263/.361 (Salinas/ Hickory Crawdads)

 

The glue of the team all year, for me, was Dorow. Is that a fair read for you?

Hagen: That’s a bull’s eye right there. We came in talking about somebody needing to step up to surprise you. I knew Dorow could catch a ground ball if it was hit to him, but I had no idea that he could catch every ground ball within running range and then throw guys out from any arm angle. What he did at the plate, he’s two away from 30 doubles, 12 home runs and right around .300 most of the year.

He really exceeded a lot of people’s expectations and he’s been a pleasure to watch run out and play and go about his business. You just plug him into the lineup and let him go. He has a very mature approach and a very tough kid mentally, and a very tough kid physically. He’s a manager’s dream.

Ryan Dorow

Ryan Dorow (Proffitt)

 

When you look back at this team in a couple of years, what’s going to stick out for you?

Hagen: I think just the turn around from where we were in the first half to where we finished up. The way they came together and started worrying less about themselves and started playing for each other a lot more, which is hard to do in this game, because everybody wants to get to the big leagues. They were able to take the focus off of their individual success and started thinking about what the team was doing.

They learned how to win, so when they get to the next level, or the guys that get to the big leagues, they don’t get there and go, “Well, I’m a big-league player, but I don’t know how to win.” They’re learned how to win and what it takes to win. That’s invaluable.

 

What did you learn this year as a manager?

Hagen: Ooooo, that’s a good question. Something new every day. I think knowing and continuing to learn when to push the guys and when to just pat them on the back. I think I would’ve liked to have held them to a higher level of expectation, earlier on. But there was a lot of getting to know one another still going on at that point.

Definitely letting my staff do their job. That’s been a luxury for me. Knowing when to speak up and when to stay out of the way and let Chase do his thing, or Jaimes do his thing, or Turtle (Thomas). I’m really fortunate to have three really good coaches, and that extends to the weight room, too. I didn’t have to monitor anything there. I’d stick my head in once in a while. Adam (Noel) does a great job with those guys. But, just trusting those guys to do their jobs and letting them do them was a big part of our success.

 

 

Series Preview: Lakewood BlueClaws at Hickory Crawdads August 10-13

Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) (72-43 overall, 31-15 second half, 1st SAL North) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (59-56 overall, 29-18 second half, 2nd SAL North)

The Crawdads continue their homestand with a four-game series against the BlueClaws

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

 

WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

GAME TIMES: Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday 5 p.m. Monday noon.

 

PROMOTIONS:

Friday – Post-game Fireworks, Super Hero Night

Saturday – App State Hat Giveaway (1st 500 fans), 90s Night, Catawba Science Center Night

Sunday – Church Bulletin Sunday

 

TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf

 

 

PROBABLES (Kannapolis/ Hickory)

Friday: RHP Gustavo Armas vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

Saturday: RHP Andrew Brown vs. RHP Hans Crouse

Sunday: RHP Julian Garcia vs. RHP Noah Bremer

Monday: RHP Spencer Howard vs. RHP Tyler Phillips

 

Recent Series History:

Lakewood holds a 4-2 series lead in 2018 with all the games played in New Jersey. The majority of the games between the two clubs over the past 10 seasons have been played at the BlueClaws ballpark. During the stretch dating back to 2009, which is the start of the Crawdads affiliation with the Rangers, Lakewood is 51-46 overall. However, just 29 of the 97 games have been played at Hickory, where the Crawdads hold a 15-14 edge. This is the first series played by the teams at LP Frans since 2016, when the BlueClaws took 2 of 3.

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

RHP Hans Crouse (No. 5): 2018 stats at Spokane: 8 games (8 starts), 38 IP, 25 H, 11 R (10 ER), 2 HR, 11 BB, 47 K, 2.37 ERA, .179 OBA, 0.95 WHIP. Second round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif. Named to Northwest League/ Pioneer League All-Star Game this week. Making his first start with Hickory.

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 10): 2018 stats: .281/.336/.427, 14 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 18 BB, 75 K, 24 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-22, 2B, 4 BB, 13 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 2-for-11, 2 BB 5 K, SB, CS. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th stolen bases.

RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 14): 2018 stats: 19 games (19 starts) 111 IP, 106 H, 39 R (36 ER), 3 HR, 3 HB, 12 BB, 111 K, 2.92 ERA, .247 OBA, 1.06 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 2 starts, 12 IP, 20 H, 8 R (8 ER), HR, BB, 6 K. Last start vs. Kannapolis 8/7: 7 IP, 6 H, 13 K. In his last 29 starts stretching to 6/23/17 at Spokane 174.2 IP, 19 BB, 183 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 (0.97), T-2nd wins (9), 6th ERA 6th WHIP, 9th innings, 9th strikeouts, 10th hits allowed. Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 18) 2018 stats: .239/.305/.436, 16 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 28 BB, 101 K, 9 SB, 3 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 4-for-18, 2B, BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-9, BB, 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. Not expected to pitch in this series. Last start vs. Kannapolis 8/9: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), HR, 2 BB, 9 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: 4th walks, 10th strikeouts, T-10th losses (7).

C Sam Huff (No. 22): 2018 stats: .244/.299/.452, 20 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 19 BB, 111 K, 7 SB. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-17, 2 BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 1-for-8, HR, 2 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 1/21, T-6th HR.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 27): 2018 stats at Hickory: .222/.275/.383, 8 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 48 K, 3 SB, 5 CS. Has not faced Lakewood this season. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 2-for-7, 2B, 3 K, SB, CS. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Tyree Thompson: 19 games (16 starts), 89.2 IP, 95 H, 59 R, 46 ER, 13 HR, 5 HB, 33 BB, 55 K, 4.62 ERA, .274 OBA, 1.43 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 2 starts, 10 IP, 10 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 3 BB, 10 K. Last start at Hagerstown 8/4: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), HR, HB, 2 BB, 4 K. Twenty-sixth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-4th losses (8), T-6th home runs allowed.

RHP Noah Bremer: 2018 stats: 13 games (13 starts), 62 IP, 73 H, 32 R (28 ER), 6 HR, 19 BB, 55 K, 4.06 ERA, .300 OBA, 1.48 WHIP. Has not faced Lakewood this season. Last start vs. at Hagerstown 8/5: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), HR, 5 K. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of the Univ. of Washington. Attended Berkeley (Calif.) HS.

RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 29 games, 6 saves, 45.2 IP, 27 H, 11 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 27 BB, 83 K, 2.17 ERA, .172 OBA, 1.18 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 1 game, 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K. Last game vs. Kannapolis 8/8: 2 IP, 4 K. Twenty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Petal HS (MS).

RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 31 games, 6 saves, 51.1 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 40 BB, 78 K, 1.93 ERA, .118 BA, 1.15 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 1 games, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K. Last game vs. Kannapolis 8/9: 1.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 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 (.118), 2nd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.68), T-8th games, T-10th walks.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .256/.312/.401, 21 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 43 K. This season vs. Lakewood: 4-for-22, HR, 2 BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-7. 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: 2nd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.86).

IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .294/.359/.451, 22 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 29 BB, 91 K, 5 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-17. 8 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 4-for-14, 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: 6th batting avg., 10th OPS.

2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .254/.363/.324, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 45 BB, 49 K, 31 SB, 8 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-13, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 SB. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 4-for-14, BB, CS. 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, 5th walks, T-6th CS, 7th OBP.

1B Tyreque Reed: 2018 stats: .267/.338/.485, 22 2B, 12 HR, 24 BB, 82 K, SB. This season vs. Lakewood: 3-for-14, 2B, HR, BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-12, HR, 2 BB, K. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba (MS) CC. Attended Haulka (MS) HS.

 

Prospects to watch-Lakewood (rankings by MLB.com):

RF Jhailyn Ortiz (No. 7): 2018 stats: .220/ .281/.363, 14 2B, 11 HR, 24 BB, 117 K, 2 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 6-for-23, HR, 2 BB, 9 K. Last series at Charleston: 3-for-10, BB, K. Signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2015. Native of Jarabacoa, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-9th strikeouts

RHP Spencer Howard (No. 19): 2018 stats: 19 games (19 starts), 91 IP, 79 H, 45 R (41 ER), 6 HR, 36 BB, 116 K, 4.05 ERA, .231 OBA, 1.26 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 2 starts, 10 IP, 11 H, 7 R (7 ER), 4 BB, 13 K. Last start at Charleston 8/7: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K. Second-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Attended Templeton (CA) HS SAL Top-10 Rankings: 6th strikeouts, T-9th wins (7), T-10th losses (7)

SS Nick Maton (No. 30): 2018 stats: .268/.334/.424, 25 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 33 BB, 84 K, 4 SB, 3 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 4-for-15, 3 BB, 3 K, SB, CS. Last series at Charleston: 1-for-7, 2 K. Seventh-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of Glenwood HS, Chatham, Ill. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-5th doubles.

Others to watch-Lakewood:

RHP Andrew Brown: 2018 stats at Lakewood: 10 games (6 starts), 44 IP, 30 H, 12 R (10 ER), 1 HR, 2 HB, 7 BB, 39 K, 2.05 ERA, .192 OBA, 0.84 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory : 1 game 2 IP, 3 K. Last start vs. Lexington 8/4: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 1 BB, 6 K. Thirteenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Granite Hills (CA) HS.

RHP Gustavo Armas: 2018 stats (at Lakewood): 4 games (4 starts), 27 IP, 20 H, 6 R (6 ER), 3 HR, 4 BB, 24 K, 2.00 ERA, .206 OBA, 0.89 WHIP. Has not faced Hickory this season. Last start vs. Lexington 8/4: 7 IP, 5 H, 6 K. Signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2013. Native of Playa Iguana, Venezuela.

RHP Julian Garcia: 2018 stats: 24 games (4 starts), 54 IP, 46 H, 19 R (17 ER), 1 HR, 2 HB, 19 BB, 62 K, 2.83 ERA, .236 OBA, 1.20 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 1 game, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 K. Last start vs. Lexington 8/5: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 HB, 1 BB, 4 K. Tenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Metro State Univ. of Denver. Attended Fossil Ridge HS in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

LHP Zach Warren: 2018 stats: 31 games, 10 saves, 46.2 IP, 28 H, 14 R (12 ER), 2 HR, 3 HB, 24 BB, 76 K, 2.31 ERA, .177 OBA, 1.11 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 1 game, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K. Last game at Charleston 8/7: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of the Univ. of Tennessee. Attended St. Augustine Prep in Vineland NJ. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (14.66), 2nd OBA by relievers (.177), T-4th saves, T-8th games pitched.

IF-OF Jake Scheiner: 2018 stats: .292/.358/.465, 26 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 37 BB, 71 K, 9 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 6-for-24, 2B, HR, 2 BB, 4 K, SB. Last series at Charleston: 3-for-11, 2B, 3B, 2 K, SB. Fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of the Univ. of Houston. Attended Maria Carrillo HS in Santa Rosa, CA. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th doubles, 5th hits, 7th OPS, T-7th RBI, 8th OBP, 9th batting avg., T-10th at bats.

1B-3B Madison Stokes: 2018 stats overall: .327/.422/.482, 10 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 16 BB, 24 K, SB, CS. Last series at Charleston: 2-for-9, 2 K. Tenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2018 out of the Univ. of South Carolina. Attended AC Flora HS in Columbia, SC. Called up to Lakewood on 8/3.

OF Matt Vierling: 2018 stats (at Lakewood): .283/.320/.425, 10 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 27 K, 3 SB, 2 CS.  Has not faced Hickory this season. Last series at Charleston: 2-for-8, 2 K. Fifth-round pick of the Phillies in 2018 out of Notre Dame. Attended Christian Brothers College HS in St. Louis.

Series Preview: Kannapolis Intimidators at Hickory Crawdads August 7-9

Kannapolis Intimidators (Chicago White Sox) (62-46 overall, 23-18 second half, 3rd SAL North) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (55-56 overall, 25-18 second half, 2nd SAL North)

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

 

IF YOU PLAN TO GO:

WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

GAME TIMES: Tuesday, 7 p.m. Wednesday, 5 p.m. (Doubleheader), Thursday, 7 p.m.

 

PROMOTIONS:

Tuesday – Local Heroes Week, Dollar Dog Day

Wednesday – Local Heroes Week, Purr in the Park

Thursday – Local Heroes Week, Battle of the Bags, Cornhole Tournament

 

TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf

 

PROBABLES (Kannapolis/ Hickory)

Tuesday: RHP Drew Harrington vs. RHP Tyler Phillips

Wednesday: LHP Parker Rigler/ RHP Jhoan Quijada vs. RHP Reid Anderson/ RHP Alex Eubanks

Thursday: TBD vs. RHP AJ Alexy

 

Recent Series History:

The teams are 8-8 this season with Hickory 5-2 at home. The Crawdads have taken 6 of the last 9 games. Since 2009 – the start of the Crawdads-Rangers affiliation, Hickory is 104-71 overall, 50-32 at home. The Intimidators are looking for the first season-series win vs. Hickory since 2010 (9-7).

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 10): 2018 stats: .283/.335/.434, 14 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 16 BB, 70 K, 23 SB, 4 CS. This season vs. Kannapolis: 13-for-42, 3 3B, 3 BB, 11 K, 5 SB. Last series at Hagerstown: 1-for-7, 2B, 2 K. Had 15 steals in July. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th 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. This season vs. Kannapolis: 1 start, 5 IP, 6 H, 6 R (1 ER), 5 K. 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. Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 18) 2018 stats: .236/.302/.430, 16 2B, 5 3B, 11 HR, 27 BB, 101 K, 9 SB, 3 CS. This season vs. Kannapolis: 12-for-44, 5 2B, 4 HR, 10 R, 14 RBI, 8 BB, 17 K, SB, CS. Last series at Hagerstown: 1-for-11, 3 BB, 4 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. This season vs. Kannapolis: 4 starts, 23.2 IP, 11 R, 2 R (2 ER), 2 HB, 8 BB, 23 K. 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, 9th strikeouts, T-9th losses (7), T-10th hit batters,

C Sam Huff (No. 22): 2018 stats: .247/.303/.451, 20 2B, 3B, 15 HR, 19 BB, 109 K, 7 SB. This season vs. Kannapolis: 10-for-48, 3 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 14 K, 3 SB. Last series at Hagerstown: 2-for-14, 2B, 2 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: .220/.272/.382, 7 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 45 K, 2 SB, 4 CS. This season vs. Kannapolis: 8-for-30, 2 3B, HR, BB, 7 K, SB. Last series at Hagerstown: 2-for-8, 3B, BB, 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 Reid Anderson: 2018 stats: 18 games (15 starts), 87.1 IP, 77 H, 43 R (33 ER), 1 HR, 4 HB, 22 BB, 75 K, 3.40 ERA, .235 OBA, 1.13 WHIP. This season vs. Kannapolis: 2 starts, 11.2 IP, 13 H, 7 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 14 K. Last start 7/31 vs. Charleston: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 5 K. Seventeenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Millersville (Pa.) Univ. Attended New Egypt (N.J.) HS.

RHP Alex Eubanks: 2018 stats: 19 games (15 starts), 89.1 IP, 113 H, 67 R (64 ER), 12 HR, 5 HB, 27 BB, 85 K, 6.45 ERA, .310 OBA, 1.57 WHIP. This season vs. Kannapolis: 4 games (3 starts), 17 IP, 28 H, 15 R (13 ER), 3 HR, 2 HB, 7 BB, 19 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Clemson. Attended Byrnes High in Moore, S.C. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 3rd runs allowed, 3rd earned runs allowed, 6th hits allowed, T-8th home runs allowed,

RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 28 games, 5 saves, 43.2 IP, 27 H, 11 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 27 BB, 79 K, 2.27 ERA, .179 OBA, 1.24 WHIP. This season vs. Kannapolis: 5 games, 7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (4 ER), 7 BB, 11 K. Last game at Hagerstown 8/4: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K. Twenty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Petal HS (MS).

RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 30 games, 5 saves, 50 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 39 BB, 76 K, 1.98 ERA, .121 BA, 1.16 WHIP. This season vs. Kannapolis: 5 games, 1 save, 7.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 ER), 6 BB, 12 K. Last game at Hagerstown 8/5: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 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 (.121), 2nd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.68), T-9th games, T-10th walks.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .253/.309/.397, 20 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 43 K. This season vs. Kannapolis: 14-for-51, 4 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 6 K. Last series at Hagerstown: 4-for-12, 2B. 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: 3rd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.65).

IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .293/.358/.453, 21 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 27 BB, 88 K, 5 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Kannapolis: 10-for-43, 3 2B, HR, 3 BB, 8 K. Last series at Hagerstown: 3-for-12, 3 2B, BB, 3 K. Thirtieth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Adrian College (MI). Attended South Haven (MI) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 7th batting avg., 10th OPS.

2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .253/.364/.326, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 44 BB, 49 K, 31 SB, 8 CS. This season vs. Kannapolis: 10-for-33, 2 2B, 7 BB, 5 K, 5 SB, 2 CS. Last series at Hagerstown: 2-for-8, 2 K. 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, 5th walks, 7th OBP, 10th CS.

1B Tyreque Reed: 2018 stats: .268/.337/.484, 22 2B, 11 HR, 22 BB, 81 K, SB. This season vs. Kannapolis: 9-for-43, 3 2B, 3 HR, 3 BB, 16 K. Last series at Hagerstown: 7-for-13, 4 2B, HR, BB, 2 K. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba (MS) CC. Attended Haulka (MS) HS.

 

Prospects to watch-Kannapolis (rankings by MLB.com):

CF Steele Walker (No. 12): 2018 stats (combined at AZL White Sox, Great Falls and Kannapolis): 13-for-55, 2B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 9 K, SB, CS. Last series at Greensboro: 1-for-10, BB, K. Second-round pick of the White Sox in 2018 out of the Univ. of Oklahoma. Attended Prosper (TX) HS. Called up to Kannapolis 8/2.

3B Luis Curbelo (No. 27): 2018 stats: .242/.291/.360. 15 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 13 BB, 53 K. This season vs. Hickory: 10-for-35, 3 2B, 3 BB, 8 K. Last series vs. Greensboro: 2-for-12, 2B, 5 K. Sixth-round pick of the White Sox in 2016 out of Cocoa (HS), FL. Born in Carolina, P.R.

 

Others to watch-Kannapolis:

LHP Drew Harrington: 2018 stats (Kannapolis only): 8 games (6 starts), 1 save, 40.1 IP, 32 H, 11 R (11 ER), HR, 4 HB, 9 BB, 26 K, 2.45 ERA, .222 OBA, 1.02 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory (with Kannapolis only): 1 start, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 4 K. Last start at Augusta 7/30: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 HB, 2 BB, 4 K. Signed a free-agent contract with the White Sox on June 18. Released by the Atlanta Braves on June 9. Originally a third-round pick of the Braves in 2016 out of the Univ. of Louisville. Attended Central Hardin HS, Cecilia, KY. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-6th hit batters, T-8th wins (7).

RHP Jhoan Quijada: 2018 stats: 14 games (6 starts), 56.2 IP, 61 H, 35 R (30 ER), 7 HR, 2 HB, 15 BB, 29 K, 4.75 ERA, .276 OBA, 1.34 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 2 games (1 start) 4.1 IP, 7 H, 10 R (9 ER), 3 HR, 4 BB, 4 K. Last game vs. Greensboro 8/4: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB. Signed as an international free agent with the White Sox in 2012.

LHP Parker Rigler: 2018 stats: 21 games (21 starts), 111.2 IP, 101 H, 60 R (54 ER), 8 HR, 7 HB, 50 BB, 94 K, 4.35 ERA, .245 OBA, 1.35 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 4 starts, 19.1 IP, 20 H, 15 R (14 ER), 3 HR, HB, 12 BB, 21 K. Last start at Augusta 8/1: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 5 BB, 1 K. Thirty-first-round pick of the White Sox in 2017 out of Kansas State. Attended Edmond (Okla.) Memorial HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-1st starts, 2nd walks, 5th earned runs allowed, T-7th innings, T-8th runs allowed.

RHP Jake Elliott: 2018 stats: 26 games, 1 start, 2 saves, 57 IP, 49 H, 25 R (22 ER), 6 HR, 3 HB, 13 BB, 66 K, 3.47 ERA, .233 OBA, 1.09 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 4 games, 1 save, 9 IP, 10 H, 8 R (8 ER), 3 HR, 1 HB, 4 BB, 8 K. Last game at Augusta 7/30: 2.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 3 K. Fifteenth-round pick of the White Sox in 2016 out of the Univ. of Oklahoma. Attended Coppell (Tex.) HS. Named to SAL All-Star Game.

2B Tate Blackman: 2018 stats: .254/.358/.403, 16 2B, 2 3B, 11 HR, 52 BB, 117 K, 3 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 10-for-56, 2B, 3B, HR, 8 BB, 23 K, 1 CS. Last series vs. Greensboro: 2-for-9, 3B, 3 BB, 4 K. Thirteenth-round pick of the White Sox in 2017 out of Ole Miss. Attended Lake Brantley HS (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) Named to SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 2nd walks, T-4th games, 8th strikeouts,

LF Craig Dedalow: 2018 stats: .259/.309/.427, 28 2B, 6 3B, 9 HR, 24 BB, 92 K, SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 18-for-65, 6 2B, 3B, HR, 2 BB, 21 K, CS. Last series vs. Greensboro: 2-for-10, 2 2B, 2 BB, 5 K. Ninth-round pick of the White Sox in 2017 out Indiana Univ. Attended Munster (Ind.) HS. Named to SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 3rd doubles, T-4th games, 4th at-bats, T-5th RBI, T-7th triples 8th hits, 10th total bases.

RF Tyler Frost: 2018 stats: .232/.309/.448, 15 2B, 3 3B, 15 HR, 31 BB,10 K. This season vs. Hickory: 7-for-40, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 13 K. Last series vs. Greensboro: 2-for-8, HR, K. Fifteenth-round pick of the White Sox in 2017 out of Gonzaga Univ. (College teammate with Hickory’s Justin Jacobs.) Attended Greenway HS in Phoenix, AZ. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-6th HR

C Evan Skoug: 2018 stats: .204/.299/.325, 10 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 33 BB, 79 K. This season vs. Hickory: 14-for-37, 2 2B, HR, 9 BB, 7 K, 2 SB. Last series vs. Greensboro: 0-for-2, BB, K. Seventh-round draft pick of the White Sox in 2017 out of Texas Christian Univ. Native of Libertyville, Ill. Big 12 Co-player of the year in 2017. First-team All-American.

1B Justin Yurchak: 2018 stats: .257/.351/.332, 16 2B, 3B, HR, 41 BB, 50 K. This season vs. Hickory: 17-for-47, 5 2B, 3B, 10 RBI, 8 BB, 9 K. Last series vs. Greensboro: 1-for-6, BB, 2 K. Twelfth-round pick of the White Sox in 2017 out of Binghamton (N.Y.) Univ. Attended Shenendehowa HS in his native Clifton Park, N.Y. Played at Wake Forest his freshman season. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-7th walks.

 

Series Preview: Hickory Crawdads at Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs July 14-17

Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (41-48, 11-10, T-3rd SAL North) at Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs (New York Yankees) (45-43, 12-8 1st SAL South)

The Crawdads travel to Charleston S.C. for a four-game set against the RiverDogs at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park (“The Joe”)

WHERE IS IT?: Take I-26 East to Hwy.17 South. Turn right onto Lockwood Dr. Follow Lockwood for 1/2 mile. Stadium is on left.

 

BROADCASTS: All games are streamed live on the web through milb.com or the Charleston RiverDogs website.

If You Plan to Go:

GAME TIMES: Saturday 6:05 p.m., Sunday 5:05 p.m. Monday 7:05 p.m., Tuesday 12:05 p.m.

 

PROMOTIONS:

Saturday – Post-Game T-Shirt Toss

Sunday – Dino Day

Monday – National Get Your Dog out of the House Day

Tuesday – Splash Day

TICKETS: $20 Diamond View, $18 Field View, $10 Grandstand, $8 General Admission

PARKING: Lots controlled by the team $5 for non-VIP lots (VIP lots for parking pass holders). Sunday parking is free.

CONCESSIONS: 13 different options for food, including Dave’s Sausage World, Land Shark Tiki-Bar, Chelsea’s Cantina, Pie House, etc.

 

PROBABLES (Hickory/ Charleston)

Saturday: RHP Tyree Thompson vs. RHP Janson Junk

Sunday: RHP Alex Eubanks vs. RHP Alex Mauricio

Monday: RHP Tyler Phillips vs. LHP Reiver Sanmartin

Tuesday: RHP Noah Bremer vs. RHP Deivi Garcia

 

Recent Series History:

The RiverDogs took 3 of 4 from host Hickory earlier this season. Charleston is 8-2 vs. the Crawdads over the last two seasons. Since 2009 and the start of the Rangers-Crawdads affiliation, Hickory is 51-48 overall, but the RiverDogs are 24-23 at home.

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 6): 2018 stats: .272/.320/.408, 9 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 12 BB, 54 K, 15 SB, 2 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 3-for-9, HR K, 3 SB. Has reached base in 14 of his last 15 games (20-for-63, 2B, HR, 2 BB), which includes a current, 10-game hitting streak. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 9) 2018 stats: .238/.288/.421, 15 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 16 BB, 79 K, 6 SB, 2 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 4-for-9, 3B,  K. Obtained by the Rangers in 2017 from the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Lucroy. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 16): 2018 stats: 15 games (13 starts), 68.2 IP, 58 H, 42 R (36 ER), 3 HR, 7 HB, 41 BB, 83 K, 4.72 ERA, .232 OBA, 1.44 WHIP. Last start vs. West Virginia 7/13: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 7 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd walks, T-5th losses (7), T-7th hit batters.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 17): 2018 stats at Hickory: .218/.272/.335, 4 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 11 BB, 32 K, 0 SB, 4 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 4-for-12, 2B, HR, 3 K Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 24): 2018 stats: .231/.291/.388, 14 2B, 9 HR, 15 BB, 81 K, 4 SB. Last series v. West Virginia: 1-for-8, 3 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.). Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 29): 2018 stats: 15 games (15 starts) 88 IP, 86 H, 35 R (32 ER), 3 HR, 3 HB, 10 BB, 85 K, 3.427 ERA, .254 OBA, 1.09 WHIP. Last start 7/9 at Delmarva: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 11 K. In his last 26 starts stretch to 6/23/17 at Spokane 151.2 IP, 17 BB, 158 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: 2nd walks-per-9-inning ratio among starters (1.02), T-10th wins (6). Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Tyree Thompson: 15 games (13 starts), 68.1 IP, 79 H, 53 R, 41 ER, 12 HR, 3 HB, 25 BB, 40 K, 5.40 ERA, .289 OBA, 1.52 WHIP. Last game at Delmarva 7/7: 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 R (6 ER), 2 HR, 3 BB. Twenty-sixth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-5th losses (7), T-5th home runs allowed, T-8th runs allowed.

RHP Alex Eubanks: 15 games (14 starts), 78.2 IP, 90 H, 51 R (50 ER), 12 HR, 4 HB, 19 BB, 81 K, 5.72 ERA, .288 OBA, 1.39 WHIP. Last start at Delmarva 7/8: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Clemson. Attended Byrnes High in Moore, S.C. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 3rd earned runs allowed, T-5th home runs allowed, T-10th hits allowed.

RHP Noah Bremer: 2018 stats: 9 games (9 starts), 41.1 IP, 45 H, 22 R (19 ER), 5 HR, 13 BB, 41 K, 4.14 ERA, .278 OBA, 1.40 WHIP. Last start vs. West Virginia 7/11: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 HR, 3 BB, 5 K. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of the Univ. of Washington. Attended Berkeley (Calif.) HS.

RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 22 games, 2 saves, 36.1 IP, 19 H, 9 R (9 ER), 1 HR, 23 BB, 65 K, 2.23 ERA, .156 OBA, 1.16 WHIP. Last game vs. West Virginia 7/13: 3 IP, 1 BB, 5 K. Last 7 outings: 14.1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 30 Ks. 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 (16.10), 2nd lowest OBA among relievers (.156).

RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 24 games, 2 saves, 39 IP, 14 H, 14 R (11 ER), 35 BB, 58 K, 2.54 ERA, .117 BA, 1.26 WHIP. Last game 7/11 vs. West Virginia: 2 IP, 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 (.117), 2nd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.38), 10th walks.

RHP Royce Bollinger: 2018 at SS-A Spokane: 7 games (1 start), 14.1 IP, 18 H, 7 R (5 ER), 2 HB, 3 BB, 20 K, 3.14 ERA, .321 OBA, 1.47 WHIP. Called up to Hickory 7/14. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2012 out of Gonzaga Univ. Attended Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz. Was an outfielder in the Rangers system through 2017 at AA Frisco.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .246/.297/.384, 11 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 18 BB, 33 K. Last series vs. West Virginia: 0-for-2, BB. 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: 3rd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.79).

IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .292/.360/.448, 10 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 22 BB, 72 K, 4 SB, 2 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 3-for-12, HR, 2 BB, 4 K. Thirtieth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Adrian College (MI). Attended South Haven (MI) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 10th batting avg.

2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .248/.366/.310, 7 2B, 3 3B, 38 BB, 39 K, 21 SB, 5 CS. Last series vs. West Virginia: 2-for-11, 2B, BB, 2 K, SB. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2014. Native of Maturin, Venezuela. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T1st sacrifice bunts (12), T-3rd stolen bases, 9th walks.

1B Tyreque Reed: 2018 stats: .271/.322/.448, 16 2B, 6 HR, 11 BB, 63 K. Last series vs. West Virginia: 6-for-12, 2 2B, 4 K. Has 7 multi-hit tallies in his last 9 games (17-37) and 10 in the second half. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba Community College in Mississippi. Attended Houlka (MS) HS.

 

Prospects to watch-Charleston (rankings by MLB.com):

RHP Deivi Garcia (No. 14): 2018 stats: 5 games (5 starts) 24.1 IP, 23 H, 14 R (12 ER), 3 HR, 2 HB, 6 BB, 37 K, 4.44 ERA, .242 OBA, 1.19 WHIP. Last start vs. Delmarva 7/11: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 HR, 4 BB, 6 K. Signed by the Yankees as an international free agent in 2015. Native of Bonao, Dominican Republic.

3B Dermis Garcia (No. 20): 2018 stats: .222/.297/.431, 9 2B, 3B, 8 HR, 18 BB, 62 K. Last series vs. Delmarva: 3-for-8, HR, 5 K. Signed with the Yankees as an international free agent in 2014. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

Others to watch-Charleston:

RHP Janson Junk: 2018 stats: 9 games (7 starts), 45.1 IP, 40 H, 23 R (22 ER), 5 HR, 2 HB, 14 BB, 32 K, 4.37 ERA, .235 OBA, 1.19 WHIP. Last start at Columbia 7/7: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Twenty-second round pick of the Yankees in 2017 out of Seattle Univ. Attended Decatur HS, Federal Way, Wash.

RHP Alex Mauricio: 2018 stats at SS-A Staten Island (NY): 4 games (4 starts), 21 IP, 16 H, 9 R (5 ER), 2 HB, 6 BB, 21 K, 2.14 ERA, .211 OBA, 1.05 WHIP. First start with Charleston. Twenty-seventh round pick of the Yankees in 2017 out of Norfolk (Va.) State. Attended Manchester HS, Midlothian, Va.

LHP Reiver Sanmartin: 2018 stats with Charleston: 2 games (2 starts), 10 IP, 9 H, 6 R (4 ER), 2 HB, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.60 ERA, .237 OBA, 1.00 WHIP. Last start at Columbia 7/9: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 HB, 1 BB, 3 K. Traded to the Yankees from the Rangers 11/20/17 for RHP Ronald Herrera. Pitched for Hickory in 2017. Originally signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of Cartagena, Columbia.

RHP Kyle Zurak: 2018 stats: 22 games, 8 saves, 39.1 IP, 31 H, 13 R (12 ER), 1 HR, 3 HB, 10 BB, 40 K, 2.75 ERA, .215 OBA, 1.04 WHIP. Last game vs. Delmarva 7/13: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K. Eighth-round pick of the Yankees in 2017 out of Radford (Va.) Univ. Attended Williamsville (N.Y.) North. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 7th saves.

RHP Braden Bristo: 2018 stats: 22 games 6 saves, 35.1 IP, 26 H, 7 R (5 ER), 2 HB, 11 BB, 44 K, 1.27 ERA, .203 OBA, 1.05 WHIP. Twenty-third round pick of the Yankees in 2016 out of Louisiana Tech. Attended Ouachita Christian, Monroe, La. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 5th K-per-9 IP ratio among relivers (11.21).

Series Preview: West Virginia Power at Hickory Crawdads July 11-13

West Virginia Power (Pittsburgh Pirates) (47-37, 10-8 T-2nd SAL North), at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (39-47, 9-9, T-4th SAL North)

If You Plan to Go:

GAME TIMES: Wednesday-Friday 7 p.m.

 

PROMOTIONS:

Wednesday – World Record Wednesday

Thursday – Thirsty Thursday, Sandlot 25th Anniversary

Friday –Post-game Fireworks, 40th Anniversary Halloween, Halloween T-Shirt Giveaway (First 1,000 fans)

 

 

TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf

 

PROBABLES (West Virginia/ Hickory)

Thursday: RHP Hunter Stratton vs. RHP Noah Bremer

Friday: RHP Cody Bolton vs. RHP Reid Anderson

Saturday: Travis MacGregor vs. RHP AJ Alexy

 

Recent Series History:

West Virginia has dominated the series in 2018 with a 14-5 record against Hickory. which includes a 7-3 mark at L.P. Frans Stadium. The Power swept the Crawdads in three-straight to open the second half.

 

About the Crawdads:

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

OF Bubba Thompson (No. 6): 2018 stats: .269/.319/.394, 9 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 12 BB, 53 K, 12 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. West Virginia: 6-for-32, 2 2B, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 SB. Last series at Delmarva: 3-for-11, 3 K, SB. Has reached base in 12 of his last 13 games (17-for-54, 2B, 2 BB). First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL.

OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 9) 2018 stats: .229/.283/.411, 15 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 16 BB, 78 K, 6 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. West Virginia: 16-for-58, 5 BB, 14 K, 2 SB. Last series at Delmarva: 3-for-13, 2B, 3B 5 K. Obtained by the Rangers in 2017 from the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Lucroy. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 16): 2018 stats: 14 games (12 starts), 63.2 IP, 51 H, 38 R (32 ER), 3 HR, 7 HB, 39 BB, 76 K, 4.52 ERA, .224 OBA, 1.41 WHIP. This season vs. West Virginia: 4 starts, 19 IP, 16 H, 14 R (12 ER), 2 HR, 1 HB, 9 BB, 24 K. Last start at Kannapolis 7/5: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd walks, T-5th losses (7), T-7th hit batters.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 17): 2018 stats at Hickory: .209/.263/.310, 3 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 11 BB, 29 K, 0 SB, 4 CS. This season vs. West Virginia: 5-for-26, 2 HR, 4 K, CS Last series at Delmarva: 4-for-13, K. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela. Assigned to Hickory 6/29 after a two-weak stint at short-season Spokane. He is 8-for-37 with a HR, BB and 5 Ks in nine games since his return.

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 24): 2018 stats: .234/.296/.397, 14 2B, 9 HR, 15 BB, 80 K, 4 SB. This season vs. West Virginia: 7-for-42, 2B, HR, 5 BB, 11 K. Last series at Delmarva: 3-for-10, 2B, 2 BB, 5 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.). Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 29): 2018 stats: 15 games (15 starts) 88 IP, 86 H, 35 R (32 ER), 3 HR, 3 HB, 10 BB, 85 K, 3.427 ERA, .254 OBA, 1.09 WHIP. Not scheduled to pitch in the series. Last start 7/9 at Delmarva: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 11 K. In his last 26 starts stretch to 6/23/17 at Spokane 151.2 IP, 17 BB, 158 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: 2nd walks-per-9-inning ratio among starters (1.02), 10th innings pitched. Named to the SAL All-Star Game.

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Noah Bremer: 2018 stats: 8 games (8 starts), 35.1 IP, 40 H, 19 R (16 ER), 3 HR, 10 BB, 36 K, 4.08 ERA, .284 OBA, 1.42 WHIP. Last game vs. Greensboro 7/4: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 K. This season vs. West Virginia: 2 starts, 9 IP, 7 H, 5 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 12 K. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of the Univ. of Washington. Attended Berkeley (Calif.) HS.

RHP Reid Anderson: 2018 stats: 13 games (11 starts), 64 IP, 56 H, 31 R (27 ER), 1 HR, 3 HB, 19 BB, 56 K, 3.80 ERA, .233 OBA, 1.17 WHIP. This season vs. West Virginia: 4 starts, 21.1 IP, 20 H, 14 R (12 ER), 2 HB, 7 BB, 19 K. Last start 7/4 at Kannapolis: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 8 K. Seventeenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Millersville (Pa.) Univ. Attended New Egypt (N.J.) HS.

RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 21 games, 2 saves, 33.1 IP, 19 H, 9 R (9 ER), 1 HR, 22 BB, 60 K, 2.43 ERA, .168 OBA, 1.23 WHIP. This season vs. West Virginia: 4 games, 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 17 K. Last game at Delmarva 7/9: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K. Last 7 outings: 11.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 25 Ks. Twenty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Petal HS (MS).

RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 23 games, 2 saves, 37 IP, 13 H, 14 R (11 ER), 35 BB, 54 K, 2.68 ERA, .123 BA, 1.32 WHIP. This season vs. West Virginia : 4 games, 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 8 BB, 10 K. Last game 7/8 at Delmarva: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), BB, 2 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 (.103), 3rd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.14), T-9th walks.

C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .248/.294/.387, 11 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 17 BB, 33 K. This season vs. West Virginia: 15-for-53, 2 2B, 3B, HR, BB, 4 K. Last series at Delmarva: 1-for-8. 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: 3rd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.67).

IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .295/.361/.456, 10 2B, 3B, 9 HR, 20 BB, 68 K, 4 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. West Virginia: 14-for-48, 2 2B, HR, 2 BB, 11 K, SB, CS. Last series at Delmarva: 5-for-13, 2B, 3B, 3 K. Had a 20-game, on-base streak stopped 7/1. Thirtieth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Adrian College (MI). Attended South Haven (MI) HS.

2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .250/.367/.314, 6 2B, 3 3B, 33 BB, 34 K, 18 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. West Virginia: 6-for-38, 2B, 8 BB, 9 K, 2 SB CS. Last series at Delmarva: 3-for-9, K, 2 SB. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2014. Native of Maturin, Venezuela. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T1st sacrifice bunts (11), 4th stolen bases, 8th walks, 10th on-base pct.

1B Tyreque Reed: 2018 stats: .256/.311/.433, 14 2B, 6 HR, 11 BB, 59 K. This season vs. West Virginia: 7-for-26, HR, 3 BB, 6 K. Last series at Delmarva: 4-for-11, 2 2B, BB, 3 K. Has 8 multi-hit tallies in his last 7 games. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba Community College in Mississippi. Attended Houlka (MS) HS.

About the Power:

Prospects to watch-West Virginia (rankings by MLB.com):

CF Lolo Sanchez (No. 8): 2018 stats: .233/.309/.335, 13 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 25 BB, 50 K, 16 SB, 7 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 8-for-42, 2B, HR, 5 BB, 13 K, 3 SB, CS. Last series vs. Hagerstown: 0-for-6, 3 BB, K. Signed with the Pirates as an international free agent in 2015. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-8th steals.

SS Oneil Cruz (No. 12): 2018 stats: .304/.364/.511, 51 R, 17 2B, 7 3B, 11 HR, 53 RBI, 29 BB, 79 K, 9 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 16-for-53, 3 2B, 4 HR, 8 BB, 13 K, 2 SB. Last series vs. Hagerstown: 3-for-10, HR, 3 BB, K, SB. Traded to the Pirates last summer for former Crawdads LHP Tony Watson. Signed as an international free agent by the L.A. Dodgers in 2015. Native of Nizao, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-2nd 3B, 3rd total bases, T-4th hits, T-4th RBI, 4th OPS (.876), 5th batting avg., 6th runs, T-7th at-bats, 7th OBP, 7th slugging pct. T-9th HR.

RF Calvin Mitchell (No. 15): 2018 stats: .304/.368/.487, 18 2B, 3 3B, 8 HR, 25 BB, 66 K, 4 SB. CS. This season vs. Hickory: 10-for-39, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 12 K. Last series vs. Hagerstown: 1-for-7, 2B, BB, K. Second-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Rancho Bernardo (Calif.) HS. Native of San Diego. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 6th batting avg., 9th OBP. Named to SAL All-Star Game.

RHP: Travis McGregor (No. 23): 2018 stats: 9 games (9 starts), 39 IP, 39 H, 21 R (11 ER), 2 HR, 4 HB, 9 BB, 55 K, 2.54 ERA, .252 OBA, 1.23 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 2 starts: 10 IP, 6 H, 2 R (1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 8 K. Last start 7/8 vs. Hagerstown: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, HB, BB, 6 K. Second-round pick of the Pirates in 2016 out of East Lake HS, Tarpon Springs, FL.0

C Deon Stafford (No. 29): 2018 stats: .255/.319/.398, 12 2B, 3 3B, 5 HR, 18 BB, 68 K. This season vs. Hickory: 12-for-39, 2 2B, 3B, 5 BB, 13 K. Fifth-round pick of the Pirates in 2016 out of St. Joseph’s Univ. (Pa.) Native of Hummelstown, Pa. Attended Lower Dauphin HS. Named to SAL All-Star Game.

 

Others to watch- West Virginia:

RHP Hunter Stratton: 2018 stats: 13 games (11 starts), 55.2 IP, 56 H, 42 R (35 ER), 7 HR, 3 HB, 31 BB, 56 K, 5.66 ERA, .265 OBA, 1.56 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 10 IP, 7 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 HR, 3 BB, 9 K. Last start 7/6 vs. Lexington: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), HR, 3 BB, 5 K. Sixteenth-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Walters State (TN) CC. Attended Sullivan East (Bristol, TN). SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st wild pitches (16).

RHP Cody Bolton: 2018 stats: 7 games (7 starts): 34.1 IP, 32 H, 12 R (12 ER), 3 HR, 1 HB, 5 BB, 33 K, 3.15 ERA, .242 OBA, 1.13 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K. Last start 7/7 vs. Hagerstown: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 4 K. Twentieth-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Tracy (CA) HS.

LF Chris Sharpe: 2018 stats: .264/.367/.368, 11 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 38 BB, 92 K, 10 SB, 4 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 20-for-55, 4 2B, 2 3B, HR, 5 BB, 16 K, 5 SB. Last series vs. Hagerstown: 0-for-11, 7 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Univ. of Massachusetts-Lowell. Native of Burlington, Mass., attended Bridgton (Mass.) Academy. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th BB, T-4th games played (80), 10th K.

RHP Beau Sulser: 2018 stats: 20 games, 4 saves, 34.1 IP, 30 H, 11 R (9 ER), 2 HR, 2 HR, BB, 37 K. This season vs. Hickory: Save, 8.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), HB, 11 K. Last outing 7/9 vs. Hagerstown: 2 IP, H, 2 K. Tenth-round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Dartmouth. Attended Ramona HS, Santa Ysabel, CA. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st walks to 9 IP ratio among relievers (0.26), 4th baserunners per 9 IP ratio (8.65).

3B Jesse Medrano: 2018 stats: .257/.325/.400, 2 2B, HR, 2 BB, 6 K, SB. This season vs. Hickory: 1-for-9, 2 K. This season vs. Hickory: 1-for-9, 2 K. Last series vs. Hagerstown: 3-for-9, HR, BB, 2 K, SB. Thirty-first round pick of the Pirates in 2017 out of Fresno (CA) State. Attended Clayton Valley HS (Concord , CA).

Tyree Ties Up Shorebirds: Hickory wins 5-1.

Tyree Thompson pitched a masterpiece, Sam Huff and Kole Enright supported him at the plate as the Hickory Crawdads defeated the Delmarva (Md.) Shorebirds 5-1 at L.P. Frans Stadium Tuesday night.

The win was the second straight by Hickory (16-24) to open the four-game series, which continues Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Delmarva (26-17) lost its third straight game and has dropped six of the last eight overall. The Shorebirds now trail first-place Kannapolis by two games in the first-half Northern Division standings.

It was the Tyree Thompson show from the start as the right-hander kept the Shorebirds off balance throughout the game. The New Orleans native allowed just six baserunners over a pro career high of 7.1 innings and struck out three.

Meanwhile, the Crawdads, led by Huff and Enright, supplied the runs Thompson (2-3) needed early. Facing starter D.L. Hall, Austin O’Banion doubled and scored when Huff also doubled off the left field wall. In the fourth, Huff doubled with two outs and Enright swatted his third homer of the season to left-center to make it 3-0.

Franklin Rollin’s speed played a large part for a run in the seventh. He reached on an infield hit, stole second and moved to third on an error from where Tyreque Reed doubled him in.

The right-hander was economical all-night, needing just 65 pitches to get through seven innings. No Shorebirds hitter saw more than four pitches in a plate appearance before the game reached one out in the eighth. That batter, Arlington (Tex.) native Jaylen Ferguson, lined a 3-2 pitch over the fence in left for his first homer in the second game since joining the Shorebirds. After Thompson walked Kirvit Moesquit, the Crawdads brought in reliever Alex Speas, who recorded the final two outs.

Hickory added a run on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Speas returned with a dominant ninth, striking out the final two batters of the game for his fourth save of the season.

 

More on Tyree Thompson:

When the Shorebirds Moesquit hit the second pitch of the game, a middle-in fastball, hard to Reed at first, it looked ominous. As it turned out, it was the last hard-hit ball by the Shorebirds against Thompson until Jean Carrillo lined out to center in the fifth.

Thompson’s fastball started the night topping at 93 mph, but he stayed around 89-91 much of the night and spotted it well. It was the second strong start in a row for the 20-year-old – he allowed one run on four hits and three walks over six innings last week against Rome (Ga.)  – which he said has been the result of a mechanical adjustment.

“I’m just tweaking some simple things with my hands, as far as movement,” Thompson said. “It helped me as far as conviction wise and command wise to be able to throw the ball wherever I want.”

That command was with three pitches: the fastball, change and an occasional curve. Thompson broke his first curveball off to strike out Trevor Craport in the second. After a walk and an error put two on in the second, Thompson got Carrillo to bounce a changeup into a force play.

The changeup got a lot of play by Thompson and it was largely responsible for the ten groundball outs recorded.

Overall, Thompson threw 53 strikes out of 82 pitches, starting 17 of the 28 hitters with first-pitch strikes.

“They’re a good hitting team,” said Thompson of the plan of attack. “But once you get ahead early in the count, they’re protecting. My strength is getting ahead of batters and getting them out in four pitches or less.”

A couple of defensive plays aided Thompson’s gem. In the first, Thompson tried to make a backhand stab of a comebacker. The ball deflected to the first-base side of second, where shortstop Cristian Inoa made a quick charge of the play and threw to first for the out.  Playing center on Wednesday, Rollin saved a hit in the fifth with a full-out dive and catch to his left.

The defensive plays along with the early runs boosted Thompson’s confidence.

“If I get a run ahead, that’s a plus for me because I know what kind of pitcher I am, and I know my strengths. When I get a run ahead, it makes me compete more, knowing my defense is behind me. I throw strikes and do what I have to do, knowing my defense will make plays.”

Tyree Thompson

Tyree Thompson allowed a run on three hits over 7.1 innings vs. Delmarva on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

 

The game’s turning point:

D.L. Hall, the Baltimore Orioles No. 4 prospect, had spotty control early, but got into a groove into the third. Gassing around 94-95 with increasing command of the changeup, Hall had retired eight in a row after Huff’s RBI double in the second. He was ready to make it nine with two outs in the fourth and Huff back at the plate.

The Shorebirds went after Huff in the second with three straight secondary pitches, the third of which was a hanging curve that Huff roped off the wall. So in the fourth, Hall came with two straight fastballs that put Huff in an 0-2 hole. A third fastball missed just inside and before Hall went back to two straight changeups. Huff spoiled both.

The final pitch of the AB was a 93 mph just off the plate – too close to take – that Huff not only spoiled, but got enough of the pitch off the end of the bat to bounce the ball past first for a double.

Enright followed with a homer on a 2-0 fastball and that turned out to be the game.

 

Alex Speas ninth:

The dude was gassing.

After a 4-3 grounder, Speas made Ryan Ripken uncomfortable in the box. A 98 mph heater had the left-handed hitting Ripken stepping towards first on a swing-and-miss. Ripken flicked a second 98 into the stands. Expecting another heater, Speas fooled him with an 89 slider that closed into the hitter’s hands. A half-hearted swing completed the strikeout.

Then to Ben Breazeale: 99, 99, 99, 100, 98, 98.

Ball game.

Walk-off Winner: Ratliff’s single gives Hickory 2-1 win

Tyler Ratliff lined a single into left to bring in pinch runner Franklin Rollin and sent the Hickory Crawdads to a 2-1 win over the Rome (Ga.) Braves Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

With the win, Hickory (13-21) has won two of three during the current series and it will try for the series win Tuesday morning starting at 10:30 a.m. Rome (22-15) dropped into second place, a game behind Augusta (Ga.) in the South Atlantic League Southern Division.

Facing Braves reliever Brandon White (0-2), the Crawdads started the ninth with a booming double off the wall in center field by Tyreque Reed. Austin O’Banion’s grounder to first moved Reed to third from where Rollin took over. Reed wasted little time for the walk-off winner by lining an 0-1 pitch from the side-arming White into left.

Pitching dominated Monday’s contest as a pair of No. 30 prospects – Rome’s Huascar Ynoa and Hickory’s Tyler Phillips – started the game.

Ynoa held the Crawdads hitless through five innings with the help of center fielder Drew Waters. The Braves No. 18 prospect made an on-the-run, leaping catch of a liner at the wall off the bat of Bubba Thompson in the first. Near the same spot, Waters – who also had two of the Braves seven hits – made an even better grab on a ball hit by Ratliff in the fourth when he scaled and reached over the wall to bring back a home run. Otherwise, Ynoa’s night was uneventful, as he struck out six and walked three. The lone hit against Ynoa was a home run by Justin Jacobs in the sixth.

Tyler Phillips matched zeroes on the scoreboard with five shutout innings. The Crawdads right hander allowed five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He, too, got defensive help as Hickory turned two double plays behind him. The lone trouble for Phillips came in the fourth when William Contreras and Kurt Hoekstra each singled with two outs to put runners and first and third. Phillips got out of the inning by striking out Jean Carlos Encarnacion.

New reliever Derek Heffel entered the game for Hickory in the sixth. He allowed just two base runners over three innings and struck out three. However, the first base runner was a leadoff home run by Hoekstra to start the seventh and tie the game.

Alex Speas (1-0) dominated the Braves in the ninth with fastballs registering 96-98 mph. The right hander retired the side and struck out two.

Casanova and Huff go to “Plan B”: Crawdads get the benefit in 4-3 win over Rome

Down three runs early, Hickory Crawdads starting pitcher Jean Casanova settled down and his teammates fought back to take a 4-3 win over the Rome (Ga.) Braves Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The win for the Crawdads (12-20) in the series opener with the Braves was the third in four games of the current homestand. Despite the loss, Rome (21-14) remained in a tie for first the Southern Division of the South Atlantic League.

Hickory scored the decisive run in the eighth after two were out. With Austin O’Banion on first, Ryan Dorow put up his third single of the game. Cristian Inoa then hit a grounder that got past second baseman Derian Cruz and allowed O’Banion to score from second.

It looked as if the Crawdads would be run out of the stadium. Facing Jean Casanova, Braves center fielder Drew Waters hit the second pitch of the game out of the ballpark. Two outs later, William Contreras, Kurt Hoekstra and Jean Carlos Encarnacion hit consecutive doubles and suddenly Rome held a 3-0 lead.

The Crawdads pecked away at the lead, starting in the second with Tyreque Reed’s second home run of the season. In the third, Cristian Inoa and Bubba Thompson steered back-to-back doubles just inside the bag at third to get Hickory within 3-2.

Tyler Ratliff worked an eight-pitch at bat into a walk in the fourth. He stole second with two outs and came home when Ryan Dorow lifted a soft liner into right center.

After giving up the homer and five doubles into the third, Casanova settled down and retired 12 straight before he walked Encarnacion to start the seventh.

Sal Mendez (2-2) got out of the inning and worked around an error with two outs in the ninth to seal the win.

Casanova and Huff Work Plan B:

Simply put, the Braves were pounding the fastball of Casanova early. So Casanova, pitching coach Jose Jaimes and catcher Sam Huff decided to alter the attack against an aggressive Braves lineup that had six extra-base hits through the first 11 hitters. After Riley Delgado doubled on a first-pitch fastball in the third, Casanova started the next nine hitters with an offspeed pitch. The right-hander retired the next 12 hitters, striking out four.

Huff and Casanova talked about the change of strategy and what went into the decision to use plan B.

 

It didn’t look like there wasn’t much of a fastball at the start and they were hitting it. You guys made the decision to go offspeed. I think I had one time where you went through the whole order and started everybody offspeed. How did that decision come about?

Huff: Before pregame, we were talking about the hitters. A lot of them, their percentages were they’re early swingers. They’re going to swing at first-pitch fastballs no matter what. Their two-hole shortstop (Riley Delgado), he is ten-percent on striking out, so he’s putting the bat on the ball. The first inning, we kind of got an idea and we got on the same page and we just started working it. I knew he had a good curveball, slider and changeup and we started mixing those in and then just get guys thinking and uncomfortable.

They hit you and hit you hard early. There were five doubles and a homer over the first three innings. What was your part in this decision to make a change in what you were going to throw?

Casanova: The first inning, that came from my head. I was like, “I’m not going to give up. I’m still going to attack the zone.” We all went over to the side with our pitching coach (Jose) Jaimes and we talked about, “Let’s start over and use the offspeed, curveball. Then, when the guy’s got two strikes on them, throw the slider because the slider is way faster than your curveball.” Then we started with the changeup and then the fastball and it started working. So, we just kept doing that throughout the rest of the game after the first inning. That helped a lot.

Sam Huff

Catcher Sam Huff from an early 2018 game (photo courtesy of Sam Huff

Is there are a macho thing where guys will say, “I’m going to throw my fastball, come hell or high water” and you overuse it?

Casanova: As a pitcher, I like to be aggressive with my fastball. Tonight, after they were hitting my fastball, I just worked with whatever was working earlier in the bullpen, which was my curveball and the slider and the changeup looked pretty good. So, I mixed those up. Then, a couple of times I threw a fastball when they were waiting for a breaking pitch and that’s when my fastball started playing.

 

At what point are you watching him and saying, “Okay, this is what we need to do.”? They’re hitting the fastball and you have your pregame stuff and you see what is actually taking place. At what point do you make a decision to call it this way?

Huff: First thing, once I saw them being aggressive throughout the at bat, I was just like, “We’ve got to go curveballs now. We’ve got to switch it up and we’ve got to get them out on their front foot and get them uncomfortable.”

We were talking about going in and they were sitting there. So, we started going away and then hard away and then soft away. I mean, we tried to get them uncomfortable and thinking.

Four guys I knew for sure were like, “he’s throwing a curveball right there” and we’d throw a fastball the first pitch. And then, he’s pretty much already given up on his at bat and then we’d throw two sliders inside.

I have to read hitters, too, and know which guys are going to be swinging no matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fastball or a curveball or a changeup or slider, they’re swinging. And then the guys that are more picky and will take – because the guys that take, they take a curveball right down the pike and, okay, it’s strike one. Here comes another curveball, fouls it off and they’re 0-2. Alright, you can go fastball, curveball, changeup or slider. It just depends on what he wants.

We were pretty much on the same page. He shook me off maybe two or three times and we executed it. We took what we wanted from the first inning and built off of it. We’re taking that as a learning experience and the next time that we play them, maybe not go straight fastballs, but more working counts and getting guys uncomfortable.

 

Have you ever thrown that many offspeed pitches in a row to start a hitter?

Casanova: No, that was the first time where I had to start with my curveball or my slider or my changeup.

Huff: He’s a big fastball guy. This is the total opposite of what he does. He looked the part. He showed you that he can pitch both ways and still carve. You don’t need to just to just trust your fastball. You can use other things. Seeing that, I was really happy to see that from him. For him to hold and get out of that first inning and then come in and go back out there and just say, “You know what, hit it. Try and hit this.” It was really cool to see.

Casanova: It was special to me because he is the catcher that knows me the most. We’ve been together for like three years now. We got onto the same page and everything. After the first inning, I put it away and throw it in the garbage. This is a new inning and I’m going to try and compete and stay in the game as long as I can. That’s what I tried to do and it worked out.

Jean Casanova.jpg

Jean Casanova (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

 

In a game like this, you had the golden sombrero tonight and I know you’re not happy about that, but you had to take a lot of pleasure in working in that way. That was more important win wise than what you did at the plate?

Huff:  As a team, we want to win. If it means I go 0-for-4, it means I go 0-for-4, but if I’m helping my pitchers and my whole staff and my team to win a ballgame behind the plate, then I’ll take it every day of my life. I love to win. I want to win.

 

Ratliff’s battle rewarded

It seemed innocuous at the time, but Ratliff’s at bat in the fourth played a big part in getting the Crawdads the tying run. An eight-pitch plate appearance turned into a walk and began the process of running up the pitch count of Odalvi Javier, who had thrown 42 pitches one out into the fourth.

“The first at bat, I was kind of late on his fastball and I got a hit off his changeup or slider,” said Ratliff about his approach for the key AB. “I actually got into an advantage count to 2-1. I fouled it off and got back even with a 3-2 count. He just kept throwing fastballs, fastballs. He kept trying to get me to chase the fastball up, which I couldn’t lay off of. They weren’t quite up enough to take. He just kept aggressively throwing the fastball up, up, up. I was sitting fastball and then the last pitch was kind of a spiked changeup. It was nice to get rewarded for a long 3-2.”

After hitting .167/.254/.250 in April, Ratliff has come around in May and is now at .371/.421/.486 for the month. He has multi-hit games in six of his last nine contests.

:I was working with Chase Lambin (Crawdad hitting coach) and Josue (Perez), our hitting coordinator, and (coach) Turtle (Thomas) and (manager) Matt (Hagen). They were all like, ‘You just have to go back to you, which is not chasing pitches up.’ I was trying to do too much, like I said. I was trying to go for the big home run. I’m not that type of player. I’m the type of player that’s going to hit balls in the gap, and hit doubles, and make hard contact and grind out at bats.”

Rome roaming out of runs:

The Braves baserunning cost them a couple of scoring opportunities. In the second, Isranel Wilson hit a liner to deep right. Through right fielder Justin Jacobs quickly retrieved and relayed the ball back in, Wilson hustled and reached second well ahead of the throw. However, he slid well past the bag, even avoiding the tag of Inao at short. Inao was able to snare Wilson in the ensuing rundown.

The more perplexing play happened in the seventh. After Encarnacion walked, Drew Lugbauer hit a swinging bunt in front of the plate. Mendez hopped down the mound and quickly got the out at first. Meanwhile, Encarnacion sped around second and made tracks to third. First baseman Tyreque Reed’s strong throw to the waiting Ratliff at third was well ahead of Encarnacion’s slide.

Tyreque Reed’s blast:

Check out Dan Victor’s (@slydanno70) video of Reed’s blast.

 

Series Preview: Rome (Ga.) at Hickory May 12-15

Hickory continues a weeklong homestand at LP Frans Stadium with a four-game series against the Rome Braves.

Rome (Ga.) Braves (Atlanta Braves) (21-13, T-1st SAL South), at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (11-20, 6th SAL North)

If You Plan to Go:

GAME TIMES: Saturday 6 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m., Monday 6 p.m., Tuesday 10:30 a.m.

Promotions:

Saturday – Crawmoms Weekend

Sunday – Church Bulletin Sunday (Bring a church bulletin for a $6, $4 is donated back to that organization), Wine & Design, Mother’s Day Celebration.

Monday – Make-A-Difference Monday (Bring canned goods $5 or more in value and receive a free ticket.)

TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.

Where is it?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.

PARKING: All parking is $3.

CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4

The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf

 

Probables (Rome / Hickory):

Saturday: RHP Odalvi Javier vs. RHP Jean Casanova

Sunday: RHP Drew Harrington vs. RHP Reid Anderson

Monday: RHP Huascar Ynoa vs. RHP Tyler Phillips

Tuesday: RHP Alan Rangel vs. RHP Tyree Thompson

 

Recent Series History:

Rome swept a three-game series at L.P. Frans Stadium in the only games played between the two teams in 2017. Since 2009 – the start of the Crawdads/ Rangers affiliation – Hickory is 30-26 overall, but the Braves own the advantage 18-16 at L.P. Frans.

 

About the Crawdads:

Hickory took the first two games of the homestand vs. Columbia (S.C.) before dropping the finale of the series on Friday… Overall, the pitching continues to take a beating in May. The team has allowed seven or more runs in five of the nine games played this month. Collectively, Hickory is second in the SAL in walks allowed and are next to last in WHIP (1.46)… Conversely, the sticks have turned it around this month. After a .242 team batting avg. in April, it is at .272 in May.

 

Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):

CF Bubba Thompson (No. 6) 2017 stats at AZL Rangers: 30 games, .257/.317/.434, 7 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 5 SB, 5 CS. Last series vs. Columbia: 4-for-9, 2B, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL. Joined the team on Wednesday.

RHP AJ Alexy (No. 17): 2018 stats: 6 games (5 starts), 24 IP, 23 H, 19 R (18 ER), 2 HR, 4 HB, 18 BB, 32 K, 6.75 ERA, .256 OBA, 1.71 WHIP. Last start 5/11 vs. Columbia: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 HB, 7 K. Joined the Crawdads after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 2nd walks allowed, T-4th hit batters.

RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 18): 2018 stats: .224/.288/.346, 3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 9 BB, 20 K. Last series vs. Columbia: 3-for-10, 2B, 3 BB, 2 K. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.

RHP Alex Speas (No. 23): 2018 stats: 11 games, 3 saves, 16 IP, 12 H, 8 R (6 ER), 1 HR, 16 BB, 28 K, 3.38 ERA, .200 OBA 1.75 WHIP. Last game 5/10 vs. Columbia: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K. Second-round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of McEachern HS (Powder Springs, GA). SAL Top-10 Rankings: 3rd Ks-per-9 innings among relievers (15.75), T-5th walks.

C-1B Sam Huff (No. 26): 2018 stats: .218/.277/.414, 5 2B, 4 HR, 5 BB, 31 K. Last series vs. Columbia: 2-for-8, 2 HR, 3 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.).

 

Others to watch – Hickory:

RHP Jean Casanova: 2018 stats: 6 games (3 starts), 17.2 IP, 17 H, 9 R (6 ER), 4 HR, 1 HB, 8 BB, 11 K, 3.06 ERA, .243 OBA, 1.42 WHIP. Last start 4/28 vs. Delmarva (Md.): 5 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K. Thirty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Waukegan (Ill.) HS. Born in the Dominican Republic.

RHP Reid Anderson: 2018 stats: 6 games (5 starts), 28.2 IP, 24 H, 10 R (9 ER), 2 HB, 8 BB, 28 K, 2.82 ERA, .229 OBA, 1.12 WHIP. Last start 5/7 at West Virginia: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 HB, 2 BB, 7 K. Seventeenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Millersville (Pa.) Univ. Attended New Egypt (N.J.) HS.

RHP Tyler Phillips: 2018 stats: 6 games (6 starts), 32 IP, 34 H, 15 R (14 ER), 2 HR, 1 HB, 4 BB, 34 K, 3.94 ERA, .266 OBA, 1.19 WHIP. Last start 5/7 at West Virginia: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 HB, 1 BB, 6 K. Sixteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Bishop Eustace HS, Pennsauken, N.J.

RHP Tyree Thompson: 2018 stats: 6 games (5 starts) 25.1 IP, 30 H, 22 R (19 ER), 4 HR, 2 HB, 7 BB, 10 K, 6.75 ERA, .294 OBA, 1.46 WHIP. Last start vs. Columbia 5/9: 4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 1 K. Twenty-sixth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-9th hits allowed.

1B Tyreque Reed: 2017 stats at AZL Rangers: 35 games, .350/.455/.617, 13 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 22 BB, 26 K. Last series vs. Columbia: 4-for-9, HR, BB, 3 K. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba Community College in Mississippi. Attended Houlka (MS) HS. Named to Arizona Summer League All-star team in 2017.

LF Austin O’Banion: 2018 stats at AA Frisco: 4 games, .188/.235/.188, 1 BB, 7 K. Last series vs. Columbia: 5-for-11, 3B, BB, 4 K, 1 SB. Thirty-seventh round pick by the Rangers in 2016 out of Cal State-Fullerton.

 

About the Braves:

Managed by Rocket Wheeler, in his 26th season overall as a minor league manager, the 16th in the Braves organization. Wheeler (240-209 with Rome) returned to Rome this season. He last managed the R-Braves from 2003 to 2005 and won the SAL title with the team his first season… Rome comes to Hickory after winning 3 of 4 at Augusta to gain as a share of first in the SAL Southern Division… In the middle of the pack statistically, the pitching staff has allowed three or fewer runs in five of the last nine games.

Prospects to watch- Rome (rankings are by MLB.com):

C William Contreras (No. 17): 2018 stats: .246/.370/.361, 1 2B, 2 HR, 11 R, 4 RBI, 9 BB, 14 K. Last series at Augusta: 3-for-13, 2 BB, 3 K. Signed as an international free with the Braves in 2015. Native of Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Appalachian League all-star in 2017 at Danville (Va.). Brother of C Wilson Contreras of the Cubs. Joined the Braves on April 24.

CF Drew Waters (No. 18): 2018 stats: .225/.286/.408, 6 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 R, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SB. Last series at Augusta: 2-for-12, 2 2B, 6 K. Returned from DL on 5/9 after over two weeks out with an injury. Second-round pick of the Braves in 2017 out of Etowah HS in Woodstock, Ga.

2B Derian Cruz (No. 19): 2018 stats: .227/.270/.361, 4 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 15 R, 10 RBI, 6 BB, 44 K. Last series at Augusta: 4-for-13, 2 2B, 4 K. Signed as an international free with the Braves in 2015. Native of Puerto Plata, D.R. SAL Top-10 rankings: T-2nd strikeouts, -7th triples.

RF Isranel Wilson (No. 21):  2018 stats: .184/.283/.316, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 20 R, 10 RBi, 13 BB, 38 K, 8 SB, 3 CS. Last series at Augusta: 3-for-10, 2 2B, 3B, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB. Signed as an international free with the Braves in 2014. Native of St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. Gulf Coast League All-star in 2015. SAL Top-10 rankings: T-6th steals.

RHP Freddy Tarnok (No. 24): 2018 stats: 8 games, 15 IP, 9 H, 7 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 10 BB, 22 K, 0.60 ERA, .167 OBA, 1.27 WHIP. Last Game 5/7 vs. Asheville: 2 IP, 1 BB, 4 K. Third-round pick of the Braves in 2017 out of Riverview (FL) HS.

C-3B Drew Lugbauer (No. 28): 2018 stats: .217/.300/.358, 3 2B, 4 HR, 12 R, 13 RBI, 12 BB, 44 K, 1 SB. Last series at Augusta: 2-for-11, HR, 4 RBI, 4 K. Eleventh-round pick of the Braves in 2017 out of the Univ. of Michigan. Native of Pleasant Valley, NY, attended Arlington HS in Poughkeesie. SAL Top-10 rankings: T-2nd strikeouts.

RHP Huascar Ynoa (No. 30): 2018 stats: 6 games (6 starts), 21.2 IP, 21 H, 18 R, 16 ER, 3 HR, 2 HB, 16 BB, 26 K, 6.65 ERA, .253 OBA, 1.71 WHIP. Last start 5/9 at Augusta: 5 IP, 3H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 HR, 6 K. Obtained by the Braves in a trade with the Twins for RHP Jaime Garcia last July. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-5th walks.

 

Others to watch-Braves

LHP Hayden Deal: 2018 stats: 6 games, 11.1 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 2 HB, 2 BB, 18 K, 1.59 ERA, .227 OBA, 1.06 WHIP. Last game 5/9 at Augusta: 2 IP, 3 H, 6 K. Signed with the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in 2017 out of Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC). Played at Bandys HS in Catawba.

RHP Odalvi Javier: 2018 stats: 6 games (5 starts), 29 IP, 19 H, 14 R, 13 ER, 2 HR, 6 HB, 12 BB, 30 K, 4.03 ERA, 1.90 OBA, 1.07 WHIP. Last start vs. 5/7 Asheville: 6 IP, 1 H, 2 HB, 2 BB, 8 K. Signed as an international free with the Braves in 2014. Native of Puerto Plata, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st hit batters.

RHP Drew Harrington: 2018 stats: 6 games (1 start), 15.1 IP, 20 H, 13 R (9 ER), 2 HR, 3 HB, 4 BB, 10 K, 5.28 ERA, .323 OBA, 1.57 WHIP. Last start 5/9 at Augusta: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 HB, 1 BB, 2 K. Third-round pick of the Braves in 2016 out of the Univ. of Louisville. Attended Central Hardin HS, Cecilia, KY. Named to Florida State League All-Star Game in 2017.

RHP Alan Rangel: 2018 stats: 7 games (5 starts), 24 IP, 23 H, 16 R, 2 HR, 6 BB, 25 K, 6.00 ERA, .245 OBA, 1.21 WHIP. Last start 5/10 at Augusta: 4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Signed as an international free with the Braves in 2014. Native of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

RHP Brandon White: 2018 stats: 12 games, 5 saves, 17 IP, 10 H, 4 R (3 ER), 1 HB, 2 BB, 17 K, 1.59 ERA, .159 OBA, 0.71 WHIP. Last outing 5/11 at Augusta: 2 IP, 1 H, 1BB, 4 K. Twelfth-round pick of the Braves in 2016 out of Lander Univ (Greenwood, SC). Attended Chapin (SC) High. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-3rd saves, T-4th games pitched.

SS Riley Delgado: 2018 stats: .313/.355/.426, 10 2B, 1 HR, 12 R, 23 RBI, 4 BB, 12 K. Last series at Augusta: 2-for-11, 2B, RBI, 2 K. Ninth-round pick of the Braves in 2017 out of Middle Tennessee St. Also played at Columbia State CC (Tenn.) Played at Palmetto HS, Miami, FL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-1st doubles, 5th hits, 6th RBI, 9th batting avg.

Scoreless third changes Crawdads fortunes: Columbia wins 8-3

The Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies rallied back from an early deficit and salvaged the final game of a three-game series with an 8-3 win Friday night over the Hickory Crawdads at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The Fireflies (18-16) snapped a three-game losing streak and now return home to face Delmarva (Md.) in a four-game series. Meanwhile, the Crawdads (11-20) host Rome (Ga.) for four games starting Saturday night.

The Crawdads put up single runs in the first and second to build a 2-0 lead. Tyreque Reed singled in Miguel Aparicio and Sam Huff popped his second home run in as many games.

However, Columbia put together four straight hits to start the fourth. Scott Manea’s infield hit broke up a fledgling no-hit bid by A.J. Alexy. Gio Alfonzo followed that with a single and both runners scored on Hansel Moreno’s triple into the corner. Raphael Gladu singled in Moreno.

Matt Winaker blasted his second home run of the season in the first before Austin O’Banion got the run back by tripling in Reed to make it 4-3 Columbia.

Hickory missed a chance at a double play and that contributed to a two-run seventh. Quinn Brodey singled and then Jeremy Vasquez hit a grounder to Huff at first. Huff quickly fed a throw to Cristian Inoa who relayed the throw to the pitcher Joe Kuzia covering at first. Kuzia caught the ball but he was unable to find the bag behind him with his foot. Winaker walked before Rigoberto Terrazas and Manea each singled with Manea’s hit scoring Vasquez. A wild pitch scored Winaker and the Fireflies led 6-3.

Columbia added the final two runs on Brodey’s run-scoring double and Vasquez’s single.

 

The game’s turning point:

I didn’t get to see the dominant performance of Alexy at West Virginia last Friday, but if it was anything like the first inning on Friday, it must have been special. Alexy overmatched the Fireflies in the first, needing 11 pitches to get through the inning. The big right-hander threw all fastballs in the 93-95 mph range before he capped the first with a high-heat 96 that Brodey couldn’t catch up to.

The second inning gave clues as to the direction the remainder of Alexy’s start would go. A first-pitch curveball missed and then another one hit Vasquez. The fastball settled into the 92-93 range and began to miss spots. Winaker flew out to deep center and Terrazas drove a pitch to deep left. Both were outs, but both were squared up well. Manea was hit by a curveball – the umpire ruled he didn’t attempt to get out of the way – and then was walked on four straight. Alexy rebounded to paint the corner with a fastball to fan Alfonzo.

Though the Fireflies didn’t score, the third inning had much to do to foul up Alexy’s night. With one out, Gladu and Blake Tiberi both walked, as Alexy started to bring in the changeup for the second time through the order. Brodey joined them after he was hit by a pitch. Alexy completed the 28-pitch inning by striking out Vasquez and then Brodey. The Brodey strikeout seemed to charge the Crawdads battery as Yohel Pozo gave an emphatic fist pump when he left his crouch and ran to the dugout, while Alexy strutted resolutely from the mound.

Up to that point, the Crawdads hitters had the chance to feast on the offerings of Joe Cavallaro. Using a three-quarter delivery that occasionally dropped lower, the right-hander had trouble getting his slider to bite and the flat, middle-in changeups he served to Reed and Huff were punished accordingly. Combine that with an 87-88 fastball that Cavallaro had trouble spotting. With the Crawdads sending up hot hitters in the bottom of the third, the game seemed ready for the taking facing an ineffective pitcher that had thrown 41 pitches already. A long inning like the previous two would give Alexy a chance to regroup and give him a bigger cushion with which to work.

Reed grounded to short on three pitches. O’Banion struck out on four. Pozo lined to right on the first. Eight pitches total and a wearied Alexy was back to the mound.

The fourth started well as Alexy fanned Terrazas. However, an 0-2 breaking ball was beaten into the ground. Third baseman Ryan Dorow valiantly tried to make the run-and-grab throw to first but bounced it on what was ruled Columbia’s first hit of the game. The small leak in the dam became a steady flow as Alfonzo, Moreno and Gladu each squared up Alexy’s pitches that turned into three runs.

The Fireflies and Crawdads traded runs, but Columbia never trailed again and put the game on ice with the runs in the seventh and eighth.