Results tagged ‘ Zach Duke ’

Former Crawdads Scattered throughout MLB Opening Day Rosters

As the 2017 season begins, 29 former Hickory Crawdads will dot major league rosters. That is up from 25 to start the 2016 campaign.

Ten of those are on the Crawdads parent club, the Texas Rangers. Among American League clubs, only Toronto has two former Hickory players. Thirteen former Crawdads are on National League teams, including three on the Pittsburgh Pirates, left over from the days of their affiliation with Hickory. The Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres each have two.

Three players on MLB rosters will start the year on the disabled list: Hanser Alberto (Texas), Robbie Erlin (San Diego) and Zach Duke (St. Louis).

Here is a synopsis of each player in the majors:

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

Hanser Alberto (’12): The infielder will begin the season on the disabled. He has played the last two seasons with Texas, posting a .194/ .204 /.226 slash over 76 combined games.

Hanser Alberto fielding

Hanser Alberto, shown in a 2012 game at Kannapolis, went on to win a minor league “Gold Glove” award in 2014. (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Jose Bautista (’02): The right-handed hitter will be in his 14th major league season, the ninth with the Toronto Blue Jays. Battling injuries in 2016, Bautista hit 22 homers in 116 and posted a .234/.366/.452 slash. He signed a one-year contract with Toronto during the off-season to remain with the club.

Alex Claudio (’13): The soft-tossing, lefty reliever will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. In 39 games in 2016, he put up a 2.79 ERA over 51.2 innings with 34 Ks and 10 walks.

Claudio, Alexander

Alex Claudio (’13) now a middle reliever for the Texas Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Rajai Davis (’02-’03): The speedy outfielder will be in his 12th major league season, his first with the Oakland A’s after signing a free agent contract in the off-season. The right-handed hitter posted a .249/.306/.388 slash with Cleveland in 2016 and led the American League with 43 stolen bases. He is expected to start in centerfield for the Athletics, with whom he played for from 2008-2010.

Joey Gallo (’13): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Texas Rangers. He has played in 53 games the previous two years, putting up a .173/ .281/.368 slash. Gallo will start at third in place of the injured Adrian Beltre.

Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo will be the opening-day third baseman for Texas (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Leury Garcia (’09-’10): The switch-hitter will be in his fifth major league season, most of those with the Chicago Cubs. Out of minor-league options, Garcia was kept on the big league club and will fill a utility role. He spent much of last year at AAA Charlotte.

Hickory Crawdads - Leury Garcia

Leury Garcia is expected to come off the bench for the White Sox (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Jose Leclerc (’13): The right-handed reliever will be on his first opening-day roster after he made 12 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers in his debut season last year. He put up a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings with 15 Ks and 13 BBs. He split last year at AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock.

Jose Leclerc action

Jose Leclerc is on his first major league, opening-day roster spot with the Rangers.

 

Nomar Mazara (’13-’14): The left-handed hitting outfielder will be in his second major league season with the Texas Rangers after playing in 145 games during his debut season. He posted a .266/.320/.419 slash with 20 homers and 64 RBI. Mazara will start the season in right.

Nomar Mazara

Nomar Mazara will start in RF for the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Rougned Odor (’12): The left-handed second baseman will be in his fourth season with the Texas Rangers and recently signed a six-year extension with the club. Last year, Odor hit 33 homers and collected 88 RBI in 150 games. His posted a .271/.296 /.502 slash.

Rougned Odor2

Rougned Odor recently signed a six-year extension with the Rangers (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Steve Pearce (’07): The right-handed hitter will be in his 11th major league season, the first with the Toronto Blue Jays after signing a two-year deal during the off-season. Pearce split last year between Tampa Bay and Baltimore, posting a .288/.374/.492 slash over 110 games. He his expected to start in left.

Steve Pearce

Steve Pearce signed with the Blue Jays during the offseason (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Martin Perez (’09): The left-handed pitcher will be in his sixth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Perez went 10-11 with a 4.39 ERA over 33 starts in 2016. He is expected to be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers.

Perez 2

Martin Perez will be the No. 3 starter for the Rangers this season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Jurickson Profar (’12, ’15): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers, but is on his first opening-day roster. Profar had a .239/.321/.338 slash over 90 games in 2016. He is expected to play a utility role for the Rangers this year.

TRACY PROFFITT | URASTAR IMAGES - Jurickson Profar (10) - Hickory Crawdads

Jurickson Profar looks to put his potential to use with the Rangers this season. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Drew Robinson (’12): The left-handed hitter will make his major league debut with the Texas Rangers this season after spending last year at AAA Round Rock. Robinson will play a utility role with Texas.

Drew Robinson at 3B

3B Drew Robinson will make his MLB debut for the Rangers this season. (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Robbie Ross (’10): The left-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the third with the Boston Red Sox. Ross posted a 3.25 ERA in 2016 and fanned 56 over 55.1 innings.

Hickory Crawdads - Robbie Ross

Robbie Ross looks to provide solid middle relief for Boston this year (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Ryan Rua (’13): The right-handed hitter will be in his fourth major league season with the Texas Rangers. Rua posted a .258//331/.400 slash over 99 games last year. He is expected to split time in left and at first.

Ryan Rua

Ryan Rua with split time in LF for Texas this season (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Chris Young (’01-’02): The right-handed pitcher will be in his 13th major league season, the third with the Kansas City Royals. Young went 3-9 in 34 games (13 starts) in 2016 with a 6.19 ERA. He lost out in a battle for the No. 5 spot in the rotation and will be a long-man out of the bullpen.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

 Zach Duke (’03): The left-handed reliever will miss the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He is currently with the St. Louis Cardinals after the team acquired him from the Chicago White Sox in a 2016 trade.

Carl Edwards, Jr. (’13): The right-handed reliever will be in his third major league season with the Chicago Cubs. This will be his first opening-day in the majors. In 36 games last year, Edwards posted a 3.75 ERA with 52 Ks and 14 BBs over 36 innings. The National League hit just .123 against Edwards.

CJ Edwards

Carl Edwards, Jr. looks to a bigger role in the Chicago Cubs bullpen in 2017 (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Jerad Eickhoff (’12): The right-handed starting pitcher will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he completed his first full year with the club in 2016. He went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA over 33 starts, striking out 167 and walking 42 over 197.1 innings. Eickhoff will be the No. 2 starter for the Phillies.

Jerad Eickhoff

Jerad Eickhoff looks to take another step forward in the Phillies rotation this season (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Robbie Erlin (’10): The left-handed pitcher will begin this season on the disabled list with the San Diego Padres while he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in 2016. He hopes to return to the club this midseason for what would be his fifth major league season.

Justin Grimm (’11): The right-handed reliever will be in his sixth major league season, the fifth with the Chicago Cubs. In 68 appearances in 2016, Grimm went 2-1 with a 4.10 ERA and fanned 65 to just 23 walks over 52.2 IP. Grimm will pitch in middle relief.

Grimm_Justin.jpg

Justin Grimm continues to pitch in middle relief this season for the Cubs (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Odubel Herrera (’11): The left-handed hitter will be in his third major league season with the Philadelphia Phillies after he took a big step as one of the National League’s best young centerfielders in 2016. During a season in which he represented the Phillies on the National League All-Star Team, Herrera posted a .286/.361/.420 slash and stole 25 bases in 159 games.

TRACY PROFFITT | SCOUT.COM -(2) Odubel Herrera - Hickory Crawdads

Odubel Herrera hopes to build on his 2016 all-star season (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Jared Hughes (’07-’08): The right-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season and recently just signed with the Milwaukee Brewers after the Pittsburgh Pirates released him last week. Hughes went 1-1 with a 3.03 ERA over 67 appearances in 2016. He will pitch in middle relief for the Brewers.

Hickory Crawdads - Jared Hughes

Jared Hughes signed with Milwaukee to start the 2017 season (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Andrew McCutchen (’06): The right-handed hitter will be in his ninth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen struggled over 153 games last year and posted his career-worst slash (.256/.336/.430). He hit 24 homers, but stole just six bases in 13 attempts. After manning center his entire career, McCutchen will shift to right this year.

Andrew McCutchen

Andrew McCutchen looks to rebound with the Pirates after a tough 2016 season  (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Jordy Mercer (’08): The right-handed shortstop will be in his sixth major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in 149 games last year and posted a .256/.313/.377 with 11 homers and 59 RBI.

Mercer action

Jordy Mercer returns to the Pirates lineup at shortstop (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Neil Ramirez (’09-’10): The right-handed pitcher will be in his fourth major league season, the first with the San Francisco Giants. Ramirez signed a minor-league contract with the club during the offseason and made the club out of spring training. Ramirez made 18 relief appearances with three clubs (Cubs, Milwaukee, Minnesota) and struggled to a 6.00 ERA over 24 innings. He did strike out 24, but walked 18 and had a 1.67 WHIP. He will come out of the bullpen for the Giants.

Ramirez

Neil Ramirez joins the San Francisco Giants after a strong spring. (John M. Setzler, Jr.)

 

Luis Sardinas (’12): The switch-hitter will be in his fourth major league season, the second with the San Diego Padres after the team acquired him from Seattle during the 2016 season. Sardinas played in 66 combined games last year with a .244/.295/.356 slash. He will play some shortstop, but will start the season in a utility role.

Luis Sardinas bunt

Luis Sardinas will be in a utility role with San Diego (Tracy Proffitt)

 

Neil Walker (’05): The switch-hitting second baseman will be in his ninth major league season, the second with the New York Mets after resigning in the offseason. Despite battling a back injury, Walker still posted a .282/.347/.476 over 113 games with the Mets and blasted 23 homers.

Walker web

Neil Walker returns to the Mets for a second season as the starting 2B.

Tony Watson (’07): The left-handed reliever will be in his seventh major league season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. After the midseason trade of Mark Melancon, Watson took on the job of the Pirates closer in 2016 and will serve in the same role this year. He went 2-5 with 15 saves last year over 70 games with a 3.06 ERA. Watson struck out 58 and walked 20 over 67.2 IP.

 

One-hit Wonder: Pedro Payano hums through Grasshoppers lineup in LP Frans gem

On April 27, 2016, an announced crowd of 927 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium in Hickory, N.C. saw Hickory Crawdads pitcher Pedro Payano throw one of the most dominant games in the club’s history. Had Payano given up one fewer hit, likely 9,270 fans would claim to have been there, including myself.

(A note here: Anytime a cool event happens at L.P. Frans Stadium, I am probably not working the game. This time, I was celebrating my 53rd birthday at dinner with the wife.)

Payano threw a one-hitter against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, needing just 99 pitches (70 strikes) to claim the rare complete-game shutout for a class Low-A pitcher.

The outing started out as anything but dominant, as Anfernee Seymour of Greensboro battled Payano through a seven-pitch at bat before sending a full-count pitch lazily to center. Seymour’s at-bat turned out to be the longest plate appearance by pitches in the game.

After Payano struck out Stone Garrett to start the second inning, Rangers pitching rover Jeff Andrews made a comment to the field staff that Payano was going to throw a no-hitter.

“It was obvious when we got into the second inning and looking at some of the swings,” said Crawdads manager Steve Mintz. “And how he was able to command his fastball, and the changeup and the breaking ball just got better as he got into the middle innings… it was fun to watch.”

During his previous start a week earlier against Greenville, Payano struggled to get through five innings, needing 80 pitches (47 strikes) to get there. Although he gave up two unearned runs, he had difficulty finding a consistent arm slot and thereby had difficulty commanding his pitches, especially the fastball.

“Better fastball command,” said Payano, when asked about the difference in the two starts. “I was throwing my fastball away and in really good, and that’s why we had success. I was throwing a lot of fastballs for strikes.”

First-pitch strikes were definitely huge for Payano, as he racked up 24 of them to the 28 batters he faced.

Mintz agreed that the fastball command had a lot to do with his success, as it helped his secondary stuff become more effective.

Said Mintz, “He’s got a really, really good changeup and his breaking ball is decent. But when he pitches off his fastball, using those two, that’s when he’s most effective. Last night being able to throw the fastball inside on both sides of the plate really opened up other avenues for his pitches. That was the biggest thing for us, as we sat and watched him, was his fastball command was keen. The other stuff complimented it.”

Chuck Moorman, his catcher on Wednesday, noted that Payano had a much better rhythm during the Greensboro game than in his previous start.

“He had great tempo tonight,” Moorman said. “He was able to get ahead. We mixed in some really good sequences.”

Those sequences paid off in the manner of getting quick outs for much of the night. After walking Isael Soto with one out in the second – the only other seven-pitch at-bat of the game – Payano threw five pitches or less to 22 straight hitters, hitting the five-pitch mark just three times.After Payano needed 42 pitches to get through the first three innings, he threw four straight innings of ten or fewer pitches (44 total), three of those single digits.

“We were also on the same page,” said Moorman. It’s fun to catch a guy that can command all four pitches in any count at any time.”

Payano 1-hitter Lin

Pedro Payano delivers a pitch during his shutout of Greensboro last Wednesday (Photo by Crystal Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

As the innings went on and the idea of a potential no-hitter became real, Payano said he wasn’t so much nervous about pitching in the moment.  “I was good, I was good,” Payano said through a laugh when asked about his reaction when he realized in middle innings he had a no-hitter in tact. His main focus then became to keep the situation out of his mind, as fellow teammates began to ignore him.

Payano said, “I stayed by myself and said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to think about this. Let me keep going.’”

Going and going he did. Having only 77 pitches through seven innings, there was no question in Mintz’s mind that Payano was going to get a shot at achieving the no-hitter.

“We have pitch counts and all that type stuff, but when you get into special moments like that – obviously, we’re not going to put the kid in jeopardy of hurting him – but if we can push him 10, 12, 15 pitches in order to be able to accomplish something like that, we’ll give him an opportunity… He looked strong. He stayed strong, even in the seventh and eighth innings, he was still throwing 92-93 mph. He looked good and he didn’t labor at all the whole night.”

The no-hitter was broken up by Soto to open up the eighth, as he sent a broken-bat flare over the head of shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri and into left.

“I’m good with that,” said Payano. “It was a blooper past the shortstop. It was a good pitch.”

It was assumed by several observers that with the no-hitter gone Payano’s night would conclude at the point. But after a mound visit by pitching coach Jose Jaimes, Payano stayed in and got Angel Reyes to hit the first pitch into a double play.

Still only at 86 pitches through eight – he had already thrown 91 during his first start of the season – Payano was sent back out for the ninth to try for the shutout.

“I felt good,” said Payano, when asked about getting a chance to get the complete game. “I felt normal. When I got done with the eighth inning, I said to myself, ‘I’m probably going to be done with this.’ But then Jaimes told me, ‘Hey, you’ve got to finish this. You’re going to go out again and finish this.’”

Payano needed just 13 pitches to strike out two of the three batters in the ninth, including Seymour for the final out and the 11th of the game.

Payano celebration by Crystal Lin

Pedro Payano (#40) celebrates with his teammates at the end of his one-hit shutout on Wednesday, April 27 (photo by Crystal Lin/ Hickory Crawdads)

Crawdads No-hitter History:

The team has thrown four no-hitters in their history, but just one of those was a complete game.

Wayne Lindemann still claims the distinction of having the only complete-game, nine-inning “no-no”, which came against the Albany (Ga.) Polecats in Albany on May 15, 1993.

The next no-hitter, and the first one of two that came at home, was on July 26, 2004 against the Charleston (WV) Alley Cats. Brian Holliday pitched the first 7.1 innings and surrendered two walks and a hit batsman, fanning 11. Chris Demaria retired all five batters he faced to complete the no-hitter.

Martin Perez made a strong impression to Crawdads fans and the baseball world in his first start for the team in 2009. In the first game of a doubleheader on April 11, 2009, Perez, who had turned 18 the week prior, tossed four no-hit innings in a home outing against the Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods. The future Texas Rangers big leaguer struck out six and walked three before giving way to Tyler Tufts for two perfect innings and Fabio Castillo for the seventh to close out the game.

The last no-hitter for Hickory came on May 19, 2013 in the first game of a doubleheader. It also began with a pitcher making his first Low-A start, as Luis Parra shutout Delmarva (Md.) over the first three innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Keone Kela threw a scoreless fourth and struck out one. Ryan Bores walked one and struck out one over the fifth and sixth innings before Alex Claudio pitched a perfect seventh with one strikeout to close it out.

Recent complete game shutouts:

2000: Future major league pitcher Dave Williams and Jose Luis Lopez each threw a shutout that season.

2001: Brady Borner tossed one for the Crawdads

2003: Zach Duke had a one-hitter in a seven-inning whitewash during game one of a doubleheader at Rome, Ga. The lefty hit one batter and struck out four Braves in the June 12, 2004 contest.

2006: Luis Valdez, later to be known in the big leagues as Jairo Asencio, threw a five-hit, nine-inning shutout against Delmarva on July 17. The right hander allowed one walk and struck out seven in the game, which ended on Zach Dillon’s game-ending double play. While still atop the mound, Asencio pounded his glove and gave a point to the sky in celebration at the end of the one-hour, 56-minute contest. Asencio’s outing was also the last home complete-game shutout until Payano’s feat. Overall, it was the last such feat under the Pirates affiliation.

2010: Right-hander Joe Wieland tossed a five-hitter at the Hagerstown Suns on June 25th of that season, ending the game with one walk and five strikeouts. Wieland was perfect through four innings and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before Sandy Leon singled to right with two outs. It turned out to be his last start in a Crawdads uniform as Wieland was promoted to class High-A Bakersfield soon after. Wieland eventually got his no-hitter while pitching for AA Frisco against San Antonio. Similar to the events following his shutout with Hickory, Wieland was traded to the Padres in a July trade-deadline deal and finished that series with San Antonio.

Jake Brigham had the last nine-inning, complete game shutout prior to Payano’s gem on August 10 at Greensboro. The game started ominously for Brigham as Wes Long singled to left and Chase Austin reached on a bunt. Brigham got a break with Jeff Corsaletti lined into a double play. He then retired the next 25 batters he faced in the game and struck out 12.

2012: Lefty Victor Payano had the last shutout of any kind as he put up a rain-shortened whitewash at Savannah against the Sand Gnats. He allowed one hit, two walks and struck out three over five innings before inclement weather washed out the final four innings. Hickory scored an unearned run in the third against now major leaguer Michael Fulmer. The win was an important one for Hickory manager Bill Richardson, as it made him at the time the winningest manager in Crawdads history.