The Louisville Bats lost last night, but it wasn’t due to anything that Felix Perez did on the night. The outfielder went 4-4 with a double. After going 0-7 with a walk on August 3rd, Perez has gone 5-8 since. His last ten games have been interesting though, as he went 7-13 in the first three games of the stretch. Then he went 1-22 over the next five games before getting things going again over the last two games. After his hot start to the season, hitting .302/.353/.522, he headed to the disabled list in the middle of June. Since returning he’s struggled, hitting .246/.273/.333 with just three walks and 27 strikeouts over 132 plate appearances. Hopefully last night was the turning point and he can get things moving in the right direction again.
In the same game Chad Rogers made his first appearance in nearly two months as he came off of the disabled list and fired a shutout inning for the Bats. He only needed 11 pitches to get through the frame.
Down in Pensacola, Daniel Corcino had his best start of the season, tossing 8.0 shutout innings with just one walk and he struck out six batters. It was his longest outing of the season and only the second time he has allowed no runs. He was keeping the Jackson hitters guessing all night long. He changed the eye level of the hitters well, working up in the zone well and going down in the zone often and getting a lot of soft contact. That is two straight strong starts for Corcino, as he allowed just one run in his previous start that went 6.0 innings. It’s a good start to August for the right hander.
The Marquez Smith show continued in Visalia last night. Smith homered and walked twice while scoring three runs and driving in another two runs. On the season he’s hitting .315/.423/.604 with 32 doubles, three triples and 23 homers between Bakersfield (97 games) and Pensacola (14 games). He is now sitting at 112 RBI on the season…. in 111 games.
Sean Buckley has been doing similar things since arriving in Bakersfield. Last night he doubled, homered, scored two runs and drove in three. It was the second day in a row he homered and drove in three runs. Over the last 10 games he has hit .351/.419/.676 with four walks, three doubles, three homers and 10 RBI. In the 43 games since being promoted from Dayton he has hit .331/.380/.572 with 10 doubles, 10 homers, 33 runs and 33 RBI.
Blaze second baseman Juan Perez added to the offensive output last night, adding three hits, including a double, RBI and two runs. Over his last six games, Perez is hitting .391/.417/.696 with five extra-base hits, four runs and four runs batted in.
In Billings last night KJ Franklin extended his hitting streak to 10 games, going 2-5 with a double. During that span he has hit .341/.356/.614 with seven extra-base hits, five runs, six runs batted in and four steals. It was a slow start to the season for Franklin, but over the last two and a half weeks he’s started putting things together at the plate, particularly in the power department.
Mustangs reliever Jose Williams tossed 3.2 shutout innings with two strikeouts. It was the second straight appearance of at least 3.0 innings for the right hander. He’s lowered his season ERA to 2.59 over 24.1 innings. What’s been interesting is that before his last two outings, Williams had just six strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched. He’s had five over the last 6.2 innings and hasn’t walked a batter.
Another game and another show put on at the plate for Gavin LaValley. The third baseman hit two doubles last night for the Arizona League Reds. Over his last 11 games he has hit .378/.489/.676 with seven walks, seven extra-base hits, six runs, nine runs batted in and a steal. He’s pushed his season line up to .318/.409/.515 and had one of the better debuts from the 2014 draft so far.
The Reds have a middle infielder hitting .340/.367/.479 in rookie ball and no one is really talking about him. That is probably partially my fault, though I’ve tried to mention him often in these Prospect Watch articles. I will try to write something more detailed on Hector Vargas when I get back to Cincinnati. Last night he had two more hits for the Arizona League Reds. He’s been good all season long, but he’s turned it up a notch over his last 12 games, hitting .386/.438/.523 with five extra-base hits, nine runs, four runs batted in and four walks to just three strikeouts.
After a rough start on August 1st, Junior Martinez returned with a 6.0 inning, one earned run effort to go along with a walk and seven strikeouts for the Reds. He’s posted a 3.72 ERA this season in 36.1 innings with eight walks and 40 strikeouts. He’s only allowed more than one run in an appearance twice on the season, with that last outing really keeping his ERA higher than the rest of his season suggests he’s been at preventing runs.