Last night in Daytona the Tortugas pitching dominated once again. Daytona’s 2.22 team ERA is the best in all of minor league baseball this season. It also leads the Low-A Southeast by a full run over the St. Lucie Mets (and Bradenton at 3.92 is the only other team in the league under 4.00). The team has 184 strikeouts in 129.2 innings pitched. To say that they are getting it done as a whole is an understatement and a half.
Among the pitchers getting things done is Stevie Branche. He entered the game last night having recorded 16 outs on the season (5.1 innings) and of those outs, 14 of them were via the strikeout. He let the defense get a little bit of work in Thursday night as he fanned just four hitters in 3.0 perfect innings for the Tortugas, giving him 18 strikeouts in 8.1 innings this season (39 batters faced).
The raw number of strikeouts is impressive. But the sword, as the kids call it these days when a batter just makes a terrible swing on a pitch they were entirely fooled on, Stevie Branche left one batter with last night was outstanding.
Video from Kyle Boddy
It wasn’t just the raw strikeout numbers, or even the very impressive sword above that had the fans and even coaches talking (ok, that also had them talking). It was a defensive play that he made on a comebacker.
Video from Forrest Herrmann
And hey, while we’re looking at Daytona Tortuga highlights, here’s video and the radio call from all three of their home runs hit last night by Tyler Callihan, Alex McGarry (see below for more on him), and Wilfred Astudillo.
Shoutout to @PhilTalksSports and our awesome production staff here in Daytona.
Here are the sights and sounds from @Tylercallihan1, @Alex_mcgarry30, and Wilfred ‘La Tortuguita’ Astudillo’s home run barrage in a @daytonatortugas win at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Thursday night! pic.twitter.com/yVPBQIvOLK
— Justin Rocke (@JustinRocke) May 21, 2021
There was movement on the farm this afternoon after the Reds made a bunch of moves at the highest level as they needed to fill three roster spots at the big league level.
Narciso Crook was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. The outfielder who spent most of his 2019 with Louisville is heading back after posting a .791 OPS with 13 RBI in 14 games for Chattanooga to start the season.
Brian Rey will be taking over that roster spot in Chattanooga. He is riding a 13-game hitting streak to begin the season and hitting .423 and slugging .904 with 12 extra-base hits, two walks, and just three strikeouts.
Dayton will fill Rey’s roster spot with another red hot bat. Alex McGarry is joining the Dragons after hitting .360/.469/.960 in seven games for Daytona that includes four home runs and six walks.
Daytona’s open roster spot is taken by Leo Seminati. He began the year with the Tortugas, but was hit in the head by a pitch and was placed on the injured list. Good to see Seminati back on the active roster and healthy again after taking a pitch to the helmet.