MMN Recap: Dunn Struggles, Columbia Moves to 8-4

By Dilip Sridhar

April 18, 2018 No comments

Justin Dunn Photo by Ed Delany)

Fresno (10-3) 11, Las Vegas (4-9) 4 Box Score

  • RHP AJ Griffin (0-2, 48.00 ERA): 0.2 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 3 BB
  • RHP Kevin McGowan (0-1, 3.86 ERA): 3.1 IP, 6 H, ER, 4 K
  • LHP Matt Purke (0-0, 9.45 ERA): 2 IP, 2 K
  • LHP Kyle Regnault (0-1, 9.82 ERA): 2 IP, 2 H, ER, 3 K, HR
  • RHP Colton Plaia: 1 IP, H, 2 R (0 ER), BB

Griffin had a pretty bad start for Vegas his last time when he gave up nine runs in 2.1 innings. This time might have been worse. Griffin was tagged for seven and was unable to escape the first. McGowan saved the Vegas bullpen and went 3.1 innings and essentially became the long man. The Vegas bullpen combined for 7.1 innings and gave up only one run, which is pretty impressive all things considered. Plaia, the catcher, gave up two unearned runs.

The 51s had 14 baserunners but could not capitalize on the chances. Dominic Smith reached base four times in this one though. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .222/.326/.333 with a .299 wOBA in the Majors. Perhaps it is time to re-consider the Gonzalez plan and free Dominic Smith.

Binghamton (4-5) 4, New Hampshire (7-3) 3 Box Score

Molina labored through four innings in this one. He was solid in his first inning, retiring both Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in their first at-bats. After the first, he had traffic on the bases every inning. All told, Molina faced 19 batters and allowed eight of them to reach base. It definitely has not been a good start for Molina, who has had a rocky start to his year after an up-and-down 2017. Molina had issues regaining his stuff from Tommy John Surgery last year, the concerns still likely exist.

With Gerson Bautista and Drew Smith no longer in Binghamton, Adonis Uceta and Austin McGeorge will have larger roles in the Ponies’ bullpen. With his outing yesterday, McGeorge has eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched this year. He was dominant in 2017 and looks very good to begin this year. Imagine a Paul Sewald type pitcher with McGeorge. Uceta went a couple innings in the game and now Uceta has 10 strikeouts out of 24 hitters faced.

Tyler Bashlor came in for the four-out save. He gave up a one-out double in the ninth inning with Bichette and Vlad Jr. coming up. Bashlor struck out Bichette and got Guerrero lined out to left field. Bashlor only struck out one guy in this outing and has just five this season with 18 batters faced. Although, he has only allowed two baserunners and only one walk. Knowing Bashlor, the strikeouts will come and they will come fast.

With a couple more hits, Alonso is now hitting .375/.459/.750. He is top-5 in the league for BA, OBP, and slugging. It will be tough to keep him in Binghamton if he keeps this up any longer. Jeff McNeil is finally healthy and he is finally hitting. McNeil blasted a couple of homers and now has three on the young season. McNeil only played 51 games between 2016-2017 but there is no denying his ability to hit. Tebow is now hitting .241/.241/.448 but now has 14 strikeouts in 29 plate appearances. It’s not great but it’s better than I thought he would do this far.

Florida (4-8) 3, St. Lucie (6-5) 1 Box Score

Dunn had his first hiccup of the season. After two really good starts to begin 2018 with no walks, he walked three while also facing 24 batters in the game. He also had 95 pitches just the 4.1 IP which is not very efficient. Hopefully it is just a hiccup because his first two starts were very encouraging.

Blackham is building off a dominant 2017 season and he has been good thus far in 2018. He has struck out nine of the 27 batters he has faced. He does have five walks among those 27 batters faced though. Blackham’s control in 2017 was better than in the past, so hopefully it corrects itself. Gibbons served as the mop-up man and saved the rest of the bullpen in this one.

The St. Lucie offense had 13 baserunners in this one but left 11 runners on base. Andres Gimenez has cooled off after a hot start to his Advanced-A career. He is hitting .241/.319/.390 and he 14 strikeouts in 44 plate appearances. Last season, Gimenez just struck 15.3% of the time but this year it has obviously grown.

Strom is slugging .720, which leads the FSL. Strom is .269/.352/.403 in 2017 which was an improvement from 2016. Hopefully he continues taking steps forward. Paez dominated the SAL league in 2017 but struggled in the FSL. This year, he has gotten off to a hot start. Paez is hitting .286/.394/.536 this year, not too far from his .290/.376/.509 slash in Columbia. Paez is one of my sleeper prospects who I think could take the next step this year.

Columbia (8-4) 7, Greenville (3-9) 5 Box Score

  • RHP Marcel Renteria (1-1, 5.59 ERA): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 7 K
  • RHP Nicolas Debora (1-0, 2.84 ERA): 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, 2 K
  • RHP Joshua Payne (2-0, 3.38 ERA): 1 IP, 2 H, R (0 ER), K
  • RHP Stephen Villines (1-1, 5.40 ERA): 1.1 IP, 3 K

Three of the four pitchers in this one were 2017 draftees. Renteria made his second start and had a similar start to his first one: had his strikeouts and had his baserunners, which is also similar to his 2017 season. In fact, Renteria had a 1.51 WHIP in college too. He has good stuff but lacks control of it, like many pitchers we have seen over the years.

The 6’6″ Payne has just one walk in 34 batters faced but has given up nine hits. It will be interesting to see how he does the rest of the year because his frame is quite projectable. The deceptive Villines has now had two perfect outings after a poor start to the year. Villines’ last two outings: 4.1 IP, 13 batters faced, eight strikeouts.

We were all told Blake Tiberi could hit come out of college. He’s finally healthy and he is hitting .381/.447/.524. Tiberi missed 2017 due to Tommy John Surgery and he is making up for lost time. Jeremy Vasquez is now hitting .278/.460/.444. The concern with him would whether or not he can hit for enough power to be a regular first baseman. He certainly gets on base enough to be a first baseman.

His fellow 2017 draftee, Quinn Brodey, is hitting .310/.408/.405 early in this season. He could move through the organization rather quickly.