Yes, we finally have a victory in Cleveland, and I have the motivation to put together a brief weekly glance at some of our top minor leaguers, plus a few additional notes.
At 1-3, it wasn't the greatest of starts to the Clippers Cleveland affiliation. The biggest news is probably that Matt Laporta might be temporarily shelved after feeling some tightness following a swing. Prior to that swing, Laporta was off to a great start, with 2 doubles, a triple and a HR in his first three games. Michael Brantley has 7 hits in 15 ABs (one 1 K in 17 PAs). Luis Valbuena has been muy bueno in his opening week (.333/.412/.600). Apparently he doesn't embarass himself in the field either:
Despite the 12 runs scored by the Clippers, the penultimate moment of the game was a slick double play turned by Valbuena, Wilson Valdez and Aubrey in the 5th inning that killed the momentum Louisville was building in a quest to erase a Clippers lead for the 3rd time in 4 innings.
The catching tandem of Chris Gimenez and Wyatt Toregas hasn't been so good, as they are collectively still looking for their first hit.
On the pitching side, the bullpen, including John Meloan, Tony Sipp, and the recently promoted Vinnie Chulk have fared better than the starters (none of whom have allowed less than 4 ERs).
Akron garned the most success, with a 3-1 opening week.
The four opening starters; Hector Rondon, Frank Herrmann, Josh Tomlin and Steven Wright all had quality opening starts. Rondon is the headliner of course, and his 6 Ks and one BB in 5.2 IP didn't disappoint. Carlos Santana hit a 3-run HR in his opening AB. Sadly the team hasn't hit a HR since. Weglarz, Mills and Rivero are still waiting to take off.
Like Carlos Santana, Tim Fedroff started Kinston's season off with a HR. And like Akron, no one has hit a HR since. Kinston is 2-2 in the early going, the two victories coming on the back of great starts from Kelvin De La Cruz and 2008 draftee Zack Putnam. Kelvin struck out a career-high 10 in his 6 inning debut. Matthew Brown (1.155 OPS) and Matt McBride (4 2Bs, 1.188 OPS) have carried the offense. Lonnie Chisenhall (.594) and Cord Phelps (.448) haven't exploded out of the gate. International signee C.C. Lee is off to a good start in the bullpen (4IP,2H,0R,2BB,5K), as are Jonathan Holt and Josh Judy.
The Captains love playing baseball. And as such, weren't content to play just 9 innings in any of their opening 3 games. Unfortunately they dropped 2 of the 3 extra inning games, and then dropped a more normal 9 inning affair yesterday. This shouldn't obscure some great starting pitching, however. Joey Mahalic, TJ House and Dominican academy graduate Alexander Perez - all legititimately intriguing guys - had great debuts. In Mahalic's outing, he got all of his outs via the K (5) or groundball (12) up until the last batter of the 6th, who recorded the first flyball out of the game. 2008 draftees Jeremie Tice (1.246) , Adam Abraham (1.204) and 21-year old Venezuelan infielder Karexon Sanchez (1.035, 2 HRs) have all gotten off to good starts at the plate.