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Logan Allen, Gavin Williams, Tommy Mace dominate in 2023 debuts

Cleveland Guardians minor league recap for Friday, April 7, 2023

Columbus Clippers 4, Charlotte Knights 3 (F/10)

Box Score · Clippers improve to 1-4

The Columbus Clippers finally got their first win out of the way, and all it took was a dominant starting pitching performance from Logan Allen ... and extra innings.

After struggling at the Triple-A level upon promotion last season, Allen showed zero signs of issues in his 2023 debut, absolutely mowing down hitters. His final line was 4.2 innings pitched on 71 pitches with zero runs allowed on one hit with one walk and five strikeouts.

Also of note, Allen used his slider 55% of the time, which is not even his best-graded pitch (his changeup is elite) so that’s something to keep an eye on moving forward too.

Offensively, Chris Roller had a big day, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk from the nine-spot in the order. Zack Collins continues to hit well, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. He has a team-high 1.237 OPS to start the season.

Another positive sign was Jhonkensy Noel, who came in late in the game as a pinch hitter and collected not only his first hit of the season after starting 0-for-18 but his second as well.

Tyler Freeman reached base twice, going 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. Brayan Rocchio went 1-4 with a walk and a stolen base and Bo Naylor walked twice.

Akron RubberDucks 0, Erie Seawolves 5

Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 0-1

Akron’s offense and bullpen failed to show up to start the 2023 season, but that didn’t stop starting pitcher Gavin Williams from doing his thing.

Williams was extremely impressive, opening the game with four no-hit innings before he was pulled after allowing a pair of hits in the fifth inning. His final line was 4.1 innings pitched, two hits, no runs, one walk, and nine strikeouts.

Offensively, no one on Akron had an extra-base hit, although Angel Martinez did go 2-for-4. Petey Halpin went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base, Joe Naranjo and Gabriel Rodriguez both walked twice, with Rodriguez stealing a base, and Connor Kokx walked and was hit by a pitch.

Trey Benton was the only bullpen arm that didn’t give up a run for Akron, striking out two in a scoreless inning of work.

Lake County Captains 8, Dayton Dragons 3

Box Score · Captains rise to 1-0

Ok, it’s not a big surprise that Logan Allen and Gavin Williams pitched well. They’re top prospects for a reason, but one of the biggest surprises on Thursday was the performance of Tommy Mace, a 2021 second-round pick who struggled in his pro debut last year and was repeating at High-A Lake County.

Mace had one of the best pitching performances of his young career, allowing one run in 4.0 innings on three hits while striking out eight and walking three. He still has some work to do, but it was a solid foundation for growth to begin his 2023 campaign.

Mace got some serious run support as well, with Jorge Burgos clearing the bases in the first inning with a grand slam. Burgos finished the game 2-for-5 with five runs batted in overall.

I nicknamed this Lake County lineup “Team BOB (base on balls)” in my season preview for the Captains and they lived up to the hype, walking nine times in their season opener.

Isaiah Greene led the way, going 0-for-2 with three walks. Joe Lampe reached base four times, going 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of walks and Juan Brito walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Micael Ramirez doubled and walked and Dayan Frias went 1-for-3 with a walk.