Stars of the Day:
AAA: Tyler Tufts, Michael Kirkman / Leonys Martin, MIke Bianucci, Tommy Mendonca, Joey Butler
AA: Justin Grimm / Engel Beltre
Hi-A: Ben Henry, Joe Van Meter / Josh Richmond, Tomas Telis
Lo-A: Randol Rojas / Jordan Akins, Chris Grayson, Jorge Alfaro
Joe Wieland is a Major League ballplayer. He'll start for the Padres on Saturday. Like Robbie Ross, Wieland was a Myrtle Beach Pelicans, three levels below the Majors, at this date in 2011.
AAA: Round Rock 8, at Omaha 9 (16)
Record: 2-4, -3.0
Mark Hamburger's first-start troubles were magnified, as he again had difficulty throwing strikes and didn't locate them when he did. The nadir was the first, when Hamburger walked the bases loaded and hit the next batter. All told, Hamburger allowed seven runs in three innings on six hits (including two homers) and two more walks.
Reliever Tyler Tufts threw 2.2 scoreless innings, and Michael Kirkman followed with a heartening 1.1 scoreless with two strikeouts. Kirkman looked much sharper than in his first two outings which resulted in five runs. Round Rock recovered from two three-run deficits and scored the go-ahead run in the 10th but couldn't make it stick. The Express have led in all four losses.
Leonys Martin (.429/.500/.607) was 3-7 with an intentional walk and a caught-stealing. 3B Tommy Mendonca had four hits including a double. 1B Mike Bianucci hit his fourth homer in six games and singled. RF Joey Butler doubled and drew three walks.
I reviewed the video of Tanner Scheppers' perfect inning from Monday. Simply put, he looked like the guy Texas envisioned on draft day. He commanded the fastball well, and both strikeouts were on curves.
Reliever Yoshinori Tateyama is rehabbing with the Express.
AA: Frisco 8, at Springfield 1
Record: 4-2, +1.0
CF Engel Beltre had the game of his career, hitting a grand slam, a two-homer homer and a single. In 169 AA games entering the season, Beltre had a total of two homers. After a promising full-season debut at low-A Clinton in 2007 (.283/.308/.403, 43 extra-base hits, 31 SB), Beltre's development has proceeded incrementally at best, and his results in Frisco have uniformly disappointed. It's premature to say he's fully revived his prospect status, but for the moment, he's reminded us he's still just 22 years old and worth remembering.
Beltre overshadowed another fine AA start from Justin Grimm, who worked 6.1 innings and allowed his first run of the season on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Ryan Rodebaugh (1.2 IP, 1 SO) and Johan Yan (1 IP) handled the rest. Mike Olt was 2-5.
High-A: at Myrtle Beach 4, Potomac 6
Record: 2-2, -0.5
Last summer, Dartmouth alum and 2011 8th-rounder Kyle Hendricks received a pleasantly surprising spot start in Frisco after tearing up the short-season Northwest League. His first start in Myrtle Beach diverted from the 2011 script, as Potomac touched him for five runs in 3.2 innings on five hits, three walks and two strikeouts. Four were unearned because of an Odubel Herrera error (his first of two and fourth in the young season). Indeed, nine of the ten runs allowed by Myrtle Beach this season are unearned. The Pelicans have allowed only 33 legitimate baserunners in 36 innings, but the defense has committed seven errors.
Herrera did provide three singles. RF Josh Richmond singled and hit his second homer, and catcher Tomas Telis tripled and walked. In his first high-A appearance, the mustachioed Ben Henry struck out two in a perfect 7th. Joe Van Meter fanned three across a scoreless 8th and 9th.
Low-A: Hickory 3, at Greenville 4
Record: 4-2, -1.0
Hickory fared better against another rehabbing big-leaguer but couldn't solve Mission, TX, native Miguel Pena. In the 1st,Rich Hill surrendered a run on a groundout by Hanser Alberto following singles by Luis Sardinas and Chris Grayson. Sardinas would single again later, and Grayson added two. DH Jorge Alfaro doubled and singled. CF Jordan Akins hit his first homer of the season and third of his career.
The youngest draft pick on the roster walked more batters in one start than all of last season. 19-year-old Andrew Faulkner (pitching in his home state like Will Lamb) issued six free passes, four during a messy 3rd that forced Randol Rojas to finish the inning. Faulkner allowed four runs on two hits and struck out one. Rojas saved the bullpen with 5.1 scoreless innings that included four strikeouts against just one walk.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
In AAA, John Koronka surrendered a homer to Nashville's Ryan Braun, and opposing starter (and current Round Rock member) Zach Jackson allowed a run in five innings. Texas designated scheduled AA starter Daniel Haigwood for assignment. Michael Schlact and three relievers combined to shut out high-A Stockton. Chad Tracy and Manny Pina split catching duties in Clinton's doubleheader. Marcus Lemon collected his first hit for Clinton and Mike Ballard allowed a run in five innings.
AAA: Martin Perez
Hi-A: Wilmer Font
Lo-A: Luke Jackson