Colorado Springs: Three hits each for Clint Barmes and Seth Smith pushed the Sky Sox to a ten to five victory over Las Vegas. Smith's batting .400 for the month with much better contact than he had to start the season, while Barmes is hitting .386 in June, with ten extra base hits and his line too shows a turnaround from a miserable April. Omar Quintanilla also had a pair of hits yesterday, raising his average to .322 on the year, but the OBP shows that number's a bit more empty than Barmes' or Smith's right now.
Tulsa: Two runs in the top of the second from the Matts Miller and Macri were all the Drillers needed to secure a win over Springfield yesterday. Ryan Mattheus won after shutting the Cardinals down for eight innings, allowing just three hits and a pair of walks while striking out seven and Steven Register came on for the save. Macri wound up with three hits and Miller two. Christian Colonel also had two more hits for the Drillers.
Modesto: The Nuts lost by the same 2-0 margin that the Drillers won, yesterday, as the offense couldn't support Alan Johnson and a couple of solid innings of relief work. Chris Nelson got aboard three times with two walks and a hit, but that was about as far as it went for highlights.
Asheville: The Tourists beat Lexington for the second straight night, thanks to a ninth inning homerun from Michael Paulk to supply the 2-1 margin of victory. Keith Weiser returned to his early season form, allowing just six hits in seven innings and settling down after a first inning homerun from Jordan Parraz. Parraz homered in the game I was at last night, and I saw two HR's from him last season in the NYP league, so needless to say, I'm impressed by his bat and glad he's coming up in another division.
As for our players on Thursday, Paulk's skills at the plate are indeed solid, he was robbed of one hit yesterday because Hector Gomez had to wait near second to see if a line drive to center was going to be caught before being forced at third, and the rest of his contact was sharp, driven by a compact swing that really won't produce much power, but should provide a high average with plenty of doubles and his knowledge of the strike zone will keep his OBP fairly high. He's got this unorthodox stance that has his bat pointing slightly toward center field before he starts his swing, but it seems to work for him.
Anthony Jackson's first inning lead off homer to left followed an opposite field shot that was just to the right of the foul pole, and the amount of power he's able to generate surprised me a bit. He's got plenty of speed, but he needs to learn to utilize it better. His defense was the best of a sloppy Asheville team the night I saw them.
Speaking of which, count me in the category of those who don't think Gomez will be able to stick at shortstop. His range is adequate for now, his hands are soft and his arm is pretty special, but I just picture him outgrowing the position down the road and losing range as he bulks up. I think there's a lot of potential with him at the plate, but he's got some holes in his swing that leave him still pretty far from being able to contribute at the major league level.
Mayora's swing is a little slow, but he's able to compensate with an excellent eye that allows him to square up on most pitches and produce solid contact. His defense was obviously less than stellar yesterday given the two errors, but I don't see him being forced off the position down the road and he should be a decent glove at second.
Esmil Rogers probably impressed me the most, his fastball was in the 92-94 mph range with plenty of life, even though he left it up at times. He complemented it with an at times sharp 75 mph change-up and a "thing" pitch that he only threw twice. I think it might have been a rudimentary curve, but it registered in the mid-50's, which after a steady diet of 90+mph heat froze one batter and left another looking silly with his swing. I think we should definitely keep an eye on Rogers' development, he could be a fantastic pitcher with refinement.
Tri-City: The Dust-Devils lost four to nothing to Vancouver, Kevin Clark and Brandon Reichert had two hits each. Drew Coffey took the loss, allowing seven baserunners in four and a third innings and two runs (one earned).
Casper: Parker Frazier got a rude welcome to the Pioneer League in Ogden, getting touched for six runs in three innings in a game that Casper eventually lost, 13-8. Jeff Cunningham led the offense with three hits, including two homeruns.