Jon Gray's first two outings for the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes have been an adventure, to put it kindly.
After being torched for six runs in four innings in his Pacific Coast League debut, Gray (PuRP No. 1) quickly surrendered another four on three walks and two hits in the first frame of his second appearance. Fortunately, the 2013 first-round draft pick settled in nicely, allowing only two hits and a walk in four scoreless innings the rest of the way. Albuquerque eventually topped Tacoma, 7-6.
It's important to know that Gray, now in his third professional season, got off to slow starts in each of his first two minor league campaigns. In his first-ever pro start, Gray gave up four runs in the first inning and finished the game having allowed seven hits in three frames. Last year, the hard-throwing right-hander gave up 10 runs in 6⅔ innings spanning his first two starts. He allowed only seven runs in the following seven outings.
In other words, don't worry too much about Gray. Not yet, at least.
Brandon Barnes led off the Isotopes' five-run response in the bottom half of the opening inning with a homer, his second of the season. Cristhian Adames (PuRP No. 15), Kyle Parker (PuRP No. 11) and Tim Wheeler all had big hits in that inning. Barnes, Adames and Roger Bernandina paced the offense with two hits apiece. Ryan Casteel (PuRP No. 16) drove in three runs and is hitting .417 in the early going.
Rex Brothers had another rough outing in relief, surrendering two runs on two hits and a walk. He was awarded the win, though, after the Topes scored in the bottom of the eighth. Jairo Diaz notched the save, his first of the year. The Topes improved to 5-2 on the season.
Double-A New Britain: L 7-5 (2-5)
Trevor Story (PuRP No. 8) had a perfect day at the plate, hitting a pair of doubles and a triple in addition to drawing two walks. Story is tearing up the Eastern League through the first week of the season, hitting .458/.567/.792 with a homer, six RBI and six walks (against seven strikeouts) in 30 plate appearances.
Tommy Murphy (PuRP No. 12) and Noel Cuevas added two hits apiece. Jayson Langfels hit his first homer of the year, a two-run shot in the eighth inning.
High-A Modesto: W 3-2 (3-4)
Ashley Graeter had two hits and knocked in a pair of runs to lead a Nuts lineup that notched just five hits without the presence of No. 5 PuRP Raimel Tapia. Graeter's RBI single with two outs in the top of the ninth gave Carlos Estevez, who struck out three batters and allowed just one hit in two innings of work, the win.
Konner Wade started for Modesto and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in six innings. Wade now has two quality starts under his belt to begin 2015. By comparison, the Nuts probably only had two quality starts all of last year.*
*May or may not actually be true.
Low-A Asheville: Postponed
Albuquerque vs. Tacoma, 12:05 p.m. MT (John Lannan vs. Sam Gaviglio)
New Britain vs. New Hampshire, 4:35 p.m. MT (Carlos Hernandez vs. Taylor Cole)
Modesto vs. Inland Empire, 8:05 p.m. MT (Johendi Jiminian vs. Harrison Cooney)
Asheville vs. Greenville, 5:05 p.m. MT (Helmis Rodriguez vs. Jalen Beeks)