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Mike Nikorak reveals himself as teenaged pitcher and is uneven in debut

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Colorado Rockies affiliates scoreboard and recap for Thursday July 16 and Friday July 17, 2015.

Drew Creasman

Thursday's games

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes

MILB Box

Las Vegas 10, Albuquerque 5

W: Bowman (6-10 5.53); L: Lannan (5-4 4.57)

John Lannan had a rough start, allowing nine earned runs, which was two fewer earned runs than he allowed in his seven starts between May 11th and June 13th. Lannan has made a career of of limiting damage with fringy stuff, but we Rockies fans are all too aware of what can happen to fringy stuff at altitude.

Tim Wheeler was the easy bright spot. He hit his seventh and eighth home runs of the season. He had hit just one home run in the 73 games since mid April—after a stretch when he hit five homers in eight games.

Isotopes reliever Jason Gurka is an excellent representative of how insanely tough MLB is to break into. The 27 year-old is a lefty who can touch 93 mph with heavy sink. He has a 3.17 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 167 games in MiLB with a 9.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9. And yet, he has never appeared in an MLB game.

Double-A: New Britain Rock Cats

MILB Box

Reading 3, New Britain 1

W: Murray (2-1, 2.93); L: Flemer (4-6, 3.00); SV: Shackleford (20)

The Rock Cats continued their spiral since opening the season in dominant fashion. The combination of injuries and promotions have robbed the Rock Cats of the pop that drove their early success. Jordan Patterson, who earned his promotion from Modesto by hitting .304/.378/.568 in 77 games there, opened his Doble-A career going 0-4 with two strikeouts.

Hopefully, Patterson's additional left handed bat helps limit the amount of exposure center fielder Noel Cuevas gets against right-handed pitching, as the 23 year-old has a line of .375/.403/.500 against lefties but just a .231/.269/.296 line against righties this year. The overall lack of pop from the lineup wasted another nice start from Matt Flemer, whose 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP has accompanied just a 3.8 K/9 this year.

High-A: Modesto Nuts

MiLB Box

Modesto 8, Bakersfield 5

W: Wade (4-6, 4.64); L: Campbell (3-5, 6.93); SV: Carasiti (7)

All the right people had the right kind of game in this one. Konner Wade allowed two earned runs in six innings, Raimel Tapia went 3-5 with two doubles, Ryan McMahon went 3-5, including his 11th home run of the season, as Modesto continued their second half dominance.

Single-A: Asheville Tourists - Double header

MILB Box

Game 1: Savannah 4, Asheville 3 (8 innings)

W: Paez (3-2, 1.95); L: McCrummen (3-2, 3.73)

MILB Box

Game 2: Asheville 4, Savannah 1

W: Sheehan (1-0, 2.35); L: Gibbons (0-2, 3.75); SV: Michalec (20)

Drew Weeks has the feel of a guy who could easily be next year's Jordan Patterson. The 22 year-old hit just .267/.326/.390 in 66 first half games but is hitting .366/.460/.634 in his 19 second half games. Weeks, like almost everyone else hitting in Asheville, had an awful May. But he has really been on fire for almost two months now.

Joining Weeks in the list of guys who's first half may have colored your perception of them is Luis Jean. The patient DSL product had a cringeworthy .250/.307/.282 line in the first half but has hit .402/.462/.524 in his second half. He also swiped his 20th base of the season in the second game.

Class A Short-Season: Boise Hawks

MILB Box

Boise 11, Salem-Keizer 8

W: Thompson (1-2, 5.12); L: Riggs (2-1, 1.88); SV: Black (3)

Boise scoring 11 runs ought to highlight a bit of the difference between the Rockies new NW League affiliate and their old one in Tri-City. The other thing that is different for the Hawks is a pair of teenagers who have been killing the ball in July. Freshly 19 years old, Kevin Padlo's 2-4 night raised his July line to an insane .368/.493/.596. The talented third baseman also has 11/9 BB/K while stealing 11 bases in those 16 games. Eighteen year-old SS Carlos Herrera hasn't been quite as unconscious at .315/.351/.481, and while his eight stolen bases were expected, hitting his first two home runs as a professional was not.

Rookie: Grand Junction Rockies- Double header

MILB Box

Game 1: Helena 4, Grand Junction 2

W: Yamamoto (1-3, 7.36); L: Talley (1-3, 9.77); SV: Torres, J (1)

Game 2: Grand Junction 6, Helena 2

MILB Box

W: Yan (2-0, 6.10); L: Hissa (0-2, 9.88); SV: Brothers (1)

Grand Junction split this doubleheader. A two game 4-7 performance from Latin program graduate Daniel Suero raised his season line to .350/.371/.530., Jensen Park went 3-7 and raised his batting average for the season to .403.

International: DSL Rockies

MILB Box

DSL Twins 12, DSL Rockies 4

W: Suniaga (1-1, 6.32); L: Guzman, L (2-2, 4.14)

The DSL twins jumped out to an early lead and just kept hitting, plating 12 runs on 17 hits. Freshly minted PuRP Pedro Gonzalez led the DSL Rockies. His 2-4 night included his eighth home run of the season, an almost unheard of number for a 17 year-old in that league

Friday's games

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes

MiLB Box

Las Vegas 4, Albuquerque 2

W: Gorski (8-6, 4.65); L: Jurrjens (2-3, 5.13); SV: Church (3)

The Albuquerque bats went silent in this contest. Only Dustin Garneau's 13th home run on the season did any damage. Garneau's monthly splits reveal that he's only had one down month: April .316/.409/.579, .988 OPS; May .197/.260/.288, .548 OPS; June .291/.367/.581, .949 OPS; July .364/.404/.636, 1.041 OPS. Garneau is old for the level at 27, but that is not nearly as important with catchers when you look at the careers of guys like Stephen Vogt, A.J. Ellis, or Ryan Hanigan. What really stands out for Garneau is his .348/.423/.652 line against left handed pitching this year.

Double-A: New Britain Rock Cats

MiLB Box

Reading 7, New Britain 3

W: Williams, J (1-0, 2.31); L: Carpenter (5-10, 3.94)

The Rock Cats fell to three games below .500 on the season for the first time as a Rockies affiliate, but the bright spots included a 2-4 night with a double for newly promoted PuRP Jordan Patterson.

Class A Advanced: Modesto Nuts

MiLB Box

Bakersfield 6, Modesto 5 (11 innings)

W: Mathis (2-2, 4.42); L: Daniel (1-3, 2.45)

Modesto lost in extra innings, but don't blame Raimel Tapia. The 21 year-old outfielder's 3-6 night was the 27th time in his last 27 games where he has had n hit and his 17th in that stretch with multiple hits. Tapia is hitting .489 in his las ten games and has begun to break out in a way that has been long predicted. He also found time to steal his 19th base of the season. Tapia owns a batting line of .402/.409/.609 against same handed pitching this year—it's hardly human.

Class A: Asheville Tourists

MiLB Box

Greenville 14, Asheville 8

W: Reilly (5-3, 4.26); L: Rodriguez, H (7-4, 3.68)

Helmis Rodriguez turned in his second straight poor start, as he has allowed 13 runs, eight earned, over 5 2/3 innings pitched in his last two starts. Rodriguez had a 2.81 ERA through his first 16 starts in the SAL. Let's just hope it is a stretch of ineffectiveness or bad luck rather than anything injury related.

Max George had his second and third extra base hits of his full season career, and much like fellow teenager Kevin Padlo, George has struggled with the adjustment. The Regis Jesuit HS grad has swiped seven bases in his 15 games in Asheville but will need to make consistent contact to stay in full season.

While first basemen may be ahead of only relief pitchers on the "is this a 'guy'" scale, first baseman Robert Ramos is trying to make a name for himself anyway. The 6'5 220 pounder is a native of Hermosillo, in Sonora, Mexico and was drafted out of community college last year. The 20 year-old is making a dent with a .314/.394/.616 line, including 7 home runs in his 22 games between Grand Junction and Asheville this year.

Class A Short-Season: Boise Hawks

MiLB Box

Boise 9, Salem-Keizer 5 (10 innings)

W: Quintin (2-2, 3.00); L: Encinosa (2-2, 4.05)

Speaking of Kevin Padlo, I think the guy just hates baseballs, as he seems to spend his time hitting them really hard. Padlo collected his fourth home run of the young season for Boise. Padlo was joined in the fun by catcher Hamlet Marte, who went 3-5, left fielder Eric Toole, who went 4-5, and, interestingly, by shortstop Scott Burcham, whose 3-4 night included his first two home runs of the year. He also swiped a base. If Burcham can maintain the .308/.379/.538 July batting line, he will be an interesting follow in the coming years. The fact that Padlo is a full three years younger than those other hitters highlights what will keep him on the PuRPS list despite a dissapointing full season debut.

Rookie: Grand Junction Rockies

MiLB Box

Helena 5 , Grand Junction 1

W: Diplan (2-0, 3.00); L: Zurat (1-3, 3.55)

Mike Nikorak's professional debut highlighted both what makes him so exciting and why he fell to a spot where the Rockies had a shot at him. Nikorak allowed one run on three hits in his 2 2/3 innings of work. That two of his hits allowed were doubles, and that he walked three batters, are concerns, but his ability to buckle down and limit damage also speaks to the stuff he is working with. Nikorak's first six batters faced went ground out, strike out, ground out, walk, ground out, ground out, which is awesome. His next six were double, single (thrown out at home), double, ground out, walk, fly out, which is much less awesome.

Expect uneven performances from all the Rockies young pitchers as they work to adjust to both the altitude and the rigors of professional baseball

Rookie: DSL Rockies

MiLB Box

DSL Twins 8, DSL Rockies 6

W: Gil (1-1, 2.38); L: Martinez, A (0-1, 13.50)

Gonzalez hit a home run in this one, but it wasn't Pedro. Hiked Gonzalez hit the home run. His .309/.358/.394 line is more than respectable for an 18 year-old in the DSL. The other Gonzalez, Pedro, did also go 1-3 with two walks in this game. He raised his line to .279/.346/.527.