MSTI Special Feature: Mondays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 6)

mondays-with-torgy3.jpgHello, all!  Yes, it’s Monday and you know what that means: it’s time for another edition of Mondays With Torgy! 

Take it, Torg Man!: 

Sorry about not having a report, last week. Missed some good stuff. The fine professional debuts of Nick Akins, Mario Songco, Stephen Ames and Joseph Paxson. Also missed a great week by the ‘topes’ pitching staff as they found the joy of the humidor. With the exception of the PCL, all leagues began their second half of the season. None of the Dodger franchises took a first half title, so let’s hope that we get some continuation of the good play that finished the first half on the farm.

The Topes still lead the PCL American South with a 42-39 record and a 2.5 game lead over the RedHawks. Just for those who want to know, the Topes are 61 games from clinching. They are also in the midst of the three game winning streak, even though two of their last three games have been rained out. It is still pitching that is carrying the Topes. Jason Schmidt has managed to win his first two starts for the Topes and even more exciting, his arm is still attached to his body. Mind you, he is giving up plenty of hits, but he he is controlling the strike zone and keeping the ball in the park. Most reports have him working in the 90-91 range – much better than the 80-83 he was tossing, last year. Josh Lindblom made his first start at AAA and went six, picking up the victory. His command is still a bit spotty, but he keeps the ball in the park and I am thinking of moving up his ETA to September, after hedging my bets and thinking that next June or July would be more reasonable. Scott Strickland continues to amaze as a closer. He picked up his sixteenth save this week and has lowered his ERA to mid threes and his WHIP is down to 1.2. Lastly, on the pitching end, Charlie Haeger continues to impress. I am pretty chomping at the bit to see his knuckleball in the show.

The offense has been less than spectacular. With Hector Luna and Xavier Paul still nursing injuries and Mitch Jones in DFA Purgatory, the Topes offense has been mostly JD Closser (.396), Jamie Hoffman (.352) and Dee Brown (.306 with two bombs and eleven rbis). Still very disappointed in the offensive showings of Chin Lung Hu (.252/.297/.313) and Blake DeWitt (.246/.343/.406). As scary as it sounds, aside from Hoffman, Jason Repko might be the only other player worth a September call-up.

The Lookouts are in middle of the pack of the SL North with a 7-7 record in the second half. They are two games back of the DiamondJaxx. Lucas May finally came off of the DL and in today’s game, the Lookouts opened up the king size can of Whipass as Lambo, Russell Mitchell, Tommy Giles and Eduardo Perez all went yard. Quietly, Giles is having a very nice month after getting a fair amount of splinters sitting the bench. His numbers against right handed pitching are terrific. Unfortunately, his numbers against southpaws are nearly as bad as Ethier’s. Lambo is having an interesting last eight games. He is has a hit in each game he has started (he walked in his only at bat as a pinch hitter, four days ago), while cutting his strikeouts down (only two k’s over the past ten days) and he has shown some power. Also, newly signed Ramon Nivar (formerly of the Rangers and Orioles) is belting the ball all over the yard at a .412 clip and James Tomlin is having his usual mid-season renaissance by hitting nearly .400 over the past two weeks.

The problem with the Topes is that they are short-handed on starting pitching. Travis Chick, Jesus Castillo and James Adkins are the only pitchers who could be called starters with Alberto Bastardo and Tim Corcoran getting run out by necessity rather than skillset. The pen is still doing surprisingly well as it appears that Matthew Sartor has won the closer’s job. Victor Garate and JD Durbin have been strong as set up men, but Javy Guerra has struggled mightily with his command as he has walked twice as many has he has struck out since his call up.

The Sixers are off to a good start, this half. They are tied for first with the Mavericks in the Cal League South with a 7-4 record. There good start is based on a strong combination of improved hitting and some decent pitching. Leading the offense has been Scott Van Slyke and Elian Herrera, who are both hitting well over .400 for the past two weeks, while Trayvon Robinson has been on a power kick and Steven Caseres continues to impress with his plate discipline and power. Pedro Baez was named to the US/World All Star game. He wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice from the Dodgers, but he is having a good year and has quieted the talk about moving him to the mound.

On the pitching side, Tim Sexton is getting some support and has won his past three starts. Steven Johnson and the recently called up Alberto Bastardo were also very strong over the past few weeks. Chris Withrow, who had a run of five very good starts has now had three straight stinkers where he has not made it past the fifth inning. The Sixers are also suffering from a paucity of able starting pitchers as they have even had to run out the very awful Mario Alvarez and his one-pitch repetoire to take some starts.

The Loons are off to a bad start, 4-6 and five games back of the Tincaps. Right now, the problem is the hitting. Aside from Dee Gordon, the bats have gone pretty silent. Kyle Russell is still putting up a good season, but he also has reached a hundred strikeouts with Jaime Pedroza really close to catching up. I suspect they will get some reinforcements from Ogden and the AZL shortly. Recently signed Jeremy Wise along with Jerry Sands and Mario Songco shouldn’t waste too much time in the Pioneer League.

The pitching has been decent as Josh Walter, Jon-Michael Redding and Nathan Eovaldi have been very good over the past month, but it has been a bad month for Ethan Martin (walking nearly as many as he strikes out), Robert Boothe (his ERA against right handed hitters is over six) and Jordy Pratt (his usual June swoon that will likely continue until September). Geison Aguasviva and Cole St. Clair have taken over the closing duties since Javy Guerra got the call.

The Raptors, after starting the season 0-3 have won seven of their last ten games to be two games back of the Chukars at 7-6. Surprisingly enough the pitching has been better than I expected. Elisaul Pimentel has been very strong on the hill posting a ERA of two, while relief pitchers Joseph Paxson, Stephen Ames, Daigoro Rondon and Greg Wilborn have gotten off to impressive starts out of the pen Of course, anything below six is a good ERA in the Pioneer League.

The offense, as to be expected, has been strong. Jerry Sands and Mario Songco lead the team with five bombs, each. Brian Carvazos-Galvez and Austin Yount have also gotten off to good starts with Yount having a four rbi game this week and Galvez showing some speed to go along with his power. Jeremy Wise went 2-4 in his debut and also threw out a runner at second, leading me to believe his stay in Ogden will be short.

Lastly, the AZL Dodgers are tied for first in the AZL West with the Rangers and Mariners. The bats have been very good for the Dodgers, especially Nick Akins (.415/.467/.732), Pedro Tavarez (.500/.564/.529), Clay Calfee (.968 obs) and Michael Pericht (.348/.531/.739). The pitching has been fairly good, also. Carl Webster and Carlos Frias have been great in their first two starts while Roberto Feliciano and Bolivar Medina have good,
although it is a small sample size.

Thanks, Torgy.  Until next week, this has been another week of “Mondays With Torgy!” 

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MSTI Special Feature: Mondays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 5)

mondays-with-torgy3.jpgAh, finally!  Mondays With Torgy… on… a Monday! 

Take it away, Torgy! 

The draft has come and gone, now to the signings. Dodgers inked 23 players with the biggest name being fourth round pick, Angelo Songco. Kind of surprised we signed that many, this early. So far no big names like Miller, Wallach or Gould, but I will hope. Also approaching is July 2 when International players can be signed. We are not in on the big names like Miguel Sano, Gary Sanchez or Jurickson Profar, but it would appear that Logan White has been busy and it would be grand to see us become a real player in the International market again. Fantastic week on the farm as every team is winning and looking much better. Kudos to the AZL Dodgers and the beatdown they put on the Mariners in their inaugural game. Nick Akins and Mike Pericht both went yard in the 17-3 jollystomping. Danny Danielson took the win, striking out eight in four innings. As for the week that was, the ‘topes opened up their lead in the American South Division to 2.5 games over New Orleans and Oklahoma City. Even more astounding is that the ‘topes are at .500. Gotta say the pitching has been the difference. Even though James McDonald was sent back to the Blue, there has been no shortage of great pitching from unusual sources. First off, have to give some love to Erick Threets. I thought he was just another hard-thrower who couldn’t find the plate with a map, compass and native guide. That is why I am shocked that his walks are way down and his WHIP is a miniscule 1.17. As I always have a soft spot for hard throwing lefties, Threets is a kid I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the show, if the need be. Also throwing some “atta boys” to Hyang-Nam Choi, Charlie Haeger and Scott Strickland. Choi, 38, has been nearly untouchable. His k/bb ratio is nearly 6/1 and he has a WHIP of .86. Impressive numbers, no matter what league you are in. Still, he is a bit long in the tooth for the Blue.

The same can be said for Strickland, although he has taken to the closer job nicely. Over his last ten outings he over 2/1 on the bb/k and has put up an ERA of 2.8. Lastly, it would be remiss to mention 25yo knuckleballer Charlie Haeger. He has been beastlike over his past ten outings. He is 7-2 with a similar ERA to Strickland. What is even more impressive is that he is averaging over seven innings a game in that time frame. Might be someone to consider as counter to our hard throwers like Billz and Kershaw. Not much to report from the offensive side of the ball. Jason Repko has been rocking a few bombs as he is up to eleven. But, aside from Chen Lung Hu (.347) and John Ford Griffin (.452) starting to hit, the offense has been it’s usual ineffectual self, but good enough to win. Chattanooga has been equally hot, not that it helps much. Even though they have won seven of their last ten, they are still eight games back of the Huntsville Stars in the SL South division. They are also eight games under .500 at 31-39. The pitching has good, as usual. Scott Elbert has been plenty impressive. Hasn’t helped him much as he still is suffering through the Jeff Weaver Syndrome (one bad inning ruins a great game) and it shows in his W-L record. But the stats that do grab my notice is the 78 strikeouts in 54 innings and the 3/1 k/bb ratio. Jesus Castillo and Josh Lindblom have also pitched well with Castillo picking up wins in his last two starts and dropping his ERA below four. Lindblom has been having command issues (for him) with ten walks in this last five games while mostly pitching out of the pen to monitor his innings. The pen has been good with JD Durbin getting most of the closing work. The Lookout offense has been plenty mediocre with the exception of Justin Sellers (.372) and Eduardo Perez (.345) over the past week. Andrew Lambo has been showing some power but he is still struggling in the pitching-friendly Southern League. It doesn’t help that the best hitters on the team, Gaby Martinez and Lucas May are both still stuck on the DL. Tommy Giles and Adam Godwin have been showing some life, lately. But, to quote the fine folks at Baseball America, there isn’t much upper level talent in the Dodger system and these two franchises show that. The Sixers had the worst stretch of the Dodger farm teams, going 6-4 over their last ten. They are still eleven games behind High Desert at 32-38. Still, the offense is showing much life and the pitching has not been awful. Eric Milton made his first rehab start a good one as he went five plus shutout innings, giving up three hits and walking only one. Steve Johnson finished up the shutout by striking out six. Of late, Chris Withrow and Johnson have been very good, both lowering their ERA’s and improving on their WHIPs. Alberto Bastardo has struggled as he has given up eleven runs over his last thirteen innings. Tim Sexton finally got a win, upping his record to 2-8 to break a seven game personal losing streak.

With the stick, Pedro Baez has been impressive. He is hitting over .400 during his seven game hitting streak and has raised his ba to .293 and is second on the team with 44 rbis. It looks like Preston Mattingly has learned some patience as he has walked five times in the last four games and raised his obp to .335. Another hot stick is Steven Caseres, who has been ripping the ball, of late, with a nine game hitting streak that only ended as he was walked three times, last night. During the time frame, he was hitting .500 with three bombs and nine rbis. The best week belongs to the Loons, though. They have won nine of their last ten and are ten games over .500 at 40-30, but they are still five games behind Fort Wayne. The pitching, as usual for a Dodger farm team, has been exemplary. Geison Aguasviva has yet to allow an earned run this season and is 3-0 with a WHIP of .83. Last week, I disparaged Jon-Michael Redding because he was winning with less that stellar numbers, so he goes out and tosses eight shutout innings to win his ninth of the year.  Maybe I should complain more. Nathan Eovaldi has been very good, also. He has only given up one earned run over his last five outings and has averaged over a strike out an inning during that run. Not so much good news from Ethan Martin as his command has been spotty at best and his ERA and WHIP are rising steadily. Out of the pen, Javy Guerra and Cole St. Clair are sharing the closing duties with St. Clair finally walking a batter, to screw up his bb/k ratio to 1/15. Guerra continues to dominate, earning his sixteenth save and making me wonder when he gets the call to warmer climes. The offense has been rolling. Dee Gordon is still stealing bases and is the middle of the very long hitting streak. His power numbers are still not awe-inspiring, but when he gets on first, it is not long before he is on second. Kyle Russell, Anthony Hatch, Nick Buss and Jaime Pedroza have all been ripping the ball and the only fly in the ointment would be the 38 errors made by the keystone combo. I have to wonder why Russell, Hatch and Pedroza are not moving up the ladder. All three of these guys are league old and it is not like the farm doesn’t need help at Chattanooga or Inland Empire. As I suspect that when we sign Miller and Wise, among others, they will be starting out at A levels and not waste much time at Ogden.

Thanks, Torgy!  Until next week… 

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MSTI Special Feature: Mond… Fridays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 4)

mondays-with-torgy3.jpgO.K., I PROMISE the next one will be on Monday!  But I have a good excuse this time! 

Well, no, I don’t. 

Wait, I do!  Yes, the reason this feature was delayed recently was due to the impending draft that took place recently and with the draft now over, here is our very own Torgymeister with analysis.  Enjoy! 

As most of you know MLB had it’s “amateur” draft. To say the Dodger draft was a head-scratcher would be an understatement. Since Logan White has been with the Blue, it has pretty much been high school players taken early and often with the odd college guy in the mix. This year, of the first ten picks, six were college players including a senior. Even more curious was the Dodgers taking two players out of Puerto Rico in the first ten rounds. Yes, the Dodgers have drafted players from Puerto Rico, but not very often. Right now, the only player I remember the Dodgers taking in the first round directly from Puerto Rico was Jaime Ortiz. Even more interesting, aside from Garrett Gould, none of the players taken in the first ten rounds were the usual Logan White/Tim Hallgren selections who never get questioned. First off, our top two picks have huge questions. Our first pick, Aaron Miller, was drafted as a pitcher, but with the exception of his junior season, he has not pitched often and has a better pedigree as a hitter. Mind you, he has a relatively fresh arm and he is lefthanded, two things in his favor.

According to the folks in the know, Miller works in the mid-nineties and has some very good secondary stuff, but he needs innings and experience. When I heard this, the first name that came to mind was Chris Withrow. Given six days to think over this pick, it is typical Logan White, high risk, high reward. Blake Smith came second and I have had the opportunity to see him pitch and hit. When his name was announced, I thought closer as he has a seriously nasty fastball and very good slider. His problem is command. But, I have also seen him hit and he is a big time power threat. He is also a big time strikeout threat. I can see why the Dodgers took him as an outfielder, but he has more holes in his swing then Billy Ashley. Of course, the Dodgers seemed to have fixed Kyle Russell and Blake Smith is the same kind of player. Of the next eight picks, the two I liked the best were Garrett Gould and JT Wise. Gould, who was my choice for our first pick is gonna take some big money to forego Wichita State and his windup is scary ugly, but his upside is nearly as good as Ethan Martin’s or Chris Withrow’s. Wise is a strong pick, if only because Tony Delmonico is not taking to catching as quickly as I hoped and, let’s face reality, Russell Martin is becoming Jason Phillips in front of our eyes. I don’t know if his problem is physical or mental, but he is a mere shade of the player he was two years ago. Therefore, we need Wise to make a quick run through the system as I don’t have much confidence in guys like AJ Ellis, Lucas May or Kenley Jansen to fill our catching needs. Wise is considered a good catch and throw guy with some pop in his bat. Yeah, he is already 22, but all that tells me is that there will be no dithering around with extended stays at Great Lakes or Inland Empire for him. Of the picks between 10-20, my favorites were Dan Palo and Brian Cavazos-Galvez. Palo is a very good looking righthander with some excellent stuff and a commitment to Tennessee. Seeing as how I doubt it will cost us slot to sign our picks from five to ten, it would be nice to see Frank & Hot Lips to spend on the kids we draft in the later rounds who have college commitments. Palo is just one, but there are three or four others who would be worth sticking a finger in Bud Lite’s eyes. As for Cavazos-Galvez, he is another power hitter, albeit righthanded now and possesses a great gun from right field. Also, his dad, Balvino, used to toil in the Dodger organization. We also had some head-scratchers in 10-20 range.

Andy Suiter has a great arm, but he looks like a lefthanded Bill Bene. Too many command issues to get all excited about. The other head scratcher is Nick Akins. Don’t get me wrong, three years ago I would’ve begged McCourt to give this guy a huge bonus. He had the look of being a future centerfielder with some pop in his bat. Since then, he has attended a couple JC’s, had a remarkably short stay at San Diego State and then put in a good season at NAIA power, Vanguard. But, it looks as if his arm has lost it’s power and he has become a lesser hitter. Of course, he could prove me wrong on my latest opinion and I would not be happier. Just when I was wondering if Logan White was being ordered to draft the cheap and old, he made four straight picks who brought a huge smile to my face. They were Chad Kettler, Rich Shaffer, Alex McRee and Brian Johnson. All will be difficult signs, but all are top ten round selections with Shaffer and McRee being possible first rounders in the near future. But, given the past history of bonuses thrown out by Frank & Hot Lips, I would say that our chances of signing all four of these guys are akin to the Nationals winning the World Series, this year. Even signing one of these guys could be a story for Ripley’s. Of the last twenty picks, the only ones who I would love to see are Cornell College right Chris Handke and his 6’10″ height and Steven Piscotty, if only because my son struck him out twice in Legion ball, last year.

Kind of let the past two weeks get past me on the farm stuff. Probably the biggest news has to be James McDonald looking like he has found it. His last two outings have been unreal. I mean, fourteen innings, six hits, one run, four walks and twenty three strikeouts are the kind of stuff that gets one ready to re-anoint him as our fifth starter. Even more surprising was the much maligned Stephen Randolph tossing six innings of one hit ball, but even more interesting is that he has given up only three hits in his last fifteen innings. Mind you, Randolph i
s hardly a name to get excited about, but with the paucity of pitching in this league, he could be of value to another team. On the other side of the
ball. Hector Luna continues to hit and hit well. MLBTR even mentioned him as a possible player who could get some interest by a team in the show. Also hitting well has been Mitch Jones as he now has twenty one homers and fifty one rbis. The latest rumors have him finally getting the call after spending ten years on the farm. I know I will be happy to see the guy get his big shot. Before I forget, the ‘topes are still in first (tied) with Round Rock, some four games under .500. Gotta love the PCL. I wish there was something more positive to say about the Lookouts, but there isn’t. Aside from Eduardo Perez continuing to rake, the offense is near dead. Andrew Lambo is struggling and the same can be said for just about any bat in the lineup. On the pitching end, it would appear the Dodgers are closely monitoring Josh Lindblom’s innings as he is getting more relief work while Scott Elbert can strike out tons, he is still plagued by command and the Jeff Weaver Curse (one bad inning ruins a great game). The Lookouts are thirteen games under .500 and eleven and a half out of first. I would not be shocked to see a draft pick start here, namely JT Wise. Not much else positive to report from Inland Empire. The pitching has been very good and the offense has been spotty, of late. Except for the odd Elian Herrera start in left or the daily play of Trayvon Robinson, there is not much to get terribly excited about over the past couple weeks. Sure, Preston Mattingly is showing some pop as he now has as many home runs as walks (6), while Pedro Baez, Scott Van Slyke and Steve Caceres are keeping up on the homer race, but there are too many strikeouts on this team with not enough patience being shown. Pitching wise, Tim Sexton has to wonder which Baseball God he insulted. Like Mike says, W-L record is the worst barometer to judge pitching and Sexton is the prime example of that. He is 1-8, but his ERA is in the low threes and his WHIP is the lowest among the starters, just barely above one. As for the other three main starters, all are having fine seasons. Alberto Bastardo, Chris Withrow and Steve Johnson are all putting up good numbers in the worst pitching enviroment this side of the Pioneer League. Some other notes, Justin Orenduff hasn’t pitched since the middle of May and it would appear with the all the catchers the Dodgers drafted that Kenley Jansen is going to be on the other end of the battery pretty soon. The Loons are the only Dodger farm team to put up a winning record and they are only six games over .500. Still, it is something. They are led by Gordon, Pedroza and Russell. Russell continues to hit bombs at an astounding rate considering the league. I would hope that the Dodgers are looking to move him up along with Pedroza as they have little to prove for the Loons. Gordon still needs the rough edges smoothed, but his speed is quite impressive. Jon Michael Redding is the second example of Mike’s dictum about W-L record. He is 8-2 with an ERA over five and a WHIP at 1.5. Otherwise, the pitching has been good. I would hope that the Dodgers move Javy Guerra up the ladder as I would love to see if Cole St. Clair can continue his impressive pitching. The stat that I love is that he has thrown eight innings with ten strikeouts and zero, nada, none, no walks. Plus he is 3-3 in save opportunities. Not much to report from the Dominican Summer League other than 3b Bladimir Franco. In the first fourteen games of the season he already has five home runs and fourteen rbis to go with his .382 batting average. But, it is still early and aside from Franco, the only other noticeable player is 2b Enlly Morales, who is hitting over .400 and has an obp of .583. I am hoping to have rosters for Ogden and the Dodgers’ Arizona Summer League team by next week. Given the Dodgers’ history of announcing signings, we likely won’t have a roster until next Tuesday night and the season opens for the Dodgers on Sunday and the Raptors on Tuesday.

Thanks again, Torgy!  Until next time… 

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MSTI Special Feature: Mond… Wednesdays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 3)

mondays-with-torgy3.jpg

Sorry, guys, life has indeed been a bit busy, lately.  Nonetheless, here is your weekly edition of Mondays With Torgy… on a Wednesday… again. 

Hit it, Torgy! 

Another week and a better week than the past one. Dodgers moved some
pieces around. Jovanny Rosario got the call from Chattanooga to
Albuquerque and Kenley Jansen got a quick call to Albuquerque, but that
will likely last until AJ Ellis gets back to Albuquerque. Also, Cole
St. Clair and Geison Aguasviva finished their extended spring training
and made their 2009 debuts at Great Lakes. Sorry to see that Erik
Kanaby got released. He was one of those guys I really liked from the
few games I saw him play, but he had zero pop and that is a killer in
this day and age, especially for a corner outfielder.

Might as well start with Albuquerque. They finally got over the
hump, moving up over .500 and leading their division by 3.5 games.
Charlie Haeger tossed a complete game to get them over .500. Actually,
Haeger has been surprisingly good over his past three starts. Picking
up a win in each of his last three starts and going longer with each
game. But, as a knuckleballer, he walks plenty, but doesn’t give up too
many hits. Still, he might be the most impressive starter at
Albuquerque. Don’t know what to make of Estes, he is still getting
people out but it befuddles me how he does it. I don’t know if
re-inventing himself as Ross Grimsley or an indication of the weak
talent that makes up the PCL, but he is putting up some interesting
numbers (WHIP of 1.30 and he has given up only two home runs). Gotta
give some credit to Scott Strickland. He has been very good as a closer
for the ‘topes and his ERA and WHIP are dropping like an extra on 24.

On the offensive end. It is Dee Brown, Hector Luan and Mitch Jones
all day, every day. The three have combined for 39 bombs and 115 ribs.
It would be nice if someone would get on base in front of them. Blake
DeWitt isn’t hitting the ball and Jason Repko has been invisible, of
late. Jovanny Rosario, Chin Lung Hu and Luis Maza have been getting
some tryouts at the top of the lineup, but they have not run with the
job. I expect Xavier Paul to get a rehab run at Albuquerque and I would
not be shocked if Hoffman gets sent back around July 3, so I feel that
both will get the spots in front of the Big Three. Otherwise, the
offensive has not been as explosive as I expected. John-Ford Griffin
and Valentino Pascucci have not put up big numbers and I am sorely
disappointed in Hu. The thing is, I don’t see much movement from
Chattanooga. Maybe Gaby Martinez or Josh Bell, but I can’t see the
Dodgers moving Andrew Lambo or Lucas May, this season.

Things could be better in Chattanooga. They are nine games under
.500 and 8.5 behind Huntsville. Aside from Gaby Martinez’s very strong
season and he is only 24, so he could be a late bloomer. He leads the
Lookouts in ribs, homers, obp, slugging pct. and ops. Only Josh Bell is
putting up anything close to Martinez’ numbers. Mike Rose has come off
of the scrap heap and has hit well in a small sample size. Recent call
ups, Eduardo Perez and Tommy Giles have struggled, but Giles crushed a
two-run bomb tonight to lead the Lookouts to a big win. Andrew Lambo is
still scuffling and aside for an injured Lucas May, there isn’t much
more to get excited about from the offensive end.

The Lookouts continue to get good pitching and I have been remiss
for not lauding Francisco Felix, who has been very good, out of the
pen. Felix is a smallish righty reliever who was impressive, at times,
last year for Inland Empire and he is another of our cadre of 23-25yo
middle relief types who dot this roster. None really make radar guns
shoot fireworks, but they are serviceable arms and are likely closer to
the show than anyone at Albuquerque as the recent call-up of Travis
Schlichting should indicate. Josh Lindblom has sandwiched one very good
start with two very bad outings. Lindblom was out of character his last
start as he walked four batters, more than he had walked in his
previous eight outings, combined. Add to that, he gave up five earned
runs in four innings, the most he had given up since early April. Some
love for Scott Elbert as he tossed six innings of one hit ball in his
last start and Jesus Castillo, who matched Elbert’s innings and only
gave up one run.

Inland Empire is six games under .500 and eleven games behind High
Desert and their high octane offensive duo of Joe Dunigan and Alex
Liddi. First off, much praise for Preston Mattingly. As some will
remember, I ripped him for only having reaching via walk, once this
season. Well, he fooled me as he worked three walks and none were
intentional. Just like Chad Billingsley actually hitting the ball, I
have seen it all, this year. Actually, it appears that the younger
Mattingly has found his power, of late. He has belted a pair of bombs,
this week, along with driving home eight runs from the lead off spot.
Mattingly has had help. Scott Slyke has come out of his slump with a
couple multiple hit games and a pair of bombs. It even appears he is
learning to take the odd walk as his week included seven walks, nearly
half his season total. Some other guys have looked good in lesser
roles. Alex Garabedian has shown a live bat and better plate discipline
than his teammates. Also, Elian Herrera has been getting some playing
time and rewarding the Sixers with some speed and a good approach at
the plate. Lastly, Pedro Baez continues to keep the folks who think he
should be pitching at bay. His eight bombs lead the team and he is only
behind Van Slyke for the RBI lead. Yeah, he still strikes out like Mark
Reynolds, but combined with that arm and glove at third, he will keep
those who want to see him pitch (including me) grumbling.

Chris Withrow and Alberto Bastardo have been nearly untouchable in
their last couple outings. Bastardo has been flat out filthy. He has
tossed thirteen innings over his last two innings, giving up nine hits,
no runs and only walking two, while striking out fifteen. Not exactly a
commanding presence on the hill, he has been quite impressive in his
second turn through the Cal League. Withrow has been nearly as
effective, although he can be wilder than Bastardo. But his outing,
earlier this week, was outstanding. Five innings, three hits, one run,
no walks and ten strikeouts. In that one outing, all can see what Logan
White saw in the kid. While we are throwing out accolades, I gotta give
some love to Josh Wall. Since his first start, he has been very good,
only giving up fourteen hits, three walks and three runs over his last
seventeen innings. Maybe the kid’s father is letting Charlie Hough
teach the kid how to harness his considerable gifts.

The Loons are doing okay, they are two games over .500, but are 5.5
behind West Michigan. Given the youthful nature of the team, I am
pleased that they are still in the hunt even though their bats have
went silent of late. With the exception of Nick Buss and Alfredo
Silverio no one on the team is hitting over the Mendoza Line over the
past ten games. Still, Kyle Russell is hitting bombs, as he had three
over the past week, along with ten strikeouts over that same time
frame. One thing that continues to rise is the Loons’ error total. Dee
Gordon is leading the team with sixteen errors and his double play
partner is second with nine. Even the outfielders have scary error
totals.

As with the Lookouts, the one thing that is working is the pitching.
To that end, Bobby Blevins got the call to Chattanooga. But, Geison
Aguasviva was called up from Extended Spring Training and picked up a
win in his first outing, going three one hit innings in relief of Josh
Walter, who took the start in Blevins’ place. Cole St. Clair got the
save, but gave up two runs in his only two innings. Javy Guerra is
still racking up saves and the rest of the pen is still doing some
fantastic work. Another pitcher who has impressed is Jon Michael
Redding, who tossed six shutout innings in his last start, giving up
four hits and striking out eleven. As Redding was one of my picks to
impress this year, this makes me quite happy. Also, Justin Miller has
been impressive over his past two starts as he is showing improved
command with his sinker and Nathan Eovaldi had his best start of his
career, going five shutout innings, allowing three hits and no runs in
his last start. One troubling aspect has been Ethan Martin’s command as
he had walked twelve in his last ten innings.

Tune in next week for another edition of “Mondays With Torgy,” brought to you by MSTI! 

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MSTI Special Feature: Mond… Wednesdays With Torgy (Season 2, Episode 2)

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A little late here, this week, my apologies.  With Memorial Day and other things going on throughout this week, I wasn’t able to get on, but I am now and here to offer you the latest version of Mondays With Torgy… except on a Wednesday. 

Take it away, Torgy! 

Not a great week on the farm. If the pitching didn’t blow, a whole
team would take the week off with the stick as the Loons did. Aside
from some movement of players, nothing earth-shattering happened on the
farm. Jason Schmidt made a start at Albuquerque and took a ground ball
off of his forehead. As one observer said, at least his arm didn’t fall
off. A better start for Hiroki Kuroda as he went nearly four innings in
his initial rehab start at Inland Empire, giving up only one hit while
striking out three. The latest expectation is for Hiro to get a couple
more starts before replacing Eric Milton in the rotation, and that
can’t happen too soon for my liking. Jason Repko and Jaime Ortiz are
off the DL and both have looked good in their first games back. Lucas
May, who finally got hot (.516 over his past ten games with better
plate discipline as an 8/6 bb/k shows), got himself hurt and is on the
7-day DL. In a combination of moves after Jamie Hoffman was called up
to Los Angeles, Jovanny Rosario was called up to Albuquerque – which
makes sense as Andrew Lambo is still trying to figure out the strike
zone – and Eduardo Perez got the call to Chattanooga to likely end
Russell Mitchell’s stay as the Lookouts’ first baseman. Ortiz took
Perez’ slot at Inland Empire and it was not too soon as Scott Van Slyke
has hit bottom, hard. He is four for his forty-four and has not drawn
many walks in that time frame, not that he was showing much discipline
to begin with.

Aside from the Casey Blake like hot streak of Hector Luna or the
power explosion of Dee Brown, there isn’t much to talk about in
Albuquerque. Still, Luna could be a decent corner infield addition as
he is raking and his ops is 1.117. Keep in mind, he is built like Pablo
Sandoval and I doubt he has Sandoval’s upside as he is 29. The same can
be said for Dee Brown, who has six bombs in his last ten games, but is
even older than Luna and built very much like Sandoval. The Blue can
attract the fat ones. Of the real prospects, Blake DeWitt is struggling
versus lefty pitchers, but otherwise is showing rare discipline in the
‘topes’ lineup as his .398 obp shows. His power numbers are still not
great, but adequate for a second baseball with a .474 slugging
percentage. The other prospect, AJ Ellis, would love to have a slugging
percentage anywhere near DeWitt’s. His .445 obp is fantastic, but his
slugging percentage is a very abysmal .363. I guess for a backup
catcher type, those numbers have some value, but I would like a catcher
to have some pop. On the pitching front, James McDonald is still messed
up. He is not getting many innings as his command and pitch counts are
terrible. He is averaging a strike out an inning, but his WHIP (1.65)
is suffering from his control issues.

Now to Chattanooga. You look at the numbers and you just shake your
head. ERAs over four for both Josh Lindblom and Scott Elbert, terrible
obps for Andrew Lambo and Tony Abreu and one has to wonder if we have a
problem. But, upon closer inspection, those numbers don’t show the real
performance. I will start with Lindblom. Most see an ERA of 4.01 and
think the kid is overrated. Wrong, his WHIP is 1.01, his baa is .238
and he has a 31/3 k/bb ratio. Add to the fact that he has given up only
two home runs, this season, and one would ask why he is still in
Chattanooga. Elbert’s numbers are not as good as Lindblom’s, but if we
minus out his last start, his numbers are very close to Lindblom, aside
from the k/bb ratio. Still, Elbert is averaging over a strike out an
inning and has kept the ball in the park. His command issues are still
there as he is averaging a walk every two innings. Still, that is
showing some improvement for Elbert as he was good for two walks every
three innings in the past. The bullpen arms of Garate, Koss, Sartor and
Rodriguez continue to perform well and with Cory Wade doing a fine
impression of a gascan, we do have some help close by.

Aside from Josh Bell, there is not much to get giddy about in the
Lookout lineup. Bell, who is still healthy, had a very nice ten game
run where he hit .361 with two bombs and ten ribs. He is showing an
improved idea at the plate as his strikeouts have come down as his base
on balls are increasing. Right now he has a 25/32 bb/k ratio. All in
all, his numbers are better and it is affecting his glove work as he is
not clearing out the seats behind first base as often. Andrew Lambo is
showing an upswing, but obp percentage is not acceptable at .330. He is
showing sufficient pop and one can give him a pass as he is very young
for the Southern League. Tony Abreu is hitting well, .372 over the past
ten days, but he has only drawn one walk this year and that isn’t going
to impress the folks in LA. Lastly, get healthy quick Lucas May. I know
I have been hard on the kid in the past, with good reason, but he is
showing signs that he could be getting an idea and so there is some
hope he could be as good as Logan White thinks.

I wish I had something exciting to say about the Sixers, but it was
one bad stretch for the kids. We have already covered Scott Van Slyke’s
tribulations, so I will look at what has worked this week. Preston
Mattingly had a great week, bringing his average up to. 306 with a .356
week with a pair of bombs and six ribs. Unfortunately, Preston didn’t
land too close to the tree as he has drawn only one walk, this season.
It might behoove dad to work with his son on plate discipline. The same
issue is prevalent with the franchise as only Alex Garabedian has a
reasonable obp. Trayvon Robinson is still raking, but he is striking
out like a young Kingman, albeit without the power. On the pitching
end, Tim Sexton and Alberto Bastardo continue to show signs of being
prospects, but Steve Johnson is putting up some impressive numbers. He
has 60ks in 47ip and his baa is .230. It would be interesting to see
how he would do in less pitcher-friendly league. Erik Krebs, who we
acquired in the Delwyn Young trade made his debut, working two innings
with a strikeout.

Again, the sticks have taken a vacation as the Loons had only one
hitter show any life, this week. Anthony Hatch, all of 25, had the only
good week. Tony Delmonico, Jaime Pedroza, Dee Gordon, Kyle Russell and
Austin Gallagher all had weeks that would frighten Stephen King.
Delmonico had the best numbers of the lot, hitting .238. I should be
fair, Nick Buss pushed his ba up to .301 and showed some pop,
otherwise, it was plenty ugly in the batters box for the Loons. On the
pitching end, the pen continues to be the Loons’ strength. Javy Guerra
and his .71 WHIP is the leader of this fine pen. His baa is .138 and he
has a 5/1 k/bb split. Equally impressive have been Robert Boothe and
Josh Walter. Booth, our Japanese import, is putting up some scary
numbers as a set up guy. In 23 innings, he has 37 strikeouts and has
yet to give up a home run. He is holding hitters to a .200 batting
average. Walter also has looked strong 4.5/1 bb/k split. He is even
more stingy than Boothe as opposing hitters are only hitting .190
against him.

Lastly, Ethan Martin had a start that I think he would want to
forget. In his last outing, he went only one and two thirds innings,
giving up eight earned runs and not striking out a single hitter. Even
with that abomination, he is keeping opposing hitters in control with a
.234 baa and his strikeout numbers are still promising as he has 45ks
in 36 innings. Justin Miller has been improving on his numbers and I
still regard him as a very interesting pitching prospect.

With the Amateur Draft coming up, it would be remiss of me to not
speculate on what Logan White will do a couple weeks. The latest mock
has the Dodgers taking rhp Matt Hobgood from Norco, CA. Hobgood has the
requisite size and arm that appeals to Logan White. He is a 6’5″ 240lb
righty (sounds just like Lindblom) with a power fastball and two other
plus pitches. The big question concerning him is his command or lack
thereof. Other names attached to the Dodgers with their first pick are
rhp/ss Mychal Givens and c Austin Maddox. Both would be reaches at 36,
but reasonable picks in the second round. IMHO, I like Keyvius Sampson
as our first pick. He shows some of the same abilities as Edwin Jackson
with the same command issues, but any kid who can deal at 97 is worth
my interest. Other names, in the later rounds, that I hope we take a
hard look at are c Luke Bailey (could be a steal as he is recovering
from TJ surgery) and cf/lhp James Jones from Long Island University.
Jones, who looked like a strong pitching prospect has had a bad year on
the hill, but has looked very good with the stick and could have five
tool ability.

Seeing as how we don’t have a first round pick, it appears that
Frank McCourt is figuring out we can augment our draft by being players
on the international market. To that end, our presence in the Dominican
is returning to the heydays of the seventies and eighties. Although we
are not players for the big names, Guillermo Pimentel or Miguel Sano,
we are close with outfielder Wagner Mateo, who some feel is nearly as
good as Pimentel, plus we are leading the pace on five tool outfielder,
Jose Pena and are have made a big impression with Luis Jolly, another
outfielder with a strong bat, but likely a future left fielder as his
arm is not good. In the Far East, Logan White just recently inked a 22
year old righy from Korea, Ji-Mo Lee. Lee, who last pitched for the
Lotte Giants, has completed his military hitch and White gushed over
his pitches. I suspect we will see him in Ogden in a couple weeks. We
have also been scouting high school lefty, Yusei Kikuchi, who has been
compared with Junichi Tazawa, the recently signed Red Sox prospect.
Kikuchi has a higher upside than Tazawa, but is also more raw and will
not make his debut in AA as Tazawa has. That is all I have this week,
but as the draft approaches, I will be going to draft mode. Hopefully,
we will have a better idea what Logan White will do.

Thanks, Torgy!  Until next time!  

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