Mandatory Credit: Dave Weaver-USA Today Sports
In the third week of the California League season, the Visalia Rawhide (ARZ) made a big jump in the standings. The Diamondbacks’ Advanced Class-A affiliate went 5-1, including three consecutive come from behind victories. Visalia rallied from three runs down on Thursday, four on Friday and six Saturday to move into a first place tie in the North with Bakersfield (CIN). High Desert (SEA) and Lancaster (HOU) are tied for first in the Southern Division.
The two Los Angeles affiliates have struggled in the standings, but have been very strong on the mound. The Inland Empire 66ers (LAA) are just 6-11, but lead the California League with a 2.89 ERA and only 65 runs (51 earned) allowed this season. Similarly, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAD) are 5-12 despite the league’s third-best ERA at 3.61.
Who’s Hot: Padres prospect Hunter Renfroe (pictured) had a big week and raised his line from .214/.340/.405 to .265/.342/.544 after hitting safely in five of six games this week. The right fielder connected on three homers and drove in 12 runs. Teammate Alberth Martinez also had hits in five of six games, including three multi-hit games this week. The 23-year old outfielder is hitting .352/.392/.535 this year for Lake Elsinore (SD).
High Desert corner infielder Patrick Kivlehan leads the Cal League with seven home runs after a monster week in which he hit four in two games. In all, Kivlehan had three multi-hit games and nine RBI this week.
Lancaster’s Carlos Correa had four multi-hit contests, including two triples, a home run and four RBI. Teoscar Hernandez continued his hot hitting and has collected hits in 14 of 16 games this season, including six in a row, with six RBI this week. He ranks among the league’s leaders with five triples, 15 RBI, seven stolen bases and a line of .333/.400/.606 this year.
Visalia had impressive showings from Rudy Flores, Brandon Jacobs ad Brandon Drury this week. Flores is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, while Jacobs has hit safely in nine of his last ten. Drury had seven hits over the week and is tied for the league lead with seven doubles.
Bakersfield still has the league’s best offense, and is led by the league’s leader in batting average, Kyle Waldrop. The outfielder had nine hits in six games this week, including his first home run of the season. He has a season line of .419/.493/.532.
For Inland Empire, shortstop Jose Rondon had a big week with four multi-hit games and five RBI. Fellow Angels prospect Wade Hinkle had six hits in five games, and has a line of .388/.474/.633 to this point.
Mac Williamson had four games with multiple hits this week, and homered twice for San Jose (SF).
Rosell Herrera hit safely in five of six games last week, but has just one extra-base hit this season for Modesto (COL).
Infielder Chad Pinder has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games this season for Stockton (OAK).
While no one has really been hot for Rancho Cucamonga, Dodgers infield prospect Corey Seager connected for his first home run of the season Friday, and drove in four runs this week.
Who’s Not: Modesto’s Trevor Story has been the Nuts’ best offensive performer this season, but was just 1-for-17 last week with eight strikeouts.
Who’s Hot: The Rawhide rank second in the league with a 2.89 team ERA and reliever Jimmie Sherfy is a big piece of that success. The right-hander collected a win and a save in three innings this week. In all, the California native has allowed only four base runners, including one hit (.048 BAA), two walks and one hit batsman in seven innings. Sherfry has struck out 17 so far, including 11 of the 13 right-handed hitters he has faced this season. Spencer Arroyo worked seven scoreless innings versus Modesto Tuesday and Andrew Barbosa leads the California League with 28 strikeouts this season.
For the 66ers, Kyle McGowin tossed seven shutout innings Monday. Following a loss in Saturday’s start, the 22-year old right-hander has a 1.64 ERA across 22 innings. Relievers Kurt Spomer and Austin Adams each have spotless ERAs this season after 13.1 and 8.2 innings, respectively, thus far.
Lake Elsinore’s Joseph Ross continues his strong 2014 performance. After a strong 5.1 inning start Friday, the Padres prospect has allowed just one run in his last 16.1 innings. Teammate Zach Eflin posted two solid starts, with one earned run in 11.2 innings last week.
Houston’s High Class-A affiliate has been led by Vincent Velasquez, who is 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA this year. In his last start, the righty allowed only one hit and walked three over five scoreless innings. He has held opponents to a .108 batting average this season. Fellow prospect Lance McCullers earned a save in four scoreless innings in his last appearance in the Astros’ piggybacking system.
Kendry Flores struck out nine in six shutout innings for the Giants this week, allowing three hits and one walk in the start. Lefty reliever Steven Okert allowed his first run of the season, but collected three saves in three appearances this week. The San Francisco prospect has struck out 16 hitters in 8.1 innings this year.
Bakersfield’s Ben Lively continues to impress with six more shutout innings versus Stockton this week, as he struck out ten and allowed just two hits. The right-hander has a California League leading 0.53 ERA and has not issued a walk in 17 innings this season.
Modesto is still in the basement with a 4-13 record thanks to a 5.81 team ERA – worst in the league by more than a run. However, a trio of solid relievers – Brandon Erbe, Alvin Mejias, and Jacob Newbery all have ERAs under 2.00.
Chris Anderson tossed six shutout innings for Rancho this week. He allowed two hits and four walks against Visalia and struck out seven.
Will Mathis had two saves in two appearances this week for High Desert. He has allowed only four hits and a .114 batting average in 10.2 scoreless innings.
Who’s Not: Matt Anderson was the Opening Day starter for High Desert, but has struggled mightily. He has a 1-2 record and 10.26 ERA in four starts, totaling 16.2 innings this season. Anderson allowed five earned runs in both starts this week, and has allowed at least three earned runs in all four appearances.