Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
The Bakersfield Blaze (CIN) are now 23-8 after a 6-1 week, making them the first team in Minor League Baseball to reach 23 victories. While the Blaze have been in first place in the North all season, the South has a new leader after the Lake Elsinore Storm (SD) completed a 6-1 week as part of a 9-1 run in their last ten games. The Storm are now 19-12 and have a one-game lead on High Desert (SEA) and Lancaster (HOU).
For Bakersfield, the club was on fire offensively this week, hitting over .300 as a team. Kyle Waldrop still leads the league in batting average and has a line of .392/.435/.560 through Sunday. He had 12 hits this week, including two home runs. Ryan Wright is currently on a nine-game hitting streak, while first baseman Marquez Smith homered twice and drove in nine. Outfielder Jon Matthews was 9-for-21.
High Desert’s Patrick Kivlehan still leads the California League with eight home runs, though he did not go deep this week.He did post a 4-for-5 game May 2, in which the corner infielder drove in four runs, giving him 32 RBI on the season. Catcher Tyler Marlette has homered in back-to-back ballgames for the Mavericks. Outfielder Jabari Henry also homered twice and drove in eight runs over the course of the week.
Second baseman Sherman Johnson has been solid at the plate this season for the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA). The left-handed hitter drove in five runs out of the leadoff spot this week, scored four runs and stole three bases. He has a line of .274/.386/.402 on the season, and is tied for third in the league with 22 walks.
Diego Goris was a big part of Lake Elsinore’s big week. The infielder was 10-for-29 with a home run and five RBI with six runs scored. Outfielder Luis Domoromo had four multi-hit ballgames this week, and has six games in his last eight in which he has had more than one hit, all as part of an eight-game hitting streak that came to an end Saturday.
Lancaster’s Rio Ruiz had a hit in each game this week, including his second home run of the season. The third baseman is now hitting .305/.366/.441. Outfielder Teoscar Hernandez broke out of his rough stretch (1-for-31) by going 7-for-12 with two homers, four RBI and four runs scored against San Jose in three games this weekend.
Juan Ciriaco was the brightest spot for Modesto (COL) this week. The infielder is 6-for-13 in his last four games, scoring six runs and driving in five over that span. He also had his first home run of the season for the Nuts.
First baseman Chris Jacobs was huge for Rancho Cucamonga (LAD). Listed at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds, the 25-year old homered in three consecutive games for the Quakes and has driven in seven runs in his last four games. Catcher Tyler Ogle is 7-for-15 in his last four ballgames.
San Jose’s (SF) Mitch Delfino put together another strong week for the Giants that included four multi-hit ballgames. The third baseman had a homer and nine RBI, giving him an impressive line of .336/.363/.538 with seven long balls and 25 RBI on the season. Shortstop Blake Miller also drove in nine runs and hit a homer. He was 11-for-29, but the 24-year old had his 11-game hitting streak snapped Sunday. Shawn Payne joined the club this week and is off to a terrific start, collecting an extra-base hit in all five games he played. He also stole four bases.
Chad Pinder continues to hit well for Stockton (OAK). The middle infielder had three consecutive three-hit games this week for the Ports, including his seventh home run of the season. The 22-year old owns a line of .327/.362/.636 in 26 games this year, and his slugging percentage leads the California League.
For Visalia (ARZ), outfielder Alex Glenn is 11-for-22 in his last five games, including a home run, four RBI and eight runs scored. Diamondbacks third base prospect Brandon Drury currently owns a six-game hitting streak. He homered and drove in two runs Sunday.
This week was not kind to several members of the Stockton Ports lineup. Ryon Healy was just 2-for-30 and prospect Renato Nunez has seen his line dip to .237/.283/.464 after going 2-for-13 in four games this week.
The Bakersfield pitching staff has been nearly as good as the offense to this point of the season, ranking second in the California League in ERA. Closer Carlos Gonzalez was busy this week as he recorded three saves and a win in four outings. The closer for the Blaze has nine saves in 14.1 scoreless innings across 13 appearances this season. Oh, and Ben Lively still leads the league in pretty much every major statistical category. He earned his sixth win of the season Friday.
High Desert’s Matt Anderson has put together strong starts back-to-back, including six shutout innings this week against Lancaster. He allowed three hits, three walks and struck out four.
The scoreless streaks continue for Inland Empire’s Austin Adams and Kurt Spomer. Each worked 4.1 innings this week, giving them a combined 32.2 innings for the 66ers so far this year without allowing a run.
Reliever Trevor Gott was great for Lake Elsinore this week as he worked four scoreless innings in four appearances for the Storm. The 21-year old had three saves and a win. Cody Hebner added five scoreless innings, giving him a current streak of six games and 9.1 innings without allowing a run.
Lancaster’s Josh Hader worked seven scoreless innings across two appearances this week. The lefty was perfect in three innings of relief April 26 and struck out six in the process. He started against High Desert and allowed one hit and five walks in four shutout innings. As a starter in the Astros piggy-back system, Hader is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts, but has a 6.52 ERA in three appearances out of the bullpen.
Shane Broyles has struggled this season for Modesto, but looked strong in two appearances this week. In four scoreless innings, the 22-year old right-hander allowed one hit and one walk and struck out four.
Rancho Cucamonga’s Fabio Martinez has looked good most of the season thus far including his two starts this week. The native of San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic worked 13 total innings, including six no-hit innings against Inland Empire April 28. The righty allowed one earned run in each appearance on a combined two hits and nine walks. Left-handed prospect Tom Windle went seven scoreless innings May 2 against Stockton. The 22-year old struck out seven and allowed just three hits and two walks for the Quakes. Young star Julio Urias looked great in three perfect innings against Inland Empire April 30. He struck out five, giving the 17-year old lefty 18 in 13.2 innings this season.
Reliever Steven Okert continues to pitch well for the Giants. The lefty worked 3.1 scoreless innings in three games, allowing only one hit and one walk. In 14.2 innings across 14 appearances this season, Okert has a 1.23 ERA with six saves and 22 strikeouts.
Omar Duran was great in long relief for Stockton this week. The 24-year old lefty held High Desert scoreless for 3.1 innings April 27, earning the save, and them worked 3.2 scoreless against Rancho Cucamonga on May 2.
James Allen has a rough week for Bakersfield. He allowed nine earned runs over two starts totaling 8.2 innings, and surrendered 13 hits, including two home runs, and five walks. The 24-year old right-hander has allowed seven home runs this season.
Seattle prospect Tyler Pike struggled in his May 2 start against Visalia. The lefty allowed five earned runs on five hits – three of them home runs – and four walks in 4.2 innings for High Desert.