Week in Review: California League


Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The teams in the California League have a rare off day today, but the Week in Review never rests! Several top prospects put together great performances over the last seven days, and the race for the first half championships are tight in both divisions.

In the South, High Desert (SEA) and Lancaster (HOU) continue to duke it out for first place. The clubs are currently tied atop the standings with matching 22-16 records, but have Lake Elsinore (SD) right on their tails just one game back in the standings. Bakersfield (CIN) continues to lead the North, but with four straight losses – including a three-game sweep at the hands of Visalia (ARZ) – the Rawhide has crept to within three games at 23-15.

Individual Hitting

It is no surprise that Carlos Correa has continued to hit well for the Lancaster JetHawks. The 19-year old phenom is in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 ballgames. Houston’s top prospect went 5-for-6 Saturday in High Desert, and drove in six runs in the game. So far this year Correa is hitting .323/.379/.460 with two home runs and 29 RBI in 30 games.

As good as Correa was this week, he was not even the best performer on his own team. His double-play partner, Anthony Kemp, was 17-for-26 and had multiple hits in each of his last six games. That increased his average to .372 and his on-base percentage to .463 this season, both of which leads the league. His 44 runs scored are the league’s top total by 11. Teammate Teoscar Hernandez has also been on a tear, but his nine-game hitting streak ended Sunday. The outfielder had five doubles and scored six runs for the JetHawks.

The good news is that Mariners prospect Patrick Kivlehan has hit nine home runs (most in the California League) and collected 35 RBI (ranks second) for High Desert this season. The bad news is (for the Mavericks, not Kivelehan) is that the Week in Review mainstay was recently promoted to Double-A Jackson. Fellow prospect D.J. Peterson put together a great week at the plate in High Desert. The third baseman knocked in ten runs over the course of the week and homered twice Sunday.

Another young shortstop, 20-year old Jose Rondon, was a hit machine for Inland Empire (LAA) this week. Rondon had 15 hits, five of them doubles, and is now hitting .331/.350/.408 this season. Second baseman Sherman Johnson saw his nine-game hitting streak come to a close Sunday, but he had a string of four straight multi-hit games this week, including a homer and seven RBI. Johnson has compiled a slash line of .294/.394/.441 in 37 games.

Marquez Smith continues to hit well for the Blaze. The Bakersfield first baseman had five RBI, including a home run Sunday – to increase his league-leading total to 38 runs driven in. Ryan Wright also saw a hitting streak snap this week, losing his Friday after 12 games. The second baseman homered twice this week and drove in four runs as part of a 10-for-25 stint.

Visalia outfielder Alex Glenn stayed hot this week, connecting on two more home runs. That gives the Georgia native eight this year, which is tied for second most in the California League. First baseman Rudy Flores hit safely in every game, including a homer May 7.

The Stockton Ports (OAK) have won five games in a row, thanks in part to Daniel Robertson. The shortstop prospect is 11-for-26 in his last six games, which includes a home run and five RBI. Fellow infielder Renato Nunez has hit safely in nine straight games. He homered, scored nine runs and drove in four this week.

Rancho Cucamonga (LAD) first baseman Chris Jacobs had two more home runs this week, pushing his season total to eight. In seven games, he was 10-for-28, scored five runs and drove in seven. A twelve-game hitting streak has landed third baseman Brandon Dixon on our list. The 22-year old drove in six runs, scored ten times this week and connected on his third home run of the season.

Diego Goris is now hitting .331/.352/.512 after a 10-for-20 performance in his last five ballgames for Lake Elsinore. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe homered for the Storm.

San Jose (SF) Outfielder Elliott Blair brought his batting average back to .317 after a 4-for-4 effort Sunday.

Individual Pitching

Ho hum. Another seven scoreless innings and a win for Reds pitching prospect Ben Lively. The Pensacola, Florida native should be pitching for his hometown team soon, but the Bakersfield Blaze will be happy to have him as long as they can. To this point in the season, Lively is 6-0 with a 0.63 ERA with a mind-boggling 54 strikeouts and three walks in 42.2 innings.

Perhaps even more impressive this week was Visalia right-hander Brandon Sinnery, who tossed a nine inning complete game shutout Saturday against the Blaze. The 24-year old allowed seven hits, did not walk a batter, hit one, and struck out four. He is now 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in eight starts for the Rawhide.

Inland Empire’s Austin Adams continued his scoreless streak, which now sits at 18 innings across 12 appearances. The right-handed reliever has allowed six hits and walked 15, though only one of those walks has come in his last 7.1 innings. He has struck out 22 and earned his first save of the season Saturday. Adams turned 23 years old last week.

The Modesto Nuts (COL) continue to struggle this season, but the club got a nice week from starter Devin Burke. On Monday, the 23-year old righty earned a win after tossing 5.1 solid innings against San Jose. He struck out nine Giants, allowed six hits and walked one. Five days later, Burke worked five scoreless innings against Stockton. He allowed only two hits, walked three and struck out four.

All San Jose lefty Joseph Kurrasch did was work 12 scoreless innings this week in his first two starts of the season for the Giants. He allowed only six hits and one walk total, and earned a victory Sunday over Inland Empire