Down on the Farm: AA Report
The Rock Cats got very solid first starts out of Ryan Mullins (5 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks, 3 K's) and Anthony Swarzak (5 innings, 3 hits, 1 earned run, a walk, and 4 K's) to start out the season, with the bullpen blowing the lead and taking the loss both times. Five innings isn't bad to start off a minor league season, and I would expect both to start extending a bit as the season progresses. Unfortunately, the third start of the season wasn't as good -- Jay Rainville took the loss in game three, going 3.1 innings and allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 5 walks. Ouch. Yohan Pino and Jason Miller were both mentioned as possible starters going into the season, but so far both have been used in relief -- Miller twice and Pino once. It remains to be seen which of them will get time in the rotation moving forward. Finally, Oswaldo Sosa also will be in the rotation, but through yesterday he had not yet pitched.
As is usually the case, there is good news and bad news out of the bullpen. Zach Ward has made two appearances and pitched 2.2 innings, allowing just 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 2. The aforementioned Pino was also solid in his sole relief outing, going 2 innings and allowing just a hit. David Shinskie's one inning, one hit performance also deserves an honorable mention. On the not as good side are Ben Julianel, who through two appearances has gone 2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 2. The two bullpen losses, meanwhile, have gone to Armando Gabino and Jay Sawatski, who both gave up a run in an inning of work.
Drew Butera started two of the three games for the Rock Cats so far, going 2-6 with a walk. The defensive whiz also had a passed ball in the first game of the season -- I wouldn't expect to see all that many of those this season. Jeff Christy picked up one start in the first three games, going 0-4 in a pretty unremarkable performance.
Brock Peterson started at first in all three games and struggled mightily at the plate, going 0-11 with 3 K's. At second, the week belonged largely to Steven Tolleson, who started two games and went 0-7 with a walk and a K. The other start went to veteran minor leaguer Felix Molina, who also picked up two starts at shortstop this week. Overall, Molina went 2-10 with a RBI and a walk -- and he was also caught stealing once. Trevor Plouffe, who I fully expected to be the regular starter at SS this season for New Britain, started only the first game and went 1-5 with a K -- I would guess that he suffered some sort of minor injury in that game, because there doesn't seem to be any other reason for him not to be starting (although I haven't read anything about an injury -- that's why I assume that it was minor if it happened at all). Finally, third base belonged exclusively to Luke Hughes in Week 1, and he went 2-9 with a couple of walks, a strikeout, and a run scored (something of a rarity for the Rock Cats this week).
The only constant in the outfield this week was in center, where Brandon Roberts started all three games and went 1-12 with 4 K's, 2 BB's, and a stolen base. David Winfree started two games in right and also got a start as the DH, going 1-9 with 4 BB's and 4 K's while scoring a couple of runs. Former top prospect Matt Moses started his second career as an outfielder by getting the call in left on opening night; he also DH'd for a game. Moses ended up week 1 by going 2-8 with a double and a steal. Former Met Dustin Martin picked up a start in left and one in right, going 3-6 with a 2 doubles, 2 RBI's, a run scored, a walk, and a couple of K's. Without question, he was the offensive performer of the week for New Britain -- but that's not saying much. Finally, Erik Lis started a game in left and one as the DH, and went 1-8 with a horrendous 5 K's. Lis has always struck out a lot, but that's a horrid stretch even by his standards. I'm hoping his bat will pick up speed quickly (although if he's missing breaking balls, that probably won't help!).