Oneil Cruz and Will Craig both made Baseball America’s hot sheet this week, coming in at 5th and 7th, respectively. BA notes that Cruz will probably always fan a lot but has made great strides with his contact issues. They also see him as a corner outfielder long-term and mention his “(at least) 6-foot-6 frame,” a nod to rumors that he’s really even taller. Craig is pretty simple: He hit 522/607/1261 for the week.
The GCL Pirates started play today. Hopefully, they’ll add some late-round, above-slot prep draftees, along with their two first-day prep pitchers, both of whom are expected to sign. For now, the roster is largely made up of players from the DSL, most of whom are unknown quantities. There are also a handful of college draftees, which harkens unhappily to the Littlefield years. Probably the two guys to watch, at least for now, are catcher Samuel Inoa and outfielder Jean Eusebio. (Sherten Apostel will skip the level and go to Bristol, which should be interesting.) Morgantown’s roster is also in flux right now as a lot of the college draftees haven’t signed yet. A couple are still in the College World Series. I’ll try to post previews posted for those two teams and Bristol in the next week or so.
West Virginia is off for their All-Star break, and Indianapolis and Altoona were also off today.
— Bradenton (34-29) beat Clearwater, 3-2, in ten innings. Hunter Owen, who was 2-5 with a double, had the game-winner, a walkoff infield hit with the bases loaded and two out. Jared Oliva (pictured) went 2-5 with his eighth home run, which tied the game in the seventh. The first Marauder run came when Alfredo Reyes stole home. Reyes also struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the tenth, leaving things up to Owen. Starter Mike Wallace gave up two runs over six innings. Blake Weiman got the win with two scoreless innings and managed to strand the bogus runner in the tenth.
Adrian Valerio: 1-4
Bligh Madris: 1-4
— Morgantown lost its fourth straight to open the season, 9-6, to Batavia. Sixth round pick Michael Flynn had a rough debut, getting hammered for seven hits and six runs in two innings. He walked none and struck out three. Cam Alldred, the 24th round pick, had a better debut, with a 1-2-3 inning that included two strikeouts. There still aren’t many players of any interest in the Black Bears’ lineup yet. Seventh rounder Brett Kinneman went 1-4 with a double and two RBIs. Fourteenth rounder Daniel Amaral was 1-3 with a walk and HBP. Travis Swaggerty is on the roster now, but didn’t play today.
— The GCL Pirates got pummeled in their opener, 12-4, against the Blue Jays. Starter Noe Toribio, who’s one of a handful of maybe-prospect starters moving up from the DSL, went five innings, which is a little surprising at this stage. He gave up seven runs, five earned, on seven hits, with two walks and five strikeouts. Ji-Hwan Bae made his pro debut, playing short and going 1-5 with a double. Samuel Inoa and Jean Eusebio each went 2-4.
— The DSL Pirates1 (6-8) lost to the Dodgers Guerrero by the same 12-4 score. Juan Pie continued to rake, going 2-4 with a double and a walk. He has a 1.142 OPS through his first dozen games. A bunch of pitchers had bad days.
— The DSL Pirates2 (4-10) blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth and lost to the Tigers2, 4-3. Luis Peralta had a nice game in relief, throwing four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and a walk, and fanned five. Angel Basabe was 1-4 with a triple and a walk. He has a 1.010 OPS through his first 11 games. Stiwatt Valerio was 2-3 with two RBIs.