Tough day on opening day for Royals affiliates as all three clubs playing fell on the night. Inconsistent starting pitching was the name of the game as Chris Dwyer struggled throwing strikes with his fastball for the Naturals, Leonel Santiago struggled with a bit of everything giving up 7 hits 2 walks and 6 runs (5 earned) for the Cougars. As for Mike Montgomery it was a tale of two games for the young lefty. In the second inning the Isotopes jumped all over Montgomery early in counts as eight hitters came to the plate none of which went past a four pitch count while many were swinging away earlier and having success lining singles through the holes. After the second inning however Montgomery settled down and gave up just one run over the next three innings retiring the last 7 hitters he faced. On the night Monty finished with 5 IP 6 H 5 ER 2 BB 3 K not quite the start to the season the young lefty was looking for but in the long run was a good learning experience for the future. The game really got away for the Storm Chasers when Steven Shell got knocked around in his 1 inning of work giving up 5 runs partly due to a collision in the outfield by Paulo Orlando and David Lough.
Daily Tap Top Hitter Clint Robinson 2-4 2 HR 2 RBI
Daily Tap Top Pitcher Dusty Odenbach 0.2 IP 1 K 0 H entered with the bases loaded and stranded them there. Not many to really get excited about on the first day.
MATCHUP OF THE WEEK
Northwest Arkansas Naturals John Lamb
San Antonio Missions Casey Kelly
Our 14for77 Matchup of the Week features two top 35 prospects in John Lamb and Casey Kelly. Lamb has been recovering from a muscle strain that has kept his velocity down most of the spring but his craftiness and experience at the AA level should give him the upper hand versus AA hitters.
Casey Kelly was the top piece in the Adrian Gonzalez deal for the Padres and as a 21 year old in AA he has plenty of promise for their fanbase. Kelly should be a nice test for the Naturals hitters with his 89-93 peaking at 96 mph fastball and plus change up. Kelly also throws a curveball that has some average projection but he struggles commanding it currently. Kelly's delivery is smooth and easy and he's a above average athlete who should be a plus fielder as a former players son and a excellent high school shortstop in his own right.
The Naturals only punched out 5 hits last night and two of those were punched out by getting tossed out stealing. Kelly could prove a tough pitcher to get that offense going especially for a right handed heavy lineup like the Naturals whose 7 of the 9 hitters in last nights lineup were right handed. Christian Colon 2010 4th pick overall had a good night accounting for both Naturals runs homering in his first AA at bat and driving in another run in on a single later in the game.
Blue Rocks start their season
Wilmington Blue Rocks Tim Melville
Myrtle Beach Pelicans Neil Ramirez
Tim Melville the Royals 2008 4th Round pick is back after a difficult season last year at High A Wilmington. Melville has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher with a possible plus fastball, curve combination combined with a change that has peaked above average at times as well. Melville's biggest problem has been his pace which leads to control problems. JJ Picollo touted Melville as a possible fast mover to the AA level this season which hopefully means they fixed things during instructs and spring.
Neil Ramirez is a soon to be 22 year old right hander who finds himself outside of the Top 20 prospects in a deep Texas Rangers farm system. According to Jason Parks at Texas Farm Review has two plus pitches in his 92-94 mph fastball and his curve that has heavy vertical movement.
Mike Olt and Leury Garcia are two of the top 15 prospect in the Texas Rangers system.
Omaha Storm Chasers Jeff Suppan
Albuquerque Isotopes(Dodgers) Carlos Monasterios
Suppan rejoins the Royals organization after a few years away. He'll try to prove he's worth a look at the major league level and hopefully be a good mentor to the young guys coming thru the system.
Monasterios came over in the Bobby Abreu deal from the Yankees back in 2006 and spent quite a bit of 2010 on the major league roster. He threw 32 games (13 starts) in the bigs last season compiling a 4.38 ERA in 88.1 IP. Monasterios is primarily a fastball/change up guy as over 80% of his pitches in the majors were of that variety. His change up is his plus pitch with fading action on it at an average of 77.6 mph as that teams well with his 90.1 mph fastball last season. Carlos was prone to the long ball last season giving up 1.5+/9 last year which playing in LA's spacious park is quite alot and considering he'll be playing in the light air in New Mexico the Chasers could take advantage of that.
The Storm Chasers defense struggled in the first game as they left multiple outs on the field. The offense did account for 12 hits and 5 runs in the loss on the positive side.
Kane County Cougars Sugar Ray Marimom
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Matt Miller
Sugar Ray Marimom is back for his second year at A ball where the young Columbian struggled in 14 starts allowing 1.429 WHIP and over 5 run ERA. He and a few others in the current rotation will be pushed to get off to decent starts prior to some of the younger arms coming after extended spring training.
Miller was picked last year in the 5th round out of Michigan and quickly earned rave reviews by folks in the Brewers system as he touched 97 mph on his normal 92-94 mph FB. He has a four pitch mix with the above average FB he also throws a plus slider, decent change up and began throwing a curveball last season in leading his Pioneer league team to a title. At 6'6 230 lbs and possessing a big time fastball Miller at worst looks the part as a future bullpen guy.
The Cougars struggled all over the diamond as the pitching staff gave up 14 hits in the first 7.1 Innings while committing three errors and the bats were held to just 6 hits only one of which was an extra base hit(Eibner HR).