Brandon Larson Honorary Star of the Weekend
Graham Ashcraft - 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
2021 Stats (A+/AA) - 72.2 IP, 2.11 ERA, 0.963 WHIP, 5.7 H/9, 0.00 HR/9, 3.0 BB/9, 11.1 K/9, 3.75 K/W
Sweeps are gross. Friday had Louisville tossing Hunter “John Deere” Greene out onto the mound so you’d figure they would win that game. Nope. Greene wasn’t terrible but did give up three earned over five innings (4 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR). The bullpen, led by two strikeouts over two innings by Matt “Quick” Pidich, did their best to keep the game close but the offense just couldn’t stitch together any consistency. On Saturday, the bullpen again was solid with Brandon “Shamrock” Finnegan covering two scoreless innings with two strikeouts but at that point the damage had already been done. Again, nothing of major note from the offense on Saturday. Sunday was an overall clunker but Alfredo “Sauce” Rodriguez did go 2 for 3 with a walk, run scored, and a RBI. TJ “Best” Friedl “Forever” did walk twice on Saturday and Sunday.
Things were looking up further south as the Lookouts at least won one game this weekend. On Friday, Nick “LOL” Lodolo took the start and wasn’t great but still did awesome Nick “FOMO” Lodolo things. He did give up three earned over only four innings (5 H, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR) but I’ll take his peripheral line any day. Alexis “Texas” Diaz struck out two in two shutout innings from the pen. Pedro “Cinnamon” Cedrola did the most to keep the Lookouts in the game by going 2 for 5 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored.
“Golden” Graham Ashcraft continues to be one of the most dominant arms in the Cincy minors but in all of professional baseball. On Saturday, he pitched seven shutout innings while only giving up four hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts. Anyone that thinks this guy could get traded right now isn’t paying attention. No one in the Reds system has made the development gains this guy has considering his draft spot. You should get excited. It would be difficult for me to think of a pitcher that tore it up like this since possibly Tony Cingrani. On the offensive side Robbie “Brobbie” Tenerowicz hit a solo dinger and Brian “Sey Hey” Rey went 2 for 4 with a double. Sunday was a literal shit parade but Tenerowicz hit a three run bomb to draw the game closer.
In a battle of rust bucket cities, the Fort Wayne TinCaps traveled through the cornfields to battle the mighty Dayton Dragons this weekend and the Dragons stole what little pride the city of Fort Wayne still clung to by winning the weekend. Probably. The game on Friday was a boring one because the good guys lost so let us move on to happier times. On Saturday, frowns turned into smiles as Jacques “Machu” Pucheu struck out nine over five innings while only giving up an earned run (2 H, 1 BB, 9 K) to give the offense a chance to get a head start and they did. Francisco “Dank” Urbaez went 2 for 4 with two RBI, and Juan Martinez went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Michael “Seeing Eye” Siani went 1 for 3 with a walk, run scored, and two stolen bases. On Sunday, Carson “City” Spiers gave up only an earned run over five innings (3 H, 1 BB, 8 K) and Vincent Timpanelli “Hall” picked up his first save for Dayton after his promotion with a strikeout in a shutout inning to bang the door closed. Victor “E” Ruiz doubled twice, knocked in three, and scored a run and Miguel Hernandez singled twice, walked once, and scored a run.
Daytona came down to being a walk off away from sweeping the weekend on Sunday against the Mighty Mussels. Instead, they had to settle for two out of three. I’d like to point out how sweet a name that is by the way. Their mascot is literally just a super jacked clam. The game on Friday turned into a bullpen duel with Juan “More Than” Abril (1.2 IP, 3 K), Sam “Bringing” Hellinger “With Him” (3 IP, 5 K), and Stevie “Tree” Branche (2 IP, 3 K) bringing the fire power. 2020 first round pick, Austin Hendrick “Motor Sports”, found his power swing and went 2 for 4 with his fourth dinger of the year, a two run shot, and a walk. On Saturday, 2020 third round pick, Bryce “Baby Bonnet” Bonnin continued to put up good numbers in his debut season. Bonnin pitched five shutout innings while surrendering only one hit, two walks, while striking out seven. Ivan “Keel” Johnson went 2 for 5 with a two run homer, and Wendell “The Arrow” Marrero singled, walked twice, and scored a run. Sunday’s game turned into another bullpen affair and no one was particularly that exciting to mention. However, Austin Hendrick again went 2 for 4 with a double.
It’s nice to see him have a little more success. He’s struck out a lot this year (37.7%) and didn’t hit for power early. The nice thing to see from him, though, is his near 20% walk rate. He’s a super raw prospect so we should expect some growing pains from him. He’ll eventually find the power (he’s been showing some lately), and I love the fact that he’s looking to take a walk at such a young age.