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Farmers Only Weekly Harvest - Cam Collier hits everything, Chattanooga wins while being no-hit

Highlights from the first week of minor league action.

A steam locomotive in the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cam Collier was ranked by many wonks as the best pure hitter eligible for the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft, and it was a bit surprising to see him fall down draft boards when picks starting to come off the board last summer. So, when he was still available at pick #18 when the Cincinnati Reds were on the clock, it was a big time relief to see him be Cincinnati’s 1st selection.

His first full campaign as a professional could not have begun much smoother, either, as the sweet-swinging lefty absolutely dominated Class-A pitching over the weekend despite having only turned 18 years old in November. One series does not define anyone or anything, obviously, but when the early results seem to match the scouting report one for one immediately, well, that’s certainly something that should elicit some excitement regardless.

Meanwhile, Andrew Abbott was simply filthy in his first start of the 2023 season back with AA Chattanooga. Considering he finished his 2022 season there with a trio of scoreless outings across 16.0 IP, his final four starts at the AA level have produced this: 20.2 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 32 K. Keep that in mind as the back-end of the Cincinnati starting rotation continues to look iffy - and also keep in mind that he’s only two months older than Hunter Greene.

To the action!

AAA Louisville Bats (1-5; 17 runs scored, 26 runs allowed)

The Bats got the week started off with a win over Indianapolis in their home opener, but promptly fell flat in every single game they played the rest of the week against the Indians. Matt McLain and TJ “i” Hopkins have paced the slugging so far with 4 XBH each, to date, with McLain the team’s leader with a pair of dingers. Nick Senzel has looked ample in his rehab stint there with 4/5 BB/K and a team-best .455 so far, whereas Joey Votto has somehow managed to strikeout 17 times in the 7 games he’s played. Surely he’s just seeing pitches and working on recognition at this juncture. Surely.

The team’s starting pitching has struggled early with walks, which is becoming something of a system-wide trend over the last few years at all levels. So far, Brandon Williamson (7.1 IP, 5 K, 7 BB), Chase Anderson (10.0 IP, 9 K, 5 BB), Levi Stoudt (8.1 IP, 8 K, 6 BB), and Luke “Bob” Weaver (4.0 IP, 4 K, 2 BB) have the kind of strike-zone yips that won’t play well at all once they get to Cincinnati, and that’s concerning. It’s worth pointing out that Weaver didn’t allow a single hit in his lone outing, which is promising.

AA Chattanooga Lookouts (2-1; 13 runs scored, 11 runs allowed)

Allan “Sleeper Sofa” Cerda socked a homer as part of a 2-hit day that included a walk to lead the Lookouts past Rocket City 6-3 in their season opener on Friday. Things immediately got weird, however, as the Lookouts bested their Huntsville rivals on Saturday 7-5 in the first game of a doubleheader - a game in which they plated 7 runs while also being no-hit. All 7 runs came in the Top of the 7th in the 7-inning game, and came courtesy of a hilarious combination of HBPs, wild pitches, asteroids, alien invasions, cats and dogs living together in harmony, and good fortune. They proceeded to lose the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader 3-0 out of respect to baseball karma.

Rece “57” Hinds has a pair of doubles to go along with 6 K in early action, while Noelvi “Vendetta” Marte is just 1 for 11 so far. Andrew Abbott, meanwhile, struck out 11 in 4.2 no-hit IP in his lone start and once again looks like the most promising, near-ready pitching prospect on the farm. Connor “66” Phillips backed him up with 4.0 IP of scoreless ball in which he yielded just a lone hit and a pair of walks against 7 K.

High-A Dayton Dragons (1-2: 11 runs scored, 12 runs allowed)

Dayton fell to the Lake County Captains in each of their first two games of 2023 before carving out a 7-2 win in their series finale on the northeast side of Cleveland.

Edwin “Nasty Hook” Arroyo is off to a 3 for 9 start (with a walk), Austin Hendrick snuck a double in between 4 K in his 14 AB so far, while Mat Nelson has already accrued a trio of ribbies and an impressive 4/4 BB/K in early action. Remember Mat “Love and Affection” Nelson? Mat Nelson remembers Mat Nelson!

Julian Aguiar had a pair of unearned runs score on his watch while being otherwise brilliant in his first outing - a 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), BB, 9 K start. Jose Acuña fanned 3 with a lone walk and lone hit surrendered in his 4.0 IP start. That’s some promising pitching early for the Fire-breathers.

Class-A Daytona Tortugas (3-0; 23 runs scored, 12 runs allowed)

Someone on the farm had to do some thumping and some winning, and that happened to be the Tugas in their sweep of St. Lucie - a road sweep, at that. Cam Collier is off to a blistering start with 3 hits in his first 4 PA, with 4 walks against a lone K and a stolen base on his ledger already. He’s got a double and a trio of ribbies through one series, too. Leonardo “Leads” Balcazar swatted a homer, doubled, and walked 5 (!!) times, while Sal “y Pimienta” Stewart picked up a trio of hits and trio of walks, too.

Lyon “Zion” Richardson was back on the bump and healthy again, finally, and fired 3.0 IP of 7 K ball while allowing just a lone hit. George Mason product Jared “Zions” Lyons also had a strong first outing of the year with 4.0 IP of scoreless ball that featured 4 scattered hits and a lone walk sprinkled within 5 K.