While Cleveland was flailing in Detroit, there were far more positive things happening for the guys in Columbus, Akron, Kinston and Lake County. A few highlights from the opening weekend of minor league play.
- Carlos Santana, Carlos Santana, Carlos Santana. All Santana did was hit 2 HRs in the opening game, and then two more the opening weekend. And he added a couple of doubles and a couple of walks. Good start, kid.
- Admittedly, nearly everyone on the Clippers roster hit the ball well as they were involved in more than one slugfest. Wes Hodges picked up from his hot Spring with a nice opening weekend (.400/.500/.800, 2 2Bs, 1 HR). Jason Donald hit the ball well (.385/.467/.615). Even slappy Jose Constanza hit a HR (.500/.500/.900).
- Russell Branyan, playing in 2 of 4 games, went 3-6 with a 2B.
- The pitching was less pretty. Carrasco (5.2, 3R, 1BB, 8K) and Pino (5IP, 2R, 1BB, 5K) put on the best performances by the starters. Hector Rondon got shelled (3IP, 7R) and Jeanmar Gomez couldn't find the plate (5IP, 4BB). The bullpen performances weren't any better.
- The big guns got off to nice starts. Chisenhall went a cool 8-16 with 2 2Bs and 2 BBs (against 2 Ks), while Weglarz went 6-15 but with 2 HRs, including a grand slam. Cord Phelps, not in the same class, but someone worth paying attention to, went 5-12 with a 2B and a HR.
- Beau Mills (4-12, 2B) and Carlos Rivero (5-15) also got off to decent starts, though without the bang of the above guys.
- The pitchers in Akron also struggled. Paolo Espino, Connor Graham and Scott Barnes combined to walk 10 guys in their 3 starts, covering just 12.2 innings. Putnam did a better job of giving up the free pass (1 BB), but only made it through 4 innings while giving up a HR.
- The best single outing probably came from Bryan Price, who struck out 4 of 5 batters in a relief appearance opening night. He followed that up by allowing 3 runs in just an inning and a third, though.
- Jason Kipnis has not been able to take his torrid Spring into the opening weekend, going just 3-11 with no extra-base hits. Abner Abreu also lost his mojo, dropping back to just a single walk against 5 Ks and just 1 hit in his 12 plate appearances.
- Jordan Henry, on the other hand, remains a speedy on-base machine. 6 walks, a .556 OBP, and 3 stolen bases.
- The story from Kinston, as it will likely be all season, is the pitchers. TJ House put up the biggest numbers, allowing 2 runs and one walk while striking out 10 in 5 innings. 2009 #1 pick Alex White had a victorious debut, going 5 scoreless with 2 BBs and 7 Ks. Nick Hagadone also went scoreless, though making it just 4.1 innings.
- Kelvin De La Cruz was not as successful, giving up 3 runs and a HR while failing to make it out of the 5th. Lord Kelvin's former rotation mate Santo Frias fared better out of the pen in two outings (3.2 IP, 1H, 0BB, 7K)
Lake County (4-0)
- The Captains had the best record, but once again are sporting an offensive lineup that evokes a decidedly 'meh' reaction. Um...Kyle Smith (22 year old SS) got off to a nice start?
- The pitching is a little more interesting, none more than 2009 3rd round pick Joe Gardner. In his pro debut all he did was strike out 11 guys in 4 innings, while allowing 3 hits and a run. That is 11 of 12 outs via the K in case you are counting.
- A couple of lesser known arms, Francisco Jimenez, Austin Adams, Rob Bryson and Antwoine Hubbard all made scoreless debuts.