One thing Minor League Baseball does better than anyone is its regular progression of online voting fan contests. Instead of allowing fans to vote for any of the (nearly two hundred) minor league team options, MiLB.com always presents the fans with a choice between two. Followed by another choice of two. And another. And another. And six hours later you are still clicking the vote button and wondering where the day went. If the major leagues are convinced that the All-Star game starting roster has to be picked by a fan vote, they should move it to the endless choice of two system.
This time the contest is Best Cap in the Minors, and Cubs’ affiliates are off to a strong start. As I write this (about midnight eastern) Tennessee sits in fourth place overall, and I can’t really argue with any of the three ahead of them. Eugene is way too low at 41, though, as is Myrtle Beach (49). South Bend runs with a more classic, less minor-leaguey look that may not do so well in this sort of contest, but they are hanging in there at 63.
There are some other rankings I just can’t understand, though. The Vermont Lake Monsters are only number 68, for example, while some other excellent hats that I saw when voting (and voting, and voting…) have not made the Top 100 at all. I suspect these standings could change quite a lot before the contest ends.
If you can spare ten minutes or so, it is well worth clicking through a dozen or two rounds of voting just to see some of the awesome hat designs that are out there in minor league land. Some are slight variations on old classics, and some are just pure minor league zaniness. Sadly, all of them are traditional baseball hats. I’d love to see someone vary the palette a little with some cabby hats, or derbies, or top hats. I would totally rock an Emeralds stovepipe hat. Just saying.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Late rallies fell short as Iowa lost 7-5.
Tennessee – Both teams had plenty of hits in this one, but the Smokies were lacking in the runs department. They lost 8-5.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans got a great game from the pitching staff, but lost anyway 1-0.
South Bend – The Cubs managed to score in just one inning as they lost 6-2.
Eugene – The Emeralds opened the game with a seven run outburst that led to a 10-4 win.
Arizona – An eighth inning rally secured this 4-3 win for the Cubs.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Whatever magic Frank Batista had working in Tennessee earlier this season, he did not have it in this one. Over 5 innings he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 3.
- [Iowa] Carl Edwards Jr. struck out 5 in his 2 innings of relief. He allowed no hits and walked 3.
- [Iowa] Taylor Davis tripled and finished 3 for 5. Anthony Giansanti doubled as part of his 2 for 4 game. Junior Lake also had 2 hits.
- [Tennessee] Felix Pena pitched 3.1 innings, but with the wind blowing out he did not have an easy time of it. He gave up 4 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4.
- [Tennessee] The now-expected multi-inning relief appearance in this game, two of them actually, were provided by Tayler Scott and Zach Cates. Scott struggled (2.2 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K), but Cates sailed through his innings without allowing much of anything (2 IP, 2 BB, 2 K).
- [Tennessee] Jacob Hannemann doubled and finished 3 for 5. Bijan Rademacher also doubled and walked twice on his way to a 2 for 3 day.
- [Tennessee] Elliot Soto finished 2 for 4 with a walk, and Billy McKinney walked and doubled.
- [Tennessee] A day after filling up the box score in his Double A debut, Sutton Whiting singled in his pinch hit at bat and later came around to score.
- [Myrtle Beach] Jen-Ho Tseng pitched another gem. Over 8 innings he used just 86 pitches, allowing a run on 2 hits and striking out 5. He did not allow a man to reach base until the first batter of the seventh inning.
- [Myrtle Beach] Josh Conway finished what Tseng started. He allowed a hit and a walk and struck out a pair in the final frame.
- [South Bend] Jake Stinnett had the strikeouts working in this one (6 of them over 4 innings), but 3 walks and 5 hits turned into 4 runs allowed.
- [South Bend] Daniel Lewis was fantastic in relief, though. Through 2.2 innings he allowed nothing and struck out a pair.
- [South Bend] Kevin Encarnacion tripled and finished with 2 htis. Erick Castillo also had a 2 for 4 day.
- [South Bend] David Bote walked three times and tripled to finish 1 for 1 on the day.
- [Eugene] 2015 draftee Kyle Twomey pitched the first 2 innings for Eugene. He allowed 2 hits and a walk while striking out one.
- [Eugene] Next came Jose Paulino. Over 4.2 innings he did allow 4 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, but he also struck out 8.
- [Eugene] John Williams (1.1 IP, 2 K) and Jae-Hoon Ha (1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K) finished off the game.
- [Eugene] Tyler Alamo finished 2 for 2 with 2 walks. He had the only multi-hit day for the Emeralds. A Matt Rose home run (his first) was the only extra base hit.
- [Arizona] Once again, it was Wladimir Galindo leading the offense. He doubled and finished 2 for 4 to raise his season OPS to .958.
- [Arizona] Joe Martarano also had 2 hits.
- [Arizona] Pedro Silverio struck out 3 and allowed just 2 hits and a walk in his 5 inning start. Tanner Griggs finished the game with 2 hitless innings that included a walk and 2 strikeouts.
- If you missed it yesterday, Jason McLeod made some comments well worth reading regarding how the Cubs evaluate players in general, and about a few prospects in particular.