Maples Makes his Class A Debut
RHP Dillon Maples made his Kane County debut Sunday afternoon in Clinton, Iowa, after being assigned to the team from extended spring training. Maples was a 14th-round pick in 2011 and instead of playing football and baseball at the University of North Carolina, agreed to a $2.1 million signing bonus, the most ever for a 14th-rounder. He was named North Carolina High School Player of the Year in 2011 and also played on the USA Baseball 18-under team in 2010.
He signed too late to play at Mesa in the Rookie League in 2011 and was injured for the start of 2012 with a strained ligament in his elbow. He finally started throwing in July, making his pro debut on July 29 against the Reds in the Arizona Rookie League (1IP, 0H, ER, 2BB HB, WP). He appeared in five more games and fanned five in three innings, his longest outing, in a rematch with the Reds on Aug. 13. Maples totaled 10.1 innings and only allowed six hits but walked 10 and had six wild pitches. Rated as the Cubs #6 prospect by MLB.com coming into 2013, the right-hander stayed behind in Mesa and had been adding up the pitch counts in recent outings at extended spring training.
Maples showcased his sharp breaking ball against the Lumberkings on Sunday retiring the first four hitters, two on strikes looking. That streak ended when he got a fast ball up that resulted in a double off the right field wall. An easy steal of third base and a sacrifice fly scored a run. Maples gave up three hits, none of them hit hard, in the third as Clinton scored two more runs. Clinton got singles in the fourth and fifth but neither runner reached second base. He threw 62 pitches in the outing and was still throwing in the low 90s in his final inning. His curve ball was nasty and he was able to throw it for strikes. Maples showed great balance and can field his position because of his finish. Whatever problems he was having with his control, seemed to have been corrected as he was around the strike zone with most of his pitches. He did unleash a wild pitch. He was in line for the win and finished 5IP, 6H, 3ER, 0 BB, 2K. Add another top prospect to the Cougars lineup, the Dillon Maples show has begun.
Reno 9, Iowa 8
Reno (13-25) scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth including a walk-off, two-run homer defeating Iowa (13-21).
At the Plate: Iowa had 10 hits, six for extra base hits, including a homer by Brad Nelson. Brett Jackson (.259/.341/.432) went 3-4 with a double and a run scored. Since coming off the DL on May 9, Jackson is 7-17 and has only fanned twice. Nelson (.279/.342/.510) finished the game with two hits, two RBI, and two runs. Dave Sappelt (.174) whacked a three-run triple and Ian Stewart had a pinch-hit triple, scoring a pair in the eighth to put Iowa up 8-5.
On the Mound: Chris Rusin (2-3 4.37 ERA) made his eighth start, breaking a streak of three quality outings as the lefty got roughed up for nine hits in five plus innings. He didn't walk anyone but allowed a homer and four doubles on 70 pitches. RHP Casey Coleman (0-0 3.75) retired every batter he faced in two innings with a strikeout. LHP Hisanori Takahashi (0-0 5.63) allowed a homer and a walk in a third of an inning. Rafael Dolis (0-0 6.52) got out of the eighth but walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, threw a wild pitch, and allowed a single before being replaced by Blake Parker. Parker (0-1 2.63) got the second out of the inning but then allowed the game-winning, two-run homer.
Tennessee 5, Jackson 0
Three Tennessee pitchers combined to shutout Jackson (15-19) and OF Matt Szczur had three hits and drove in two.
At the Plate: Matt Szczur had three hits, raising his average to .287, to lead the 10-hit attack. Christian Villanueva, Jonathan Mota and Jair Fernandez all had a RBI. Arismendy Alcantara had a pair of hits and 1B Tim Torres scored twice.
On the Mound: For the second time this season, Kyle Hendricks pitched shutout ball for six innings as the right-hander allowed four hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, earning his second win of the season and lowering his ERA to 2.63. Hendricks retired the first 11 hitters. A.J. Morris got the Smokies out of the seventh but a single and a walk brought in Zach Rosscup in the eighth. The lefty got the final out of the inning and then fanned the side in the ninth. Rosscup (0-0 1.08) has 25 strikeouts in 16.2 innings with four walks. His fastball was hitting the low 90s on the stadium gun.
Clinton 7, Kane County 6—10 innings
RHP Dillon Maples made his Kane County debut and Rock Shoulders blasted a grand slam but the Cougars lost in 10 innings to Clinton.
At the Plate: The Cougars didn't get much off Mariners prospect Victor Sanchez as the hard throwing right-hander fanned five and gave up three hits. One of those hits was a long homer over the right field wall by 3B Jeimer Candelario. After Sanchez left the game, the Cougars teed off sending 11 hitters to the plate in the five-run sixth. Daniel Vogelbach singled home Pin-Chieh Chen and two hitters later Rock Shoulder cleared the bases with his eighth homer of the season. Kane County had 10 hits and six walks. C Carlos Escobar, Candelario and Oliver Zapata all had two hits and Bijan Rademacher walked three times.
On the Mound: RHP Lendy Castillo only allowed two hits in 4.1 innings but walked four, two coming of a three-run homer to erase a 6-3 lead in the sixth. After the homer, Castillo retired 10 in a row but two walks and a single gave the Lumberkings the win. Castillo is really struggling this season after pitching for Chicago to start last season. He is now 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA and has allowed 38 hits and 10 walks in 27.1 innings. He's yielded seven homers and has a .339 BAA
Cougar Notes: RHP Matt Iannazzo was sent back to extended spring training to make room on the roster for Maples. Iannazzo pitched in four games going 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA with nine hits and eight walks in 7.1 innings.
Had the day off.