Minor League Roundup

During a week which was shortened in some leagues due to the All-Star break, the farm rode the thin line between mediocre and just plain bad, becoming the model of inconsistency of late. Alas, it is only June, and just one week we're talking about here. But boy, what a week.

Triple-A Tacoma actually had a decent stretch of games, winning four of seven for the week. Led by the pitching of Rett Johnson (1-0, 7IP, 0.00 ERA), Aaron Taylor (1.34 ERA, 6.2IP), and the hitting of veteran OF Jalal Leach (8-16, 5 RBI,). Tacoma currently sits in last place in the Northern Division of the PCL with a record of 34-44 but stand just six games back of division leader Portland.

Double-A San Antonio played just four games this week due to the Texas League All-Star game. After a dazzling first half, the Missions have started the second half off at 2-2 in the four games following the break. The Missions had nine players on the All-Star roster and seven who played in the game including the West All- Star starting pitcher, Rett Johnson. The four games since the second half began have shown a very different Missions club. Inconsistency has set in both offensively and in the pitching dept. Some of this however, is expected after the promotions of Rett Johnson and Matt Thornton. The offense is struggling a bit as well, scoring just three runs per game during the week. Look for the offense to possibly get some help with Chris Snelling getting in the lineup more often and a possible promotion of slugger Greg Jacobs. The offense was not without standouts though, led by leadoff man Michael Curry who hit a cool .400, and 2B Jay Pecci, who hit.615 (8-13) in his return to the club after a 14-game stint in Triple-A Tacoma. Clint Nageotte and Bobby Madritsch had solid outings to lead the pitching staff.

Single-A Inland Empire of San Bernardino had a very interesting week statistically. A 2-3 week was highlighted by a 17-2 win on Friday night and a 4-1 win on Saturday, sandwiched between three losses where the offense couldn't get it done. The pitching was led by left-handers Troy Cate (8ip, 1ER, 1BB, 7K,), Glenn Bott (5ip, 5H, 1ER, 1BB, 10K,), and right-hander Cha Baek (11ip, 8H, 1ER, 1BB, 10K). The offense was paced by InsideThePark.com player of the week Greg Jacobs (.400, 3HR, 6RBI), and 3B Hunter Brown (.287, 3HR, 6RBI).

Single-A Wisconsin had their third-straight week in which they continued to struggle going 1-4. Neither the pitching nor the hitting is in sync. There were some pretty good individual performances however, starting with 3B Matt Hagen. Hagen slugged his way to a .500 avg for the week including a .646 on-base percentage, two homeruns, and four RBI. The pitching did have a few bright spots as well with Tanner Watson (9ip, 9H, 1ER, 1BB, 6K) and TA Fulmer (7ip, 8H, 2ER, 4BB, 2K). The Timber Rattlers are off to a 1-4 to start the second half.

The short season single-A affiliate Everett Aqua Sox began their season on Wednesday with a victory and ended the first week of play with a 3-2 record. Early season stars include LF Josh Ellison (.500, 5 runs, 4 stolen bases, 2 doubles, triple, 2RBI) and the sparkling defense of 3B Michael Cox, who makes every play and then some.

Watch for Everett to gain players and make roster moves as 2003 draftees ink contracts and are assigned a team. Many will began their season at Rookie League Peoria or in the Northwest League at Everett.

Jason resides in North Tacoma, WA where his father is his best friend, his mother has a better fastball than he does, and his nephew is the only person better suited for stardom. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@cs.com.

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