Minor League Baseball Weekly Roundup, April 17

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Minor league baseball completed the first full week of the season. Who stood out?

Our MLB coverage at Call to the Pen is fairly well-balanced, but in an effort to give you better breadth and depth of coverage of the minor league baseball, we have a number of weekly posts.

We will examine the big news items along with the top performers in minor league baseball each Monday. Tuesday will bring a review of the weekend highlight series. Wednesday will bring draft news and college baseball news until that is complete. Thursday will preview the weekend series of note in minor league baseball to watch. Friday will feature a new series, “The Video Room”, where CTTP contributor Benjamin Chase will examine one game from the week from a scouting perspective and break down the game.

Scouting Reports will be scattered throughout the week and weekends as well, so keep on the lookout for those as well. As always, if there is anything you would like to see covered more thoroughly here at CTTP, let us know in the comments section below!

Let’s continue with this week’s news and happenings.

Top Performer

At age 19, to be promoted all the way to AA is a pretty big compliment. To get that promotion to open the season is a huge sign of faith from your organization. In fact, the only player younger than Mike Soroka in all of AA is his teammate, Kolby Allard.

Soroka, a right-handed pitcher in the Atlanta Braves organization, made his season debut this week on Monday and followed that up with a start on Saturday.

It is quite likely Soroka will not face a hitter younger than he is this season, and that is something he also experienced at the low-A level in Rome last season, with every hitter he faced being older than he is.

In spite of his youth, in his two starts last week Soroka went 2-0 with 11 2/3 innings thrown, pulled from a complete game (seven innings) on the back end of Saturday’s double header when he gave up a solo home run, his only run allowed on the season thus far.

His stat line this week: 11 2/3 innings, 0.77 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, no walks, 34.15 percent strikeout rate.

Soroka got some love in prospect lists in the offseason, ranking #48 with Baseball America, #78 with MLB Pipeline, and #64 with Baseball Prospectus. He was rated #66 on the Call to the Pen top 125 before the season. You can expect he’ll climb even further if he can handle this jump to AA cleanly.

Big Moments

A review of big moments that happened this week across the minors…

Houston Astros prospect Kyle Tucker picked up seven RBI in a game for the newest minor league team, high-A Buies Creek in the Carolina League, against Winston-Salem on April 15.

Indians prospect Jose Medina hit three home runs for low-A Lake County in the Midwest League in a game on April 14.

The two individual pitching performances that were exceptional were Dane Dunning‘s eight-inning masterpiece on April 13 for Kannapolis against Hickory, allowing three hits, no runs, and no walks, while striking out 13. Josh Staumont had the other standout pitching performance of the week for AAA Omaha against Round Rock on April 13 when he went six shutout innings, allowing just one hit and two walks, striking out 12.

There were two elite team pitching performances. Visalia could not complete the feat in extra innings, but the team combined on nine perfect innings in their 2-0 10-inning victory over Lake Elsinore on April 12. Kane County did finish their performance April 14, throwing a combined no-hitter against Iowa. Pitchers in that game were Scott Copeland, Hunter Cervenka, and Brandon Cunniff.

The big highlight of the week, however, was defense. Check out some of these plays:

Johnny Davis brings back a home run:

Connor Myers dives for an incredible catch:

Daniel Spingola goes over the fence to make a grab:

Jordan Luplow launched a great throw from left field:

Leaders across the minors:

Home runs: Ian Happ, AAA Iowa, Cubs organization – 6
Stolen Bases: Jorge Mateo, high-A Tampa, Yankees organization – 9
Strikeouts: Mike Clevinger, AAA Akron, Indians organization – 25

Finally, in a great moment this week, manager Phillip Wellman, a well-traveled minor league manager, won his 1,000th game as manager with the AA San Antonio Missions of the San Diego Padres organization this week.

That moment recalled very possibly the greatest moment in the history of manager tirades, done by Wellman himself when he was the manager of the AA Mississippi Braves:

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