Minor League Baseball Feature Series Review: Buies Creek Astros vs. Carolina Mudcats

Nov 2, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Salt River Rafters infielder Issan Diaz of the Milwaukee Brewers against the Scottsdale Scorpions during an Arizona Fall League game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Minor league baseball. 

Two of the most “loaded” lineups in all of minor league baseball, let alone high-A, got together this weekend. Who came out on top?

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 minor league baseball, we will begin a number of weekly posts.

The first will examine the big news items along with the top performers in the minor leagues 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 get started with a review of our highlight series that we previewed last Thursday, the Buies Creek Astros versus the Carolina Mudcats.

Game 1: Buies Creek 14, Carolina 1

Part of the down fall of making my top 125 minor league baseball prospects list and releasing it in early January is that I put it out before I had all the information back from people I talked with. One of the notable systems I got much more information on was the Astros, and one player that would have ranked significantly higher with that information was Franklin Perez.

He got the start for the Astros this night, and he was elite, even in just 5 innings, throwing scoreless baseball on just 2 hits allowed and no walks, striking out 7. Matt Bower threw 4 innings of relief to get the save.

Offensively, the Astros were led by right fielder Myles Straw, who had a double, two singles, and a walk. Second Baseman Ryne Birk had a triple, a single, and a walk. Center Fielder Kyle Tucker had a double, single, a walk, and stole a base. Catcher Anthony Hermelyn had a double and two walks. Pat Porter and Osvaldo Duarte each had a double and a single. First baseman Dexture McCall had a single and a walk. Anibal Sierra took a more painful path on base, getting a single and two hit-by-pitch in the game.

The Mudcats had a rough day on the mound. Cody Ponce started the game, going 2 2/3 innings, allowing 7 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 2.

The Mudcats lineup struggled to get anything going as well, as only left fielder Troy Stokes reached base twice with a double and a single.

Game 2: Buies Creek 9, Carolina 4

Buies Creek used a 6-run 1st inning to put the game on Friday away quickly.

Yoanys Quiala got the start, going 3 2/3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and no walks, striking out 4.

The big story for the Astros in this game was catcher Eduardo de Oleo, who hit three home runs in the game, driving in 5 of the Astros 9 runs. Third baseman Arturo Michelena tallied three walks in the game. Ryne Birk had a pair of singles and a walk. Conversely, Dexture McCall had a single and a pair of walks. Kyle Tucker had a single, a walk, and stole two bases. Jason Martin had a double.

The Brewers system of pairing starters on the Carolina roster saved them on this night as starter Marcos Diplan went just 2/3 of an inning, allowing 6 runs on 6 hits and a walk, striking out one. His pitching pair, Freddy Peralta threw 5 innings of relief, allowing a solo home run and three walks, while striking out 8.

The Mudcats had a nice game from first baseman Jake Gatewood and left fielder Troy Stokes, who each had three hits and a walk. Gatewood had one double among his hits, and Stokes added a stolen base to his three singles and a walk. Lucas Erceg had a double and a single. Luis Aviles, Trent Clark, and Weston Wilson each had a single and a walk. Isan Diaz hit his first high-A home run. Corey Ray had a double.

Game 3: Carolina 6, Buies Creek 2

Carolina flipped the script in the third game of the series, scoring big in the 5th inning to defeat Buies Creek 6-2.

Conor Harber made the start and went 4 innings, allowing a run on 6 hits and no walks, striking out 7. Quintin Torres-Costa proved quite valuable, coming back after throwing an inning of relief on Thursday to hurl 4 innings of 1-run ball on Saturday, allowing just 3 hits and a walk, striking out 8.

Isan Diaz played the game at second base, and he led the offense with his second homer in as many days along with a walk. Jake Gatewood had a double, a single, and a stolen base. Core Ray added a pair of singles and a steal. Wendell Rijo had a double and a walk. Troy Stokes had a double. Mitch Ghelfi had a stolen base.

The Astros saw the first rough start at high-A for Akeem Bostick, as he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3.

Anibal Sierra and Myles Straw each had a pair of singles. Arturo Michelena had a single and a walk. Jason Martin had a double.

Game 4: Carolina 6, Buies Creek 1

Carolina saved all their scoring for late on Sunday, scoring all their runs among the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings.

Corbin Burnes continued a very good season for Carolina with a 6 inning start, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 9.

Troy Stokes again made his presence known on Sunday, with a home run, a single, a walk, and a stolen base on his busy day. Lucas Erceg had a home run and a single. Corey Ray had a double, a walk, and a stolen base. Jake Gatewood had a single and a walk. Luis Aviles stole his 8th base of the season.

For the Astros, Elieser Hernandez had a very solid start, going 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 9.

The Astros offense, however, was nearly completely silent. Anibal Sierra was the only Astros hitter to reach base twice, with a triple and a walk.

Top prospects for the series

From the Call to the Pen top 125 offseason list, here’s how players in the top 125 performed:

#19 Kyle Tucker 5-16, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2/6 BB/K, 3 SB, .313/.388/.375/.763
#42 Isan Diaz 3-15, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2/5 BB/K, .200/.294/.600/.894
#54 Corey Ray 4-15, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 1/5 BB/K, 2 SB, .267/.313/.400/.713

Notables outside the top 125:
Lucas Erceg 5-17, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 0/5 BB/K, .294/.294/.529/.823
Trent Clark 2-12, 1 RBI, 1/5 BB/K, .167/.231/.167/.398
Franklin Perez 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 73 Game Score

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