The Kannapolis Cannon Ballers lost their 70th game last night, which isn’t great considering they won’t play their 100th game until later this week.
I made the drive to North Carolina to check the new ballpark in Kannapolis and some other players I hadn’t yet seen in person, and it started with the Cannon Ballers summing up their season by getting drubbed by Lynchburg 13-1. The loss was their 17th over their last 18 games, and it dropped them to 27-70 on the season, which is tied with Visalia for the worst record in Minor League Baseball.
I’d hoped that an influx of collegiate draft picks might add a little of polish and old-for-the-level production, but it hasn’t yet played out that way. Jayson Gonzalez (17th round, Vanderbilt), Adam Hackenberg (18th round, Clemson) and Shawn Goosenberg (19th round, Northwestern) combined to go 0-for-10 with two walks and six strikeouts.
Throw in the performances from the guys who were already struggling, and four Lynchburg pitchers combined to limit the Ballers to a run on four hits and two walks while striking out 15. And in case you’re wondering if the Hillcats have a stacked pitching staff, here were the ERAs of the first three pitchers used:
On the mound, Taylor Broadway (sixth round, Ole Miss) capped off a disasterous night for the Kannapolis pitching staff by giving up a two-run single after inheriting the bases loaded in the eighth, then giving up a homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning.
At least he didn’t walk anybody. The other five Kannapolis relievers combined to issue 12 walks over the first 7⅔ innings, along with two hit batters. That’s somehow one fewer walk than the Barons issued in the sixth inning of the one game I attended earlier this year, so maybe I bring out the worst in arms.
The imbalance of labor played out in the pitch counts. The six Cannon Ballers pitchers combined to throw 224 pitches over nine innings, while the four Hillcats threw just 138.
I’ll be back at Atrium Health Ballpark — which is a gem of a park in a perfect small downtown setting — because Matthew Thompson is starting tonight, so I’ll have thoughts on him and some other individuals after second looks, which can’t go worse than the first. I think.
Durham 12, Charlotte 6
- Billy Hamilton went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
- Yasmani Grandal did him two worse in each: 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.
- Jake Burger homered twice while going 2-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Gavin Sheets went 2-for-5 with a homer and a strikeout.
- Blake Rutherford was 1-for-3 with an HBP and a strikeout.
- Romy Gonzalez went 1-for-4 with a double and a strikeout.
- Kade McClure got jumped: 4 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP
Birmingham 2, Montgomery 1
- Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-4 with a K.
- Yolbert Sanchez was 1-for-4 with his fourth homer.
- Carlos Pérez was 0-for-4.
- Lenyn Sosa, 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Winston-Salem 6, Hudson Valley 4
- Jose Rodriguez went 0-for-5.
- Luis Mieses was 2-for-5 with a double.
- Luis Curbelo singled and struck out four times.
- Harvin Mendoza made his return to High-A by going 2-for-5 with a double.
- Caberea Weaver was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Yoelvin Silven: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
Lynchburg 13, Kannapolis 1
- James Beard went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Shawn Goosenberg wore the collar and silver sombrero.
- Bryan Ramos was 0-for-4 with a K.
- Samil Polanco produced the only run with a solo shot. He also got plunked once and struck out twice.
- Chase Krogman went 1-for-4 with a K.
- Misael Gonzalez wore the golden sombrero, which matches his elbow pad and shinguard.
- Wilber Sanchez went 1-for-3 with a hustle double and a strikeout.
ACL White Sox 7, ACL Giants Black 3
- Colson Montgomery doubled, singled, walked twice and struck out once.
- Wilfred Veras went 4-for-5 with three doubles.
- Wes Kath was 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Logan Glass went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Jefferson Mendoza was 0-for-4 with two K’s.
- Brooks Gosswein: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- Erick Bello: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K
DSL White Sox 5, DSL Reds 4
- Manuel Guariman went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
- Victor Quezada was 1-for-4 with a strikeout and two stolen bases.
- Norge Vera: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K
- Yohemy Nolasco: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
So are Sheets and Burger going to replace Goodwin and Lamb on the playoff roster or what?
One for Lamb maybe, but Goodwin isn’t competing with those guys so much as Hamilton and Engel’s health.
Leave Keuchel off the playoff roster and roll with as many OFs as possible.
Given the similarity of roles, I expect it’ll be either Burger or Lamb for 3B bench bat, Sheets or Goodwin for LH RF, and Engel or Hamilton for OF speed. Engel and Hamilton are redundant if they plan to roll with an Eloy-Robert-Vaughn OF. Hamilton only makes the roster if Engel is hurt or if their plan is to start Engel in RF and DH Eloy/Vaughn—in which case Sheets becomes less valuable anyway.
If I were running the team, I’d give Lamb and Goodwin until mid-September to make their case. But if their performance from the last two weeks keeps up, I’m giving their spots to Burger and Sheets.
As long as Burger or Sheets is DH when they need one. When Lamb is at DH, it’s beyond stupid. And he is playing so much that it is really inexcusable to have Sheets stuck at AAA when he would get more hits than Lamb vs RHP.
It’s excusable at the moment. Replacing Sheets with Lamb means cutting Lamb. Lamb has shown signs of life while Sheets showed signs of slowing before heading back to AAA, and Lamb has more positional flexibility. So, it’s worth keeping Lamb around for a few more weeks. If Burger/Sheets are still hitting in AAA and Lamb/Goodwin still aren’t hitting in mid-September, then I make the move.
I’m confused. In your post above you suggest Sheets and Burger over Lamb and Goodwin. And in your post below as well you say you’ll take talented but unproven rookies over guys like Lamb we know can’t hit. Yet you contradict my agreement with you.
Sheets had an OPS of like 150 points higher than Lamb vs RHP. It is pretty clear he is better than Lamb vs righties even on a bad day. He should be playing rather than Lamb, to help them win games with their best talent, no? If Lamb were not playing at all, I could see keeping Sheets at AAA so that he plays. But Lamb is playing. Too much. I don’t see where cutting Lamb is any kind of loss whatsoever.
Sheets got off to a good start then, like with a lot of rookies, the league caught up. I wouldn’t get too excited over a small sample.
Lamb is also way more versatile than Sheets defensively.
I was only responding to you saying that it’s “inexcusable” that Sheets is in AAA while Lamb DHs. I agree that Sheets is likely the better option, but I think it’s excusable/understandable to want to keep Lamb around for a few more weeks. If he continues to be awful (and Sheets continues to hit), then make the switch. So I guess our only (minor) disagreement is: you want to make the switch now, while I’m fine if they ride this arrangement out for another couple of weeks.
Engel and Hamilton aren’t redundant if Engel is starting
Right that’s why I said that.
I know there is always fan clamoring to see something different. But I would be really surprised to see rookies who have already given evidence of holes in their games chosen over veterans who have seen everything a good pitcher can throw at them.
Fans only clamor to see something different when what’s the same isn’t working. Lamb and Goodwin were fun surprises, but the magic has worn off. They’re showing why their former clubs cut them. In the 2nd half, Lamb’s OPS is .551 and Goodwin’s is .606—and it’s not like either are defensive wizards or play premium positions. They may have seen everything a pitcher can throw at them, but they’ve shown little ability to hit any of it.
None of these four are defensive replacements in the playoffs, so all it really comes down to is this: who would you rather have pinch-hit in a key spot? I’ll take my chances with the talented albeit unproven rookies over the veterans we know can’t hit.
I mean, we know Brian Goodwin is a league average hitter that can play RF.
We don’t know much about Sheets as a major leaguer but he does not belong anywhere near the OF in the playoffs so he’s a 1B/DH candidate on a team with multiple options at those spots.
As for Burger, the only thing we know right now is that he hit fairly well in his very brief stint here but he did it on the back of a .400+ BABIP and a 35.7% K%.
I’m all for calling them up, if possible, when rosters expand and/or IL stints allow but there is not nearly enough information to make the claims you’re currently making.
What “claims” am I “currently making” about Burger and Sheets? I literally just called them “unproven rookies.” In fact, I agree with everything you’ve just said about Sheets and Burger (except I’d add that their AAA success does help *a bit* even if not much).
Should Sheets/Burger make a playoff roster, neither should sniff consistent PAs or the field—neither, however, should Goodwin or Lamb. So, as I said in the previous post, what we’re really asking here is this: who would you rather have pinch-hit in a key spot?
I will say Goodwin’s splits (he’s much better vs. RHP) are larger than I thought. So, I think Sheets/Goodwin is close. He’s just been so bad in the 2nd half and seems like an easy out right now—especially for a playoff team’s bullpen.
I cringe every time Lamb gets a hit, because I think TLR will play him more.
Make Sheets a catcher. He has one month to learn it. How hard can it be?
Vaughn, the ultimate quick study….
If there were a purple heart for bloggers….
Has Romy hit anything other than doubles in AAA?
13 AB, 1 single, 4 doubles, 2 home runs.
What about two homers in his first game?
So is this Romy guy for real or is he just Yermining us?
I’m fully on board the “for real” train and thought (in a comment section who knows when) that his development is part of the reason for trading Madrigal. Not that he was going to supplant Madrigal but that he and Yolbert were developing well enough this year that, with the addition of Cesar, losing Madrigal would hurt but wouldn’t be a disaster. But that’s just my uninformed opinion.
I agree. Too many doubles!!
Wilfred Veras is the youngest position player the White Sox’ complex league team has fielded this year and has mashed while also getting the most plate appearances on the team (151 wRC+). I wonder if he’ll be 1B-only as he progresses through the system or will maintain some positional flexibility.
He’s listed as a third baseman. Is he growing out of that?
He has split time pretty evenly this year between 3B/1B/DH. I think they have Kath mostly at 3B since his arrival. I haven’t seen him play defense, but in pictures he looks filled out to me for an 18 y/o.
Futuresox’ prospect rankings seem to think he will be able to stick, and judging on his lineage I’d say it’s very possible.
Glad to hear he has a strong arm and good footwork, but below average run times at 18 doesn’t sound promising for positional versatility,
Love that Sheets and Burger have continued to rake down in AAA after the demotion.