Week in Review Across the Farm

Is Kirk Nieuwenhuis about to erupt again?

Major League Baseball heads into its All-Star Break, but the action continues down on the farm. It was a relatively strong week on the farm thanks to hot hitting at the higher levels and strong pitching at the lower levels. How hot are Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis? Who is stepping up in Savannah and which rookie league pitchers continue to impress? Look inside for those answers and more.

7/4 @ Syracuse 10-2
7/5 @ Syracuse 8-6 (L)
7/6 @ Syracuse 5-4 (L)
7/7 @ Syracuse 6-2
7/8 v. Scranton-Wilkes/Barre 10-7 (L)
7/9 v. Scranton-Wilkes/Barre PPD
7/10 @ Rochester 11-6

Lucas Duda: 10-for-28, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R, 2B, BB

Duda simply continues to mash the ball. He has homered six times over his last 10 games and nine times in 23 games with the Bisons. Remember, Duda homered only nine times in 110 games in Double-A last season. His hot hitting in Triple-A raised his cumulative numbers on the year to .304/15 HR/50 RBI. He has 1.140 OPS in Buffalo and a .993 OPS on the season. He is 11-for-21 with runners in scoring position with Buffalo.

Dillon Gee: 2 GS, 1-0, 13 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 11 H, 17 K, BB

Two starts into July and Gee is enjoying his best month since April. Gee went seven innings and gave up two earned runs on five with six strikeouts on the 4th. He returned to the mound on Saturday and gave up three earned runs on six hits and struck out a career-high 11 batters. With 102 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings, Gee is in the midst of the best strikeout ratio of his career.

7/4 v. Portland 10-8
7/5 @ Altoona 6-1 (L)
7/6 @ Altoona 11-6
7/7 @ Altoona 9-6
7/8 @ Altoona 4-3
7/9 v. New Hampshire 10-2 (L)
7/10 v. New Hampshire 5-1

Sean Ratliff: 12-for-31, HR, 7 RBI, 4 R, 4 2B, 2 BB

Ratliff continues to show no ill-effects of a move up to Double-A. In 25 games with the B-Mets, Ratliff is hitting .327 with seven home runs and 21 RBI. He registered at least three hits in a game within a four day span last week, including a 4-for-6 effort with two RBI on Wednesday. He went 3-for-6 with a home run and four RBI on Tuesday. Ratliff is 10-for-27 (.370) against left-handed pitching in Double-A.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis: 16-for-32, HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 7 2B, 2 BB

It's July and that means Nieuwenhuis appears ready to rip through Double-A much like he did High-A last year. He has gone 21-for-42 over his last 10 games entering Sunday with 13 extra-base hits including three home runs in that span. Nieuwenhuis ranks sixth in the Eastern League in slugging percentage (.529), second in total bases (164), second in runs (66) and first in doubles (27). He is hitting .333 (26-for-78) with runners in scoring position this season.

Michael Antonini: 2 GS, 0-1, 12 IP, 4 ER, 15 H, 18 K, 3 BB

Antonini carried his consistent June into July with two solid outings last week. In his first start last week on Monday, Antonini took the loss despite giving up three earned runs on nine hits over six innings with nine strikeouts and one walk. He took a tough no-decision on Saturday after giving up one earned run on six hits in six innings with nine strikeouts. The nine strikeouts in each start tied career highs. Antonini is 2-3 with a 3.10 ERA with 50 strikeouts against 12 walks since June 1.

7/4 v. Charlotte 7-0 (L)
7/5 v. Charlotte 7-3 (L)
7/6 v. Charlotte 8-5
7/7 v. Fort Myers 8-2
7/8 v. Fort Myers 7-6 7/10 @ Charlotte 2-1

Wilmer Flores: 13-for-30, 4 RBI, 6 R, 5 2B, BB

Flores isn't for much power in St. Lucie, but the 18-year-old shortstop is riding a 15-game hitting streak entering Sunday and is hitting .427 (32-for-75) since moving up to the Florida State League. He recorded his second 4-hit game with St. Lucie on Tuesday and has doubled in five straight games. He has struck out only nine times so far against the league's advanced pitching.

Robert Carson: 1-1, 13 IP, 3 ER, 12 H, 12 K, 2 BB

Carson hasn't been quite dominant, but he is becoming much more consistent than he was earlier in the season. He has gone at least six innings in six of his last seven starts and is on pace to pitch more innings in July than any previous month.

He gave up two earned runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings on the 4th, but picked up the loss. He got the win on Saturday by holding Charlotte to one run on five hits with five strikeouts over six innings. He is 3-1 with a 2.59 ERA over his last five starts.

7/4 v. Rome 1-0
7/5 v. Rome 6-5 (L)
7/6 v. Rome 7-6 (L)
7/7 v. Rome 6-2
7/8 @ Asheville 11-6
7/9 @ Asheville 6-2
7/10 @ Asheville 5-3

Jefry Marte: 11-for-29, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R, 4 2B, 3B, 2 BB

Marte appears to be heating up at the right time. He is hitting .317 with three home runs and 11 RBI in July, including Saturday night's 3-for-5, two home run, four RBI effort. He has four multi-hit games in his last five outings and has struck out just four times in his last 41 at-bats. He already has six home runs this season after hitting six in 123 games last season with the Sand Gnats.

John Church: 2-0, 13 IP, 0 ER, 10 H, 7 K, 4 BB

Church moved into the rotation following the roster moves around the South Atlantic League All-Star Break and is taking full advantage of his opportunities. Church has allowed just one unearned run 17 innings over his first three starts and given up 11 hits. Church was 3-0 with a 1.49 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 36.1 innings of relief (22 appearances) out of the Sand Gnats bullpen.

7/4 @ Jamestown 13-12 (L)
7/5 @ Jamestown 4-2
7/6 @ Jamestown 7-5 (L)
7/8 v. State College 6-2
7/9 v. State College 4-2
7/10 v. State College 9-3

Yohan Almonte: Win, 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 5 K

Almonte put together his best start of the season Friday by tossing 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball against State College. The three hits were the fewest he's allowed this season and it was the first time the 20-year-old right-hander did not issue a walk. Almonte has struck out 18 and walked six in 29 innings over five starts.

Cory Vaughn: 7-for-23, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 5 R, 2 2B, 2 BB, SB

Vaughn has provided the power for the Cyclones this summer. His six home runs leads the New York-Penn League entering Sunday and his 21 RBI ranks him second. He started last week with a 3-for-4 effort with two doubles, two RBI and three runs scored. On Saturday, Vaughn went 2-for-3 with a pair of two-run home runs.

7/4 @ Greeneville 4-0
7/5 @ Greeneville 7-2
7/6 @ Greenville 6-2
7/7 @ Bristol 3-2 (L)
7/8 @ Bristol 8-3
7/9 @ Bristol 3-2 (L)
7/10 @ Johnson City 14-4 (L)

Aderlin Rodriguez: 11-for-27, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R, 3 2B, 2 BB

Rodriguez continues to rake Appalachian League pitching. He raised his home run total to seven on the season last week, ranking him second in the league. He went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run last Sunday and followed it up with a 3-for-5 effort that saw him hit another two-run home run on Monday. His best night of the week came on Friday when he went 3-for-5 with two home runs, five RBI and a double. Rodriguez is hitting .282 (20-for-71) in 18 games this season.

Bret Mitchell: Win 6 2/3 IP, ER, 4 H, 6 K, BB

Mitchell rebounded from his first professional loss by tossing his longest outing of the season in Kingsport's 6-2 victory over Greeneville. Mitchell has struck out at least six in all three starts this summer and has given up only one earned run in each. He currently ranks sixth in the Appalachian League in ERA (1.65). He has walked three in 16 1/3 innings.

7/5 v. GCL Astros 12-8 (L)
7/6 v. GCL Marlins 4-1 (L)
7/7 @ GCL Nationals 2-0
7/8 v. GCL Cardinals 16-2 (L)
7/10 @ GCL Astros 14-3

Edioglis Villasmil: ND, 5 IP, 2 H, K, BB

Villasmil, 18, had without a doubt his best start of the three he has made this summer. He has given up two earned runs over 14 2/3 innings in three starts with six strikeouts and three walks.

Zachary Dotson: ND, 4 IP, 2 H, 3 K, 2 BB

After two shaky outings his first two turns out, Dotson had his best start of his young professional career. He has allowed 10 hits, walked eight and struck out 11 in 11 1/3 innings so far.

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