Lake County went into a critical series with Dayton and came home with a 4-2 series win on the backs of two strong pitching performances by Daniel Espino and Xzavion Curry. Espino was given a little bit of a gift as he walked the first three batters of the game he faced, followed with a strikeout and then what looked like a bloop single that would drive in at least two runs turned into a 4-3-2-5 double play because of a base running error left the inning scoreless. After that Espino locked down the Dragons. Curry was sharp from the get go. Lake County also got some big reinforcements in big time 1B prospect Jhonkensy Noel, who hit his first homer in the series clinching in in Dayton, along with George Valera having another massive series.
After Lake County secured the series win, they were still third in the High-A central playoff standings, trailing Cedar Rapids by a game. A setback on Monday from a dismal pitching performance put them 1.5 games back and was also their first game without OF George Valera who got the long overdue call to Double-A. Still, the Captains got OF Johnanthan Rodriguez and INF Miguel Cairo in place of Valera and INF Victor Nova, who was also called up to Akron. They also should have 1B Bobby Bradley and OF Harold Ramirez for most of their home stand with Great Lakes while the two big league sluggers rehab.
Day by Day
8/17 W 4-2 at Dayton
8/18 L 3-2 at Dayton
8/19 W 5-3 at Dayton
8/20 L 0-2 at Dayton
8/21 W 9-2 at Dayton
8/22 W 8-3 at Dayton
8/24 L 17-6 vs. Great Lakes
Prospect of the Week
RHP Xzavion Curry – 5IP, H, 10K
Curry was lights out in his performance vs Dayton on 8/19. He struck out the side in the first inning on 12 pitches and struck out the side again in the second, though around a one out single. He threw 49 of his 66 pitches for strikes (74%). It looks like Curry’s outings are being monitored and will be short, but he came through with another dominant performance in this one. He has 104 strikeouts and just 12 walks on the entire season now.
1B Joe Naranjo (5-15, HR, 2B, 6 RBI -.333/.444/.600)
Even with Jhonkensy Noel on the roster now, Naranjo is making his presence felt with a strong week. He’s had hot streaks this season and cold ones, but has shown sneaky power and good contact ability as one of the youngest players in the league.
OF George Valera (3-11, HR, 5 RBI, 8BB/3K 2B)
What finally prompted the promotion for Valera? Was it a certain amount of at bats or the fact that pitchers were walking Valera at an absurd rate, making it hard for him to improve make adjustments with his bat in game because he was too busy spitting on bad pitches?
RHP Daniel Espino (5IP, H, 3BB, 10K)
While Espino didn’t have Curry’s efficiency in his start, after he was given a bit of an escape in the first inning he was dominant yet again, flashing that ace upside stuff.
RHP Jerson Ramirez (4IP, H, HBP, 5K, 2SV)
In two appearances, Ramirez pitched four innings and struck out five with his two saves. He continues to provide solid multi inning outings and miss bats while not walking many hitters. Don’t be surprised if he finds his way to Akron soon as well.
INF Jose Tena (3-17, 2 2B, 9K/0BB)
This is the first stretch we’ve seen Tena really struggle in. It is his first full season in pro ball so he could be getting worn down a bit. The numbers are still good overall and he continues to play a solid SS but it was a tough week for the young left handed hitter.
LHP Kellen Rholl (0.2IP, H, 3ER, 3 HBP, 3BB)
Not to pick on Rholl, but six times this year he’s had an outing where he didn’t record an out and did it again Tuesday vs. Great Lakes and also uncorked two wild pitches. After 70 strikeouts in 50 innings in 2019, the 25 year old has really been lost this year.
8/17 + INF Jhonkensy Noel added to roster from Lynchburg
8/18 LHP Raymond Burgos assigned to ACL roster from Lake County
8/19 + RHP Erick Mock assigned to Lake County from Akron’s IL
8/20 INF Joab Gonzalez assigned to ACL roster from lake County
8/20 + LHP Andrew Misiaszek added to roster from Lynchburg
8/20 C Angel Lopez Alvarez roster status changed
8/24 + OF Harold Ramirez and 1B Bobby Bradley sent to Lake County on rehab assignment
8/24 – INF Victor Nova and OF George Valera promoted to Akron
8/24 + OF Johnathan Rodriguez and INF Christian Cairo promoted to Lake County
8/25 7pm vs. Great Lakes
8/26 7pm vs Great Lakes
8/27 7pm vs Great Lakes
8/28 7pm vs Great Lakes
8/29 1:30pm vs Great Lakes
8/31-9/5 ROAD at South Bend