Farm Fresh

By
Updated: August 18, 2019

By Way of Introduction

This is the first in a series of periodic looks around PEBA’s minor leagues in search of extraordinary performances, interesting races, or just plain weird stuff.

While most fans concentrate on what’s happening at the major league level, the minors have their own dramas just waiting to be discovered.

Well, wait no longer.

PEBA Weekly hopes to publish at least a couple of these roundups per season to help clue you in to what’s up down on the farm. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the extraordinary happenings in PEBA’s minors!

Chet Murphy, Minor League Columnist, PEBA Weekly

From One to Zero to Perfection

Masakazu Nishimura had an April to remember for the AAA Glendale Skyelanders.

On opening night, the Reno pitching prospect threw 8 innings of 1-hit, shutout ball against the Henderson Fighting Scotts (Yuma) and led his team to a 2-0 victory.

Great but hardly miraculous, you say?

Try this on for size: three weeks later, on April 22, he threw 7.2 innings of no-hit ball against the Yokohama Plumbers (Toyama) before the game was called for rain in the bottom of the 8th. Nishimura struck out 4 and walked just 1 in a dominant outing.

“His fastball looked about the size of a watermelon seed and it hissed at you as it passed,” Yokohama manager Sumitomo Shinohara said after the game.

Looking better, but still not impressed?

Fine.

Five days later – April 27, if you’re scoring at home – Nishimura came back with a perfect game. As in no hits, no walks, no errors, and no joy if you’re on the receiving end, like the Provo Missionaries (Palm Springs) were.

The BNN account of the game noted: “When it was over, Nishimura gave a simple fist pump, while his teammates mobbed him and the fans gave a standing ovation.”

As of July 1, 2029, Nishimura is 5-3 with a 1.38 ERA in 91 innings pitched, with 57 Ks, 8 (!) walks, and 3.3 WAR.

Think Reno’s looking forward to the day this kid is on the mound for the Zephyrs?

Yeah, I know. Silly question.

A Mad Scrum at the Top

While we’re kicking around AAA and the Global Baseball Brotherhood, check out the standings in the Europe and Islands Division.

As of July 2, there was a three-way tie at the top: Aberdeen, Camaguey, and Eindhoven all sat at .500. The Golden Sands (Scotland) and Tinajon (Havana) were at 40-40, and the Electric (Amsterdam) was at 41-41. Santo Domingo (San Juan), at 38-43, was just 2.5 games back.

Not a good team among them, mind you, but evenly matched.

The Hit Parade

The top AAA hitting performance so far this season, according to BNN rankings, was turned in by Marcos Ramos of the Leeds Rhinos (London) on June 9 against the Raleigh El Dorados (Charleston).

His stat line: 6 AB, 4 R, 5 H, 5 RBIs, 2 HRs, 0 W, BNN Game Score 109

Ramos flied out in the 1st, singled in the 3rd, singled in the 4th, singled in the 6th, hit a two-run home run in the 7th and a three-run homer in the 8th.

 

Lights Out

You might assume the top AAA pitching performance was the April 27 perfect game by Nishiyama. But when you assume, you make an ass of u and me …

Turns out, BNN gives the nod for top pitching performance to Roban Nakao, of the Kyoto Rodan (Shin Seiki), who threw a no-hitter of his own on June 20 against the Thornton Fastrax (Aurora).

Nakao narrowly missed perfection himself as he walked one batter, and his team committed one error. He did, however, strike out 8 batters along the way to compiling a Game Score of 94.

“Honestly, I didn’t even know the situation was what it was until the seventh inning,” Kyoto manager Katsuhiko Kamida told BNN after the game. “I happened to look up there to see how many hits we had gotten, and I happened to notice that they hadn’t gotten any.”

On the season, Nakao is 4-4 with an ERA of 2.64 in 81.2 IP. He has 61 Ks and 18 walks.

All-Star Drama in the Great Northern 

The AA All-Star Game on June 12 was a nail-biter: 13 innings of edge-of-your-seat baseball won in dramatic fashion in the last at-bat.

At the end of 9, the Atlantic Alliance and Pacific Alliance All-Stars were knotted at 4 runs apiece. The Pacific had been trailing going into the bottom of the 8th, but tied it up when DH José García of the Toronto Phantoms (Fargo) mashed a 435-foot 2-run homer to right center off Lyle Hobbs of the Rockville Reckoning (

The score stayed knotted until the bottom of the 13th, when Roberto Yánez of the Laval Islanders (Hartford) launched a 370-foot bomb into the left field stands for a walk-off win. Jorge García of the Inverness Highlanders (Scotland) took the heart-breaking loss.

It may have been an exhibition, but these guys played like it was for keeps.

The Projection Room

1B Tiburcio Penela of the Beaufort Loggerdoggers (Florida) has 33 homers on the season already.

That puts him on a pace to hit 56 for the full year: not bad when you consider that projection is for 138 games, not 162. If Penela were to play a full major league schedule, he’d be on pace for 66 dingers.

Not bad for a guy who grades out at 4/7 contact and 6/7 home run power.

Whatever they’re feeding him at the Beaufort training table, keep it up!

Kick Back and Relax a Little, Fellas

You might say the Maine Lobsters (West Virginia) are the class of the ATAL North Division.

Their 57-25 record on the season is good for a 22-game lead over second place Youngstown (Canton).

So, no. They’re not exactly in awe of the competition at this point.

The Lobsters might need to take up a hobby to keep themselves awake until the season ends …

 

 

 

Top AA Performances 

3B Arturo Rodríguez of the Liverpool Beatles (London) has the top-rated hitting performance so far. In the May 21 game against Rockville (Charleston), Rodríguez went 3-3 with 3 runs, 2 homers and 2 walks for a BNN game score of 107.

 

On the pitching side, the top performance so far was an iron-man effort turned in by SP Júlio Rivera of the Brampton Camels (Crystal Lake). He threw 11.1 innings of 1-hit shutout ball against the Kumamoto Mothra (Okinawa) on April 9. He walked 1 and struck out 12 along the way.

 

Did Rivera pick up the win? Nope – although Brampton did. The Camels won 1-0 after finally pushing across a run in the top of the 13th.

 

No-Hit Explosion in NAFTA!

The North American Farm Team Affiliation has seen 4 (count ‘em!) no-hitters so far this season.

One of Each

2B Milo Slaughter of the National City Bankers (Palm Springs) hit for the cycle on May 23 against the Nagano Olympians (Neo-Tokyo).

Slaughter went 4-7 with 1 run and 5 RBIs as he collected a single, double, triple and homer in the Bankers’ 8-5 win.

He didn’t quite seem to grasp the significance of his feat after the game, though.

“Maybe one day I’ll look back on this with more meaning, but right now I just want to go out tomorrow and put some good swings on the ball and help my club win another game,” he said.

So, for the day, four hits and one impressive post-game cliché. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Streaking in the Surf and Snow 

The Lana’i City Pineapples (Palm Springs) lost their first game of the season 6-3 to the Kailua Hanso (Duluth).

But they haven’t lost since.

Lana’i City has reeled off 16 straight wins since June 14, and sat atop the Archipelago Division with a 16-1 record as of July 1. But they can’t get too comfortable – the second place Kauai Monsters (West Virginia) are 14-3 and just 2 games back.

Looks like an entertaining race shaping up in the Short A Surf and Snow Amalgamation!

Short Season No Hitters

Yeah, the season’s young, but the Surf and Snow has already recorded two no-hitters.