Farm Fresh, Vol. 2

By
Updated: September 6, 2019

By Chet Murphy
Minor League Columnist
PEBA Weekly
Aug. 13, 2029

Day Of The No-Hitter

Insanity.

Aug. 8, 2029 will go down in PEBA history as the day of the no-hitter: three in the Surf and Snow Amalgamation (specifically, three in the Alaska League) and one in the North American Farm Team Affiliation.

That’s a total of four. In one day.

Unprecedented.

Leading the pack: Luis López of the Wasilla Sledge Dogs (London), who shut down the Angoon Avalanche (Reno) with 16 Ks and just 1 walk in a complete game 4-0 victory. Note of interest – López’s last start, against Barrow (Kentucky), was a 1-hit shutout with 10 Ks. Through Aug. 13, his no-hit gem was rated as the top pitching performance of the year in the Surf and Snow, with 102 game score points.

Luis Lopez

Next up was José Antonio Blanco, of the Kivalina Bowheads (Yuma), who blanked the Kenai Traders (Fargo) with 1 walk and 8 Ks en route to a 6-0 win. His game score points: 94.

Carlos Gutiérrez, of the Homer Wallbangers (San Juan) was the league’s third no-hit hurler. He mowed down the Akutan Island Eagles (Canton), striking out 9 and walking 2. He won the game 3-0, piling up 94 game score points.

In the NAFTA, Juan Guerrero of the Rosarito Monjas del Vuelo (West Virginia) no-hit the Chula Vista Chargers (Bakersfield), striking out 10 and walking 2. Rosatito won the game 9-0. He notched 95 game score points for the outing.

For those of you scoring at home, Surf and Snow pitchers have now thrown 7 no-hitters this season, blowing away the previous record of 4 set in 2027. NAFTA now has seen 5 no hitters this season, just one behind the previous record of 6 set in 2025.

Something is definitely in the air this season …

A Perfecto in AA

Not to be left out of the no-hit mania, the Great Northern League recorded one on July 28 – and it was a doozy: a perfect game by Tashiaki Kamimura, of the Toyohira Fubuki (Toyama).

Tashiaki Kamimura

He shut down the Kumamoto Mothra (Okinawa) with 6 Ks and 0 BBs in a 9-inning 8-0 romp.

“As a kid I imagined pitching a perfect game, but it was only a fairy tale — I didn’t really ever expect to pitch one,” Kamimura said after the game, sitting in the clubhouse surrounded by a crowd of reporters. “I don’t want to demean it, but I’ve lost games where I had better stuff than I had today. It all just fell into place in this one.”

So far, on the season, Kamimura is 13-3 with a 2.24 ERA, 103 Ks and 40 BBs in 23 starts.

Speaking Of Pitching …

If you doubt there’s something in the air affecting minor league pitchers this year, consider the Alaskan League (one of the sub-leagues of the Surf and Snow).

Through Aug. 13, the league average ERA … again, the LEAGUE average … is 2.88, which would be an outstanding figure for the ace of any staff. In the Alaskan League this year, that might land you a spot starter role.

José Antonio Blanco of the Kivalina Bowheads (Yuma) has an ERA of 0.98 across 10 starts this season … and he’s NOT leading the league’s ERA race.

No, that’s Alberto Zúñiga of the Taku Winds (San Antonio), who has an ERA of 0.89 after 9 starts.

And you’d think he’d be feeling like pretty hot stuff … except the ERA leader in the Hawaiian sub league checks in at 0.71. That’s Willie Cochrane of the Kilauea Volcanoes (Arlington).

Pretty impressive considering he’s pitching in a hitters’ paradise where the league-wide average ERA is a bloated … um … 3.19.

Maybe there really is something in the air …

Is This Baseball Or The WWE?

Brawls have been breaking out all over across the PEBA minor leagues. Here’s the breakdown, by league, from April 1 to Aug. 13:

  • AAA Global Baseball Brotherhood has reported 7 brawls resulting in suspensions. The longest suspension was for 12 games, the shortest for 4.
  • AA Great Northern League has reported 5 brawls with suspensions. The longest was 9 games, the shortest 3.
  • A North American Farm Team Affiliation has reported 6 brawls resulting in suspensions. The longest was 5 games, the shortest 2.
  • The Short Season Surf and Snow Amalgamation has been all peace and love so far. No brawls and no suspensions.
  • The major league PEBA has reported 3 brawls resulting in suspensions, the longest for 9 games and the shortest for 2.

Of course, the suspension that jumps off the screen is that 12 gamer handed down in AAA. SP Chad Steele of the Thornton FasTrax (Aurora) drew that penalty for igniting a brawl in his July 6 start against the Niigata Gigans (Neo-Tokyo).

After surrendering 3 homers in 3 innings against the Gigans, Steele took out his frustrations on SS Matt Longchamps by nailing him with a pitch to lead off the 4thinning. Longchamps charged the mound, swinging wildly and both benches cleared.

After the game, the league office handed down a 12-game suspension against Steele, and 6-gamer against Longchamps.

To his credit, Longchamps seemed sheepish about the incident after the suspensions were handed down.

“Sometimes we go too far and have to pay the consequences,” he told BNN. “Hopefully cooler heads will prevail the next time we play.”

But based on the season’s track record so far … maybe not.

Wild 21-inning Game Features Records and a Walk-off

Set your Wayback Machine for June 3 and the AAA game between the Eindhoven Electric (Amsterdam) and the Raleigh El Dorados (Charleston).

The game went 21 innings, lasted 7 hours and 1 minute, featured a number of remarkable occurrences and was finally won – at 10:06 p.m., following a 3:05 p.m. start – by Raleigh, 5-3.

Johnny Dand

First, there’s the 5-hit performance by Raleigh CF Johnny Dand. The 31-year-old career minor-leaguer went 5-9: he singled in the 2nd, singled in the 5th, singled in the 6th, singled in the 8th, doubled in the 11th, flied out in the 13th, struck out in the 15th, flied out in the 18th and struck out in the 20th.

That game, clearly, was the highlight of an otherwise dismal season for Dand, who as of Aug. 13, was slashing .198/.253/.266.

Not to be outdone was Raleigh RF Juan Romero, who kept setting and then breaking the team record for at-bats in a game. First, he set the record at 8, then broke it at 9, and finally broke it a final time in the 21stinning with 10. For the record, Romero went 3-10 with 1 run scored and 2 strikeouts.

The most satisfying moment of all, though, had to belong to Raleigh C Robert Phillips who came to bat as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 21stwith two runners aboard. He jacked a slider that didn’t slide from RP John Neville out of the park for a walk-off 3 run homer, ending a truly epic contest on a thrilling note.

A Hit Parade for Delaney

Gareth Delaney, the backup catcher for the Magami Ako – the single A affiliate for Okinawa – went on something of a rampage on Aug. 3: 6 hits in 6 at-bats against the Nagano Olympians (Neo-Tokyo).

Delaney hit an RBI single in the 2nd, hit an RBI double in the 4th, singled in the 6th, singled in the 8th, singled in the 10th and singled in the 12th.

Gareth Delaney

Magami won the game 4-3 in 13 innings.

As of Aug. 5, Delaney was slashing .408/.447/.563 in 25 games.

Curiously, he was playing behind Manuel Cavaca, who was slashing .203/.274/.371 in 41 games. Not-so-curiously, Delaney’s morale was described as “angry.”

Delaney has since been promoted to AA, where he’s batting .167 in two games.

Morale? Still angry …