A fastball-heavy Kyle Crick threw 6.1 innings of solid baseball on Wednesday afternoon, culminating in likely his best start of the 2016 season. He walked three batters in typical Crick fashion, but he struck out a season-high eight and was really a bit better than the line shows. An easy ground ball to first baseman Chris Shaw with one out in the seventh would have ended the inning with a well-executed double play, but Shaw threw wide to second base and instead of two outs, no outs were recorded. The next batter doubled home two runs, followed by a single, and then Crick was pulled. In all likelihood, Crick was done after the seventh anyway, so his line would have read just one hit in seven innings, which was really indicative of how well Crick pitched.
When Crick wasn't hammering the fastball, he was using a mix of his curveball and changeup, the latter of which was wildly impressive. Sharp, sharp drop on the changeup fooled hitters on multiple occasions, while the curve kept right-handers off balance. Despite the three walks, Crick's innings were less stressful and filled with more strikes than usual. Through four innings, Crick sat at just 37 pitches, 27 of which were strikes.
— Brandon Bednar recorded two hits last night as his average climbed over .300 in just under 100 plate appearances with Richmond since his promotion. Bednar continues to be a high-contact hitter who doesn't draw walks often. His career walk rate of 4.6 percent is crazy low, while thankfully he strikes out at an above-average mark of 15.2 percent. Richmond is so stacked offensively they've got a guy hitting over .300 batting seventh. Good problem to have.
— I watched almost all of Conner Menez's debut in the Northwest League, and though his final line wasn't super pretty, there is a lot to like about this left-hander. He allowed five hits in five innings, but retired the final 10 batters he faced. One of those five hits was a can-of-corn pop fly that Ashford Fulmer lost in the sun, which of course scored a run instead of ending the inning. That run was charged to Menez, who certainly had to have been dealing with some debut jitters. He was displaying two quality breaking balls — a slider to the back foot of right-handers and a slower curveball to lefties. Both pitches have remarkable break and could potentially be plus offerings. His fastball had two-seam tail and was used up and down in the zone. Expect to see more dominant outings from Menez through the second half of the Volcanoes' season.
— No home runs for Dylan Davis on Wednesday, but the hot right-handed hitter did go 4-for-4 with a double to bring his average since joining San Jose up to .303.
TOP-30 PROSPECTS ROUNDUP
- Phil Bickford: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO
- Christian Arroyo: 3-for-5, 4 R, 2B, RBI, SB
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-3, 2 R, 2 BB, SO
- Lucius Fox: DNP
- Bryan Reynolds: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Adalberto Mejia: DNP
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Aramis Garcia: DNP
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Duggar: 1-for-4, 3 RBI, SO
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Rodolfo Martinez: DNP
- C.J. Hinojosa: 2-for-5, R, SO
- Clayton Blackburn: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
- Jalen Miller: DNP
- Ray Black: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 4-for-4, 2B
- Chase Johnson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Heath Quinn: 2-for-4, R
- Matt Krook: DNP
- Hunter Cole: 0-for-4
- Austin Slater: 0-for-3, BB, SO
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Reyes Moronta: DNP
- Kyle Crick: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
- Chris Stratton: DNP