Not long after being named a Midwest League all-star, former Crowder pitcher Aaron Ashby received a promotion from Single-A Wisconsin to Single-A Advanced Carolina (Milwaukee), where he will play in the Carolina League.
For Wisconsin, Ashby earned a 3-4 overall record with a 3.54 ERA and 80 strikeouts and 27 walks over 53 innings.
In his last start with Wisconsin, just a day before his promotion, Ashby struck out 13 and walked five Beloit Snappers (Oakland) and he allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits over eight innings. Ashby took the loss.
Ashby left for Carolina as the leader of the Midwest League in strikeouts and had a lead of six on Shane McClanahan — also just promoted to Single-A Advanced Charlotte by Tampa Bay — and seven on Clinton LumberKings pitcher Chris Vallimont, who’s the only one of the three pitchers still playing in the Midwest League.
Overall, in his professional career, Ashby owns a 5-7 record with a 3.56 ERA and 146 strikeouts and 45 walks over 118 2/3 innings.
The Brewers selected Ashby in the fourth round (125th overall pick) in last year’s MLB Draft and he’s the ninth-ranked overall prospect in the Brewers organization.
— Former Crowder and current Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds (Baltimore) pitcher Zach Matson earned a three-inning save Saturday in a game against the Hagerstown Suns (Washington).
Matson struck out six and walked none over three scoreless innings of work.
On the season, Matson owns a 4-0 record and a 1.42 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 15 walks over 31 2/3 innings.
Matson’s on a roll over his last 10 appearances — 2-0 and four saves with a 0.89 ERA and 40 strikeouts and six walks over 20 1/3 innings.
Opponents are hitting .131 this season against Matson, recently named a South Atlantic League all-star, his first such professional honor.
The Orioles selected Matson in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Former Neosho High standout Trey Turner, Matson’s Crowder teammate, pitches for Hagerstown and he came up with a scoreless inning of relief Sunday against Delmarva, just a day after Matson blanked the Suns for three innings.
Turner lowered his seasonal ERA to 0.79 and he’s only allowed one earned run in 11 1/3 innings this season. He’s 1-0 with 22 strikeouts and three walks.
Opponents are hitting .128 this season against Turner, a similar number to how opponents are faring against Matson.
Delmarva remains the North Division leader in the South Atlantic.
— Former Crowder standout Elvis Peralta had a premonition two days before he was selected in the 26th round of the MLB Draft last Wednesday by the Oakland Athletics.
Peralta told his story in the The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Massachusetts, “I dreamed I was drafted by the Oakland A’s. It was crazy. It felt so real, like it really happened. I probably should’ve gone right to the store and purchased an A’s cap.”
Peralta signed with Oakland on Saturday.
In 2017, Peralta sparked a Crowder run to the JUCO World Series and he earned the most outstanding hitter award.
Peralta enjoyed one outstanding season at NCAA Division I Marshall.
Fellow 2017 Crowder standout Kyle MacDonald signed with the New York Yankees on Friday. The Yankees selected the left-handed hitting slugger in the 27th round Wednesday.
MacDonald, a player who’s been known for his facial hair, signed clean shaven. Of course, that’s because since 1973 the Yankees have enforced an appearance policy — hair cut above the collar of their jersey and no beards permitted.
— Former Crowder and current Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) outfielder Sam Hilliard was recently featured in the pages of the Denver Post in a story by Kyle Newman.
“At Crowder, I really started to put together my game,” Hilliard said, “and my work ethic got a lot better. I started to really figure out how to play. I was doing a lot better at the time as a pitcher than a hitter, and I went to Wichita State as a two-way guy.
“In JUCO, I was basically blowing fastballs by guys and I had a pretty good changeup. But when I went to Division I, their approaches were better (and) that didn’t work anymore. I got hit around.”
Colorado picked Hilliard in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and he’s steadily advanced up the ladder of the Rockies system. Hilliard earned three consecutive midseason all-star appearances: Double-A Hartford last season, Single-A Advanced Lancaster in 2017, and Single-A Asheville in 2016.
Hilliard’s moved into the top 10 overall prospects in the Rockies system.
On the season, after 62 games, Hilliard owned a .256 average (64 for 250) with 51 runs scored, 16 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs, 53 RBI, 25 walks and 85 strikeouts, and 12 stolen bases in 14 attempts. Entering the week, Hilliard ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League in homers, fourth in RBI, first in runs scored, and tied for first in strikeouts.
Look for Hilliard to soon earn a fourth straight midseason all-star.
— Former Crowder and current Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes (Miami) pitcher Mike Kickham earned a victory Thursday and took a loss Sunday.
In the loss, Kickham allowed two runs (both unearned) on no hits with one strikeout and two walks over one inning against the Sacramento River Cats (San Francisco; the Giants drafted Kickham in the sixth round of the 2010 MLB Draft and the 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw played parts of two MLB seasons for the Giants).
In the victory, Kickham allowed no runs on two hits with five strikeouts and one walk over three innings against the Fresno Grizzlies (Washington).
Kickham’s next victory would be his 45th overall during his pro career.
On the season, Kickham owns a 3-2 record with a 3.76 ERA and 40 strikeouts and 16 walks over 38 1/3 innings.
Like Hilliard in the outfield, Kickham’s on the ballot for the Triple-A All-Star Game. Hilliard and Kickham both play in the Pacific Coast League.
The Triple-A All-Star Game is scheduled for July 10 in El Paso.