Former Crowder and current Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) right fielder Sam Hiliard hit a grand slam in the sixth inning Monday night and sparked the Isotopes to a 9-5 victory over the Sacramento River Cats (San Francisco).
On the season, after Monday’s games, Hilliard owned a .249 average (80 for 321) with 64 runs scored, 19 doubles, five triples, 21 home runs, 65 RBI, 29 walks and 108 strikeouts, and 15 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
Hilliard ranks among Pacific Coast League leaders in several offensive categories and for that, he’s been elected a starter for the upcoming all-star game.
The Rockies selected Hilliard in the 15th round in the 2015 MLB Draft and Hilliard’s seen his stock rise to being the No. 9 ranked prospect in the entire Rockies system.
— It has been Dickensesque times lately for former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee) pitcher Aaron Ashby during his four starts for the Mudcats.
In his first two starts, Ashby pitched 14 1/3 scoreless innings and recorded 16 strikeouts and three walks, as well as five hits allowed.
In his last two starts, both losses, Ashby allowed a combined six earned runs over 9 2/3 innings and he struck out seven and walked eight during that span.
On Monday night, Ashby did not begin July in style. He allowed two earned runs on two hits with two strikeouts and five walks over four innings against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs).
On the season, between two stops, Ashby owns a 4-6 record with a 3.18 ERA and 103 strikeouts and 39 walks over 85 innings.
Ashby left the Midwest League as its strikeouts leader with 80 and he earned midseason all-star honors before his promotion to Carolina.
The Brewers selected Ashby in the fourth round (125th overall pick) of the MLB Draft last June and in a year’s time, he’s already ascended the ranks to being the No. 9 prospect in the Brewers system.
— Former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Frederick Keys (Baltimore) reliever Zach Matson remained spotless ERA wise since his promotion to Frederick, but it was not easy for the 6-foot-3, 225-pound southpaw Monday night against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland).
Matson allowed two runs (both unearned) on two hits with one strikeout and three walks over 1 2/3 innings in his second outing in a row against Lynchburg.
Matson struck out three and walked three in his Frederick debut.
On the season, Matson owns a 4-0 record with a 2.31 ERA, four saves in five opportunities, and 67 strikeouts and 25 walks over 39 innings.
Matson earned midseason all-star honors for the first time during his professional career pitching for the Delmarva Shorebirds in the South Atlantic League.
Matson left the South Atlantic having the most strikeouts this season by a reliever.
Opponents are hitting .167 overall against Matson, who’s enjoying by far his best pro season thus far.
The Orioles picked Matson in the 24th round in the 2016 MLB Draft, not long after Matson helped Crowder play for a Region 16 championship.
— Meanwhile, former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Salem Red Sox (Boston) reliever Andrew Schwaab has continued to be solid in relief.
On Monday night, Schwaab pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and recorded two strikeouts and one walk against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Houston).
Schwaab earned saves in three of his last five outings for Salem.
On the season, Schwaab owns a 2-1 record with a 4.04 ERA, five saves in six opportunities, and 44 strikeouts and 22 walks over 35 2/3 innings.
Since his demotion from Double-A Portland, Schwaab has been 1-0 with a 2.55 ERA, four saves in five opportunities, and 22 strikeouts and eight walks over 17 2/3 innings.
Schwaab might find his way back to Double-A — where he started the season promisingly before struggles — if he keeps performing like he has been recently.
The Red Sox marks Schwaab’s third professional organization, following stints with the New York Yankees and Detroit — all three organizations have been around forever in the American League.
The Yankees signed Schwaab as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and the 6-foot-1, 205-pound reliever earned consecutive midseason all-star honors in 2016 and 2017.
— Like Ashby, it’s not been the best of times recently either for former Neosho High and Crowder standout and current Single-A Hagerstown Suns (Washington) pitcher Trey Turner.
Turner took a third straight loss in consecutive decisions and he allowed two runs on two hits with two strikeouts and three walks over 1 1/3 innings Monday against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Miami).
Over this stretch, Turner has seen his ERA climb nearly two full points from 0.68 to 2.65.
On the season, Turner owns a 1-3 record with that 2.65 ERA and 28 strikeouts and nine walks over 17 innings. He’s issued five walks during his last two outings.
Opponents are still hitting .169 this season against the 6-foot-1, 195-pound righty born in Fort Scott.
The Nationals drafted Turner in the 10th round in 2017, right around his 21st birthday.
— Former Crowder standout and current AZL Athletics Gold (Oakland) shortstop Elvis Peralta has been streaking in the right direction.
On Monday night against the AZL Dodgers Lasorda (Los Angeles), Peralta had two hits and one run scored from his leadoff spot, and the Athletics Gold earned a 4-2 victory to improve to 8-4 overall.
On the season, after 12 pro games, Peralta owned a .279 average (12 for 43) with 13 runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, three RBI, eight walks and 12 strikeouts, and three stolen bases in four attempts. Peralta homered during his first pro at-bat.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound middle infielder leads the team in runs scored and he’s tied for the lead in stolen bases and tied for second in homers.
Peralta ranks second in the Arizona League in runs scored and sixth in walks (half of his eight walks came during one game).
The Athletics selected Peralta in the 26th round in June.
— Former Crowder pitcher Ethan Clark had a late start to his 2019 season, as he was assigned March 29 to Marlins extended spring training.
On April 6, he was assigned to the Los Angeles Angels and over months later, the Angels assigned Clark to the Rookie Advanced Orem Owlz.
Clark entered the week 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA and four strikeouts and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Oklahoma City native (and the Angels) hope that he regains his form from the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
In 2016, at rookie ball Princeton, Clark finished 7-2 overall with a 2.91 ERA, one save in one opportunity, and 44 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.
In 2017, between two different organizations in Single-A, Clark went 6-4 overall with a 2.59 ERA and 107 strikeouts and 44 walks over 107 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay, the team that drafted Clark in the 15th round in 2015, traded prospects Clark and outfielder Braxton Lee to the Marlins for the services of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
Lee now plays for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies in the New York Mets organization and he made eight appearances for the Marlins during last season.
Ironically enough, Hechavarria currently plays for the Mets.