Former Crowder and current Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado) right fielder Sam Hilliard collected a pair of hits Sunday and extended his current hit streak to four games. Hilliard could not extend his consecutive games with a homer streak to three, though.
On the season, Hilliard owns a .261 average (122 for 467) with 100 runs scored, 26 doubles, seven doubles, 32 home runs, 96 RBI, 50 walks and 152 strikeouts, and 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
Entering the week, Hilliard ranked third in the Pacific Coast League in homers, third in RBI, first in runs scored, eighth in stolen bases, seventh in triples, and first in strikeouts. He briefly took over the home run lead.
Hilliard’s previous high for homers in a season was 21 in 2017 for Single-A Advanced Lancaster in the California League.
That mountain air has served Hilliard well in 2019.
Hilliard earned his fourth straight midseason all-star earlier this season, his Pacific Coast League honor preceded by the Eastern (Hartford) last season, the California (Lancaster) two seasons ago, and the South Atlantic (Asheville) in 2016.
The Rockies drafted Hilliard in the 15th round in 2015 and the 6-foot-5, 238-pound Texas native has become one of the Rockies’ top prospects.
— Former Crowder and current Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes (Miami) pitcher Mike Kickham earned his 45th career professional victory in his last outing.
Kickham earned the victory in long relief and he allowed one run (earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over 3 2/3 innings against the San Antonio Missions (Milwaukee).
On the season, Kickham owns a 4-5 record with a 4.71 ERA and 76 strikeouts and 34 walks spread over 78 1/3 innings pitched. He’s appeared in 29 games and made 11 starts.
Over a pro career that dates back to 2010, Kickham stands at 45-54 overall with a 4.10 ERA and 720 strikeouts and 331 walks over 827 1/3 innings.
Kickham’s best season came in 2012 for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco): 11-10 with a 3.05 ERA and 137 strikeouts and 75 walks over 150 2/3 innings.
The next year, Kickham received the call to the Giants and he posted a 0-3 record with a 10.16 ERA and 29 strikeouts and 10 walks over 28 1/3 innings and 12 appearances, including three starts.
At the time, San Francisco included such young arms as Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum.
Bumgarner earned all-star honors four straight seasons — 2013 through 2016 — and he earned World Series MVP honors in 2014 with two victories against Kansas City.
Lincecum once appeared to be on the fast track toward greatness after winning back-to-back Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009 at the age of 24 and 25.
Kickham made 14 appearances for the Giants in 2013 and 2014.
San Francisco drafted Kickham in the sixth round in 2010.
— Former Crowder and Single-A Advanced Salem Red Sox (Boston) pitcher Andrew Schwaab continues to find success for his second home this season.
Schwaab pitched one scoreless inning Sunday and lowered his ERA seven points, a couple days after another scoreless inning produced his 11th save of the season and the 48th of his career.
With Salem, Schwaab owns a 2-1 record and a 2.31 ERA with 11 saves in 14 opportunities and 38 strikeouts and 15 walks over 35 innings and 30 appearances. Hitters are only batting .177 against the 6-foot-1, 205-pound righty from St. Charles — and .188 overall this season in his 40 games.
Overall, he’s 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA, 12 saves, and 60 strikeouts and 29 walks over 53 innings.
The New York Yankees signed Schwaab as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and he earned midseason all-star honors in 2016 and 2017 playing for Charleston (South Atlantic League) and Tampa (Florida State).
— The Single-A Advanced Carolina Mudcats (Milwaukee) activated former Crowder stalwart Aaron Ashby from the disabled list on Sunday and he made his return to the mound Sunday against the Lynchburg Hellcats (Cleveland).
Ashby took the start and he allowed one run (earned) on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks over 1 2/3 innings.
On the season, overall, Ashby stands at 5-10 with a 3.62 ERA and 129 strikeouts and 57 walks over 119 1/3 innings. Ashby started out hot in his first two starts after his promotion to Carolina, but he’s lost six of his last seven decisions and he saw his ERA rise over four points during a period of five starts. Ashby spent over 10 days on the DL.
Ashby started the season at Single-A Wisconsin in the Midwest League and he earned a 3-4 mark there with a 3.54 ERA and 80 strikeouts and 28 walks over 61 innings. At the moment of his departure to Carolina, Ashby led the Midwest League in strikeouts; Ashby earned midseason all-star honors for the Timber Rattlers.
The Brewers drafted Ashby in the fourth round in 2018 and he’s the No. 9 overall prospect in the Brewers organization.
— Continuing along the Carolina League front after looking at Andrew Schwaab and Aaron Ashby, former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced Frederick Keys (Baltimore) reliever Zach Matson earned his fifth save of the season and his first with Frederick.
Matson pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings Sunday for the Keys against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Houston) and recorded one strikeout and no walks.
Matson lowered his ERA with Frederick 29 points and his ERA rose to 4.50 after surrendering five earned runs three outings ago.
On the season, overall, Matson owns a 5-2 record and a 3.34 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 37 walks over 62 innings.
Matson did his best work at Single-A Delmarva, en route to midseason all-star honors, and went 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 63 strikeouts and 19 walks over 35 1/3 innings to earn his promotion.
The Orioles picked Matson in the 24th round in 2016 and the 6-foot-3, 225-pound southpaw has enjoyed his best pro season in 2019.
— A month after being placed on and eight days after being taken off the disabled list, former Crowder and current Single-A Advanced St. Lucie Mets (New York) pitcher Kyle Wilson threw one of his best outings of the season.
On Sunday, Wilson pitched five scoreless innings against the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay) with one strikeout and one walk.
Wilson lowered his ERA with St. Lucie to 3.81 and his seasonal to 3.68.
In 21 games this season, Wilson stands at 4-8 overall with that 3.68 ERA and 55 strikeouts and 41 walks over 88 innings.
The Mets selected Wilson in the 35th round in 2017 — not long after he pitched for Crowder in the JUCO World Series — and that was his second time being selected in the MLB Draft. Wilson decided to come and play at Crowder after being drafted out of high school.
Wilson was born in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
— Former Crowder standout Elvis Peralta has certainly enjoyed a solid pro debut with the AZL Athletics Gold (Oakland).
After his first 48 pro games, Peralta owned a .282 average (50 for 177) with 41 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, 20 RBI, 30 walks and 47 strikeouts, and 10 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Peralta leads the team in runs scored and steals, and ranks third in RBI.
Entering the week, Peralta ranked fourth in the Arizona League in runs scored and tied for the league lead in games played with Cristian Gomez.
The Athletics selected Peralta in the 26th round in June.