If you like watching the farm as much as I do – and why wouldn't you, given the frustrating misfortunes with our Big League crew of late? – then tonight's your night. Strikethrowers and legit prospects on the hill, the debut of at least one early round draftee, the return of soft-tosser Wade LeBlanc, and the intro game of our AZL Angels.
Here's a roundup of boxscores. Among today's highlights and interesting matchups:
- Wade LeBlanc rejoins the Salt Lake Bees to try to prove he's got the goods to fill the big club's lefty swingman deficit. Will he find the success he found in May, when he put up a 2.03 ERA in the punishing PCL?
- Nate Smith, the Angels minor league strikeout leader and arguably our most exciting LHP prospect at the upper levels, takes the hill against St. Louis' third-round pick from the 2013 draft, Mike Mayers.
- Tyler Deloach, a towering lefty with an imposing K-rate (58Ks over his last 49.1IP), returns to starting for the 66ers. Will he keep his control problems in check to go six or more?
- Chad Hinshaw, another 2013 college pick and Burlington's best hitter by far, earned a promotion to A+ ball yesterday and joins the 66ers. He leads the farm with 25 steals in his first 59 games, and was hitting .300/.435/.560 in June, as a centerfielder in a league not known for hitter's parks. Can he steal 50+ this season against tougher competition?
- Jeremy Rhoades, the Angels' fourth-round pick from the 2014 draft, debuts tonight for Orem's first home opener. A converted reliever, how might he fare in Orem's thin, elevated air?
- The Arizona rookie league Angels have posted their roster. Wonder where Hunter Green, Ricardo Sanchez and Yordany Reinoso ended up? They're all here, along with the Angels #2 pick from the recent June draft, Joe Gatto, and our #6 pick, OF Alex Abbott, just signed in the past 48 hrs. They join Jose Rondon, Taylor Lindsey and Matt Long – all on rehab assignments after various nicks and clobbers put them temporarily on the shelf.
Three of these games are on MiLB.TV, with the grainy broadcasts and corny local color you can expect from any faked moon landing or backyard wrestling shoot. Like a distributed band of ham radio enthusiast tuning into a half-baked future, you'll be one in a hundred (or fewer) – we guarantee it!
Tune in. We're going deep.