The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes are already five games into the second half of the Cal.ifornia League season, and they have still yet to lose a game. With their 15-11 slugfest win over High Desert last night, the Quakes have improved to 5-0 since the All-Star break. Much of that success has come off the strength of shortstop and top Dodgers Prospect Corey Seager, who has a ridiculous slash line of .353/.405/.613 in 65 games this season. He’s been even better of late, going nine for 19 with a home run and 11 runs scored in the second half, including a four hit performance last night.
The Quakes also owe their success to first baseman Chris Jacobs, who homered yesterday and is quietly having one of the better seasons in the Dodgers’ system. Last night’s long ball was his 14th of the year and brought his OPS up to .884. He’s been particularly hot since the all star break, homering three times and driving in 11 in just five games. Already 24 and old for the league, he could be jockeying for a promotion.
Homering on the other side of the ledger in that bloody Rancho Cucamonga – High Desert contest was High Desert third baseman D.J. Peterson. Peterson, Seattle’s first pick from last years draft, has been ablaze in his last five games, with nine hits, nine RBIs, and three home runs in just nineteen at bats. He can add those to his already gaudy season totals. The 22 year old is hitting .326 with 18 home runs and a league leading 73 RBIs.
Over in Lancaster, Stockton Designated Hitter Ryon Healy had a big night, collecting four hits for the second time in his last three games as the Ports defeated the Jethawks by a score of 8-7 in extra innings. Healy, Oakland’s third round selection in 2013, was slow to start the season but has been on fire of late, hitting .360 in the month of june, albeit with just two walks and an OBP of .367.
For Lancaster, third baseman Rio Ruiz homered and drove in three in a losing effort. Although only a fourth round pick, Ruiz received a well above slot bonus of 1.85 million dollars from the Astros in 2012. It’s still too early to tell, but he seems to be promising a good return on investment. The 20 year old is hitting .292 with 7 home runs and a .387 On Base Percentage and ranks fourth in the California League with 45 walks, despite being one of the circuit’s youngest players.
The best pitching performance of the week undoubtedly goes to Braden Shipley of Visalia. The Diamondbacks 2013 first round pick threw seven shutout innings and struck out ten as Visalia defeated San Jose 2-1 on Saturday. Shipley, 21, has been lights out since he was promoted from Class-A South Bend last month, pitching to a 2.81 and striking out just under 12 batters per nine.
Some top pitching prospects, though, are not faring so well. Mark Appel, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, struck out just two batters and gave up four runs (three earned) over five innings in a losing effort Saturday. It was actually a modest improvement over his last start, when he gave up four earned runs and left after just three innings. Overall, though, it’s been a disaster of a season for Appel. Through seven starts, the Lancaster starter is 0-3 with an ERA of 10.38. Opponents are hitting .394 off of the 22 year old right hander.