It took about a month after tying the record but congratulations are well in order for Mike Hessman of the Toledo Mud Hens. Hessman hit his 259th home run in the International League, taking the crown away from Ollie Carnegie, who hit 258 home runs for the Buffalo Bisons in the 1930s and 1940s. Hessman had hit his 258th home run on May 30th against the Charlotte Knights at home in Toledo but missing time due to a wrist injury and the removal of a pre-cancerous growth from his face left him tied with the Buffalo legend for exactly one month. Hessman was quoted by MiLB.com writer Jake Seiner as saying “I’m finally glad it’s over with.” It appears that Hessman is ready to keep piling up home runs for the Mud Hens.
The Columbus Clippers have been on a roll lately and a lot of that is thanks to their pitching staff which features the International League Pitcher of the Week, Travis Banwart. Barnwart made two outstanding starts, going 13 innings in total and allowing only two runs (one earned) on ten hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts. The 28-year-old fourth-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2007 has yet to play in the major leagues but is probably getting closer than ever thanks to a 3.12 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with a 2.36 K/BB ratio in 89 1/3 innings in Columbus this year.
In Pawtucket, where there are lots of players getting attention, Carlos Rivero made some noise of his own, going 12/28 this week (.429) with a .484 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage. At 26, Rivero has now played in four organizations, joining the Red Sox this year. He was originally signed out of Venezuela in 2005 by the Cleveland Indians and has also spent time in the Washington and Philadelphia organizations. With a .277/.326/.385 line, Rivero is on his way to his best year in the minor leagues since 2012 in which he hit .303/.347/.435 with 10 home runs for the Syracuse Chiefs.
The leaders haven’t changed since last week but the Syracuse Chiefs have put a couple more games between them and the second place Rochester Red Wings who now trail by five games.
In the South, the Durham Bulls have seen their lead shrink to just four games over the Gwinnett Braves thanks to a four-game losing streak and winning just two out of their last ten games.
In the West, a Gregory-Polanco-less Indianapolis Indians squad has lost three games in a row and are only leading the Columbus Clippers (who have won three in a row and seven of their last ten) by two games.