After Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (New York Yankees) outfielder Aaron Judge was named to the 2015 MLB Futures Game, there figured to be a drop in the power of the Railriders lineup. Enter Greg Bird. Bird, ranked as the fourth best Yankees prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, slugged his first Triple-A homerun on July 11 against the Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) , a solo shot in the sixth inning. The Railriders were not able to close out the Bisons, and lost 5-4. In his eight games with the Railriders, Bird is hitting at a .233 clip, with two doubles and two RBI.
The Railriders/Bisons series has been exciting. A Melky Mesa walk-off gave the Bisons a 5-4 win on July 10th, Bird hit his first Triple A bomb on July 11th, and July 12th offers a Daniel Norris vs. Luis Severino pitching matchup at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo.
Syracuse Chiefs (Washington Nationals) prospect Trea Turner had a bit of rough introduction to Triple-A pitching, but has turned things on as of late. After going hitless in his first 17 at-bats, Turner has improved his approach at the plate. Intent on staying in on the ball, Turner is now hitting .276, two triples, two long flies, and two stolen bases to boot.
The Philadelphia Phillies promoted pitcher Jesse Biddle to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on July 8th, but his debut did not go as planned. Pitching against the Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox) Biddle only lasted 2.1 innings, gave up five hits, six walks, and seven earned runs, good for an astronomical 27.00 ERA.
The Triple-A All-Star game is July 15th, and the International League announced their All-Star selections. Among those selected were Buffalo Bisons (Toronto Blue Jays) third baseman Matt Hague, who leads the IL in batting and on-base percentage. Also selected was Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) DH, who is tied for the IL lead in homeruns with 13.
All-Star pitchers include International League strikeout leader Erik Johnson (Charlotte Knights), Manny Banuelos (Gwinnett Braves), Gregory Infante (Buffalo Bisons), and Jhan Marinez (Durham Bulls)
***For the week ending on July 5th, Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays) outfielder Taylor Motter was named International League Hitter of the Week after hitting .556, with four doubles, three homeruns, and 10 RBI in five games. Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates) righty Angel Sanchez is IL Pitcher of the week. In two games, Sanchez went 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA, with 16 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.***