The usual round-up on what the German players stateside were doing this past week.
C Kai Gronauer (Las Vegas 51′s, AAA)
Gronauer had two more pinch hit appearances over the past week, going 0-2. He seems to have mede contact on both plate appearances, as he has no Ks. You can’t really call this increased playing time, but at least he can be happy about the 51’s reaching the playoffs in the PCL. To my knowledge, this makes him the first German player to reach the playoffs in any level of professional baseball in the States. At least the first to reach the postseason on the AAA level. Congratulations!
(Current slash line: .257/.297/.429)
LF Donald Lutz (Pensacola Blue Whahoos, AA)
Lutz missed around 12 days with a broken finger and returned on August 23rd, but hasn’t played every game since coming back to the Blue Wahoos. His injury didn’t seem to affect him that much though, as he had a nice coouple of games on August 27th and 29th, going 3-8 with 3 doubles, 1 R, but also 3 K. That won’t help the team’s playoff chances though, as Pensacola still sits in last place.
(Current slash line: .237/.312/.420)
OF Max Kepler-Rosicky (Cedar Rapids Kernels, A)
Kepler wasn’t playing much this past week and only appeared in two games, going 0-8 with one RBI and 3 K. He still had something to cheer about as the TWins organization has decided to send him and fellow prospect Byron Buxton to play for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League. There he will face prospects from other MLB teams, mostly guys who are already playing at the AA and AAA level, so that should be a nice test for him. The Kernels should have reached the postseason as well (I’m sorry, I’m not that familiar with how the minor league playoffs work), so he still has a lot to play for. And he’s got the right mindset.
(Current slash line: .238/.314/.429)
RHP Daniel Thieben (Pulaski Mariners, Advanced Rookie)
Thieben appeared in two games over the past week, pitching against the Elizabethton Twins (Aug 24th) and the Kingsport Mets (Aug 26th). While he held the playoff bound Mets in check for one inning, giving up 1H and 1 BB while recording 1 K, he struggled against the Twins with a line of 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB and 1 K. Pulaski is still in the hunt for a playoff spot, so Thieben is yet another German prospect who might reach the minor league postseason this year. But, honestly, that WHIP looks horrible. That’s the most important thing he needs to work on.
(Record: 18 G, 22.0 IP, 1-0, 6.96 ERA, 24 H, 18 R, 17 ER, 25 BB, 19 K, 2.227 WHIP)
RHP Markus Solbach (Windy City Thunderbolts, Frontier League, Independent)
Solbach had one start this past week and what a start it was. A complete game 7-hit shutout 9-0 win against the Lake Erie Crushers on August 27th. As far as I can tell this doesn’t help the T-Bolts playoff chances, but it’s a nice reminder that Solbach has enough talent to throw a good game. He now is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 34 K in 36.1 IP, while walking only 9. If this gets him another shot at the minors he did the right thing in signing with the Thunderbolts.
(Record: 9 G, 36.1 IP, 4-1, 2.72 ERA, 31 H, 12 R, 11 ER, 9 BB, 34 K, 1.101 WHIP)