This Week in Minor League Baseball: Shea Langeliers goes off; Alex Faedo hits Triple A

There are a lot of minor-league teams, comprised of a lot of minor-league players. It’s a lot to keep up with. Luckily, The Athletic is here to do that for you. Welcome to this week’s minor-league roundup, where you can find out who’s doing well and who’s going up, as well as other news from around the junior circuits.

These guys are on fire

โ€ข matt olson may be gone, but Shea Langeliers is doing his best to help A’s fans get over all that. The former first-round pick and top prospect has been hitting well all season at Triple-A Las Vegas, but he went supersonic this week. In the past seven days, the 24-year-old catcher has batted .333/.402/.905. Stretch back a bit further and he clubbed five home runs in a span of six games, bringing his total to nine for the season. That includes a walk-off shot one night and a two-homer game the next. Langeliers is walking nearly as often as he’s striking out and his slugging percentage of him starts with a seven. For the season, he’s hitting .316 with a 1,133 OPS.

โ€ข Part of the return in the Jose Berrios trade at last year’s deadline, right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson isn’t racking up strikeouts, but he’s been stingy with opposing batters nonetheless. The 21-year-old twins prospect has made four starts this year with Double-A Wichita and has yet to allow a single earned run. In fact, he’s gone at least five innings each outing and hasn’t surrendered more than two hits in any of them. He’s holding hitters to a .101 batting average and a .311 OPS.

โ€ข By going 0-for-4 on Sunday, Cardinals perspective Nolan Gorman ended a 16-game hit streak that had sustained him most of the season with Triple-A Memphis. During that stretch, the 21-year-old infielder batted .385 with a 1.354 OPS and 11 home runs, a mark that is tied with fellow Cardinals farmhand Moisรฉs Gรณmez for tops in all of the minor leagues. Gorman’s 34-percent strikeout rate is a concern, as is his 7-percent walk rate, but mashing a bunch of taters will make up for a lot. Gorman is well on his way to surpassing his already impressive 2021 total of 25 home runs, and he’ll probably be well on his way to St. Louis before long.

โ€ข The networks are off to their worst start in franchise history. Look away! Need guidance on where to avert your eyes? Might we suggest Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott, who has begun his first full professional season on a tear. Drafted in the second round out of the University of Virginia, the 22-year-old jumped directly to High-A Dayton to start the year and, if this keeps up, he might not be there long. Through four starts, Abbott owns a 0.86 ERA and has struck out nearly 43 percent of the batters he’s faced. He’s tallied double-digit strikeouts in each of his last three starts, allowing just a single run in that span.

โ€ข Have you heard of BrandonWalter? It’s OK if you haven’t. He was a 26th-round draft pick out of the University of Delaware three years ago, and the draft doesn’t even last that long anymore. Yet after solid A-ball results last year, the 25-year-old left-hander is making a name for himself this season with Double-A Portland (Red Sox). He’s made four starts and owns at 1.17 ERA. He has faced 85 batters and hasn’t walked a single one of them, although he has plunked two. This is what it looks like when someone who was not a guy becomes a guy.

Transactions of notes

โ€ข There were a few notable promotions this week. After striking out 10 in five scoreless innings in his most recent outing with High-A Hillsboro, Diamondbacks left-hander Blake Walston was jumped to Double-A Yellow, where he’ll join an absolutely stacked rotation. He takes a rotation spot vacated by fellow top prospect Drey Jameson โ€” both pitchers were taken in the first round in 2019 โ€” who was sent to Triple-A Reno after running through Texas League batters for several starts in a row.

โ€ข Cuban import yolbert sanchezwho ranks as the White Sox’s No. 10 prospect according to Keith Law, earned a promotion to Triple A after hitting .353 with an .880 OPS with Double-A Birmingham. Sanchez has already found his footing at the new level, starting his tenure with the Charlotte Knights by batting .385 in his first six games.

โ€ข They’re back! short stop Tyler Freeman, the Guardians’ No. 7 prospect, made his season debut this week with Triple-A Columbus after requiring season-ending shoulder surgery last year. Joining him at the Triple-A level are Blue Jays No. 4 prospect jordan groshanswho was slowed by an oblique injury in spring, and former Tigers first-rounder alex faedo, who missed all of last year due to Tommy John surgery. In his first Triple-A start, Faedo fanned eight while allowing just four hits over five shutout innings.

Heartwarming moment of the week

Jason Krizan was an eighth-round pick back in 2011. Many of his peers are now either long-time major leaguers or are done playing altogether. Krizan is neither, having stuck it out in the minors for 11 seasons. In that time, he’s played in 1,132 games. He’s amassed nearly 4,600 minor-league plate appearances. All without a call-up.

That changed last week. After 11 seasons in the minors โ€” and seven at Triple A โ€” Krizan was called up by the Giants on Friday. His first two games of him were hitless, but then came the fifth inning Sunday and a first-pitch fastball on the inner third of the plate. At 33 years old, with his wife and young child in the stands, Krizan recorded his first career MLB hit.

Read all about him from Andrew Baggarly here.

plays of the week

โ€ข Diamondbacks prospect Alex Thomas gets up to rob a homer.

โ€ข New Mariners farmhand Mason McCoy, traded to Seattle for cash just before the season, with a great play up the middle.

โ€ข Whether this inside-the-park homer is a highlight or a lowlight depends on your perspective. If you ask Lucas Dunnan eighth-round pick by the Parents last year, it’s the former.

โ€ข Can a single pitch be a highlight? I am so entranced by how Mariners 11th-rounder William Fleming makes this ball move that I am inclined to say yes.

See a play we should include next week? Tweet them to I and Mary Torres.

odds and ends

โ€ข Tired of my words? Read some from other people. Here are minor-league notebooks on the Cubs, brewers and giants. Here’s a Dennis Lin story on 6-foot-7 Padres prospect James Wood and a Chad Jennings piece on Boston’s Tristan Casas and Jeter Downs. And, uh, here are more of my words, on Diamondbacks top prospect Corbin Carroll. Please start calling him the What’s Next Kid so I can feel good about myself.

โ€ข It has been a week of combined no-hitters. First, three pitchers for the Giants’ High-A affiliate in Eugene, Ore., tossed a seven-inning no-no. Congratulations are due to Nick Swiney, Cole Waites and Nick Avila. (More about that in the Giants notebook above.) Just hours later, three Cubs prospects with Low-A Myrtle Beach โ€” Walker Powell, Adam Laskey and Jake Reindl โ€” combined for another hitless performance, this time in nine innings. (The Eugene no-hitter was part of a doubleheader. Let the debates on its legitimacy begin.) Reindl’s celebration of the final out is pretty fun.

โ€ข It has happened again. On Sunday, Midland RockHounds hitter Jordan Diaz went down on an automatic strike because I’ve spent too much time outside the batter’s box. While it didn’t seem like he dallied for very long, they’s now the rules in the minor leagues. While it isn’t the first automatic strikeout in the minors this year, the reaction was very negative online. But here’s the deal. The umpire was doing his job for him, and batters will get used to this. Pretty soon, it will be instinct to not step out of the box. Also, please sign my petition to adopt my name for this occurrence: Clocked out.

(Photo of Shea Langeliers: Courtesy of the Las Vegas Aviators)

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