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TWitM: Great pitching everywhere

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This Week in the Minors: Jonathan Bowlan moved up to Wilmington to replace Jackson Kowar, who moved up to Northwest Arkansas. Both impressed in their debuts.

Jonathan Bowlan struck out nine in his Wilmington debut.
Wilmington Blue Rocks

‘This Week in the Minors’ is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. The mission is to answer this simple question: “Who had a good week?”

Today, we’ll cover results from Monday, June 17 through Sunday, June 23.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (36-39)

schedule | roster

The calendar we use to define a “week” for this column runs from Monday through Sunday. However, Omaha’s Sunday June 23 game spilled over into yesterday thanks to a prodigious rainstorm that turned the warning track into a moat. However, it also brought this moment of pure joy.

This is how this team is pretty much all the time. It is the best.

When the game picked up in the 5th inning on Monday, it eventually stretched into the 13th inning and Omaha lost, so we will just scoot right along with the rest of this column.

In one open and two relief appearances this week, Josh Staumont struck out eight batters and walked just one, in five total innings.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (34-39)

schedule | roster

It is always fun when a prospect makes a big splash in their debut at a new level. Right-hander Jackson Kowar did exactly that with seven shutout innings in his Naturals debut on Saturday. Kowar allowed six hits — all singles — and two walks, and struck out seven.

Right-hander Tyler Zuber was rewarded for his fantastic first half in Wilmington with a promotion to Double-A, and pitched a scoreless inning in his debut. In 29 13 innings in High-A, Zuber struck out 38 and walked 11, and compiled a 1.23 ERA.

Bryan Brickhouse was promoted to the Naturals this week, and pitched two no-hit, shutout innings in his first outing. Brickhouse, a former 3rd round draft pick way back in 2011, thought his career was over before the 2017 season but worked his way back with yoga he learned from YouTube.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-26)

schedule | roster

Two of Wilmington’s lefties started the second half with fantastic pitching performances. On Thursday, Kris Bubic pitched six shutout innings, and allowed just two singles. He struck out five and did not walk anyone. Marcelo Martinez answered that performance with six scoreless innings the next night. Martinez allowed just one hit and three walks, and struck out six.

As if two six-inning shutout starts weren’t nice enough to start of Wilmington’s second half, right-hander Jonathan Bowlan added yet another one in his Blue Rocks debut. Bowlan punched out nine and walked one, and allowed five hits.

Righty reliever Tad Ratliff picked up right where he left off in the first half, with two scoreless outings this week of an inning apiece. Ratliff has not allowed an earned run in his last eight appearances. Left-hander Austin Lambright finished the first half carrying a five-game, nine-inning scoreless streak of his own, and added one more shutout inning in his High-A debut.

Center fielder Michael Gigliotti was promoted to Wilmington this week. He went 1-for-4 with a double in his debut, but went hitless in his next two games.

Third baseman/DH Dennicher Carrasco went 6-for-11 in four games this week, and walked three times, and was plunked once. That’s good for a (small sample!) OBP of .625. Not bad.

Low-A Lexington Legends (38-35)

schedule | roster

The South Atlantic League all star game was on Tuesday. Lexington LHP Austin Cox started the game, and right-hander Jonathan Bowlan finished it. Center fielder Michael Gigliotti hit leadoff, and went 1-for-3 with a double. Catcher Chase Vallot was the starting DH, and Freddy Fermin came in to catch later in the game - and was then promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

In the first game back from the break, third baseman Nathan Eaton went 4-for-5 with 4 (!!) doubles. Four doubles, in one game!

Who could resist the unbridled joy of walkoff celebrations? NOT ME, so here are some from Lexington’s win on Thursday.

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Did you go to any Minor League games this week? Who stood out to you? Any wacky ballpark promotions?