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August 3, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bleis stars in FCL Sox romp on deadline day


8/3 Cup of Coffee:
It was a tumultuous trade deadline Tuesday that saw the departure of longtime top-20 prospect and 2016 first-round pick Jay Groome. Despite some unsightly team results, there were several notable individual performances. Miguel Bleis (pictured) was a dynamo for the FCL Sox in their victory, while top-ranked Marcelo Mayer had a big day in Salem's loss. Triston Casas was one of the few bright spots in Durham's drubbing of Worcester, and Brent Kennedy had a strong start as Portland finished on the short end of a 1-0 outcome.

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The game was not without positives. For one, Triston Casas was on base twice, with a single and a walk, as the heir apparent to Eric Hosmer is 7 for 20 with three walks and three strikeouts in his last five games. Also, Darwinzon Hernandez struck out the side in a perfect seventh inning. Finally, at no point during the day did the WooSox trade Juan Soto, guaranteeing that at least one team had it worse.

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It was a pitchers' duel in the Eastern League as the two teams matched zeroes into the top of the ninth inning while combining for just eight total hits. Brent Kennedy had his strongest effort since joining the organization, scattering three hits across 5 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four and walking two. Joan Martinez followed with 1 2/3 shutout frames, and Jacob Wallace held on for a scoreless eighth before allowing a decisive solo homer in the ninth. The Portland lineup managed just four hits, none going for extra bases. 

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It has been a tough run for Greenville, who sits at just 23-45 since May 10. Niko Kavadas continues to be a bright spot, as the Notre Dame product went 1 for 3 with a pair of walks. Nathan Hickey blasted his second home run since his June promotion, a three-run shot in the sixth. Ryan Zeferjahn was saddled with the loss, allowing nine runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

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Fayetteville rallied to overcome the strong early efforts of Wikelman Gonzalez and Marcelo Mayer. Mayer blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the first to stake the Sox to an early lead. He would also walk twice on the evening. Gonzalez went five innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out seven, and walking two.  Blaze Jordan and Eddinson Paulino added doubles for Salem. The two sit atop the Carolina League leaderboard with 27 and 25, respectively. Fresh off his July Player of the Month recognition, Brainer Bonaci kicked off August with a single, two walks, and two runs scored.

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It was the Miguel Bleis show in Fort Myers on Tuesday. The 18-year-old center fielder had a home run, double, three RBI, three runs scored, a stolen base, and was hit by a pitch. He got an assist out of the leadoff spot from Luis Ravelo, who went 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz continues to impress on the mound, going four innings, allowing one run on three hits, striking out five, and walking one. The right-hander's ERA actually rose with the effort, as it now stands at 1.44. 

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The Guardians hopped out to an early 4-0 lead and then had some help from the rain to knock off the first-place Red Sox Blue squad, as the game was called after the sixth inning. Willian Colmenares got the start and struggled some with his control, allowing three runs on three hits in three frames, walking four against just one strikeout. Miguel Rojas and Jose Mendez doubled for the Sox.

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In another rain-shortened affair, a pair of hurlers for Team Red combined on a two-hit shutout. Alvaro Mejias allowed the two hits over 4 2/3 shutout frames, striking out seven and walking one. Mejias lowered his ERA to 1.23, and he now has 39 strikeouts against just seven walks in 29 1/3 frames. Ovis Portes struck out four and walked one across two hitless innings of relief, getting credit for the victory. Axel James doubled as part of his two-hit day, while Ronny Ramirez drove in what proved to be the winning run on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.

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Player of the Day: Miguel Bleis has impressed both the scouts and the scoresheet in his first season stateside. The organization's top international free agent two years ago, Bleis raised his OPS to .800 on Tuesday with a double and a home run. Following a tough 1-for-16 start to his season, he has hit .291/.325/.563 with 22 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 28 games. He is currently the seventh-ranked prospect in the system. 

Photo Credit: Miguel Bleis by Kelly O'Connor