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August 10, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Jordan steals show as he, Mayer join Drive; Romero, Anthony debut


8/10 Cup of Coffee:
Tuesday was debut day down on the farm. Boston's top three picks in the 2022 draft all made their debuts in the FCL, which fell despite the continued excellence of Miguel Bleis. Top prospect Marcelo Mayer moved up to High-A Greenville where he was joined by the high-powered debut of Blaze Jordan (pictured). Chase Meidroth helped power Salem in his first full-season appearance. Victor Santos took the loss in his first go with the WooSox, while Portland relied on a group of mainstays in its win.

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It was a difficult introduction to Triple-A for Victor Santos. The 22-year-old right-hander went 3 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits, including a pair of third-inning home runs. Zack Kelly was a highlight out of the bullpen striking out two of the three batters he faced in a scoreless ninth. The Worcester lineup managed just three hits off of former first-round pick Matt Krook and a trio of RailRider delivers. Ronaldo Hernandez had one of those hits, as well as a pair of walks.

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An Alex Binelas base hit in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Sea Dogs the walk-off victory. Binelas had been mired in a 5-for-44 skid when he plated Ceddanne Rafaela on a single to right field. In addition to scoring the game-winning run, Rafaela was 1 for 3 with a pair of walks. David Hamilton had his speed on display, racing to his eighth triple of the year and stealing his 51st base, tying Luis Castillo for second all-time in Sea Dogs franchise history. 

Michael Wacha made another rehab start, following up on his part in last Thursday's no-hitter with the WooSox. Wacha's second pitch of the game was lined off of his ankle at 102 miles per hour, but he managed to remain in the game. He allowed two runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Kyle Hart piggybacked Wacha with a strong effort, allowing one run on four hits in another 4 1/3 frames, striking out three without walking a batter. Michael Gettys went 1 1/3 hitless frames to get credit for the win.

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After getting swept in last week's six-game series against Rome, the Drive called in some notable reinforcements: Marcelo Mayer, the 2021 first-round pick and top prospect in the system, and Blaze Jordan, the 2020 third-rounder ranked 18th and Carolina League leader in doubles. For Jordan, it was a Drive debut to remember. He blasted a two-run home run in the fourth inning and a solo shot in the sixth for his second multi-homer game of the year. He also added a single, rounding out the 3-for-4 night. Mayer had a more rude introduction, going 0 for 5 in his first South Atlantic League action. Nick Yorke joined his fellow Class of '20 draftee in doing damage at the plate, going 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI. That year's fifth-round pick, Shane Drohan, was the winning pitcher, allowing one run on three hits in five innings, striking out six and walking one. 

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Despite two of the most potent pieces of its lineup all year moving up the High A, a familiar face and a new one stepped in to fill the gap. Brainer Bonaci led off the game with a home run, followed two batters later by a Chase Meidroth round-tripper on the first pitch he saw in Class A. Bonaci walked twice as part of his 1-for-3 effort, while Meidroth finished 2 for 4 in his Salem debut. Gabriel Jackson pitched around some wobbly control to get through five shutout innings and earn the win. Jackson surrendered just three hits in those five frames, but he issued five walks while striking out two, throwing just 40 of his 78 pitches for strikes.

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Despite the wave of new talent that arrived in the lineup on Tuesday, the FCL Sox managed just three hits in their rain-shortened shutout loss. The two draftees that received the highest bonuses were slotted in the top two spots in the order, with Mikey Romero getting the start at shortstop and Roman Anthony in center field. Both players went 1 for 2 before and departed for defensive replacements in the sixth inning. Second-round pick Cutter Coffey slotted in for Romero, walking in his lone plate appearance. Miguel Bleis continued to torture Florida Complex League pitching, going 1 for 2 with a double, steal, and a hit-by-pitch. In his six-game hitting streak, Bleis is 13 for 24 with nine extra-base hits including six doubles, seven stolen bases, and just one strikeout.

On the mound, Jose Ramirez was saddled with the loss despite not allowing a hit nor walking a batter in his five innings of work. The Pirates reached Ramirez for a run in the second inning when a hit batsman was followed by a balk and two ground outs, scoring what proved to be the decisive run.

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The July 28 contest was still in the first inning when rains forced it to be suspended. The game's lone run came on an error on a Marvin Alcantara ground ball, plating Jhaydel Flores. Alcantara was also hit by a pitch and stole a base. Willian Colmenares surrendered two hits in 1/3 of an inning before the rain. Luis Cohen entered upon the restart and was nearly perfect over 4 2/3. Like Ramirez in the FCL, the only baserunner Cohen allowed was on a hit by pitch. He struck out four on the day. Stiwar Adames moved to 8-0 on the year, getting credit for the win for his two innings of scoreless relief.

Matching the opener, Team Blue managed just three hits in the regularly scheduled contest. Two of those three hits came off the bat for Fraymi De Leon, who also stole a pair of bases. Ali Ascanio took the loss, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits in three innings. 

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While the other complex league squads struggled to find hits on Tuesday, Team Red exploded for 11, scoring eight runs on the day. Johanfran Garcia drove in three runs as part of a 3-for-4 effort. Jancel Santana doubled and was hit by a pitch during his 2-for-3 day. Ovis Portes allowed all three runs, including one earned, on four hits in three innings. Irving Medina allowed just two hits in three shutout innings of relief, giving way to Simon Pacheco who got the win with his three hitless frames.

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Player of the Day: Blaze Jordan had cooled off some with Salem in July and August after a strong May and scorching June, but the organization liked what it saw enough to move him and Marcelo Mayer up to Greenville. Jordan's .287/.357/.446 line included eight home runs and a league-leading 29 doubles. Away from Salem's more pitcher-friendly environment, Jordan quickly displayed the power that had been his trademark as an amateur. After going without a home run since June 24, the 19-year-old rocketed two in his introduction to the Drive.

Photo Credit: Blaze Jordan by Kelly O'Connor