Two noteworthy news items from last night, or, I suppose, recently:
- Sam Howard (Staunton 2012) threw the second-best minor league start of the entire 2017 minor league season last night, a 7-inning one-hit shutout. He walked one a and struck out 4. This puts his Double-A numbers at 1-3, 1.61, with 13 hits, 6 walks, and 24 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. He has a 0.68 WHIP, and batters are hitting .135 against him. I would not be shocked if Sam bounces to the major leagues at some point this season.
- On a sad note, on May 13 the Oakland A’s released former Strasburg Express (2011) Joe Bennie. Joe is coming off a 2016 season in which he was named ATVL’s full season A-ball hitter of the year, after hitting 302/376/449 in 439 at-bats in the California League. He was assigned to Double-A Midland to start 2017, and hit 238/337/350 in 80 at-bats. Over 1,279 career at-bats in the minors, Joe hit a rather robust 275/362/412. He probably struck out too much- 369 times, roughly 25% of his plate appearances- but this release seems pretty quick to me. Perhaps there’s more to the story than what meets the eye.