DJ Herz – Picture by Todd Johnson

This much is clear, the new pitch clocks are really speeding up games. It was only 8.:20 when I began putting this together and all four affiliated games were just about over. It happened pretty quickly now. As a result, I thought I would get started a little early on tonight’s players of the day.

Just like yesterday, we’re starting to hit see the bats heat up a little bit. In Tennessee, the Smokies fell behind 3 to 0 and then smacked five home runs en route to a 10 to 3 win over Rocket City. Both Nelson Maldonado and Chase Strumpf went 2-for-4 and Chris Morel went 2-for-5 while all three of those guys homered along with Nelson Velazquez, who hit his third home run in two days.

For South Bend, they only managed six hits on the night while the Myrtle Beach Pelicans went to town for the second night in a row against Delmarva cranking out 8 runs – That’s 25 in two nights. Miguel Fabrizio had a huge night going 3-for-5 and Jacob Wetzel went 2-for-4 with a walk. OF Kevin Alcantara just continues to impress me. After his first week of action, he’s hitting .265 with seven RBIs in 8 games.

The Iowa Cubs went to extra innings with the Louisville Bats but lost 7-6. Ildemaro Vargas went 3-for-5 and teammate Dixon Machado went 2-for-5, The newest Iowa Cub, Alfonso Rivas, went 4-for-5 with two RBI.

Despite all that hitting prowess, those guys all made honorable mention.

The Hitter of the Day was none other than Darius Hill of Tennessee who went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a grand slam as he drove in four. He is now hitting a robust .405 on the year and does not look to be long for Tennessee.

For the next award, it was a pretty open and shut case.

DJ Herz of South Bend went four innings and did not allow a hit or a run as he struck out four. He was our unanimous winner for Starting Pitcher of the Day.

Caleb Kilian gets an honorable mention as he went five innings. In the night, Kilian allowed three hits and one run and struck out four. As well, if you throw out Cam Sanders’ first inning, he was vicious striking out 7 after he gave up 2 first inning dingers.

When it comes to the Reliever of the Day, Walker Powell of Myrtle Beach easily put in the best effort of the day. Coming in early in relief of Luke Little, Powell cranked out 4.1 innings of his own and struck out seven and only gave up one run in the process. Still, that effort was head and shoulders above the rest for the 6-foot-8 right-hander.

I will be back tomorrow morning as I examine some season stats of the prospects on our top 20 list. Then, on Saturday, I will take a look at the Extended Spring Training roster and preview who might be in Mesa for rookie league ball in 6 weeks.