This will be the last normal week of baseball in the minors for a couple of weeks. There are no games on the 10th, 11th, 12th, or 13th except in rookie league next week. All four full season affiliates will be taking a break at the same time as the major leagues for the All-Star game and the draft . The draft is set for July 9, 10, and 11. We will be covering the draft live on YouTube on Sunday night and then I will be blogging live on on Monday and Tuesday.

It was a busy week even though most teams are finishing up their week today so that every affiliate can host a Fourth of July extravaganza at their home ball park. That will be taking place tonight and tomorrow. For example, South Bend is in Beloit and will be home tomorrow. I went to the ABC Supply Stadium every day this week and got a lot of pictures of several of the new players, including boys, Ballesteros, Felix, Stevens, Angel, Gonzalez, and Brody McCullough. Whether I go back tonight, depends on the weather and who is pitching as I am ready to get back to normal.

For fun, let’s predict what could happening with each affiliate in the next month.

Iowa – Things are a little different without Jared Young, but Matt Mervis has returned. One thing I’m going to be looking forward to in July is seeing the pitching in the bullpen improve because the second half is usually where the big league club runs into some injuries as players have normal wear and tear in a 162 game season.

Tennessee – Pete Crow Armstrong will be taking off next weekend to go play the Futures Game and probably will not return to the Smokies when the game is over. He’ll probably head to Iowa to get a few hundred at bats at that level before the end of the season. That’s going to open up some play for other people. The person who could most benefit from PCA moving up would be Cole Roederer. We shall see if he gets that opportunity and if he does, hopefully he will take advantage of it. We should also see a few South Bend players come up, mainly on the pitching side to help stabilize some things in Tennessee. Those are more likely to happen next week than this week.

South Bend – We saw this week, and will probably see some more the next two weeks, several Pelicans players fly in from Myrtle Beach to be playing in the Midwest League. We’ve already seen four come over in the past week and will probably see three or four more in the next week or two. Grant Kipp could be among them as well as Saul Gonzalez and/or Johzan Oquendo. I would love to see Parker Chavers in South Bend blue and gray in the quad cities on the 14th.

Myrtle Beach – Most of their position players are going to stay in Myrtle Beach as well as at the young arms of Drew Gray and Jackson Ferris. After the draft, we might see a few draft picks debut with the Pelicans from the college ranks, and they might even be able to help the Birds when another championship. It is going to be interesting to see who comes up from Mesa and who comes from the draft by the end of July/beginning of August.

Players of the Week

This week’s awards are only gonna be based on the last five days. Normally, we have a six game week, but due to the Fourth of July holiday, all four teams are playing tonight to end their six game sets.

Hitter  of the Week

Cole Roederer put up some gaudy stats on Saturday night as he hit 2 HRs and drove in 7 on the night. But would that be enough to get him the Hitter of the Week award? Why yes, yes it was. He :officially” hit .444 with a .643 OBP and an OPS of 1.743. On Sunday, he added another RBI but that stats will actually go in tomorrow. Haydn McGeary had 1 HR and 7 RBI “officially” but was having a monster day before the rains came.

Starting Pitcher of the Week

Three guys had similar stats this week. Nick Hull went 6 scoreless and struck out 7. Cade Horton went 5.2 scoreless IP with 1 hit allowed and he struck out 7. Grant Kipp went 5 innings and struck out 7. Those were three great performances this week. However, one thing is going to separate Kipp from Horton and Hull. That is, simply, Kipp did not allow a hit in his start. Therefore, he gets this week’s accolade.

Reliever of the Week

It was not the best week for relievers in the system. For Kenyi Perez, he stood out Sunday for his 2.1 IP in his season debut at Myrtle Beach. He also struck out four to win this week’s award.