Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Very Early Preview of the 2015 Puerto Rico Tip-Off Bracket

By Peyton Wesner

Before college basketball consumes the cities of Anaheim, Maui, and Orlando, the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico hosts the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, which is the first early season college basketball tournament every year. 

Since its creation, "Fantastic Freshman" like Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, NC State's T.J. Warren, and Memphis' Tyreke Evans all played in San Juan during their first collegiate seasons prior to becoming NBA lottery picks. One can guarantee Malik Newman wants to add his name to the list. 

Newman, who is arguably the best guard exiting high school and entering college for the upcoming basketball season, chose to attend a very lackluster Mississippi State program (that has not made an NCAA Tournament since 2009) rather than powerhouses Kentucky and Kansas as he wanted to play at his father's (Horatio Webster) alma mater and create his own legacy. The Puerto Rico Tip-Off will present him a chance to begin his road to stardom on the national stage. Yet, the Bulldogs' opening day matchup will not ease Newman into Division I competition as they will face Angel Rodriguez, Sheldon McClellan, and the 2015 NIT Runner Up Miami (FL) Hurricanes. 

In addition to the Mississippi State/Miami matchup, the Texas Tech Red Raiders will take on 2016 NBA Draft prospect Jakob Poetlt and 2015 Sweet Sixteen team Utah, scorer (16 points per game last two seasons) Kellen Dunham and Butler will face a Marcus Marshall-less Missouri State Bears, and Minnesota will be pitted against the Temple Owls of the American Athletic Conference. 

Like many November tournaments, the Puerto Rico Tip-Off is anyone's to win considering that the two participating teams that did make the NCAA Tournament (Utah & Butler) lost huge pieces of their starting lineups due to graduation this past year (Delon Wright for Utah. Alex Barlow & Kameron Woods for Butler). With that the case, do not miss a moment of the "Suspense in San Juan" because a future star could be born.

Quarterfinal Matchups (November 19)
Mississippi State versus Miami (FL)
Texas Tech versus Utah
Butler versus Missouri State
Minnesota versus Temple

Semi-Final Matchups  (November 20)
MSU/MIA versus TTU/UTAH
BUT/MOSU versus MIN/TEM

Championship  (November 22)
MSU/MIA/TTU/UTAH versus BUT/MOSU/MIN/TEM


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Trea Turner Leads Way for USA in 2015 Futures Game Victory

By Peyton Wesner


http://www.vavel.com/en-us/mlb/513189-trea-turner-josh-bell-and-kyle-schwarber-lead-usa-to-2015-futures-game-victory.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter


Although Kyle Schwarber walked away with the hardware, he was neither the best player on the field or on his team. Trea Turner is my player of the game because he had the best day of any American hitter at the plate and put the final nail in the the World's coffin. MLB Network may have gave the media a nice story to write about since the hometown kid was named MVP, but he was not deserving. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

PW's NBA Summer League Daily Recap (7-5-15)

By Peyton Wesner

Welcome to Orlando "Super Mario!" After a rough first forty minutes in his pro debut, the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft put aside his early struggles to drain the game winning three pointer in overtime for Orlando Blue. Would another 2015 lottery pick step up in a big way for their team this afternoon?

Today's Results
Game 1
0-1 (2 pts) Los Angeles C 69
0-1 (1 pt) Detroit 77

Notables
LAC-Nate Wolters
18 points (7-12), 1 rebound, 1 assist, & 1 steal.
DET-Stanley Johnson
***Summer League Star of the Day
24 points (10-14), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 steals.

Whatever the Pistons had for breakfast this morning needs to become a part of their daily routine as they walked into the Amway Center practice gym ready to play this afternoon. Starting with a three pointer from yesterday's leading scorer Adonis Thomas, the Pistons raced away to a 26-12 lead thanks to nine first quarter points from both Stanley Johnson (eighth overall pick in 2015 NBA Draft) and Kammeon Holsey. Despite the Clippers being able to comeback from a sixteen point first quarter deficit yesterday versus Orlando Blue, today was a different story. Every time Los Angeles would string together a few baskets and start to chip away at Detroit's lead, Stanley Johnson would hit a jumper or have an offensive stick back to stop the mini run. Speaking of the "Stanimal" he was phenomenal this afternoon as he made his presence felt on both ends of the court. The Arizona product ended the day with game highs in points (twenty-four), rebounds (nine), and steals (three) while having an efficient nine for twelve shooting game. Former Milwaukee Bucks' guard Nate Wolters and last year's twenty-eighth overall pick C.J. Wilcox both finished the day in double figures for Los Angeles.


Game 2
1-0 (6 pts) Memphis 79
0-1 (1.5 pts) Charlotte 75

Notables
MEM-Russ Smith
14 points (5-10), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, & 3 steals.
CHA-Troy Daniels
21 points (7-12), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, & 1 steal.

When the Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies took the floor in the second game of today's Orlando Summer League action, twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison were pitted against each other for the first time in their lives. And despite Aaron outperforming Andrew, the latter's team came out on top. In the first quarter, neither sibling stole the show, but the Hornets' Troy Daniels did. Daniels, who is with the third NBA team of his career, started the game off with a bang as he nailed his first four three-pointers, which flew Charlotte out to an early 18-10 lead. Nonetheless the Grizzlies came roaring back to tie the game thanks to six quick points from JayMychal Green and took the lead with a Tony Crocker jump shot to begin the second quarter. The teams would then match each other basket for basket until Crocker nailed a trey that gave Memphis the lead that they would extend to as much as nineteen in the fourth quarter. Just when one would have thought Charlotte was about to concede, Aaron Harrison made a layup that spurred a 20-2 Hornets' run putting his team behind only one with just under three minutes left in regulation! After two made free throws by both teams, Crocker struck again with another three pointer to increase the lead to four. But the advantage would not stay two possessions as P.J. Hairston drained a three pointer of his own to move the deficit back to one with a minute left. With yesterday's star Jordan Adams having the day off, who would Memphis go to on their crucial possession? Russ Smith! The former Louisville star had the green light as he dribbled off a Jarnell Stokes screen and banked in a hanging jumper while drawing the foul on Harrison for the "and one." Yet Smith could not complete the three point play, which left the door wide open for P.J. Hairston to tie the game with a three pointer. Clank! Andrew Harrison came down with the rebound for the Grizz that supplied them with a possession that Jarnell Stokes capitalized on, ultimately putting the game away.



Game 3
0-1 (2 pts) Brooklyn 70
1-0 (6 pts) Miami 71

Notables
BKN-Ryan Boatright
23 points (7-14), 3 rebounds, & 2 steals.
MIA-Willie Reed
17 points (8-12) & 9 rebounds.

Although neither team "shot the lights out," Brooklyn versus Miami was the best game on today's summer league schedule. The Heat started right where they left off the day before as they took a seven point lead into the locker room at halftime. The only difference to yesterday was that Brooklyn didn't lie down in the second half like the Pacers. Nets' guard Ryan Boatright, who had only three points in the first half, led the rally by making three three-pointers to snatch the lead from the Heat only three minutes into the third quarter. After Miami went back up seven in the final period, the UConn product went on another personal run, this time 9-2, to tie the game with 5:48 left in regulation. With just under a minute remaining, South Beach's Tyler Ennis made a layup, leading to a one on one battle between 2015 first round picks Justise Winslow (Miami) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Brooklyn) on the Heat's next possession. Winslow brought the ball up court, drove to his left, pump faked, and drew a foul in the act of shooting with 7.5 seconds left. Unfortunately for Heat fans, the foward from Duke could not fully capitalize on his chance as he made one of two at the line. Still Miami had the lead as the Nets' Markel Brown caught the in-bounds pass and brought the ball over mid-court. Next, Brown passed the ball to Jonathon Simmons, who took the ball all the way to the rim for the game-winning layup attempt. All air, but he was fouled with 0.4 seconds left. The result of the game lied on the shoulders of Simmons, yet he was not deterred and calmly made both attempts. Victory was in sight for the Nets, but Miami would have a chance. Since the Heat called timeout before in-bounding, the ball would be moved to their side of the court. When Justise Winslow was handed the ball by the referee, six foot, one inch guard Tyler Johnson broke towards the rim off a Willie Reed screen. At this point, Winslow threw a perfect lob that was caught in mid-air by Johnson and banked off glass for the game winning basket. Heat win! Heat win! With Johnson's shot, Miami advanced to 2-0 and are currently in the drivers-seat to play in the Orlando Summer League Championship Friday afternoon. 



2014 First Round Picks In Action
-Jordan Adams MEM (#22 Pick)
---Did Not Play.
-P.J. Hairston CHA (#26 Pick)
---10 points (4-14), 4 rebounds, & 2 assists.
-C.J. Wilcox LAC (#28 Pick)
---10 points (4-10), 3 rebounds, & 1 steal.

2015 First Round Picks In Action
-Stanley Johnson DET (#8 Pick)
---24 points (10-14), 9 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 steals.
-Frank Kaminsky CHA (#9 Pick)
---14 points (6-8), 8 rebounds, 1 steal, & 2 blocks.
-Justise Winslow MIA (#10 Pick)
---14 points (3-10), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, & 2 steals.
-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson BKN (#23 Pick)
---8 points (4-8), 7 rebounds, & 2 steals.
-Jarell Martin MEM (#25 Pick)
---Will not participate in summer league due to foot injury.
-Chris McCullough BKN (#29 Pick)
---Will not participate in summer league due to ongoing recovery from a torn ACL.

Standings
1. Memphis          2-0 12.5 pts 
2. Miami               2-0 12 pts
3. Detroit              1-1 8 pts
4. Orlando White  1-0 7 pts
5. Oklahoma City 1-0 6.5 pts
6. Orlando Blue    1-0 6 pts
7. Brooklyn           0-2 4 pts
8. Los Angeles C   0-2 3 pts
9. Charlotte           0-2 3 pts
10. Indiana            0-1 2 pts 


Tomorrow's Slate
1:00 PM (Orlando Summer League)
Indiana vs Orlando White
3:00 PM (Orlando Summer League)
Orlando Blue vs Oklahoma City
5:00 PM (Orlando Summer League)
Detroit vs Miami
7:00 PM (Utah Summer League)
Philadelphia vs San Antonio
9:00 PM (Utah Summer League)
Boston vs Utah

Tomorrow's Game of the Day
7:00 PM (Utah Summer League)
Philadelphia vs San Antonio

Tomorrow is finally the day that the "City of Brotherly Love" gets their first glimpse of what the 76ers "played" for during the 2014-2015 season: Jahlil Okafor. Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, dominated college basketball this past season as he averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game for Duke. The nineteen year old will get his first taste of NBA basketball versus second year guard Kyle Anderson and the San Antonio Spurs, who intend to spoil his pro debut with a victory.



Saturday, July 4, 2015

PW's NBA Summer League Daily Recap (7-4-15)

By Peyton Wesner

The moment college prospects have been waiting for their whole life occurred today with the start of the 2015 NBA Summer League. While some players are a lock to make NBA rosters with the teams that drafted them, others are in constant competition with teammates for roster spots. Over the course of July, this journalist will supply an account of the action conspiring in Orlando, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas between these futures stars.

Today's Results
Game 1
Miami 92 
Indiana 76

Notables
MIA-Justise Winslow
15 points (4-8), 3 assists, & 2 steals.
IND-Myles Turner
20 points (8-11), 8 rebounds, & 3 blocks.

The ball was tipped, and Summer League was in-session with a rematch of the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. To start, ths Heat "zoared" out to an early 15-8 lead due to Zoran Dragic, who scored eight points in the first five minutes of the game. The team from South Beach would extend their advantage to thirteen before Indiana's first round pick Myles Turner (eleventh overall) shifted momentum with nine of his game high twenty points to draw his squad's deficit to seven going into halftime. Unfortunately the mini run made by the Pacers would be futile as halftime reset both teams resulting in the Heat outscoring their opponent 28-15 in the third quarter. With victory out of reach, Myles Turner's team would win the fourth quarter by the score of 25-21 picking up another point in the loss. Miami's first round pick (tenth overall) Justise Winslow also had a great pro debut as he scored fifteen points on four for eight from the field while shutting down Pacers' regular season starter Solomon Hill (four points on one for ten shooting) on the offensive end of the floor.


Game 2
Detroit 76
Orlando White 87

Notables
DET-Adonis Thomas
17 points (7-14), 3 rebounds, & 1 assist.
ORW-Keith Benson
19 points (9-15), 4 rebounds, & 3 blocks.

Do not underestimate Orlando White! Don't do it! Due to an uneven number of teams in Orlando Summer League this year, the Orlando Magic will have two squads participating, a Blue team with their top draft picks and a White line-up with young players receiving invites. Game 2 featured the latter versus the Detroit Pistons. In the first half of action, both teams matched each other blow for blow as the difference was only two points in favor of Detroit heading into the break. The second half brought more of the same in addition to buckets being traded by Orlando's Keith Appling and the Pistons' first round pick Stanley Johnson. Although "The Stanimal" would score six of his thirteen points in a two minute span during the third quarter, White stole the lead from their opponent with two consecutive baskets, one from Keith Benson and another by Melvin Ejim, to conclude the segment. In the fourth quarter, it wasn't "Stanley's Time" but "Brauny Time" as North Dakota State product Taylor Braun scored all eight of his points during an 9-4 run that increased Orlando's lead from six with a little over six minutes remaining to eleven with just under four. Adonis Thomas and 2014 second round draft pick Spencer Dinwiddie did all they could down the stretch to keep the Pistons in the game, but their thirty-one combined points were not enough this afternoon.


Game 3
Orlando Blue 75
Los Angeles C 74
Final in Overtime

Notables
ORB-Aaron Gordon 
***Summer League Star of the Day
22 points (8-18), 18 rebounds, 1 assist, & 2 blocks.
LAC-Branden Dawson
14 points (6-13), 14 rebounds, & 1 assist.

Three top ten NBA Draft picks (Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Mario Hezonja) and a sharp shooting, twenty-plus point scorer from college (Tyler Harvey) on the same summer league team? Wow, that team should dominate! And dominate Orlando Blue did to start this afternoon's summer league game as they jumped out to an early 18-2 lead! Last year's first round pick (fourth overall) by Orlando Aaron Gordon started the game hotter than the Florida summer as he led the early charge with twelve points in the first five minutes of the game! But the Clippers never gave up and actually took the lead with a Jordan Hamilton jumper about halfway through the third quarter. From that point on, the game was either team's to win until the Clippers' 2015 second round draft pick Branden Dawson slammed a thunderous dunk home to supply Los Angeles a five point lead with two minutes and one second remaining in regulation. Despite the deficit and the chances of victory looking bleak, Orlando fought back to tie the game at 72 and force overtime. Although the Clippers struck first with a C.J. Wilcox layup in the two minute extra period, Orlando had the last laugh as Mario Hezonja aka "Super Mario" nailed a trey with 12.9 seconds left in the game. After another empty possession by the Clippers and two missed free throws by Aaron Gordon that would have put the game out of reach if made, Los Angeles' Amath M'Baye grabbed the rebound and started dribbling up court. Since M'Baye is a big man, he tried to get the ball to a guard, but his pass attempt was stolen by the Blue's Devyn Marble for the game clinching steal. While "Air Gordon" did much of the heavy lifting for Orlando, Devyn Marble nailed four three pointers and 2014-2015 All-Rookie First Team selection Elfrid Payton had seven points and nine assists.


Game 4
Charlotte 74
Oklahoma City 76

Notables
CHA-Frank Kaminsky
19 points (7-19), 12 rebounds, & 2 steals.
OKC-Semaj Christon
14 points (4-15), 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, & 1 block.

The game started with a Kentucky product's dunk and ended with a former Wisconsin star's missed field goal attempt in a game that featured four players from the 2015 NCAA Men's Final Four. That is a brief summary of Charlotte versus Oklahoma City from this afternoon's summer league thriller. The first quarter was all about the guards as P.J. Hairston and Aaron Harrison combined for eleven of the Hornets' seventeen points and OKC's Frank Gaines netted seven of his team's seventeen points. In the second, former Oakland product Travis Bader gave the Thunder a huge lift off the bench by scoring eight of his ten points in the period, which helped his team head into the locker room with a four point advantage. The lead would not be around for long though as "Frank the Tank" finally found his rhythm and scored twelve consecutive points for his team while swiping the lead from the Thunder. Although Oklahoma City's deficit would grow to as much as nine in the third quarter, Gaines and Semaj Christon willed their team back into the ballgame by scoring the Thunder's last eighteen points, including a Christon layup that gave his team a two point lead with 20.4 seconds remaining. Who would Charlotte go to with the game on the line? Kaminsky of course! The seven footer was seven for nineteen from the field today, but he needed to be eight for nineteen to have forced overtime as his contested game tying attempt at the buzzer hit the front rim and fell harmlessly to the hardwood. Kaminsky ended his professional debut with a double-double of nineteen points and twelve rebounds in the loss while Thunder rookie Dakari Johnson posted seven points and eleven rebounds.


Game 5
Memphis 81
Brooklyn 73

Notables
MEM-Jordan Adams
20 points (5-14), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 steals.
BKN-Cory Jefferson
13 points (4-11), 8 rebounds, 1 steal, & 1 block.

Swish! Andrew Harrison for three! With Harrison's three pointer to begin the game, the Memphis Grizzlies ran out to an early 22-15 lead on the Brooklyn Nets. The Grizz's 2014 first round pick (twenty-second overall) Jordan Adams made his presence felt especailly in the second quarter of today's bout as he dropped eight of his game-high twenty points in the period. Despite Adams' scoring, the "Boys from Barclays" did not allow Memphis to pull away in the first half and closed the gap from nine to three heading into halftime. But when play resumed out of the break, it was all Grizzlies highlighted by them outscoring their opponent 26-14 in the third quarter, which included a 8-0 personal run by big man Jarnell Stokes. During the final ten minutes, Memphis had the game in hand even though the Nets' Darius Adams and Cory Jefferson did all they could to start a rally for Brooklyn. Jefferson led the Nets in scoring with thirteen points while 2015 first round pick (twenty-third overall) Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and undrafted free agent Cliff Alexander scored nine and eight points respectively in their pro debuts.


2014 First Round Picks In Action
-Aaron Gordon ORB (#4 Pick)
---22 points (8-18), 18 rebounds, 1 assist, & 2 blocks.
-Elfrid Payton ORB (#10 Pick)
---7 points (3-10), 2 rebounds, 9 steals, & 1 steal.
-Mitch McGary OKC (#21 Pick)
---8 points (4-9), 13 rebounds, 1 assist, & 1 steal. 
-Jordan Adams MEM (#22 Pick)
---20 points (5-14), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 steals.
-P.J. Hairston CHA (#26 Pick)
---13 points (3-11), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, & 1 steal.
-C.J. Wilcox LAC (#28 Pick)
---13 points (5-15), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, & 1 block.

2015 First Round Picks In Action
-Mario Hezonja ORB (#5 Pick)
---12 points (3-8), 2 rebounds, & 2 steals.
-Stanley Johnson DET (#8 Pick)
---13 points (5-8), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, & 1 steal. 
-Frank Kaminsky CHA (#9 Pick)
---19 points (7-19), 12 rebounds, & 2 steals.
-Justise Winslow MIA (#10 Pick)
---15 points (4-8), 3 assists, & 2 steals.
-Myles Turner IND (#11 Pick)
---20 points (8-11), 8 rebounds, & 3 blocks.
-Cameron Payne OKC (#14 Pick)
---Will not participate in summer league due to fractured finger.
-Rondae Hollis-Jefferson BKN (#23 Pick)
---9 points (4-8), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, & 2 steals.
-Jarell Martin MEM (#25 Pick)
---Will not participate in summer league due to foot injury.
-Chris McCullough BKN (#29 Pick)
---Will not participate in summer league due to ongoing recovery from a torn ACL.

Standings
1. Orlando White  1-0 7 pts
2. Oklahoma City  1-0 6.5 pts
3. Miami                1-0 6 pts
4. Memphis           1-0 6 pts
5. Orlando Blue     1-0 6 pts
6. Los Angeles C   0-1 2 pts
7. Brooklyn           0-1 2 pts
8. Indiana             0-1 2 pts
9. Charlotte          0-1 1.5 pts
10. Detroit            0-1 1 pt

Tomorrow's Slate
1:00 PM
Los Angeles C vs. Detroit
3:00 PM
Memphis vs Charlotte
5:00 PM
Brooklyn vs Miami

Tomorrow's Game of the Day
3:00 PM
Memphis vs Charlotte
Families are meant to spend the holidays together and tomorrow the Harrison twins will do just that since their summer league teams face-off on Day 2. Both brothers had very strong debuts as Andrew posted eight points for Memphis and Aaron scored ten for Charlotte. Besides the matchup of the brothers, Frank Kaminsky will have to go up against another center that has a weight advantage on him in Jarnell Stokes. "Frank the Tank" also had a very nice showing this afternoon but was very streaky shooting the basketball and ended up contributing no points on zero for five shooting in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma City. Lastly, no one can forget Jordan Adams' top notch performance for the Grizzlies versus Brooklyn. Will he be able to continue to show his talent tomorrow afternoon against P.J. Hairston, who was drafted four picks below him in the 2014 NBA Draft?

Miguel Cabrera Exits in Fourth Inning, Likely Headed to DL

By Peyton Wesner

Detroit was leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when everyone's heart at Comerica Park and in the state of Michigan skipped a beat. 

Nine-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera was on first base after getting on by a single and Victor Martinez was about to receive a 3-2 pitch from Toronto Blue Jays' right hander Drew Hutchison. As Hutchison broke home with the offering, Cabrera took off for second base as a part of a hit and run. Despite Martinez fouling the pitch off and staying alive in the count, a problem arose as the Cabrera pulled up in pain and grabbed his left leg with an apparant injury. Immediately, the two-time American League Most Valuable Player was taken out of the game by Detroit manager Brad Ausmus and received an MRI during the Tigers' 8-6 victory. Thankfully the MRI from last night showed no damage to his Achilles tendon, but aside the fact reports are that Cabrera will likely head to the DL for the first time in his career. 

When asked about Cabrera's status after the game, Ausmus said "I'm not optimistic at all. When Miggy says he can't play, it is serious, because Miggy plays through everything." 

So far in 2015, the American League leading vote-getter at first base has fifteen home runs, fifty-four runs batted in, and an AL best .350 batting average in seventy-seven played.

Coming into today's action, the Tigers are one game over .500 with a record of 40-39, putting them six games back of AL Central leading Kansas City and one and a half games back of Baltimore and Minnesota for the last Wild Card spot. This evening Detroit will look to keep the possibility of a sweep alive as they sends 7-2 David Price to the hill against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The Tigers are 13-3 this season in starts that Price makes. 



Friday, July 3, 2015

Cincinnati Reds Promote Top Prospect Robert Stephenson to Louisville (Triple-A), Wins Debut

By Peyton Wesner

Although today, the Triple-A Debut of Cincinnati Reds' top prospect Robert Stephenson, was expected to have occurred much earlier, the twenty-two year old did not disappoint when finally steping on the mound.

Stephenson, MLB.com's eighteenth top prospect in baseball, began his professional career much slower than other first round picks in the 2011 MLB Draft as he did not make his first start in the Reds' organization until the spring of 2012. But actually, the right hander didn't start moving quickly through the farm system until 2013 when he pitched in three levels, starting with Dayton (Single-A) and finishing the season with Pensacola (Double-A). The following year, Stephenson started back in Pensacola and despite showing glimpses of greatness, his erratic command caused him to permit more than one free pass in twenty-one of his twenty-seven pitching appearances in 2014, ultimately resulting in more earned runs allowed.

Despite the 2014 All-Star Futures Game selection walking forty-three batters in seventy-eight and one/thirds innings this season for the Blue Wahoos, Stephenson was terrific in Double-A (4-7 record and 3.68 earned run average) and averaged 10.23 strikeouts per nine innings (eighty-nine strikeouts) leading to his promotion to the next level.

Tonight's opponent, the Columbus Clippers, could not have offered a better lineup at the youngster as Columbus' starting lineup featured seven players with Major League experience. Nonetheless Stepheson started attacking hitters right out of the gate and struck out the lead-off batter, Cleveland Indians' prospect Tyler Naquin, for his first career Triple-A strikeout. After surrendering a hit to Jose Ramirez and getting the power hitting Jesus Aguilar to pop up, the Triple-A rookie was able to sit down Lonnie Chisenhall for his second strikeout of the inning.

So the first inning went well for Stephenson, but when would his command issues start? The third inning to be exact.

In the third, the righty immediately started the inning with a walk to Tyler Holt. Holt then stole second base with Adam Moore at the dish to get into scoring position, creating Stephenson's first ever Triple-A jam. Spoiler alert! He would not escape unscathed. After Moore struck out, Tyler Naquin achieved revenge on Stephenson with an RBI double to tie the game at one. Then, Jose Ramirez continued his success against the pitcher and drove in Naquin with an RBI single, which seized a one-run lead for Columbus. Luckily, the Bats' defense picked up their hurler by center fielder Ryan LaMarre catching an Aguilar fly out for the second out and catcher Chris Berset gunning down Ramirez at second base for out number three.

The next inning, a walk to Jerry Sands with one out started another threat to Stephenson, yet unlike the previous inning, he was able to strikeout Zach Walters and throw out Tyler Holt, who bunted a grounder towards the mound, to add another zero on the board.

In his fifth and final inning, the Reds' top pitching prospect added another scoreless frame after giving up a Jose Ramirez two-out single.

With the score knotted at two and reliever Jumbo Diaz looking to come on to pitch in the top of the sixth, Louisville Bats' All-Star Irving Falu doubled with Ryan LaMarre on second base to claim the lead for his team just in time for Stephenson to be in line for his first career Triple-A victory.

As tonight's winner, Robert Stephenson ended his Triple-A Debut allowing only two earned runs on four hits in five innings pitched while walking three and striking out six. The twenty-seventh overall pick from the 2011 MLB Draft will look to stay perfect and improve his record to 2-0 in his next scheduled start Wednesday at Louisville Slugger Field against division leading Indianapolis.