DBack To The Future - The Weekly Minor League Report

Since we can agree a bit of a break from the exploits of our DBacks would do us a great deal of good, I'm pleased to bring you this week's minor league report.  Jim and I agreed it should be a weekly thing where I recap the week for all the levels, and focus on one level each week, starting with AAA. It will probably be a Thursday fixture going forward, but since I wrote it yesterday, we figured I'll put it up and plan the next one for the following Thursday.

First of all, though, a small recap of the minor league moves made last week. Somewhat strangely, all of them are related to pitching.

  • RHP Leo Rosales was promoted to the majors in place of the injured Tom Gordon. He had a good 0.90 ERA in 10 IP in Reno, but he can't strike anyone out and will pretty much get smoked in the majors. Fine, this was written after the game last night, but his performance wasn't a shock by any means.
  • AAA LHP Evan MacLane was dealt to St. Louis for future considerations. He came over in 2006 in the Shawn Green trade and hasn't really impressed, with an ERA of 7.70 in 2007 and 4.96 last year. Unbelievably, I couldn't find any mention of this on milb.com or by Piecoro.
  • In his place, RHP Hector Ambriz was called up from AA. He had an ERA of 2.17 after 5 starts, with 32 strikeouts and 6 walks in 29 innings. Piecoro says it's not clear whether he'll start or pitch from the bullpen. Reno already has 5 starters, in Barnette, Blackley, Buckner, Etherton and Valdez, but if Ambriz has a shot at starting in the majors, it makes sense to start him in AAA. It's not as if any of the starters is doing well.
  • Ambriz vacated a spot for our No. 1 prospect, Jarrod Parker, who was promoted to AA after 4 starts in Visalia (19 IP, 0.95 ERA, 21 K, 4 BB). He wasn't dominant in his first start for Mobile (4.1 IP, 8H, 3ER) but he allowed only one extra base hit, with 5 strikeouts and a walk.
  • RHP Reid Mahon made his season debut for AA, after staying in extended spring training to get his mechanics straightened out after a rough spring training.
  • In Parker's place, RHP Cristian Beltre, who was delayed by shoulder fatigue in spring training, made his first start for Visalia last night. He allowed 1 earned run in 3 innings. He showed promise in South Bend last year, going 13-8 in 26 starts, with a K/BB of 4.5 in 155.1 innings.

A full recap of the four levels follows after the jump.

 

AAA Reno Aces

 

The Aces played 6 games last week, dropping 2 against Fresno, and taking 3 out of 4 against Portland. The PCL is a very batter friendly league, but the Aces take it to the extreme. Only one player has an OBP below .350 and only one starter has an ERA below 6.40

At the plate:

  • At some point, I will grow tired of touting Josh Whitesell. But not just yet. He had a good week (his 305th good week in a row), going 9-19 with 6 walks, 2 doubles and a homer to get his overall line to .368/.500/.592. His work this week included a 4-5 night and a 2-2 night with 4 walks. In his spare time, he comes up with catchy slogans and nicknames for teammates, as well as dying his hair gray and growing a beard.
  • Alex Romero is 10-19 in his last four games, to improve to a line of .314/.404/.477 on the season.
  • Trent Oeltjen was on fire last week, going 10-21 with 8 extra base hits and 3 walks. His line for the season is .297/.381/.486
  • Agustin Murillo cooled off somewhat, going 5-16 this week and .309/.380/.485 on the year.
  • Rusty Ryal batted 8-22 with 3 walks and a homer to bring his line up to .324/.367/.473
  • Luke Carlin went 4-12 with 2 walks. His line stands at .325/.413/.450
  • Brandon Watson went 7-18 with 2 walks and a homer to improve to .351/.370/.392
  • Chris Roberson is the player mentioned above as the only one with an OBP below .350. He went 2-14 last week to lower his line to .232/.306/.429

On the mound:

  • Seth Etherton had a good start on Friday, going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, with a walk and 5 strikeouts. His ERA after 5 starts is a tidy 3.41 but there isn't much to like here. His K:BB numbers are 14:9 in 29 IP. Add the fact he is an extreme fly ball pitcher, and that he allowed 7 (!!) homers already, we're unlikely to see him put on a big league uniform.
  • After two terrible starts last week (8.1 IP, 12 ER), Tony Barnette had a good one on Thursday, going 6.2 innings and allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts to get his first win of the year. His ERA is now 6.46 in 23.2 innings, but he has been let down by his defense, as his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a much better 4.43.
  • Travis Blackley made 2 starts last week, and the results were not pretty: 9 IP, 15 H, 10 ER to bring his ERA all the way up to 8.31 in 21.2 IP. His K:BB is at a very good 20:5 but he's way too hittable, allowing 34 hits (4 HR).
  • Billy Buckner also made his first two starts of the season last week, after pitching out of the bullpen, with equally disappointing results (8 IP, 7 ER). His ERA on the season is 6.75.
  • Bobby Korecky pitched 4.1 IP last week, allowing one run to lower his ERA to 3.38 in 5.1 innings since being sent down.
  • Doug Slaten struck out 3 batters in 1.1 innings of work, allowing just one hit.

 

AA Mobile BayBears

 

The Bears went 4-3 this week, dropping 2 of 3 to Birmingham, but winning 3 of 4 against Jacksonville.

At the plate:

  • After a slow start to the season, OF Cyle Hankerd had an unreal week, going on a 5 game multi hit streak, 15-24 with 5 doubles, 3 taters and 4 walks. His line for the season now stands at .377/.459/.609 in 76 PA.
  • Gerardo Parra went 3-5 with a homer last night, and 10-27 with 3 walks on the week, to get his line to .375/.476/.489. Also of note, in a small sample size, he hits lefties just as well as righties.
  • Orlando Mercado made a good start to the season, hitting .353/.405/.529 while splitting time behind the dish with Skelton.
  • James Skelton (3-17), Evan Frey (2-27), Yunesky Sanchez (2-19) and Pedro Ciriaco (3-21) have been ice cold last week.

On the mound:

  • Hector Ambriz bid farewell to AA with a dominant start on Friday. He struck out 6 and scattered 3 hits with no walks in 7 innings.
  • Brian Augenstein is a candidate to step into the big league rotation, according to Piecoro. He wrote that should Petit struggle again on Sunday (yesterday), we could see Brian take his place. He certainly did his chances no harm with his two starts last week, a combined 12.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, 9 hits and 4 walks. He is 5-0 after 5 starts with a 0.95 ERA in 31.2 IP.
  • Matt Torra had his third good start in a row on Thursday, allowing 1 run in 6 innings with 2 walks and 7 strikeouts to lower his ERA to 4.
  • Jason Urquidez (1 ER, 6 K in 6 IP), Scott Maine (0 ER, 5K in 4.1 IP) and Dan Schlereth (1ER, 4K in 3.2 IP) had good weeks out of the pen.

 

A+ Visalia Rawhide

 

Visalia went 5-1 last week to cement their spot at the top of the division.

At the plate:

  • Ollie Linton is on a 14 game hitting streak, hitting 10-20 with 2 walks during the last week. His overall line is .354/.485/.443
  • Ryne White batted 8-16 with 4 walks last week to bring his line to .329/.440/.408
  • Catcher Konrad Schmidt hit 9-19 with 2 walks to up his line to .292/.370/.361

On the mound:

  • Pat McAnaney had a two good starts on the week, for a total of 11 shutout innings with 15 strikeouts, to lower his ERA to 2.08 in 26 innings.
  • Wes Roemer went 5 shutout innings on Saturday, allowing 2 hits and 4 walks with 2 strikeouts, while keeping the ball on the ground. His ERA is 1.46 in 24.2 innings.
  • Jordan Norberto (3.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K) and Bryan Henry (8.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 K) had good weeks out of the pen.

 

A South Bend Silver Hawks

 

The Hawks went 4-3 last week, going on a three game losing streak followed by a three game winning streak over the weekend.

At the plate:

  • Catcher Rossmel Perez only started his season last Sunday, but he's off to a scorching start (.444/.545/.500 in 22 PA).

On the mound:

  • Trevor Harden made two starts last week, throwing 7 shutout innings for the win on Tuesday (3 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and 6.2 innings for another win yesterday (3 ER on 4 H, 2 BB and 5 K). He is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.64 in 30.2 IP.
  • Ryan Cook improved to 3-0 on Friday, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings, with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. He has an ERA of 2.16 in 25 IP, with a K:BB of 14:4.
  • Terry Hose (3 perfect innings with 5 strikeouts) and Bryan Woodall (4.1 IP, 1 ER, 8K, 0 BB) had good weeks in relief.

I apologize if this turned out too long, but there's really no short way to recap a week's worth of games for four team, and I didn't want to leave any important stuff out. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. Sorry about the title as well, it's all I could think of :)

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