The big story of the day, of course, was the performance of two top D-backs prospects in the MLB Futures Game. Lefty Tyler Skaggs was solid in his brief stint on the mound, reportedly working 90-92 with his fastball (keep in mind: he just pitched a couple days ago), K'ing Dayan Viciedo, and working around a walk and a should-be error to throw a scoreless first inning. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt went 0-4, but made a slick defensive play to end the game. However, the presence of the Futures Game on Sunday did not mean that the rest of the minor leagues were not in action. As Skaggs and Goldschmidt head to Mobile - Skaggs joining the BayBears for the first time - here's what went down in the minor leagues today.
Snakelet of the Day:
Ryan Wheeler (Double-A): 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, K
Triple-A: Reno 6, Tacoma 2. (53-36) On the mound for his second Triple-A start was lefty Wade Miley, who seems to having yet another strong second half of the season (you might recall his dominant second half of 2010 for Mobile). Miley pitched seven strong innings, posting a nice 6:1 K:BB ratio and allowing just two runs, including a line drive solo home run off the bat of Matt Tuiasosopo - I'm not sure how short and far from home plate the left field walls are at Tacoma, but the ball did not look that elevated, and I was shocked it carried out as I was watching it. I saw two innings of Miley's work on MiLB.tv before we hit the road, and was impressed with the quality of Miley's breaking stuff - not only did it break sharply, but he could effectively locate the pitches within the strike zone. His fastball has some zip, but he faced some struggles commanding it, often missing out of the zone or grabbing a bit too much plate with it. Reminds me an awful lot of some of the issues that Joe Saunders has dealt with in his time in the desert. Miley was supported by doubles from Cole Gillespie, Brandon Allen, David Winfree, and Tony Abreu, as well as a three-hit day from Geoff Blum.
Double-A: Mobile 6, Mississippi 4. (52-36) Even sans Goldschmidt, this Mobile club is pretty good, particularly offensively. The charge was led by Ryan Wheeler, playing first base in Goldschmidt's absence, who went 2-4 with a double and a home run off of top Atlanta pitching prospect Randall Delgado. Don't look now, but Wheeler's season line in the pitcher-friendly Southern League is up to a phenomenal .306/.368/.482, and the home run was his 11th of the season. If he keeps hitting like this, Arizona might not have to make a splash in free agency to get a third baseman like Aramis Ramirez. Some combination of Wheeler and perhaps a cheap right-handed platoon mate could be sufficient (Ryan Roberts if we find an alternate 2B, or a super-discount deal with Miguel Tejada?). Then again, Wheeler's platoon splits indicate that he hits lefties and righties equally well, so perhaps we can simply plug him in and see what happens.
Also chipping in offensively for Mobile were Taylor Harbin, who went 3-4 with a home run of his own, and Adam Eaton who went 1-3 with a pair of walks, though Eaton was caught stealing once. On the mound to start the game for Mobile was Wes Roemer, who managed a successful outing of seven innings and two runs allowed in spite of a backwards K:BB ratio of 1:2 and a HBP. Ryan Cook notched his tenth save of the year for the BayBears with a scoreless ninth inning, striking out one.
Hi-A: Visalia 8, Lake Elsinore 15. (41-46) A lot of bad pitching for the Rawhide on Sunday, beginning with another poor outing from right-hander Eric Smith. The former second-round pick raised his ERA to 7.37 by allowing seven earned runs in just three innings of work, striking out three and walking four. Needless to say, the Cal League has not given him any breaks this year. Christian Beltre also struggled, allowing four runs in 2.2 innings of work, but the worst outing of the night was probably Yonata Ortega's, as the Rawhide closer, on in a non-save situation, allowed four runs on a pair of hits and four walks while recording just two outs, though both of those were strikeouts. The thunder offensively was provided mostly by David Nick, who went 3-4 with a double and a walk, and Bobby Borchering, who was 2-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk.
Low-A: South Bend 2, Dayton 6. (39-47) Starter Bradin Hagens was solid in his five innings of work, K'ing four with just one walk and allowing only one run, but the Silver Hawks bullpen tandem of Keith Cantwell and Christopher Odegaard conspired to blow this one, allowing five runs in their combined three innings of "relief." In typical Silver Hawks fashion, the offense mustered just one extra-base hit, a double from Ender Inciarte, who also drew a walk. No other Silver Hawks batter reached base more than once.
Short Season-A: Yakima 1, Eugene 8. (7-17) Another day, another crappy offensive performance from the Yakima Bears. Zachary Jones had another solid offensive game, going 2-4 with a double and a walk, Garrett Weber went 1-3 with a pair of walks, and Danny Pulfer chipped in a triple, but it translated into just one run for Yakima, which wouldn't be nearly enough due to the Bears' defensive blunders. Yakima starter John Pedrotty allowed two earned runs in his 2.2 innings, striking out three and walking six, and the Bears' bullpen allowed six unearned runs in their 5.1 innings of relief.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 12, Billings 8. (12-9) Missoula's offense was a well-balanced attack in this one - a double and a walk from Chris Ellison, two singles and a walk from Ryan Court, a double and a walk from Jon Griffin, a double and three singles from Tom Belza, and a double and a home run from Roidany Aguila. The 12 runs the Osprey put on the board was more than enough run support for starter Robby Rowland, who somehow allowed five earned runs on eight hits in six innings despite his 8:0 K:BB ratio and no homers allowed. Oh, to be young and without fastball command... Victor Lara had a rough ninth inning, but Missoula held on for the win.
Low-Rookie: The AZL D-backs were off on Sunday.
DSL: The DSL D-backs were also off on Sunday.