Of the full-season affiliates, only Reno played on Tuesday, as Mobile, Visalia, and South Bend all had the day off. Not sure if there's some mysterious reason for this, or if the MiLB gods simply knew that I could use some extra shut-eye. Either way, I can't complain. With the recent roster move stories coming out, I've been instructed to keep the pictures to a minimum, so I'll also keep the intro short and skip straight to:
Snakelet of the Day:
Lucas May (Triple-A): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, BB
Triple-A: Reno 16, Fresno 4. (59-36) Reno teed off on the Grizzlies' pitching, bashing starter Shane Loux (unsure of any relation to Barret Loux), and scoring three runs off of both Steve Edlefsen and Dan Otero. The early cushion would prove to be plenty for starter Tom Layne, back up from Mobile to replace the promoted Barry Enright. Layne pitched a quality start, which is impressive in itself in the PCL. He allowed three runs in six innings of work, striking out just three but only walking one, giving up eight hits and a homer. Layne also continued his ground-ball-inducing ways, notching seven ground-ball outs. Layne's season numbers are really torpedoed by a two-inning, 11-run start against Las Vegas on June 22, and the southpaw has actually been rather effective as a member of the Aces' rotation this year. The most generous of projections for Layne in the majors are as a good, ground-ball LOOGY, but I'd certainly be pleased if that happened, considering that I recently unwrapped a Bowman Chrome card of him...
As you'd expect, there were plenty of strong offensive performances in this game, beginning with catcher Lucas May, acquired from the Kansas City Royals earlier this year for reliever Andrea Pizziconi. May, given a mention a year ago in John Sickels' The Baseball Prospect Book 2011 as one of the top-30 names in a loaded Royals system, had a strong 3-5 game, falling a triple short of a cycle and drawing a walk. After stumbling to a .176/.263/.329 start for Omaha that was a big reason why he was dealt, May has exploded to a .328/.413/.578 line (prior to Tuesday's game - the MiLB.com stat page has yet to update at time of writing - 10:57 p.m.) for the Aces in 19 games since the trade, and is probably one of the system's two best catching prospects, along with teammate Konrad Schmidt. He won't be a starter, but he could be a legitimate backup backstop. Also homering was Juan Miranda, who also singled and walked, while Cole Gillespie tripled and Andy Tracy doubled. Cody Ransom and Evan Frey each reached base four times.
Short Season-A: Yakima 3, Tri-City 6. (11-21) Four those who still value the pitcher win (i.e. those of you who haven't witnessed the career of Matt Cain), Teo Gutierrez's last four outings offer a very good counterpoint. With tonight's six-inning, two-run performance, Gutierrez's last four starts have gone: seven innings, one run on July 3, 5.2 innings, two runs on July 8, seven innings, two runs on July 14, and six innings, two runs on Tuesday night. In that span, Gutierrez has notched just one win. Tuesday was yet another no-decision for the young Dominican, who struck out seven Dust Devils batters, walked only two, and posted a solid 5:2 GO:AO ratio. Gutierrez has now allowed two or fewer runs in five of his seven outings this year, and has not allowed more than four runs (& no more than three earned runs) in any outing. Gutierrez's ERA rose a point to 2.93, but he remains one of the more promising arms in the lower parts of the D-backs system.
The offense, though, remains the most disappointing of any affiliate in the organization. Granted, it's mostly filled with mediocre senior college signs and undrafted free agents - I imagine part of the reasoning is that the club is seemingly headed toward a move to Vancouver and a bitter divorce with the city of Yakima - so the futility demonstrated by the Bears bats is hardly surprising, and not very disappointing. Westley Moss' double was the only extra-base hit on the night for the Bears on Tuesday, and was also the only time that Moss reached base in his five plate appearances. Only Steven Rodriguez (single, HBP) and Henry Zabala (three singles) reached base more than once for Yakima.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 1, Idaho Falls 10. (17-12) Josh Parr's 2-4 day with a double was the only reasonably good offensive night the Osprey lineup saw, as Idaho Falls' pitching shut down the Missoula offense. Additionally, starter Conrad Flynn had a brutal night on the mound, lasting just 4.1 innings and allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits, two walks, and a homer, striking out just two batters with a 7:2 GO:AO ratio. Not much to see here, aside from an unfortunate game for Missoula.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 8, Indians 6. (9-14) To begin, allow me to start by saying that the Wagner Mateo leadoff magic didn't last long. Mateo went 0-5 on Tuesday, earning himself the apparently-now-daily Golden Sombrero. Yikes. Providing the power in the AZL D-backs' offensive output were Socrates Brito, who tripled, as well as Jesus Abreu and Joseph Weik, who each doubled. Weik's day was probably the best of the bunch, as the 23-year-old (yeah, don't expect much here) first baseman went 1-3 with the aforementioned double, a walk, and a sac fly. J.J. Putz made another rehab outing by pitching the first inning of this game, recording three straight groundouts, and Bryan Escanio had a decent "start" for the club, allowing two runs in five innings with a 3:1 K:BB ratio and 8:3 GO:AO ratio. The rest of the pitching performances seemed to be either wobbly or unremarkable, but thankfully the D-backs held on for the win.
DSL: D-backs 7, Orioles 1. (16-27) The DSL D-backs received doubles from their eight- and nine-hole hitters, Freddy Ramirez and Michael Gonzalez, and produced more than enough offense for starter Juan Valdez. The 19-year-old Valdez struck out eight with just one walk in six innings on the mound, posting a 6:1 GO:AO ratio and surrendering only an unearned run. Amlicar Arauz wrapped up the seven-inning contest by striking out two (and walking one) in his lone inning on the mound.