Diamondbacks Farm Round-Up 7/20: Ransom Edition

Depressing night at the major leagues, as the D-backs blew a game they knew they should have won, and their starting shortstop's season ended with one unfortunate slide across home plate.  If I could go back to that moment, I would have probably punched the belligerently drunk Brewers fan behind me in the face for screaming like a madman about how Ryan Braun is "from The U" while Drew was writhing in pain on the ground.  Don't get me wrong, most of the Brewers fans around me and that I've encountered are great.  Just a really really unfortunate demonstration of classlessness, at least in my opinion.

Snakelet of the Day:

Ryan Wheeler (Double-A): 2-4, 3B, HR, R, 2 RBI

Triple-A: Reno 8, Fresno 13.  (59-37)  To begin: yes, shortstop Cody Ransom was removed in the fifth inning after going 1-2 with a home run and a strikeout, so all indications (if there isn't already a formal announcement between the time of writing and the time of publishing) are that Ransom will be the one replacing Drew on the D-backs roster.  Drew will undoubtedly be moved to the 60-Day DL, so there aren't any serious 40-Man Roster implications to worry about.  Also homering for Reno were outfielders Collin Cowgill and David Winfree, with Cowgill chipping in three hits overall and Winfree having a four-hit night with a walk.

Unfortunately, the eight runs the Aces put on the board weren't enough, as starter Zach Kroenke was charged with exactly that many earned runs in just 5.1 innings on the mound while striking out three, walking two, and serving up a pair of gopher balls.  Relievers Daniel Stange and Esmerling Vasquez didn't have good nights either, with Stange allowing a run on three walks and one hit in 1.2 innings, and Vasquez allowing four runs in two innings due to a pair of home runs surrendered.

Double-A: Mobile 5, Birmingham 3.  (58-38)  For all of those (i.e.: nobody) gravely-concerned about Tyler Skaggs' Double-A debut hitting some roadbumps, his second outing was much smoother.  Skaggs fell one out short of a quality start, though it certainly wasn't spectacular - 5.2 innings pitched, three earned runs.  Nonetheless, Skaggs struck out six and walked just two, giving himself a nifty 12:4 K:BB ratio over his first two starts (9.2 innings).  The kid is going to be just fine, I promise.

Offensively, the Mobile lineup's top-5 hitters combined to go 8-20 with three doubles, a triple, and two home runs, while the 6-9 hitters went 3-14 with a double.  Those top-five hitters and their numbers on the night:

Adam Eaton: 1-4, solo home run.

A.J. Pollock: 2-4, two doubles, two runs, K, outfield assist.

Paul Goldschmidt: 1-4, RBI, no K (because bb would ask).  :-)

Ryan Wheeler: 2-4, triple, solo home run, run scored, two RBI.

Taylor Harbin: 2-4, double, run scored.

This is a very good top of the lineup at Mobile, as each of the top-four guys are top-12 prospects in the system (not counting new draftees) on my list - Goldschmidt #3, Pollock #9, Wheeler #10, and Eaton #12.

Wheeler, in particular, continues to absolutely amaze me.  His line at Mobile is now a fantastic .312/.369/.494 in 92 games, and although BABIP is probably on his side, he's starting to show some solid peripherals (i.e. patience, power) around his batting average.  With all recent word from the couple of years suggesting that Wheeler has a serious chance to stick at third base long-term, he could be just the solution the D-backs are looking for to fill what looks like a gaping hole in the infield that could be created by the departure of Kelly Johnson either this off-season or at the trade deadline.  Were Pollock not swinging a hot bat lately, Wheeler may have surpassed him on my list (for now, the positional value of an up-the-middle guy keeps Pollock ahead).

Fun note: former BayBear Leyson Septimo pitched an inning-and-a-third for Birmingham against his former team, striking out one in a spotless outing.

Hi-A: Visalia 11, Rancho Cucamonga 12.  (42-53)  Believe-it-or-not, the Rawhide managed just two extra-base hits in this game, despite their absurd 11-run scoring frenzy.  Those XBH's were a home run from Chris Owings and a double from David Nick, and five Rawhide bats posted multi-hit games.  Keon Broxton singled twice and walked (with three K's), Owings had a three-hit night and a HBP, Nick - moved into the three-spot in the lineup that used to be reserved for Eaton - had three hits, a walk, and a HBP, and Alfredo Marte and Ryan LaPensee (who was also plunked) each had two-hit nights.  Matt Davidson also reached base three times, on a single and two walks, but struck out three times.

Unfortunately, Diogenes Rosario's start went awry, as the right-hander allowed seven runs (six earned) in 4.2 innings, K'ing five, walking two, and allowing two long-balls.  Mike Belfiore and Christian Beltre didn't help matters, as they combined to allow five earned runs in 3.2 innings on the mound to give R.C. just enough of a lead to hold on.  Rosario now has a 4.10 ERA and 23:6 K:BB ratio in 26.1 innings as a reliever for the Rawhide, but a 37:23 K:BB ratio in 51.2 innings as a starter, leading to an ERA of 5.23 in that role.  Rosario could be something legitimately useful out of the bullpen, so I'm not sure why this is the guy we're jerking back and forth between the roles as needed for filler purposes - move someone like the 26-year-old Beltre into that spot if you need a starter, and let Rosario develop as the reliever he's going to be.  Getting him additional innings is one thing, but he's clearly not as effective in that starting role, and feels much less comfortable as a starter.

Low-A: South Bend 6, Clinton 2.  (44-50)  Starter Mike Bolsinger pieced together a quality outing despite an ugly 2:4 K:BB ratio, allowing just five hits and a single run.  The bullpen did its job to preserve the lead spotted it by their starter and an offense that had just enough power to bring in what was an unusually high number of baserunners for the Silver Hawks.  South Bend collected 11 hits and drew five walks, with Zach Walters and Roberto Rodriguez hitting doubles and Gerson Montilla whacking a triple.  Ender Inciarte also has a solid day, going 2-4 with a walk.

Short Season-A: Yakima 2, Tri-City 3.  (11-22)  Lefty Adam Kudryk pitched well for the Bears, allowing just two unearned runs over seven innings of work, but reliever Greg Robinson allowed a run in his only inning of work to spoil Kudryk's outing and take the loss.  Designated hitter Tyler Bream's solo home run was the only extra-base hit the Bears collected, and only Westley Moss and Henry Zabala reached base more than once, the former collecting a single and a walk, and the latter singling and getting hit by a pitch.

Advanced-Rookie: Missoula had an off-day on Wednesday, and Raymond Hernandez takes the ball tomorrow.

Low-Rookie: D-backs 1, Angels 3.  (9-15)  The AZL D-backs were one-hit in this one, as Socrates Brito's seventh-inning triple broke up AZL Angels right-hander Lay Batista's bid for a no-no (he had lost the perfect game bid earlier on a strikeout/wild pitch).  Joseph Weik drove in Brito with a sacrifice fly, but the AZL D-backs offense did literally nothing else.  D-backs starter Ross Gerdeman was touched up for two runs in his four-inning start, posting a 3:2 K:BB ratio and allowing a home run.  Juan Falcon and Mike Lebo stopped the bleeding, but this game looks like it was far less of a contest than the score would otherwise indicate.

DSL (game one): D-backs 1, Cubs1 2.  The DSL D-backs only recorded four hits in this contest, with Jesse Liriano providing a double as the team's only extra-base hit, and Freddy Ramirez's two singles representing the only multi-hit performance.  Starter Mauricio Soto pitched a six-inning "complete game" for the DSL D-backs, allowing just two unearned runs, posting a 7:1 K:BB ratio, and scattering six hits.

DSL (game two): D-backs 2, Cubs1 0.  (17-28)  Infielder Juan Heredia reached base twice, and subsequently scored each time on a sac fly from Anderson Bolivar and a bases-loaded walk from Alan Santiago.  The club registered just two hits in the game, including a double from Samuel Valdez and a two-hit showing from Yorman Garcia, but relied mostly on free passes from Cubs1 pitchers to move their runners over and across the plate.  Starter Fleming Pena had a strange outing, striking out three in six one-hit, scoreless innings, but walking six Cubs1 batters.  David Cardenas came in for the seventh inning and struck out the side.

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