It was a pretty mum day for the bigger names in the farm system, as most of the system's top starting pitchers had the day off and many of the system's top bats took the day off. By my (ever-changing) prospects list, the top-twelve pitching prospects (top-ten starting pitching prospects) had the day off - as rich as Arizona's system is in hurlers, that's getting down to the thin parts of the system. However, some sleeper prospects in the lower parts of the system had good outings, as thirteenth-best arm in the system had a fine day in Rookie-ball and a relatively unheard-of middle infielder showed some surprising pop at full-season South Bend.
Snakelets of the Day:
Gerson Montilla (Low-A): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI
Robby Rowland (Advanced-Rookie): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 9:0 K:BB, 9:0 GO:AO
Triple-A: Reno 3, Las Vegas 7. (62-42) Let's do a quick extra-base hit tally for each team in this contest. Las Vegas: four doubles, one apiece from Brett Lawrie, Darin Mastroianni, David Cooper, and Brian Jeroloman, and three home runs, two from Lawrie and one from Adam Loewen. Reno: one double, from Juan Miranda. You tell me who won. Frankly, Reno is lucky it was only this bad, as somehow fourteen hits - three of which were homers - and six walks only turned into seven runs. No need to go into any more of the excruciating details, if you ask me.
Double-A: Mobile 2, Mississippi 1. (62-40) This was a pretty strange contest, as the Big Four combined for one hit, a single from A.J. Pollock, and a pair of walks, one apiece from Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt. The runs came from the 5-7 hitters in the lineup, as Taylor Harbin doubled, reached three times, and scored both of the BayBear runs, driven in once by Marc Krauss, who tripled and walked, and once by Ed Easley, who drew a pair of walks and doubled. That proved to be just enough production for the pitching, as Bryan Henry threw five scoreless innings, Billy Spottiswood allowed one run in his two innings on the mound, and then Bryan Woodall and Mike DeMark closed out the game with a scoreless inning apiece.
Hi-A: Visalia 7, Stockton 11. (43-59) Simply a bad night for Visalia pitchers from the very beginning. Eric Smith was on the mound for the start, and continued his atrocious season for the Rawhide (71:56 K:BB, 111 IP, 6.89 ERA). Arizona's second-round pick from the 2009 draft, Smith lasted just four innings in this contest, giving up nine hits, three walks, and six runs (five earned) with three strikeouts and a 6:1 GO:AO ratio. He wasn't given much relief from the bullpen (get it?!?!), as Christian Beltre allowed three runs while recording just one out, and Evan Marshall gave up two runs in his 1.2 innings of relief.
There was a solid pitching performance on the night for Visalia, however, coming from lefty Dan Taylor, who threw three shutout innings of relief with four strikeouts, one walk, and zero hits surrendered. Perhaps Taylor, who worked as a starter in 2009 and 2010, is a candidate to step into Smith's rotation spot for the remainder of the year and get a serious opportunity to prove himself after wallowing away for most of the year Low-A South Bend's bullpen? Should be interesting to follow, at least. Offensively, Bobby Borchering continued his hitting parade, going 2-4 with a double and a strikeout, while Rossmel Perez went 2-3 with a walk and a three-run homer - a rare sight from the typically-powerless Perez. Alfredo Marte had a three-hit night with a stolen base.
Low-A: South Bend 5, Great Lakes 0. (47-53) What kind of an absurd tear is Matt Helm on? I wrote in detail about him in yesterday's report, only to have Helm crush another home run on Wednesday night against talented Dodgers prospect Garret Gould, who I watched dominate this same Silver Hawks lineup earlier this year. Helm basically came out of nowhere to hit six home runs in his last eleven games after hitting just one all year prior to this stretch. The most depressing part? Helm's slugging percentage is still below .400 on the season. I'm not entirely surprised, given how powerless and grounder-happy Helm was the few times I watched him, but it's still discouraging to see someone go so berserk at the plate and still have a .731 OPS on the year.
The most impressive bat in the lineup on Wednesday, however, was actually Gerson Montilla, as the young second baseman crushed a homer of his own and added a pair of doubles to his impressive night. Montilla's had a strange career path, spending last year split between Visalia and Mobile as a fill-in infielder before finally being put at South Bend, an appropriate level for his development, this year. Montilla's OBP is terrible, at just .289 on the year, but he's hitting for plenty of power in a power-suppressing league, posting a .432 slugging percentage as a 21-year-old in the MWL. Zach Walters added a double, and starter Jeffrey Shields threw seven shutout innings despite posting a 3:3 K:BB ratio, though his 11:5 GO:AO ratio was more impressive.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 4, Salem-Keizer 5. (13-27) Tyler Bream hit a two-run homer in the second and the Bears offense tacked on two more runs with the help of a solid day from Garret Weber (double, walk). However, starter John Pedrotty had a rough outing, posting a 1:4 K:BB ratio and allowing a homer in just five innings, leading to four earned runs. A one-run inning of relief from Justin Albert broke a tie in the bottom of the eighth, and Yakima was unable to answer in the top of the ninth.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 5, Idaho Falls 4. (24-12) Right-hander Robby Rowland had a quality start, allowing two runs in six innings with utterly dominant peripheral ratios - 9:0 K:BB and 9:0 GO:AO. The offense did its part, as Tom Belza tripled, with Chris Ellison and Stephen Cardullo adding doubles. Ellison and Fidel Pena reached base three times apiece, while Ty Linton drew a pair of walks. The Osprey were also busy on the basepaths, as Ellison stole two bags, Pena swiped one, and Linton took one.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 8, Mariners 14. (11-18) Blake Perry started the game wobbly, coughing up a five-run first innings to the Mariners, but settling down to throw five scoreless innings and record a solid 6:0 K:BB ratio, exiting the game with an 8-5 lead. The worst work on the mound was done in this one by Elroy Urbina, who allowed nine runs, although just four earned, in just 1.2 innings on the mound. The D-backs offense didn't make much of a comeback effort, although there were encouraging signs from the bats on this night, notably Wagner Mateo, who crushed a solo home run, and Pat Donahue, who went 3-4 with a double and a walk.
DSL: D-backs 11, White Sox 9. (20-30) Not a ton of highlights from this one. Jesse Liriano, Valentino Silvestre, and Alan Santiago each doubled for the D-backs, while Santiago and Michael Gonzalez each reached base three times. On the mound, Fleming Pena threw 3.2 scoreless frames, but only struck out one, while David Cardenas notched the save with a scoreless inning that included a strikeout.