In homage to that talented lunatic known as Charlie Sheen taking batting practice at Chase Field on Sunday, we have a special #Winning edition of the Farm Round-Up... Aside from the part where the minor-league system managed just one win on the day, of course. Needless to say, though, it's appropriate for this absolute beast of a prospect:
#Winning Snakelet of the Day:
Trevor Bauer (Double-A): 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R (0 ER), 8:1 K:BB, 6:2 GO:AO
Inside today's Round-Up is perhaps the longest single-game write-up I've had all year. I think you can guess who started that game (though, admittedly, much of the write-up is not about him)...
Triple-A: Reno 0, New Orleans 4. (67-54) Man, what a depleted team... It was a tough-luck loss for right-hander Barry Enright, who was looking to get back on track after a particularly brutal stretch of games for Reno. He certainly did his job, allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings of work while striking out six Zephyrs, walking two and not allowing a ball to leave the park. Unfortunately, Reno's offense notched just three hits in nine innings on a pair of singles from Ryan Langerhans, who also walked and stole two bases, and a double from Angel Berroa. Tom Layne worked the final two innings, giving up three unearned runs while striking out one and allowing a home run.
Double-A: Mobile 5, Mississippi 4. #Winning (72-47) Hell hath no fury like a Trevor Bauer, regardless of his state of scorned-ness. Really, what can I do other than simply find new, creative ways to praise his dominance? The guy just made the most difficult jump in the minor leagues look like he was transferred to short-season ball. He's making a mockery of the minor leagues, posting a 25:5 K:BB overall in 14 innings between Visalia and Mobile - that's a minor-league strikeout rate of 16.07 per nine innings. There's no denying that Bauer is ready for the major leagues, the question is simply how long the team wants to let him work in the minors so that he can hit pre-set innings targets in controlled environments. That fact that the idea of Bauer getting promoted to the majors to replace Jason Marquis just four games into his pro career wasn't met with scoffs from the entire baseball community is remarkable. Not only that, but it seems there are actually some who think it's exactly what Arizona should do. Hasty and arguably premature? Sure. A testament to Bauer's awesomeness? Without a doubt.
Allow me to remind everyone that Trevor Bauer is 20 years old. Makes me - at 21 years old and still trying to squeeze my way into my hopeful career field - feel just fantastic about myself! (I know, comparing oneself to exceptional professional athletes is never a good practice for one's self-esteem.)
Unfortunately, Wes Roemer came into the game and tried to ruin it for the BayBears. In just two innings on the mound, Roemer allowed four runs - three earned - on four hits while walking two and striking out just one, twice giving up a two-run lead spotted to him by the BayBears offense. After breezing past Double-A in 2010 with a 2.39 ERA and 43:11 K:BB ratio in eight appearances before a promotion to Triple-A, Roemer has run into a brick wall trying to re-conquer the Southern League in 2011. His season ERA has now risen to 4.51 in 139.2 innings pitched, with an awful 97:40 K:BB ratio and 13 home runs allowed. The 24-year-old former supplemental-round pick is a strong candidate to be moved to full-time relief work in 2012 (or perhaps immediately) as a last-ditch effort to gain some sort of value from him, and, failing a turnaround, eventually being cast-off into the failed prospect abyss.
Thankfully, Yonata Ortega and Mike DeMark held things together in the back of the bullpen, as each threw a scoreless inning of relief to keep the game tied, and Mobile scratched across another run in the bottom of the eighth to give Ortega the win and DeMark the save. As Nick Piecoro mentioned on Twitter after the Marquis injury, the D-backs don't need to add a replacement fifth-starter for Marquis until the next time that rotation slot is needed, and the team could look to add a bench bat or relief pitcher that's already on the 40-man roster in the meantime. With the best of the bench bat options looking like the ever-uninspiring Cole Gillespie (just look at that rampant Reno offensive production above...), it seems that the extra bullpen arm option would be a wise course of action.
Perhaps Ortega, already on the 40-man roster, could be a candidate for such a slot? He posted stellar peripherals for Hi-A Visalia in spite of an underwhelming ERA, striking out 58 and walking 12 in 39.1 innings before being promoted to the BayBears. His 13:7 K:BB ratio in 10.2 innings since the promotion isn't particularly inspiring, but Ortega possesses legitimate back-of-the-bullpen stuff, and wouldn't require any extra transactions. Other options include more experienced and polished options in Ryan Cook, Kam Mickolio, Zach Kroenke, Sam Demel, and Esmerling Vasquez, all of whom are on the 40-man roster as well (making Ortega a long-shot to get the nod).
Hi-A: Visalia 1, Inland Empire 6. (55-64) Overshadowed by the stellar night of Bauer, David Holmberg turned in perhaps his finest outing at Visalia, striking out nine and walking three in six innings of work, giving up five hits and two runs (one earned). Unfortunately, that outing was good enough to get Holmberg tagged with a loss, as the Rawhide offense scratched just a solo home run off of the Inland Empire pitching staff, on a solo home run from Chris Owings in the eighth inning. Owings added a single to his night, while Keon Broxton had a fantastic night, going 1-3 with a triple and a walk. Sadly, the rest of the lineup notched just two singles, and Rawhide reliever Adam Worthington coughed up four runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of one-swing distance.
Low-A: South Bend 5, Bowling Green 10. (55-63) It was a rough day for starting pitcher J.R. Bradley, who fell victim to a pair of home run balls from Derek Dietrich and Philip Wunderlich, a pair of big-school college products whose bats (particularly Dietrich's, less so for Wunderlich) don't really belong in the Midwest League in the first place. Bradley also posted just a 2:2 K:BB ratio in his four innings on the rubber, and saw his ERA jump up to 5.25 on the year. That was certainly better than the relief outing put together by Chris Odegaard, though, as the right-handed reliever allowed four runs in his one inning of work after replacing Bradley, turning a 6-5 game into a 10-5 disaster.
At the plate, first baseman Yazy Arbelo cranked his 26th home run of the year, while Roberto Ortiz had a pair of doubles and Ramon Castillo added a double of his own. The Silver Hawks did get 11 men on base, a solid total for an MWL contest, but that just wasn't enough on a day with so much offensive thunder from the Hot Rods.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 3, Vancouver 7. (21-36) It seems that right-handed starter Teo Gutierrez has finished turning back into a pumpkin. On Sunday night, the 20-year-old gave up five runs in five innings, although just three were earned, on six hits, a pair of walks, and a HBP. Gutierrez was having a nice season through about mid-July, but has seen his production collapse since, as his latest outing raised his ERA to 4.11 and his 2:2 K:BB ratio on Sunday brought his season ratio to 45:21. Gutierrez is not a non-prospect, but with what looks to be an immense amount of competition for South Bend rotation slots for the 2012 season, I think it's looking more and more like Gutierrez will spend 2012 in short-season ball as well.
It was another rough offensive day for the Bears as well, with a pair of doubles - one apiece from Henry Zabala and Justin Hilt - were the only extra-base hits the Yakima offense could muster. The Bears received four two-hit games, from Garret Weber, Zabala, Hilt, and Jae Yun Kim, but drew just one walk and couldn't get their runners in. The Bears were particularly hurt by the double play on Sunday, hitting into four of them.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula had a day off on Sunday.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 3, Giants 6. (13-31) Right-hander Charles Brewer was back on the mound for the first time in around two months, rehabbing from a broken right hand he sustained when he was drilled by a line drive, similar to the injury that Zach Duke sustained in Spring training. Brewer dominated the teenage bats of the AZL, striking out four in three shutout innings, allowing just three hits and posting a 3:1 GO:AO ratio with no walks. Brewer seems good to go (certainly much better than the suck-filled rehab outings Kevin Mulvey had in the AZL), and could quickly join Trevor Bauer, Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod Parker, and Patrick Corbin in the most prospect-rich rotation currently working in the minor leagues, pushing both Bryan Henry and Wes Roemer to full-time relief work.
Despite the brutal-looking score, the D-backs actually entered the ninth inning with a one-run lead. However, after recording two outs without incurring any damage in the eighth inning, Berling Cruz proceeded to kill it with fire in the ninth, leaving after recording just one out while being charged with six runs. Cruz's final line: 1 IP, 5 H, 6 R (6 ER), 3 BB, 2 HBP, 0 K, 1 HR. Yikes. 2011 draft pick Mike Lebo also struggled with his control in 4.1 innings of relief, walking five with no strikeouts, but managed to escape his outing with just two runs allowed. Offensively, Domingo Soriano and Ed Rogers doubled, Pedro Ruiz tripled, and Joseph Weik homered for the first time this year, but no hitter reached base more than twice.