Over the last few years, there has been an ongoing struggle between catching prospects and second base prospects as to which composes biggest hole in the D-backs farm system. Ever since David Nick started raking at Visalia this year, it seemed that catching prospects were "winning" the war, but with Zach Walters headed out of town in the Jason Marquis trade, it's become very much open for debate again, particularly with the early successes of the D-backs' newest minor-league catching project:
Snakelet of the Day:
Michael Perez (Low-Rookie): 2-3, HR, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB, SB
Of course, as much as I wanted to mention Perez because of the excitement of a catching prospect with everyday player upside, I can't simply ignore this... Just another ho-hum day.
Snakelet of the Day:
Tyler Skaggs (Double-A): 9 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 7:2 K:BB, 5:11 GO:AO, HR
Okay, just two more from Visalia... after all, it was a heck of a day on the farm.
Snakelet of the Day:
Matt Davidson (Hi-A): 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, HBP
Keon Broxton (Hi-A): 2-2, 2B, HR, 3 R, 6 RBI, 2 BB, SF
Triple-A: Reno 5, Tacoma 4. (72-58) Starter Wes Roemer had an effective outing, giving up seven hits and three runs in 7.1 innings, posting a solid 5:1 K:BB ratio but surrendering a pair of home runs - the same issue that hampered him a year ago with the Aces. At the plate, Evan Frey and Cole Gillespie each tripled, while Andy Tracy added a double. Frey's triple came at the best time possible, driving in Mark Hallberg from first base in the bottom of the ninth to score the walk-off run.
Double-A (10 innings): Mobile 2, Jackson 1. (77-50) Remember that solid Jackson lineup that Jarrod Parker dealt with handily last night? Well, Tyler Skaggs did one better, putting up perhaps the best outing of his already-awesome career, throwing nine innings of one-run ball, with a 7:2 K:BB ratio and a solo home run allowed. Skaggs seems like he'll be a fairly fly-ball-oriented guy, and posted a 5:11 GO:AO ratio on Tuesday night, but with his power lefty arsenal, I don't think anybody is concerned. Without a doubt, he is the safest prospect in the D-backs system in my opinion, and I believe he, like Trevor Bauer, could be an above-average starter in the major leagues tomorrow if the team were to abandon its forward thinking and innings limits (which I would not support, of course).
Offensively, A.J. Pollock led the way a double and a walk, although he was picked off of first base in an unusual baserunning gaffe. Pollock refused to strike out even once for the fifth straight game, and now has struck out just three times over his last ten games, a span in which he's hit .318. His double on Tuesday was his 36th of the year. Ed Easley also had a big game, collecting two singles, including the game-winning base hit in the bottom of the tenth inning to secure the walk-off win after Mike DeMark worked a scoreless top of the tenth to keep the game locked at one apiece.
Hi-A: Visalia 14, High Desert 8. (59-68) The big bats in Visalia's lineup went bananas, led by Matt Davidson and Keon Broxton. Davidson fell a triple short of the cycle, driving in three runs, also getting hit by a pitch. Broxton, on the other hand, led off the game with a home run, added a double, hit a sacrifice fly, and walked twice to cap off what was probably the best game of his minor-league career. After Broxton's OPS sat well below .700 for most of the season, Broxton has proceeded to post an OPS on the awesome side of .900 in 21 games in August. After striking out 172 times in 2010 with South Bend, he has whiffed a combined 153 games so far in 2011 between South Bend and Visalia, and has actually matched his strikeout total for June or July (29) this month. So while that line has been helped by an enormous BABIP in August, his secondary skills have still been superb in August.
Also chipping in with power were Bobby Borchering and Alfredo Marte with doubles, with Marte notching a four-hit game. Raoul Torrez also had a great day, singling and walking three times. Right-hander Eric Smith had a rough day, giving up eight runs in six innings, although four were unearned. He posted a solid 7:3 K:BB ratio, but gave up eight hits and a home run, though somehow walked away from the game with a win. On the bright side, Dan Taylor and Evan Marshall were each fantastic in relief. Taylor struck out three in two perfect innings, while Marshall K'd two in his 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the victory and lower his ERA with the Rawhide to an incredible 1.26.
Low-A: South Bend 2, West Michigan 3. (60-66) Yazy Arbelo hit his 28th home run of the year for the Silver Hawks, a solo shot in the ninth inning, and David Narodowski doubled, but it wasn't quite enough offense to lift South Bend to a victory. Starter Jeffrey Shields had a very good outing, allowing no extra-base hits and three runs in seven innings on the mound, striking out three with one walk and an impressive (as always) 14:5 GO:AO ratio. Shields' best-case scenario is a back-end starter or bullpen arm, but he's one that would likely fit in at Chase well, given his ground ball tendencies (if you believe that's a good thing for the current constitution of the D-backs, of course).
Related note: I'm planning on going to the Silver Hawks game tomorrow, and hope to have a first-hand report tomorrow night sometime.
Short-Season-A (10 innings): Yakima 7, Boise 6. (26-40) Left-hander John Pedrotty turned in another quality start, allowing two runs on nine hits in six innings with a 6:2 K:BB ratio, 4:0 GO:AO ratio, and allowing a home run. Kerry Jenkins had three hits, including a pair of doubles, while Tyler Bream, Carter Bell, and Garrett Weber each doubled once. Westley Moss also chipped in with a single, two walks, and stole his 12th base of the season.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 12, Orem 6. (38-23) After scoring just one run in support of Dexter Price on Monday, the Osprey bats came alive in support of starter Raymond Hernandez on Tuesday. Jeremia Gomez, Fidel Pena, and Eric Groff each clubbed home runs for Missoula, Groff added a triple, and Justin Bianco and Tom Belza each doubled. Ryan Court didn't have any extra-base hits, but reached base four times on two singles and a pair of walks. Of course, Hernandez was awesome as well, striking out nine in seven innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits - including a homer - four walks, and hitting a batter. What I imagine started as a PR-friendly 48th-round draft pick may have turned into one of the steals of the draft. Any type of big-league value from the younger Hernandez makes him one of the biggest draft steals ever.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 9, Cubs 8. (19-32) Perez has already made his presence felt in the AZL, hitting two homers in his first ten plate appearances in the D-backs' system. He's young and new to catching, but if he can become passable defensively and harness his impressive bat speed, he could be a force behind the plate. The odds are very slim with Perez, but it was a worthwhile upside gamble with a fifth-round pick, and he's already the best catching prospect in the D-backs' system. Jesus Abreu tripled, Pedro Ruiz added a double, and John Leonard had a four-hit game to help boost the offense. The pitching struggled as a whole, although Cody Geyer's scoreless ninth inning kept the game tied and gave the D-backs the chance to notch the walk-off win in the ninth, as they did.