Yes, I know, Cory Spangenberg isn't a D-backs prospect, but from my seat (second row behind home plate for $9.50 - yes, please), he was far-and-away the most exciting prospect on the field Wednesday night in South Bend. That's not to say that the Silver Hawks were unwatchable, but the most impressive player on the field for South Bend wasn't who you'd expect from the box score. Notes on what I saw from Spangenberg and the Silver Hawks at Covaleski Stadium and the usual box score surfing inside. However, none of the performances at the Cove could come close to matching this awesome performance at Hi-A Visalia:
Snakelet of the Day:
David Nick (Hi-A): 3-5, 3 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
Triple-A: Reno 5, Tucson 9. (72-59) An epic occurrence that needs to be pointed out: starter Barry Enright and Padres' stud prospect Anthony Rizzo had a fifteen-pitch plate appearance - that never saw a full count - in the first inning of this one, which included Rizzo fouling off 11 pitches before striking out swinging (though he reached first anyways on a wild pitch...). Baseball at its finest right there. Unfortunately, the rest of the outing didn't go so well for Enright, as the Captain allowed 11 hits and eight runs - all earned - in five innings despite a 6:2 K:BB ratio, but fell victim to three home runs. The Aces were led offensively by Andy Tracy and Cole Gillespie, with Tracy going 1-2 with a home run and two walks and Gillespie going 2-3 with a homer and one walk.
Double-A (11 innings): Mobile 1, Jackson 2. (77-51) Mobile's and Jackson's offenses each notched eleven hits in this game, yet so few runs crossed the plate. The BayBears even had way more thunder in their bats, with Jackson's only extra-base hit being an 11th-inning double, whereas Mobile received a triple and and two doubles from their offense. Adam Eaton led the offense by going 3-5 with a triple and a walk, while A.J. Pollock went 3-4 with a double - his 38th of the year - and a walk. Pollock also stole his 34th base of the season, although he also was picked off of first base by the Jackson catcher. Starting pitcher Charles Brewer was on the mound in his second outing with Mobile since returning from the DL, and he was brilliant in shutout innings on the mound despite a so-so 3:3 K:BB ratio.
Hi-A: Visalia 6, High Desert 13. (59-69) Starter Derek Eitel struggled in 3.1 innings on the bump, allowing nine runs (eight earned), but posted a 5:2 K:BB ratio, allowing a staggering 10 hits and three home runs while facing 21 batters. Yeah, the Cal League is a mess. The bullpen was hardly clean, allowing another four runs the rest of the way, and Nick was the only bat in the Rawhide lineup who had a particularly good day. Then again, Nick had a fantastic day at the plate, knocking three doubles, all off of opposing starter Chris Sorce. Sorce was solid in his 6.2 innings, posting a 7:1 K:BB ratio, but Nick had his number for whatever reason. What's particularly encouraging is that Sorce is a right-hander, who Nick has struggled against this year while obliterating southpaws.
Low-A: South Bend 3, Fort Wayne 5. (-) Right-hander Bradin Hagens was on the mound for the Silver Hawks to start the game on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, Hagens continued his inability to miss bats, striking out just two of the 25 batters he faced, though he can generate tons of ground-balls in the Midwest League, posting a 12:2 GO:AO ratio. First baseman Yazy Arbelo had a great game, going 2-2 with a homer, a double, and two walks, but continues to be a one-trick pony, as both hits came on fastballs around the belt. Both of the pitches he hit were on the outer half, but the home run was still pulled to right-center and the double was off the center field batter's eye. I was most impressed with catcher Raywilly Gomez, who roped a line drive single up the middle in the third inning, then destroyed a triple deep to center field to lead off the fifth inning.
As for the TinCaps, 2011 first-round draft pick Cory Spangenberg, selected tenth overall with the pick the Padres were rewarded for not signing 2010 first-rounder Karsten Whitson. Spangenberg walked, doubled deep to the left-center field gap, and stole his eighth base in 35 games for Fort Wayne. I had my cell phone timer at the ready for his home plate to first times, getting him at 3.7 seconds, 3.9 seconds (rounding first for his double), 4.1 seconds, and 4.0 seconds. The latter two were pretty routine ground-outs, so he may have not been at a full sprint. If he can harness his swing and approach to reach base consistently, he could be a terror on the basepaths. His numbers on the year for Fort Wayne aren't very good, but remember what A.J. Pollock did for South Bend in 2009? Padres fans have little reason to panic.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 10, Everett 6. (27-40) Yakima's bats collected 15 hits in this one, with doubles from Westley Moss, Justin Hilt, and Garrett Weber, while Danny Pulfer, Jimmy Comerota, Hilt, Tyler Bream, and Kerry Jenkins each reached base three times. The Bears piggybacked two promising young starters in this one, beginning with Blake Perry, who was just called up from the AZL club. Perry worked four innings, with a 6:3 K:BB ratio and allowing six hits and four runs, posting a 4:1 GO:AO ratio before giving way to right-hander Teo Gutierrez. Gutierrez worked the next five innings, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio and allowing just two runs on three hits.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 3, Orem 6. (38-24) Eric Groff and Tom Belza led the way for the Osprey offense, as the former went 2-4 with a triple and a stolen base, while the latter was 2-3 with a double and a walk. Starting pitcher Robby Rowland worked 6.1 innings for the Osprey, bouncing back from a rough first two innings in which he surrendered a total of five runs, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio but surrendering a pair of home runs.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 0, Angels 12. (19-33) The AZL D-backs lineup was held to just three hits all game by the Angels' pitching, all of which were singles. The Angels, on the other hand, collected fifteen hits off of the D-backs' arms, although they only scored in two innings: a five-run third and a seven-run sixth. The victim of the seven-run inning was reliever Austin Platt, who recorded just two outs and also fell victim to an error from Domingo Soriano - one of two errors in the game for him - as six of his runs were unearned. Starter Jason Postill was charged with the first five runs, working just 2.2 innings and posting a 2:1 K:BB ratio while allowing six hits.