Anybody who knows Double-A Mobile's rotation knew it wouldn't be long, but the BayBears clinched the Southern League regular-season title yesterday, and will be in the playoffs. Should be interesting to see how many innings the org lets some of these starters pitch in the postseason - Trevor Bauer undoubtedly won't be around, but are they really going to keep using Tyler Skaggs when he's already almost 50 innings past his 2010 workload? I imagine they shut down Skaggs for the postseason despite his complaints (Skaggs' future >>> Double-A Championship), and go with a rotation of Jarrod Parker, Charles Brewer, Patrick Corbin, and a selection of filler starters.
One relatively unheard-from candidate could be Chase Anderson, who recently began throwing to live hitters. As good as Anderson was a year ago - and while posting a 20:1 K:BB ratio with Visalia to start the year - I think he could handle Double-A well enough, and needs to build up innings somewhere. I would also think of suggesting David Holmberg because a) he's pretty good, and b) it would be nice experience, since the team likely expects him to be in Double-A at some point next year. However, he's surpassed his 2010 innings output by a wide margin, so I don't see him being pushed to a new level as he may be tiring. Regardless of the rotation, it certainly will be very exciting to watch and follow the BayBears through the playoffs.
Snakelet of the Day:
Garrett Weber (Short-Season-A): 4-6, 2 2B, HR, R, 4 RBI, K
Triple-A: Reno 5, Tucson 6. (73-61) The Aces offense tried to rally in the top of the ninth, but weren't quite able to overcome the outing of starter Zach Kroenke. Kroenke worked just five innings, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio but allowing 11 hits and six runs before departing. The relief duo of Brian Stokes and Kam Mickolio kept the Padres off the board for three innings, but the damage had been done. The Reno offense was led by Andy Tracy, who went 2-3 with a double and a pair of walks. Evan Frey and Mark Hallberg each chipped in a double, while Angel Berroa had three hits and a pair of stolen bases.
Double-A: Mobile 5, Chattanooga 4. (79-51) Well, the front page of the BayBears website shows a locker room champagne shower post-game... geez, that must have been awkward for 20-year-olds Skaggs and Bauer... First baseman Daryle Ward led the BayBears offense with a 4-hit day, hitting two doubles and stealing a base - not bad for a 36-year-old. Ed Easley and Marc Krauss each also doubled, while Ollie Linton singled and stole a pair of bases. Starter Patrick Corbin had another solid outing, posting a 5:3 K:BB ratio in six innings while giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, while racking up a 12:2 GO:AO ratio.
Corbin's 139 strikeouts (in 25 starts) now leads all of the Southern League, although that of course is because the Rays were kind enough to promote Matt Moore and his 131 strikeouts in 18 starts to Triple-A. Nonetheless, that's a mighty impressive feat from Corbin, whose K/GS figure of 5.56 is better than those posted by the likes of Randall Delgado, Chris Archer, and Nathan Eovaldi, prospects who are getting significantly more hype than Corbin. Hopefully that provides a frame of reference for how good Corbin is, before people go overlooking the lanky left-hander as a big-league rotation contender for Opening Day 2012.
Hi-A: Visalia 3, Modesto 2. (60-70) Organizational spot-starter-extraordinaire Brad Wilson - who has now pitched for Yakima, South Bend, Visalia, Mobile, and Reno over the last two years - turned in a nice outing for the Rawhide, allowing just two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings on the mound, posting an 8:4 K:BB ratio, 5:1 GO:AO ratio, and allowing a home run. The bullpen followed in a phenomenal fashion, as Blake Cooper, Adam Worthington, and Evan Marshall combined to throw 3.1 scoreless innings of relief. Marshall is already looking like a fourth-round steal for the D-backs, as the one-inning, one-strikeout outing brought his ERA down to 1.17 in 15.1 innings in the Cal League with a 16:5 K:BB ratio, and his season line - split between Visalia and Yakima - is now 27.1 IP, 0.99 ERA, 29:7 K:BB. Outside of Bryan Shaw and Ryan Cook, I don't think there's a better relief prospect in the system.
Two swings of the bat from a dynamic middle-infield duo accounted for all the offense the Rawhide needed on Friday night. First, Chris Owings hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to give Vislalia an early lead. After the Nuts fought back off of Wilson to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth, second baseman David NIck responded in the bottom half of the inning by hitting a two-out, two-run shot, his 12th of the year, to put the Rawhide back on top. Nick finished the day with yet another stellar game, adding two singles to finish his night of abusing opposing left-hander Edwar Cabrera.
Low-A: South Bend 8, Fort Wayne 7. (62-67) I'll be doing a more detailed write-up/FanPost of this game later on, but I'll summarize it briefly here: the pitching was unlucky to give up so many unearned runs but lucky to give up so few earned runs, and the offense made it not matter. Tyler Green walked one and struck out nobody in five innings on the mound, and it really seems like he's exhausted. However, he was able to record an 8:1 GO:AO ratio, and did flash some very impressive pitches. Lefty Patrick Schuster's four unearned runs were really not his fault, as a routine grounder to third with two outs was botched and two runs scored on that play. Schuster did strike out three in three innings, showing some good ability to miss bats and an impressive breaking ball.
The bats exploded, led by a home run and a walk from Gerson Montilla and a three-hit day that fell a home run short of the cycle by David Narodowski. Niko Gallego "tripled" on what was really a horribly-botched defensive play in right field, Marc Bourgois really tripled, and Matt Helm and Roberto Ortiz each added doubles. I'll break down the more noteworthy names in the lineup more in-depth in my write-up later. Oh, and Cory Spangenberg was good again... (sorry.)
Short-Season-A: Yakima 9, Everett 3. (29-40) Since signing with the D-backs as a 22nd-round pick from the 2011 draft, Garrett Weber has been one of the most consistent bats in the Yakima lineup, appearing in the most games for the Bears and being one of just six Yakima hitters with an OPS currently over .700. He had a game to remember on Friday, falling 90 feet short of the cycle by crushing a home run, a pair of doubles, and a single. Carter Bell added a home run for Yakima, Justin Hilt and Henry Zabala each doubled, and Jimmy Comerota had a four-hit day. That would be more than enough for starter Adam Kudryk and reliever Greg Robinson. Kudryk wasn't particularly good, giving up three runs in five innings with a 3:4 K:BB ratio, but Robinson worked four shutout innings of relief with a 3:1 K:BB ratio to lock down the victory.
Hi-Rookie: Missoula 13, Ogden 7. (39-25) It's Oprah time:
Aaaand you get a home run! Aaaand you get a home run!! Aaaaaaand YOU get a home run!!!!!!
That's a pretty good summary of what happened in this game, as over a third of Missoula's 14 hits went over the outfield walls. Jonathan Griffin hit two of them, giving him 16 on the year and bringing him within two of the Osprey record set by some guy named Paul Goldschmidt. Also homering were Stephen Cardullo, Jeremia Gomez, and Eric Groff, with Groff and Chris Ellison each adding doubles. Missoula also walked 11 times, including a four-walk game from Ryan Court. As for the pitching, Taylor Siemens had a rough start, giving up six runs in 4.1 innings despite a 5:1 K:BB ratio and 5:1 GO:AO ratio. Siemens was followed by piggyback starter Jesse Darrah, who was superb. Darrah worked the remaining 4.2 innings, giving up just one hit, a walk, and an unearned run while striking out seven of the 17 batters he faced.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 2, Giants 13. (19-34) Starter Bryan Escanio got shelled, allowing six runs in 4.1 innings of work, posting a 4:4 K:BB ratio and allowing seven hits, including a home run. Those six runs alone would have been enough to hold off a stagnant D-backs lineup, as Michael Perez's double was the only extra-base hit notched by the AZL Snakes. Socrates Brito and Domingo Soriano each had two-hit games, while Pedro Ruiz and Wagner Mateo each had a hit and a walk. Fun note: the D-backs were facing a rehabbing Sergio Romo in the first inning, who struck out the side, but not before Brito lined a single into right field off of him (then stole second base). Awfully impressive of Brito to be able to hit someone as good as Romo.