Without a doubt, it's been a rough season for the Yakima Bears. Tonight's loss dropped them to a .333 winning percentage and 16 games below .500, and the roster is almost entirely devoid of legitimate prospects. Heck, the current Bears player who rated highest on pre-season organization top prospects lists - shortstop Raul Navarro - is only with Yakima because he utterly flopped at South Bend, and his demotion hasn't done him much good. With rumors that the team is looking to relocate, it's hard to blame the organization for keeping its best talents away. However, there's a new prospect Sheriff in town for the Yakima Bears, and he's been kicking butt and taking ground balls since arriving at the end of July. It was just his second start for the Bears, but the D-backs could have something worthwhile here:
Snakelet of the Day:
Yiomar Camacho (Short-Season-A): 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3:2 K:BB, 12:3 GO:AO
Triple-A: Reno 6, Memphis 4. (65-48) This game got off to a bad start, as the Redbirds tacked on three runs in the top of the first inning off of Aces starter Zach Kroenke. After adding another run in the third inning, however, the Memphis offense was completely shut down the rest of the way. Give Kroenke credit, he turned four runs allowed through three innings into an acceptable seven innings, four runs, 6:2 K:BB, while also chipping in a double at the plate. Given the league, that isn't too bad, and it allowed the Reno offense the opportunity to come back and claim the victory Andy Tracy led the offense with a triple and a two-run home run, while Juan Miranda added a double and a solo blast of his own. Mark Hallberg also tripled for the Aces, once again going on a second-half surge at Triple-A (he did the same in 2010). After posting a .549 OPS in May and a .653 OPS in June, Hallberg has put up an .890 total in July and .893 mark so far in August. Sure, those numbers are still really bad in the PCL, but with with Hallberg's sure-handed ways in the infield, you have to wonder whether or not he would at least be better than Cody Ransom or Tony Abreu until we can find a useful piece on waivers or are graced with the return of Geoff Blum (totally not sarcasm there, too).
Double-A: Mobile 2, Montgomery 6. (66-44) It was a day of wildness for right-handed stud Jarrod Parker, who walked five and hit two batters in just five innings on the mound. Parker struck out four and had a 5:3 GO:AO ratio, but those weren't good enough to overcome the control issues, as Jarrod surrendered six runs before exiting the game. It was really just a weird day all-around for Parker. Parker started off the day by giving up four runs in the first inning on a hit-by-pitch, two walks, a single, and a double, but also striking out two in that inning. Parker then proceeded to neither walk anybody or strike anybody out in either the second or third innings, but allowed a run in each thanks to a single and three doubles.
Parker continued with a scoreless fourth, though it was perhaps his strangest inning as only one hitter among the six that came to the plate managed to put a ball in play. After getting the first batter to ground out to begin the fourth, JP walked three to load the bases and K'd two to strand them all. The fifth inning was perhaps the least stressful of all of his innings, as Parker hit one batter but retired the other three batters he faced that inning. Bottom line: one start is not worthy of a freak-out, particularly since a) all four of Parker's strikeouts were swinging, b) he's been exceptional as of late, and c) he was actually supposed to pitch yesterday, and the postponed game may have thrown off his post-surgery routine. A little road-bump here or there is just fine, that's what the minors are for. The offense didn't do much, as Jacob Elmore's double was the only extra-base hit recorded by the BayBears on the night.
Hi-A: Visalia 2, Stockton 8. (48-63) Shortstop Brent Greer had a four-hit game, but the Rawhide failed to tally even a single extra-base hit, and starting pitcher Diogenes Rosario had a poor showing. Rosario lasted just 3.1 innings, posting an unsettling 3:3 K:BB ratio, allowing eight hits, including a pair of homers, and coughing up seven earned runs before giving way to the bullpen. Kevin Munson worked an extended relief stint of 2.2 innings, which was interesting to see - he's considered a good relief prospect and guys like that are typically used for late-game scenarios and single-inning outings rather than long relief appearances. On the other hand, organizations do put future relievers in starting rotations in the minors to get them innings to work on their secondary offerings, so perhaps that's at play here. Slumping stud prospect Matt Davidson had the day off to give him a mental break - he's hit just .171/.341/.257 over his last ten games, showing nice patience (eight walks) but just 6-35 with 12 strikeouts and one extra-base hit, a homer. Remember with Davidson (and Bobby Borchering & Chris Owings): He's 20 years old and the average age of a Cal League hitter is 22.5 years old.
Low-A: South Bend 6, Lansing 4. (52-57) The Silver Hawks had a huge sixth inning, knocking in five runs - as many as they get in some entire series this year - with the help of home runs from Gerson Montilla and David Narodowski. Montilla's become a bit of an interesting prospect, as his power is rarely found in middle infield prospects - Montilla has a .200 ISO in the power-suppressing Midwest League as a 21-year-old. However, his on-base skills are quite poor, as the 23:8 K:BB ratio he's sporting in 145 at-bats indicates. I think he's a better hitter for average than his current .241 average would suggest, as his .263 BABIP is on the low side - particularly with how unreliable most minor-league defenses are - but he looks to be awfully BABIP-reliant going forward.
Leading the offense was Narodowski, who fell a triple short of the cycle, while Matt Helm singled twice and walked twice to reach base four times. On the mound to start the game was Michael Bolsinger, whose last outing saw him carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Bolsinger has no such luck in this game, giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings with a 3:1 K:BB ratio and a pair of home runs allowed. The bullpen tandem of Kable Hogben and Blake Cooper held up, though, striking out five and allowing just a single hit in three dominant innings of relief to seal the victory.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 2, Everett 6. (16-32) Yakima starting pitcher Yiomar Camacho thoroughly ROFLstomped the Aquasox throughout his seven innings on the mound, scattering seven hits and two walks while surrendering just a single run. Camacho did strike out just three batters in his outing, but helped himself out by recording 12 ground-ball outs, compared to just three fly-ball outs. It was when Camacho left the game that things got ugly, as Drew Zizinia wasted no time in blowing the 2-1 lead Camacho had handed over to him by allowing four Everett runs to cross the plate in the eighth. The Bears received no extra-base hits on offense, but did receive multi-hit games from Raul Navarro (two hits), Henry Zabala (three hits), and Tyson Van Winkle (two hits).
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 4, Billings 0. (28-16) Missoula received three strong pitching performances to shut out the Mustangs, beginning with starter Dexter Price. Price worked the first five innings of this game and dominated, scattering three hits and a walk while racking up six K's and leaving the game with a 4-0 lead. Taylor Siemens then came on for three innings of work, posting a 4:2 K:BB ratio and allowing just a single hit while recording a 3:0 GO:AO ratio and picking a runner off of first base. Keith Hessler came on in the ninth and shut things down by striking out the side. Missoula's offense also didn't manage a single extra-base knock in this one, although it received two-hit games from Fidel Pena and Eric Groff, with Pena also adding a walk and Groff extending his hitting streak. Jon Griffin also singled and walked.
Low-Rookie: The AZL D-backs were off on Friday.