After a rough day on the farm on Saturday, the organization had a much-improved day on Sunday, posting a
5-1 record across all five levels, including a two-game doubleheader sweep at Hi-A Visalia 4-2 record, with Visalia splitting their double-header and showing Dan that he needs to edit his round-ups a bit more carefully. Outside of a sluggish offensive output at Triple-A Reno, the bats came alive throughout the organization on Sunday, with double-digit run outputs at both Double-A Mobile and Low-A South Bend. Leading the way once again was the 21-year-old (!!!) slugging third baseman at Double-A Mobile, who is looking more and more like a big-league option for 2013.
Snakelet of the Day:
Matt Davidson (Double-A): 2-2, 2B, R, 2 RBI, 3 BB
No picture today - instead, we have video! It's certainly not the best camera work I've seen, but I managed to film most of J.R. Bradley's pre-start bullpen session, working around the various fans who were trying to get to their seats or get their kids close to Swoop, the Silver Hawks'... interesting... mascot. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone by putting this up, so hopefully it remains kosher.
J.R. Bradley Bullpen 041512.MP4 (via DStritt2012)
Triple-A: Reno 1, Sacramento 3. (4-7) Right-hander Barry Enright was a tough-luck loser in this, with a strong start of seven innings and two runs allowed, striking out five and walking one. Unfortunately, Sacramento starter Travis Banwart allowed just one run in five innings, and the Sacramento bullpen threw four shutout innings of relief. First baseman Randy Ruiz had two hits, including a double, and drew a walk to lead the Aces offense. Tomorrow's game features Sacramento right-hander Jarrod Parker taking the hill against his former organization, which will be interesting to follow. For those wondering, Parker has struck out 10, allowed 15 hits, and walked two in 12 innings of work to start off the year, allowing four earned runs for the River Cats.
Double-A: Mobile 11, Montgomery 3. (8-3) Perhaps it's a good thing that Trevor Bauer's Weekly Whiffs Episode 1 was taken down, because Episode 2 may have been a bit of a dud. Bauer struck out just two batters in five innings of work for Mobile, allowing four hits and walking five. Nonetheless, Bauer managed to escape his outing with just one earned run allowed, his first earned run surrendered on the year. The BayBears bats took care of the rest, with several impressive performances in the lineup. Adam Eaton doubled, walked, was hit by a pitch, and stole a base; Rossmel Perez had a four-hit game; Alfredo Marte hit a three-run home run; and Matt Davidson singled, doubled, and drew three walks. Unfortunately, second baseman David Nick - who has gotten off to a torrid start to the season and has impressed the organization - left the game after going 1-1 with a double, apparently suffering some sort of injury on an unassisted play at second base. Here's hoping Nick is okay, as his stock appears to be on the rise.
Hi-A (game one, seven innings): Visalia 3, Rancho Cucamonga 4. Taking the mound for the first half of a doubleheader against Rancho Cucamonga was right-hander Michael Bolsinger. Bolsinger struck out seven Quakes batters but had a tough time outside of that, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks. Despite solid days from Chris Owings (2-3, HR, BB, 2 R, RBI, K) and Jonathan Griffin (2-4, 2B, R, K) at the plate, the Rawhide bats came up just short of covering for Bolsinger's outing, ultimately falling by a run. Raywilly Gomez also knocked a double for the Rawhide.
Hi-A (game two): Visalia 2, Rancho Cucamonga 0. (6-4) Visalia capped off the sweep of the double-header, sending Raymond Hernandez to the mound against Rancho Cucamonga's Zach Lee - a top right-handed pitching prospect in the Dodgers organization. Hernandez out-dueled Lee over five innings, with Hernandez allowing zero runs on three hits and no walks with four strikeouts to Lee's two runs on four hits - including a homer - a walk, and seven strikeouts. I'll try to see if I can't finagle my way into a report on Hernandez - his numbers certainly look legit, and it'd be cool if he could join his brother in the big-league bullpen at some point down the line. The home run was a solo shot courtesy of Yazy Arbelo, while Michael Freeman's double drove in Visalia's other run in the contest.
Low-A: South Bend 10, Dayton 1. (5-5) It warmed up considerably in South Bend before this game, with right-hander J.R. Bradley taking the hill for South Bend (though battling a gruesome sickness of some sort since his last outing when he was pitching in the snow). J.R. worked mostly with four pitches, a sinker in the 87-90 mph range, a cutter around 85-86 mph, a changeup around 80-81 mph, and a curveball in the 77-78 mph range (he mixed in a slider or two as well, but I didn't catch a good glimpse of it). The cutter is a new addition this year, and looks like it'll be a good pitch for him going forward.
The velocity was admittedly a bit of a dip from the 90-91 he sat at - or so I was told - near the end of last year, but the pitch had plenty of sink and run on it and he was much better at spotting it in the zone than he was a year ago. Still 19 years old, J.R. has room in his shoulders to add some weight and potentially some additional velocity, and there's still a chance for a mid-rotation starter here, particularly if he picks up that extra mph or two he had at the end of last year on top of any velo he'll get as he fills out.
J.R. had some issues with control, walking a pair and hitting a batter, but when he was in the zone he was mostly effective in keeping the ball down, inducing 13 ground-ball outs that were, for the most part, weak contact. Bradley also struck out one batter while allowing just one run in six innings of work.
On the offensive side of the ball, the game was dominated by the top two hitters in the Silver Hawks lineup, Chris Ellison and Tom Belza, who combined to go 8-9 with two doubles (one apiece) and seven runs batted in. First baseman Bobby Stone also contributed a double - the ball goes a long way when it hits his bat, but he has some contact issues to sort out and is in his third attempt at passing the Low-A test. The game also featured a pair of hard-throwing relievers, with Willy Paredes throwing around 94 mph again, and Dayton reliever Carlos Contreras hitting up to 95 mph on the Dayton charters' radar gun.