Adam Eaton: Ending games in unconventional ways. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Prior to the 2011 season, ESPN's Keith Law ranked Chase Anderson as the tenth-best prospect in the Arizona farm system, as well as the organization's sleeper prospect. Anderson was touted by law as having "an unhittable changeup" despite his average fastball, and potential for a third average pitch in his curveball. Unfortunately, Anderson disappeared during the 2011 season, succumbing to an injury in his throwing elbow that limited him to just 13.1 innings at Hi-A Visalia before being shut down for the year.
Anderson is back on the bump and aggressively moved up to Double-A Mobile for this season - likely because he is already 24 years old and can't afford another three years of development in the minors - and the early signs have been phenomenal. After allowing one run over four innings in his first start of the year last Wednesday, Anderson turned in this brilliant performance last night, making him, once again, an interesting prospect to follow in Arizona's system.
Snakelet of the Day:
Chase Anderson (Double-A): 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 10:1 K:BB, 3:5 GO:AO
Triple-A (10 innings): Reno 14, Sacramento 13. (-) Welcome to the PCL, ladies and gentlemen. In a game that ended in an Adam Eaton hit-by-pitch, there was plenty of zany back-and-forth and a lot of offense. The Aces had a five-run lead after seven innings, only to surrender exactly five runs in the top of the eighth to tie things up. Reno couldn't respond in the bottom of the eighth, and Sacramento took the lead by putting two runs on the board in the top of the ninth. However, Reno responded with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra innings. Sacramento plated one in the top of the tenth, but Reno struck back in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases with one out. A misplayed infield grounder allowed one run to score with all runners safe, setting up Eaton's rather unusual way of ending things, ending the game on a plunking.
The craziest thing about this game might be the fact that Reno was up against one of Oakland's top pitching prospects, Brad Peacock, yet still managed such a pronounced offensive outburst. Infielder Jacob Elmore, of all people, managed the only Aces home run of the night, a solo shot in the fifth inning off of Peacock that was Elmore's first of the year - again, go figure. David Winfree and Adam Eaton each tripled, while Ryan Wheeler and Konrad Schmidt each doubled twice. Also chipping in doubles were newcomer Josh Bell, Evan Frey, and Winfree. Schmidt was a perfect four-for-four at the plate, and Winfree joined him with four hits. Elmore and Wheeler had three hits apiece, while Eaton - who walked and, of course, was hit by a pitch - Bell, and Frey - who also walked twice - had two hits apiece.
Double-A: Mobile 0, Jacksonville 7. (10-9) Anderson certainly was the highlight of this game for the BayBears, as the offense collected just three hits and four walks, and the bullpen had - to put things delicately - a rough day. Reliever Kevin Munson was the primary perpetrator on the evening, allowing seven runs, all earned, while notching just two outs, giving Joe Paterson a run for his money on the award for "Organization's Least Effective Relief Performance of the Night, April 23." Yonata Ortega came in and finished off the evening, allowing no earned runs but walking three while striking out nobody.
A final note on Anderson: much as I want to get excited about the possibility of adding another quality starting pitching prospect to the system, I would temper expectations at the moment. Anderson threw just 108.1 innings in 2010, then broke after just under a dozen innings in 2011, so we have no idea whether or not he'll be capable of ever handling 200 innings. If he can somehow be pushed to 150 innings this year without suffering an injury and putting up these kinds of numbers, then it'll be interesting to see if Arizona considers him for the rotation or dangles him as trade bait around the league. If he is unable to reach that sort of plateau without a setback, he could slide into a long relief/tourniquet type role, able to stop the bleeding either for multiple innings when needed.
Hi-A (10 innings): Visalia 5, Modesto 6. (7-11) Starter Andrew Chafin continued his bat-missing ways, striking out six in 5.1 innings of work, but still allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits, a walk, and a solo home run. Raymond Hernandez was good for 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, but Eric Smith allowed the Nuts to tie things up in the eighth with a run, then Bo Schultz allowed two runs in the top of the tenth inning to give Modesto the win. The offense was led by Chris Owings, who continues to destroy the ball as of late, knocking a pair of doubles and taking a walk (::insert Chris Owings walk meme::)
Low-A: South Bend 8, Wisconsin 1. (10-8) After not having a home run all year prior to Saturday's contest, the Silver Hawks offense is busy making up for lost time. Chris Ellison hit his first long ball of the year in the sixth inning, then Marc Bourgeois collected his second homer of the last three days in the seventh. Both, however, were solo shots, meaning that the majority of South Bend's offensive output came through their plethora of other extra-base hits, with Ellison adding a double to his day, Fidel Pena and Matt Helm doubling, and Tom Belza hitting a triple. The offensive outburst was more than enough for the Silver Hawks, as starter John Pedrotty had a strong outing, giving up just five hits and one walk across six scoreless frames while striking out five. Taylor Siemens and Kable Hogben finished off the final three innings, allowing one run to break up the shutout but locking things down otherwise.