Baseball is finally here again! While the big league club has yet to taste 2012 action, the farm system's schedule for 2012 is officially underway, with the four full-season affiliates taking action on Wednesday night. Being opening day, the top starters at each of the affiliates took the mound on Wednesday, which meant that some of Arizona's best arms took the mound on one night. As such, there were several impressive performances to choose from for the first Snakelet of the Day award this year. After eight months of waiting, though, I have some awards on reserve, so why not hand out four of them tonight?
Snakelets of the Day:
A.J. Pollock (Triple-A): 2-3, 2B, 2 BB, R, RBI
Trevor Bauer (Double-A): 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7:3 K:BB
David Nick (Double-A): 4-5, SB, R, RBI
Archie Bradley (Low-A): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 7:1 K:BB, 7:1 GO:AO
Triple-A: Reno 5, Colorado Springs 2. (1-0) Barry Enright got the start in a frigid game (there was a snow delay), working around 3 walks and five hits to allow just a pair of runs in 5.2 innings of work. The big story, however, was the performance of the top hitting prospect at the Triple-A level, center fielder A.J. Pollock. Beloved by the organization and pegged as a potential lead-off and center field solution for Arizona in the future, Pollock reached base four times in five plate appearances on two walks, a single, and a double. The night also saw scoreless Aces debuts from Jason Lane, in his first season as a full-time left-handed pitcher, Jonathan Albaladejo, and Jensen Lewis.
Double-A: Mobile 5, Mississippi 2. (1-0) Back at Mobile for his second stint with the BayBears, Trevor Bauer continues to succeed, with five shutout frames, whiffing seven, though walking three. Bauer was limited to 86 pitches, and while Bauer himself would probably tell you that he could have worked another fifty-three innings while not feeling a thing, it seems that the D-backs are taking a more cautious approach with their minor-league gem, and it wouldn't surprise me if they were hoping to limit him now so that they can ride his ride arm deep into games in the big leagues down the stretch.
Several of Arizona's top relief pitching prospects were also on display. Brett Lorin made his BayBears debut as well, allowing a solo home run to 2011 minor-league home run king Ian Gac, but retiring the other three batters he faced. Kevin Munson didn't allow any of the four batters he faced to make contact, walking one and striking out three. Matt Gorgen - remember him (acquired from Tampa Bay for Chad Qualls)? - worked a shutout inning, walking one, giving up a hit, and striking out two. Yonata Ortega had a rougher outing, giving up two hits and a walk in the ninth, but getting through with just one run allowed.
On the offensive end, second baseman David Nick had a four-hit game and a stolen base, right fielder Alfredo Marte homered and doubled, and third baseman Matt Davidson doubled and drew a pair of walks.
Hi-A: Visalia 1, Bakersfield 3. (0-1) Visalia out-hit the Blaze 8-4 in this one, including doubles from left fielder Bobby Borchering and first baseman Jonathan Griffin, yet only scratched across a single unearned run. Starting pitcher David Holmberg gave up a two-run home run to speed demon Billy Hamilton early, but settled down and gave up just that pair of runs over six innings. Holmberg struck out five with a pair of walks and four hits allowed before Bradin Hagens took over with a pair of no-hit innings (albeit giving up an unearned run) with three strikeouts.
Low-A: South Bend 0, Bowling Green 3. (0-1) Archie Bradley did not disappoint, either, despite playing against a very good Bowling Green squad supplemented by Tampa Bay's multitude of early draft picks in 2011. Bradley worked five stellar innings for the Silver Hawks in his full-season debut, allowing just four hits, a walk, and one run while striking out seven and walking one. On top of that, Bradley only notched one out through the air, getting seven ground ball outs. I imagine he won't be here much longer. Unfortunately, the offense didn't spot Bradley any runs, notching just five hits on the day - with few big-name prospects in the South Bend line-up, it seems like this could be a theme that continues from last year's Silver Hawks club.