The minor-league action on Monday was significantly less exciting that Arizona's series-clinching win in Miami. To begin with, there were two teams - Mobile and Visalia - with off-days, and those are the two full-season squads that are the most prospect-heavy of Arizona's affiliates in 2012. Things got worse when both active teams lost their contests - one in heart-breaking one-run fashion, and the other in an 11-run blowout. Still, even among the rubble, there were some solid performances on the day.
Snakelet of the Day:
Adam Eaton (Triple-A): 3-4, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB, K, CS
Matt Helm (Low-A): 3-5, 3 2B, R, K
Triple-A: Reno 7, Las Vegas 8. (10-15) Starting pitcher Tom Layne had a rough appearance for the Aces, surrendering seven runs in just four-plus innings of work to put Reno down big early... or so you would think. In fact, Las Vegas right-hander Tim Redding was every bit as mediocre, surrendering seven runs of his own in 4.1 innings of work, leaving this game at a 7-7 stand-still after just five innings. From there, the bullpens took over and both performed admirably. While Reno's relief crew was top-notch, surrendering just one earned run - allowed by Sam Demel - in five innings of work, the 51s' crew was one run better, with 4.2 scoreless innings of relief.
On the offensive end of things, Eaton's day was clearly the best, with his first home run at Triple-A in the fifth and two doubles adding up for his three-hit day, while also drawing a walk. Randy Ruiz added a triple to the Aces' cause, while Josh Bell doubled and singled. Since joining the Aces in a trade from Baltimore, Bell has now put together a .467/.500/.733 line in seven games that, while almost undoubtedly inflated by the PCL and SSS, does show that Bell at the very least can flash some physical upside.
Joe Paterson Watch: JoePa worked another scoreless inning, though he had to weave his way out of trouble in this one. Paterson gave up two hits and a walk before wiggling out his inning with the help of a pick-off.
Double-A: The BayBears had a travel day on Monday, and head back home for a Southern League-style five-game set - don't see those in the other leagues Arizona has affiliates in, but they're fairly common in the SL - against Mississippi.
Hi-A: Visalia also had a travel day, having capped off their sweep of San Jose on Sunday. The Rawhide head to Modesto for four games in three days, beginning with a double-header against the Nuts today, before going back to Visalia for a series against High Desert.
Low-A: South Bend 3, Quad Cities 14. (13-10) Left-hander John Pedrotty had a brutal outing, simply being unable to miss bats and having balls find holes in the defense. Pedrotty faced 21 hitters and struck out none of them, allowing 11 hits - including a pair of home runs - and nine runs in 3.1 innings. The bullpen didn't offer much help, as Willy Paredes allowed two more runs to score in his 2.1 innings of work and Seth Simmons gave up three runs in his lone inning on the mound.
The Silver Hawks did manage to collect 12 hits on the day, and six of them went for extra bases - all doubles - but somehow wound up with just three runs crossing the plate. Helm's day was by far the most impressive line of his season thus far, and it's particularly encouraging to see that the doubles came on a line drive and a pair of fly balls. Helm's lack of loft in his swing has been a serious issue for him in pro ball, and while I'd like more details on the precise trajectory of these airborne doubles, these are encouraging flashes of the strength and charge he put into a ball, so long as he gets it in the air. Also doubling were Bobby Stone, Gerson Montilla, and Josh Parr, while Marc Bourgois and Ender Inciarte had two-hit days for the Hawks.