Four games took the field on Wednesday in the minor-league system, although just three affiliates finished their contests. Nonetheless, the results were plenty gruesome with just three teams playing, as the Triple-A, Hi-A, and Low-A clubs were beaten by a combined score of 31-8. Just about every aspect of each affiliate struggled: hitting, starting pitching, relief pitching, and even defense (five errors over the three games). The bright spots were few and far-between, although I was fortunate enough to see a solid starting pitching performance at South Bend:
Snakelet of the Day:
J.R. Bradley (Low-A): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2:1 K:BB, 6:5 GO:FO, HR
Triple-A: Reno 4, Las Vegas 12. (11-16) Back at Reno from his brief stint in the big leagues, right-hander Joe Martinez perhaps showed some signs of rustiness from a relative lack of use at the major-league level. Martinez worked just five innings for the Aces, allowing four hits, a homer, four walks, and three runs (two earned) while striking out only a pair. Things got worse from there, with Jason Lane being charged with four runs (three earned, and two inherited runners that Victor Capellan allowed to score) in 1.1 innings of relief and Mike DeMark allowing five runs in just two innings on the hill. A few of the bats clawed back, with Josh Bell doubling and drawing two walks, Konrad Schmidt singling and doubling, and Adam Eaton doubling and walking. Still, Reno mustered just seven hits overall, and couldn't come close to matching the 51s' offensive output.
Double-A: The BayBears game against Mississippi was suspended in the bottom of the second with one out and two men on for Mobile, who were already ahead 1-0. Lefty Tyler Skaggs was on the mound, which makes the suspension all the more unfortunate in that his turn through the rotation was effectively wasted. They'll try to finish this one off tomorrow before playing another contest against the Double-A Braves.
Hi-A: Visalia 1, Modesto 10. (11-16) Some good news for Rockies fans - this being the SnakePit, that basically means you, April - lefty Jorge De La Rosa made his first appearance in a game since his UCL popped a year ago, and the numbers suggest that he hasn't missed a beat in his return. JDLR threw three scoreless frames while striking out four, giving up only two hits and a walk, before giving way to the Modesto staff. Starting for Visalia was right-hander Raymond Hernandez (despite yesterday being five days' rest for David Holmberg), who struggled for the first time this year. David's little brother allowed six runs in 3.2 innings on the hill, striking out two and walking one but surrendering eight hits. With four singles and five walks accounting for the entire offensive output of the Rawhide lineup, this one got out of hand in a hurry.
Low-A: South Bend 3, Bowling Green 9. (15-11) Bradley, the right-hander and 2010 second-round pick, was solid again for the Silver Hawks, having now worked 20 innings with five earned runs allowed since his snow-filled (literally, it was snowing) outing to begin the season back on April 10. Bradley's K:BB peripherals haven't been eye-popping -and they weren't again on Wednesday - but he has shown much better command of his sinker (that dipped a little deeper into the 90s in this outing after being mostly 87-90 prior to tonight) and a proclivity at generating easy ground ball contact and quick innings. J.R. was in the air a bit more often than usual, notching five outs in the air, but remained effective and put himself in line for a win, leaving the game up 2-1 after five innings.
Unfortunately, Bradley's piggy-back partner Tyler Green didn't have such an easy go of it. Green worked the final four innings (perhaps in part to save a taxed bullpen) for South Bend, but ran into trouble because of defensive miscues behind him, an inability to miss bats, and several hard-hit balls he allowed. By the end of his outing, Green seemed so frustrated with his fastball - and how hard the Hot Rods were hitting it - that he started to pitch backwards off of his curve and perhaps overthrow the heater, getting it up to 92 but not getting it by anyone. Final line for Green: 4 IP, 6 H, 8 R (5 ER), 2 BB, HR, 7:6 GO:FO.
On the offensive side, the team received two-hit days from Gerson Montilla, Matt Helm, and Bobby Stone, with Ender Inciarte, Montilla, and Marc Bourgeois adding doubles, and Josh Parr crushing a triple to the left-center field gap. Helm looked pretty impressive, generating some serious loft on the ball, the first time this year he's done that when I've been in attendance. Helm has the build to put a charge into the ball, but has struggled with repeatedly drilling the ball into the ground, preventing any of his strength from shining through. Hopefully, Helm can start getting the ball in the air and making something of his build, and of the six-figure bonus Arizona invested in him.
The organization also announced their Minor-League Player and Pitcher of the Month. On the hitting side, it was Triple-A Reno first baseman Randy Ruiz, and on the pitching side, Double-A Mobile right-hander Trevor Bauer. Congrats to both Randy and Trevor! Here are the nominees for the award from each affiliate:
Triple-A Reno: 1B Randy Ruiz, RHP Barry Enright
Double-A Mobile: OF Alfredo Marte, RHP Trevor Bauer
Hi-A Visalia: 1B Jonathan Griffin, LHP Andrew Chafin
Low-A South Bend: OF Tom Belza, RHP Archie Bradley
Extended Spring Training: OF Socrates Brito, RHP Blake Perry