I've been following Daniel Watts since he got drafted in the 32nd round last year to little fanfare. And this guy is turning into a professional pitcher. There's no one stat on Watts that jumps out at you and screams prospect. He's one of those guys that does nothing great but everything well. He doesn't strike out a lot of hitters, but he doesn't walk a lot either. He doesn't have gaudy H/9 numbers, but he always keeps the ball in the yard. He doesn't have a 95 MPH fastball but he goes deep in every game. He's 23 and pitching in the Midwest League, so nobody's getting excited. But he was the reliable ace for a strong Yakima staff last year and he's become the reliable ace for South Bend this year. I don't expect him to be there much longer though as I sense the California League beckons. And of course we'll see how he does when he starts facing more advanced hitters there, and maybe next year in Mobile. There's just something about this guy that tells me he doesn't know what his ceiling is yet. I do like his great splits against lefties so there's always a chance down the road he could be a reliever who is tough on lefties. But for now he'll be just fine doing what he's doing. He kind of reminds me of David Holmberg, only older, but not a lot older.
Around the leagues, everyone won starting with a blowout win by Reno featuring a great start by Chase Anderson. Mobile won a 4-3 squeaker behind David Holmberg and some late offense. Visalia had the night off, and South Bend cruised to a 6-1 victory on the back of consistent starter Daniel Watts.
3 Stars: Chase Anderson, Reno 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 ER, W (3-4)
2 Stars: Breland Almadova, South Bend 3 for 4, 3 R, 1 DBL, 1 TPL, 1 RBI
1 Star: Daniel Watts, South Bend 7 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 ER, W (6-0)
0 Stars: Barrett Loux 3.1 IP, 9H, 3 BB, 2 K, 7 ER, L (2-2)*
* Oh wait, we traded him for Archie Bradley. In the infamous words of Graham Greene, "Good trade."
Triple A: Reno 11 Iowa 1.Chase Anderson put together his best start of the season with 7 terrific innings and the offense broke out in a big way with 11 runs on 19 hits. That's two straight good starts for Anderson and it goes to show it is possible to pitch well in Reno. Don't walk guys, keep the ball down and you can have success. Everyone got in on the offense especially Tyler Kuhn and Tuffy Gosewisch who each had 4 hits. It was tough to keep Kuhn off the stars list. Tony Campana had 3 hits and stole his 11th base. Matt Davidson had 2 hits including a double and 3 RBI. Alfredo Marte had 2 doubles and an RBI. and Juan Rivera had 2 singles and 2 RBI.
Double A: Mobile 4 Jacksonville 3. David Holmberg had a few difficulties in the 1st inning when he walked the leadoff man followed by a double, a single and a sacrifice fly. But then he put up nothing but goose eggs until surrendering a solo homer in the top of the 8th with 2 outs that broke a 2-2 tie. Holmberg got through 8 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. The offense picked him though up by scoring a single run in the 8th on an RBI single by Jon Griffin. In the bottom of the 9th Rossmel Perez singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Nick Ahmed followed with a bunt pop-up and Perez was caught off second for a double play. But then Nick Evans followed with a walk-off homer to clean up everybody's mess. Griffin had 2 hits and 2 RBI to lead the offense.
High A: Visalia - off day
Low A: South Bend 6 @ Great Lakes 1. Daniel Watts was superb once again going 7 strong innings allowing just 1 run on 9 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. He's only performed poorly in one start all year and is bucking for a promotion with a 2.80 ERA over 8 starts. Breland Almadova had the big stick on offense going 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored, a double, a triple and an RBI. Fidel Pena went 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI. And Brandon Drury went 2 for 5 with a double and 1 RBI.