While I know the headline is giving it away, but if you were asked who was leading the Dbacks minor leagues in home runs (outside of Kila Ka'aihue who is no longer in the system) how many would have said it was Visalia second baseman Gerson Montilla. The first question is who is Gerson Montilla and the second is is he a real prospect? I've been touting Montilla for a couple of years now while trying to assess exactly that, is he a real prospect. He's 23 years old, he's still in High A ball and he's been in the system for 6 years now, having joined the organization in 2008 at the age of 17 out of Venezuela. He missed large chunks of 2010 and 2011 to injuries which really stunted his growth. 2012 was his first full season healthy in almost 3 years and he had a breakout season advancing from South Bend to Visalia as he hit 14 home runs, drove in 73 and had an OPS of .799 (call it .800). Pretty good numbers for a second baseman. I was somewhat surprised he wasn't assigned to Mobile to start the year but the middle infield is getting pretty crowded in this organization. Montilla has hit 12 home runs in almost 300 at bats this season with an OPS of .830 and was a California League All Star. I might be leery of the power surge except his power has developed steadily and not all of a sudden like. He's legit and I think the organization is going to have to consider making some room for him in Mobile soon and give him his shot. I'm not sure he can make it but he doesn't strike out much which gives me the idea that he can make it. Second basemen who can hit 20-25 home runs and don't strike out a lot don't grow on trees.
3 Stars: Gerson Montilla, Visalia 2 for 5, 2 R, 2 HR (12), 2 RBI
2 Stars: Seth Simmons, Visalia 2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 ER (1.99 ERA)
1 Star: Ben Eckels, Hillsboro 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 ER
0 Stars: Brad Allen, South Bend 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 7 ER
Triple A: Reno - Off Day
Double A: Mobile 3 Jacksonville 6. Andrew Chafin started and wasn't great, but he wasn't terrible either. He got through 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Reliever Eric Smith continued to struggle allowing 2 runs while only getting one out in the 7th to make any comeback ideas more difficult. Garrett Webber hit a 2-run homer in the 4th to tie the game but that was the end of the offense. Mike Freeman went 3 for 4 and Nick Evans went 2 for 4.
High A: Visalia 6 @ Stockton 2. Conrad Flynn fought his way through 5 innings allowing a pair of solo home runs and got the win. Diogenes Rosaio, Seth Simmons and newly-promoted RJ Hively followed with 4 perfect innings of relief with 7 strikeouts to sew up the victory. Gerson Montilla hit 2 solo home runs to bring his season total to 12. Jon Griffin went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI and Steven Rodriguez hit a 2-run homer in the 4th.
Low A: South Bend 2 Bowling Green 12.This one was over before it started as starter Brad Allen and first reliever J.R. Bradley combined to allow 11 runs in the first inning. Fidel Pena, Breland Almadova, Socrates Brito and Rudy Flores each had 2 hit games.
Short Season A: Game One - Hillsboro 3 @ Boise 4. The Hops appeared to have this one in hand as Ben Eckels pitched the team to a 3-2 lead entering the 7th. But Yoimer Camacho couldn't seal the deal allowing 2 runs on 2 hits and a hit batter in the bottom of the 7th for the walk-off loss. Eckels went 5+ innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks. All the offense came in the first inning on 4 singles and an error. They only got one more hit the rest of the way.
Short Season A: Game Two - Hillsboro 3 @ Boise 2. This was a repeat of Game One except the team turned to Will Locante to close the game and he was perfect. karl Triana started and went 4 innings allowing both runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. Daniel Gibson had 2 solid relief innings allowing 2 hits and striking out 4. This time all 3 runs came in the 4th on 2 singles, a walk and 3 errors. The Hops only managed 4 hits for the game.
Rookie: Missoula 4 @ Great Falls 5. 19-year-old Felipe Perez started and wasn't bad but he needed to be sharper to win this game. He pitched into the 7th allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits and a walk. Wagner Mateo hit a 2-run homer in the 9th to cut the lead to one, but that was the end of the rally. Chuck Taylor went 2 for 3 with a walk.
AZL Rookie: Dbacks 5 Giants 8. Anfernee Benitez got roughed up for the second game in a row and first reliever Justin Van Grouw wasn't much better as they dug the team a 5-run deficit. The offense only produced 5 hits with Matt McPhearson going 1 for 2 with a walk and his 4th stolen base in 4 games.