The one thing that didn't come right away for Chris Owings at the beginning of his season for Reno was power. He hit two home runs in April and one home run in May. Since then he hit four home runs in June and after last night's three-homer explosion, has already hit four home runs in July giving him 11 on the season. Now I'm sure the first thought is that it's PCL-driven and either altitude or wind-aided. Well, that's not entirely the case last night as the game was played in Fresno which actually has a slightly negative PF-R (Park Factor for Runs) though it still does have an above average HR rate of 1.97 per game which is 6th in the PCL and would rank in the top 5 of every other minor league.
The pitcher might be more to blame as he hit all three homers off Mitch LIvely, a 28-year-old minor league journeyman who has been starting this year for the first time in his professional career. So granted, it wasn't C.C. Sabathia. Owings did have one final at bat in the 7th to try and make it four home runs and he singled sharply to center and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It probably isn't accurate to say Owings is going to develop into a power-hitting shortstop a al Cal Ripken, but he will hit homers and probably projects to be a double-digit homer guy in any case. The power is still developing as he hit 11 home runs in 2011, 17 home runs in 2012, and has 11 so far this year with about 40% of the season left. Just one more thing to like about Owings.
3 Stars: Chris Owings, Reno 4 for 4, 3 R, 3 HR (11), 5 RBI
2 Stars: Ryan Doran, AZL Dbacks 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 ER, W (3-0)
1 Star: Jacob Cordero, AZL Dbacks 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 DBL, 1 RBI
0 Stars: Eric Hinske, Reno 0 for 4, 2 K
Triple A: Reno @ Fresno 4. It was the Chris Owings show as he blasted 3 home runs and drove in 5 of the team's 7 runs. In the first Tony Campana walked and Owings homered to center. In the 3rd Campana walked and Owings homered to center again. In the 5th Campana grounded out and Owings homered to left. In the 7th he singled to center and was thrown out at second base. Garrett Mock started and was serviceable again allowing 4 runs in 5+ innings. The bullpen was terrific with Evan Marshall going 1.2 shutout innings, Kevin Munson pitched a perfect 8th with 2 strikeouts, and Chaz Coe got through the 9th for his 5th save. Brad Snyder had a good game going 2 for 4 with a double and his 5th home run. Tyler Bortnick also homered.
Double A: Mobile - Off Day
High A: Visalia 2 @ Stockton 7. Not much of a game in this one as Eddie McKiernan surrendered 5 runs in 5 innings, the bullpen allowed a couple more and the offense was pretty flat. David Peralta had a solid night going 3 for 4 with a solo home run in the 9th. Kevin Medrano added a pair of singles. Of side interest is Anthony Meo was sent down to Visalia after struggling in Mobile and spending a short stint on the disabled list. He has pitched in relief twice in the last week. I'm not sure if they're working on making the transition to a reliever, something many expect with him, or if they're just working him back gently following the DL time.
Low A: South Bend - Off Day
Short Season A: Hillsboro - Off Day
Rookie: Missoula 1 Ogden 5. Steve Hathaway started and tossed 3 shutout innings with 4 strikeouts. This year's 14th round pick out of Franklin Pierce University is clearly being handled somewhat gently from an innings perspective. Andrew Potter followed and got roughed up for 5 runs, his 4th consecutive poor outing to start the season. The offense did nothing after scoring a run in the 1st. Colin Bray went 2 for 4 with a triple.
AZL Rookie: Dbacks 5 Cubs 1. Undrafted rookie free agent Ryan Doran had yet another superb outing going 7 innings allowing one run on 3 hits and a walk with 9 Ks. In four starts he has 29 strikeouts and 2 walks in 26 innings. I'm pretty sure he'll be headed to Missoula or Hillsboro in short order. He's a 4-year college pitcher and he's going to need to be challenged more than this. Jacob Cordero had a good night at the plate going 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Cesar Carrasco went 2 for 4 with a double and is hitting .310.