2010 5th round pick Cody Wheeler is starting to make some headway in his development as a legitimate pitching prospect. The left-hander has been on a long recovery road from Tommy John surgery back in August of 2010. He's not all the way there yet by any means with a 5.60 ERA for Visalia and walk totals that are still on the scary side. What I do like are some of his other peripherals, particularly his H/9 and K/9 numbers, which I've always thought were the most telling numbers for a young pitcher. He has a H/9 of a hair over 9.0 and a K/9 of 10.7, and in his last three starts covering 16.1 innings has allowed just 8 hits and struck out 23. The downside is he's allowed a home run in each of those games. There was a time back in college when it was thought Wheeler was headed toward being a fairly high draft pick, but a velocity drop late in college caused him to slip to the 5th round. It's possible his injury was already in place as he went under the knife after just three innings pitched for Yakima in 2010. The Dbacks have been patient and maybe there are some dividends to be paid off soon if he gets his walks under control and maintain his other numbers. He's still just 23 so he hasn't aged out of his prospect status yet and he needs another step forward in the not-too-distant future. The second half of this year and 2014 will ultimately determine whether he can go all the way or if he finds his ceiling somewhere below the top.
3 Stars: Brandon Drury, South Bend 4 for 5, 1 DBL, 3 RBI
2 Stars: Brad Allen, South Bend 7.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 ER, W (4-4)
1 Star: Hillsboro Bullpen 10 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 11 K, 0 ER, W
0 Stars: Brad Snyder, Reno 0 for 5, 2 K
Triple A: Reno 6 @ Colorado Springs 7. Starter Nate Adcock dug the team a 6-2 hole allowing 6 runs in the first 4 innings. But the offense battled back to tie it at 6-6 with 2 runs in the 5th and 2 more in the 8th on an Alfredo Marte 2-run double. But Colorado got the walkoff win off of Eury De La Rosa in the 9th on 2 walks and 2 singles. Juan Rivera was perfect going 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored and an RBI. Chris Owings went 3 for 5 and Alfredo Marte went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI.
Double A: Mobile - Rained Out
High A: Visalia 7 @ Stockton 4. Cody Wheeler was sharp allowing just 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk over 6 innings with 8 strikeouts. Unfortunately one of those hits was a 2-run homer. But he still got the win as the offense cranked out 14 hits led by Kevin Medrano and Gerson Montilla with 3 each. Medrano also stole 2 bases. Jon Griffin added a pair of doubles and an RBI.
Low A: South Bend 5 @ Dayton 1. Brad Allen put together his best start of the year throwing 7.2 shutout innings on 2 hits and 3 walks. Brandon Drury had another big day going 4 for 5 with a double and 3 RBI. Fidel Pena went 3 for 5 with a double, 3 runs scored and an RBI. Socrates Brito had a couple of hits, a walk and an RBI, and Andrew Velazquez had a pair of singles.
Short Season A: Hillsboro 5 Vancouver 4. The Hops had to go all the way to the 19th inning in a 6+ hour marathon game to pull out the walk-off win. Braden Shipley made his second start, again going just 2 innings, allowing a run on a hit and a walk while striking out 4 of the 8 batters he faced. Austin Platt followed going 7 innings and allowing 3 runs in the 3rd inning. Vancouver didn't score for the next 16 innings as the bullpen followed Platt with 10 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts. John Leonard got to 2nd on a throwing error by the pitcher in the bottom of the 19th. A passed ball got him to 3rd and he scored on a sacrifice fly in foul territory in left field for the win. George Roberts went 3 for 5 with a double and Yogey Perez-Ramos went 3 for 8 with a double.
Rookie: Missoula 3 @ Billings 2. The Osprey won a tight one as Blayne Weller had a fine start allowing 2 runs over 6 innings. The bullpen was perfect with three relievers combining for 3 shutout innings and the first save by Luis Ramirez. Missoula scored the game-winner in the 9th when Jake Miller walked, stole second and scored on Yorman Garcia's RBI single. Justin Bianco had the only multi-hit game going 2 for 4.
AZL Rookie: Dbacks 4 @ Brewers 2. Brad Keller continues to show off his stuff with his 4th solid start to begin his pro career. Keller went 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 7. In 19 innings over those 4 starts the 8th round pick has a 0.95 ERA allowing 15 hits and 6 walks and striking out 20. Tyler Toyfair pitched a perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts for his first save. Justin Williams went 2 for 4 and is hitting .382, and Ronnie Mejias went 2 for 4 with a triple.