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The CY Report Part 2 - 8/27/09

Chris Young has now spend 12 games in AAA-Reno, and after covering his first four games in my first CY report, I've found time to cover how he's fared in the eight games since (very sorry for the sudden drop in column output...).  To summarize what's about to follow - very well.  If he can translate these numbers back to the majors, it's not hard to imagine CY could return to his former everyday self back at the major-league level.  That, or he could always pull a Carlos Quentin and be a AAA monster and Major-league suck artist.  Hopefully though, we'll have a bit better luck with our $30M investment...

Series 2: vs. Albuquerque at Reno

Game 1: Lost 8-4.  Batted second in the order, behind Eric Byrnes and ahead of Brandon Allen.  1-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K.

Game 2: Lost 4-2.  Batted third in the order, behind Chris Roberson and ahead of Brandon Allen.  0-4, 1 BB, 2 K.

Game 3: Lost 5-4.  Batted second in the order, behind Brandon Watson and ahead of Eric Byrnes.  1-5, 1 RBI, 3 K.

The rest after the break.

Series 3: vs. Colorado Springs at Colorado Springs

Game 1: Won 6-5.  Batted second in the order, behind Eric Byrnes and ahead of Ruben Gotay.  3-4, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SB (0 CS).

Game 2: Won 6-3.  Batted second in the order, behind Eric Byrnes and ahead of Ruben Gotay.  1-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 0 SB (1 CS).

Game 3: Won 5-4.  Batted second in the order, behind Eric Byrnes and ahead of Ruben Gotay.  1-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 2 K.

Series 4 (still in progress): vs. Las Vegas at Las Vegas

Game 1: Won 6-4.  Batted second in the order, behind Eric Byrnes and ahead of Josh Whitesell.  4-5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R,

Game 2: Lost 1-0.  Batted second in the order (was DH), behind Brandon Watson and ahead of Ruben Gotay.  1-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 0 SB (1 CS).

Overall line through eleven games: 19-50 (.380/.466/.640, ISO of .260, OPS of 1.106), 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12:8 K/BB, 8 RBI, 15 R, 2 SB (2 CS).

Obviously, the OPS well over 1.000 is fantastic, making him first on the team in OPS among players who have appeared in more than ten games for Reno (current Hi-A Visalia 3B Kyle Green had an OPS of 1.429 in a three-game emergency fill-in stint in Reno due to his 3-6 batting, including a HR), he's shown great power, been mildly aggressive on the basepaths (especially as of late), is getting on base in nearly half of his ABs, is drawing walks at a 13.8% mark (20.7% K-Rate), and has been overall productive offensively.  Perhaps most important among all of this is the fact that his BABIP is high.  While this might seem immensely puzzling to some at first glance, the biggest issue (at least that I've had) with CY all year has been those darned popups he keeps hitting into.  He was hitting the ball almost straight up into the air and so many of his fly balls didn't leave the infield.  The fact that he has a high BABIP suggests that he's making solid contact with the ball, and that the ball is being sprayed into the outfield rather than setting in the infield or going a mile high.  Whether it was a matter of CY and the coaching staff in Reno fixing his swing or if he just needed to have a little more time to have the issues sort themselves out on their own, it's clear that some progress has been made.


Hatchling Bites

Arizona Fall League rosters were released, and the Diamondbacks are sending five players to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.  Other teams sending prospects to the Scorpions are Philadelphia (8), Pittsburgh (6), Colorado (3), and San Francisco (1, but a good one).  Players included in the AFL include guys like 2009 1st-overall pick Stephen Strasburg, Mike Moustakas, Evan Scribner (the prospect we gave San Diego for Tony Clark), Josh Vitters, Dustin Ackley, Carlos Triunfel, and Buster Posey, so it should be a very good crowd.  Makes me wish I was in AZ.  I'll have to check the schedule to see if I'm in town for any of the games.

Arizona Diamondbacks in the AFL:

SP Bryan Augenstein

SP Cesar Valdez

SS/2B Pedro Ciriaco

1B Brandon Allen

OF Collin Cowgill

A quick explanation for anybody who might be curious as to the thought process of who is sent to the AFL, my basic understanding is that the general philosophy is to send high-ranking pitchers to the AFL who were unable to get in the amount of innings that the organization had wanted them to get in the minors due to injuries or what have you, and to send your best bats to face a higher level of pitching.  Augenstein and Valdez have each missed time due to injuries, so the organization wants to get them their work in the AFL, while guys like Billy Buckner and Matt Torra have already gotten in their year's innings in the minors.


Tony Barnette lost a bid to win his 13th game, despite actually pitching well for once, losing 1-0 to Las Vegas.  Barnette pitched six innings and allowed just one RBI sac fly.  His record is now 12-8, despite his ERA lowering to a still-horrific 5.85.

In the six games since my report on him, Cole Gillespie has slowed down a little bit from his torrid pace, going 6-24 with a line of .250/.333/.333 for an OPS of .667 (remainders saved him from Satan's OPS), including seven strikeouts to just three walks, and the only extra base hit being the triple he hit on August 21.  Nonetheless, he has scored five runs in this time, to go along with one RBI and four stolen bases (zero times caught stealing).  His Reno line still stands at .308/.424/.920.

Daniel Schlereth was finally sent to Reno instead of Mobile.

Daniel Cabrera's second start fared much better than the first, as he went four innings, and gave up two earned runs.  He also allowed fewer walks in his four innings (2) than he did in his one inning from his first start (3), and struck out three (zero K's in first start).  Clearly, there is work to do, but it's nice to see some progress.

Cesar Valdez has made his return, allowing one run in two innings, and the organization has assigned him to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League to get him some more innings and try to get him back into form for an opportunity to crack the 2010 Arizona rotation.

The other major-league guy playing in Reno, Eric Byrnes, hasn't been faring quite as well as CY.  In his nine games in Reno, he has gone just 8-36 with 3 2B, 1 HR, and 4 BB (.222/.317/.389, OPS of .706).  He only does have two strikeouts, so some of it might be bad luck, but at the same time, the results aren't screaming for him to be put back on the major-league roster in favor of guys like Trent Oeltjen or Rusty Ryal.  If he doesn't pick things up fast, I don't find it too hard to believe the organization would give Byrnes the same treatment as they gave Tom Gordon - specifically, his release after sucking in the minors before being given another opportunity to suck at the major-league level.

Ruben Gotay drew his 100th walk of the season last night, and how has a 65:100 K/BB, making his BA/OBP .275/.434.  Another less-talked-about September call-up option, especially with his age and the weakness of our backup infielder corps (that's you, Augie).  Second on the team in walks is Cole Gillespie with 53 (and in just six fewer games).


Bryan Augenstein made another start for Mobile, going another three innings and giving up one earned run last Saturday as he begins to try to regain his form from before his elbow problems set in.  He's set to make another start in Mobile tonight, and after the AA-season, he'll be assigned to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League to get some more work in.

Pedro Ciriaco has racked up six stolen bases, without getting caught stealing, since my last report on August 18, to go along with eleven hits in 32 ABs.

Mark Hallberg is struggling mightily, having recorded a hit in just three of his last ten games, one of which was a multi-hit performance (2-4 August 22 against the Diamond Jaxx).  One of those hitless games, however, was a 0-1, 4 BB performance, but nonetheless the .125 BA over that span is disappointing for a guy who is supposed to be one of the organization's top prospects.  Not a guy we wanted to see put up a .258/.328/.330 line and a .658 OPS.

Tom Layne's first four starts in Mobile are admittedly kind of confusing.  He is 0-2 with an ERA of 4.09, but yet has an Opponent's BA of .203, a GO/AO ratio of 3.36, and no HR allowed.  He has allowed 10 ER on just 16 H.  He has also been pulled in the middle of an inning in all four starts, so something tells me he has had horrible luck with the bullpen's handling of his inherited runners.  The one most concerning stat is the 15 walks in 22.0 IP that might be also leading to his demise, but so far, for making what is supposed to be the second-hardest jump in baseball (behind AAA-MLB), the results are solid.

Since my last report, Barry Enright has pitched 13 innings and allowed just 3 earned runs, and his season ERA has fallen to 3.73.  Looking forward to him repeating AA when the organization retains Seth Etherton and Travis Blackley...  (grrrrrrr...)

Roque Mercedes is starting to live up to the expectations, pitching 12 innings and allowing two earned runs in his last eight appearances, and his ERA has sunk to 4.05.  His struggles appear to have been passed on to Leyson Septimo, whose last nine appearances have seen him pitch just seven innings, and give up an excruciating 11 earned runs, ballooning his ERA up to 6.91.

Hi-A Visalia:

Wade Miley was promoted from Mid-A South Bend to Hi-A Visalia.  His first start was a 6 IP, 2 ER victory, allowing just five hits and giving up no walks to go with five strikeouts (for those keeping record, that's fewer BB/H than innings pitched).  He's still going to have his innings limit, but it'll be interesting to see what he does against more advanced hitters.

Lightning Ollie Linton has continued his recent hot streak, going 6-16 with a double since my last report with 3:4 K/BB.  Unfortunately, he hasn't played since the 24th since injuring his head in a collision with the wall while making a remarkable catch in center field.  He'll be Mobile's leadoff hitter next season at 24-years-old.

Collin Cowgill, who hasn't played since June 14 due to injury, has been assigned to play in the Arizona Fall League to get some extra at-bats in, and to try to improve upon his solid but unspectacular .277/.373/.445 line from Visalia.

Konrad Schmidt is in the middle of a remarkable tear, as his last ten games have seen him go 17-40 with 2 HR, 2 2B, 10 RBI, 6 R, and 7:2 K/BB.  The line on Schmidt is a ridiculous .425/.452/.625 for a staggering OPS of 1.077.  However, as I've repeatedly covered, his age (26) is always a concern for a Hi-A player.  If he doesn't shoot through Mobile to start next season, his potential major-league value is gone.

Mid-A South Bend:

Keny Sosa certainly has impresed in Mid-A.  His last start was a 7.3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4:4 K/BB gem, and in his six starts in South Bend, he is a deceiving 1-3, with a 2.32 ERA and opponent batting average of .220.  The kid's also just 22, so he'll be 23 next season in Hi-A, giving him a very legitimate chance at having major-league impact.

Eric Smith had a good debut with the SilverHawks, going six innings and allowing just one earned run with 5:1 K/BB and six hits allowed.  The 60th overall pick in this year's draft, he's just 20-years-old and appears capable of putting together a decent campaign for the rest of the South Bend season.

A.J. Pollock is once again showing flashes of why he was just picked in the first round, hitting 11-36 with 1 2B, 3:4 K/BB, 7 R, and 2 SB (0 CS) in his last ten games (line is .306/.375/.333 and a .708 OPS).  His season so far hasn't been quite what the organization was hoping for, I'd think, but he is 21 and has some time to develop.

Low-A Yakima:

Matt Davidson's start has been a resounding meh, with an OPS of just .643 through 62 games.  He is 18, but we had higher expectations.

Matt Helm has begun his career just 4-17 (all singles) with one walk.  Also not a good start.  We need some good news....

Ryan Wheeler to the rescue!  The 21-year-old slugger was just named to the Northwest League All-Star Team, and is well-deserving with a season line of .361/.460/.539 (.999 OPS), and a line of .459/.512/.622 (1.134 OPS) in his last ten games.

Rookie-level Missoula:

Well, I suppose everybody wants their Bobby Borchering update after his first seven games.  Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag.  Through his first four games, Borchering had gone 4-14 and displayed his immense power with 2 2B and a HR to go with 1 BB (.286/.333/.643 - OPS of .976).  However, he has since been absolutely awful, and I cannot emphasize that enough.  In his last three games, he is 0-12, with two walks and nine strikeouts (and just two walks to save him from utter failure).  He also committed two errors on throws at third base in Missoula's game yesterday.  Ouch.  That's reminiscient of the kind of slumps Justin Upton would go through in '08.  The raw talent is certainly there, but, as an 18-year-old (holy crap I'm older than Bobby Borchering...), he's got some work to do.

If you want someone encouraging from this year's draft, try just-turned-18-year-old Chris Owings, who has begun his career in grand fashion, with a line of .318/.348/.455 in ten games.  He could learn to develop a propensity to draw a few more walks, but it's hard to complain with that kind of start in professional baseball.  The sandwich-round pick is projected to play second long-run, but for now is trying out shortstop.

Kevin Eichhorn has gotten back on the mound in August, after being hurt since late July of 2008, and the results are flawless.  He has thrown 7.2 dominant scoreless innings of relief in four appearances, giving up just two hits and five walks in that span, and has racked up 13 strikeouts.

Another 2009 sandwich-round pick, Michael Belfiore added a seven-inning shuout performance to his season last Saturday, and his season ERA at Missoula is a shiny 2.52 in 11 appearances (8 starts).  33:10 K/BB, .284 opponent BA, and has given up just one HR.  However, while he has given up eleven earned runs, he has also allowed ten unearned runs. Not sure if he has just been screwed by his defense, or if some of these errors are him assisting his own demise, but it's a good start to his professional career nonetheless.


In other organizational news, the PR move of the century has been made, as Luis Gonzalez has officially joined the D-Backs' front office.

Update: 8/29/09: Chris Young played one more game with Reno, going 1-4 with a HR, a walk, a strikeout, 2 runs scored, and an RBI, and has now been called back up to the major-leagues to see if he can salvage his season.  Trent Oeltjen was sent back down to the minors, as he had slumped mightily following his 12-24 start, going just 5-44 since.