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SnakePit Hatchlings Report - Deutschlandagendragensteinfahrt Edition

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German is a WEIRD language.  I've got a down night so it's time for a new Hatchlings Report, coming at you from the lobby of the Europark Hotel, because the wireless internet, while free, doesn't reach the rooms.  So, dressed in my comfy silver pajama pants and surrounded by the presence of Asian tourists, time to update ya'll on the happenings of the D-backs' minor league affiliates.

Triple-A Reno:

OF Cole Gillespie - August 27, 28, & 29 - 8-15, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 7 R, 0:1 K:BB.

While Gillespie has thus far failed to impress in the major leagues, he continues to produce in spades at Reno, leaving a few last glimmers of hope that he'll have a productive future as a backup outfielder in the future.  On the season, his Triple-A line is .286/.395/.473 for the Aces, a far cry from the .221/.259/.338 mark he put up at Arizona, a difference of nearly three hundred points.  Going into the year, there were questions abound as to whether or not Reno's offensive numbers could really be trusted, and Gillespie's futility hasn't helped to assuage any of those fears, which certainly isn't helping a guy like Brandon Allen try to make a case for a promotion and regular role for the D-backs.

Double-A Mobile:

C Konrad Schmidt - August 29, Game 1 - 2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB.

Mobile took the first game of their doubleheader on the 29th against Huntsville behind strong pitching from Josh Collmenter and a nice power display from Schmidt, who has been perhaps the best hitter in the BayBears' lineup in 2010.  Schmidt is a bit old, having just turned 26, but could still have a future in the major leagues as a solid backup catcher.  Schmidt makes plenty of contact, draws a good amount of walks, and has enough pop in his bat to prevent pitchers from pumping fastballs down the middle.  Will be battling John Hester for the big-league backup spot to begin 2011.

Hi-A Visalia:

RHP Charles Brewer - August 30 - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 7:0 K:BB, 0 HR, 3/4 GO/FO.

3B Matt Davidson - August 30 - 2-3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.

Brewer... is awesome.  He just is.  70:15 K:BB ratio at Hi-A, 148:35 overall K:BB in 145 2/3 innings split between South Bend and Visalia.  Good ground-ball rates.  2.47 overall ERA.  There just isn't anything to complain about with Brewer's production in 2010.  Brewer's not ready to be anointed a top-5 prospect, but another year of sub-3 ERA at Double-A certainly would put him in that discussion.  For now, he'll have to settle being in the top-15.

Davidson had been struggling for Visalia prior to Monday's offensive explosion, though his solid K:BB ratio and power history should have indicated that success was simply a matter of time.  He collected his first four extra bases as a member of the Rawhide, and drove in five runs to lead Visalia to a 9-6 win over Modesto.

Low-A South Bend:

LHP Tyler Skaggs - August 29 - 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 7:1 K:BB, 1 HR, 5/2 GO/FO.

RHP Derek Eitel - August 29 - 3 IP, 5 K, 3/1 GO/FO, the rest zeros.

Skaggs and Eitel combined to absolutely dominate Lake County on Sunday, striking out twelve and giving out just one free pass, three hits, and a solo homer.  They missed bats, kept the ball on the ground, everything.  Further, there were recent reports around the 'Pit that Skaggs was sitting in the mid-90's during his start, though this can be viewed as worrisome just as easily as it could be viewed as great news.  The fact that Skaggs' change-up was dominant, though, is 100% fantastic news, as it is definitely his third-best offering.  As for Eitel, the 17th-round pick from the 2010 draft appears to be making a name for himself at South Bend, and could be assigned to the Visalia 'pen for 2011 if he continues throwing this well at South Bend.

Short-Season-A Yakima:

RHP Jake Hale

- August 29 - 2 IP, 1 H, 6 K, the rest zeros.

I'll make this short and sweet.  With this outing, Hale lowered his ERA at Yakima to 0.25.  His K:BB is 40:7 and he hasn't allowed a home run in 35 1/3 innings.  Sure, he'll be 25 years old in December, but he can't control where he's pitching.  I imagine the '09 draftee will start 2011 at Visalia with a legitimate chance to finish the year at Reno if he throws well.

Rookie-level Missoula:

LHP Patrick Schuster

- August 30 - 5 IP, 8 H, 2 R (1 ER), 4:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 6/3 GO/FO.

1B Bobby Stone - August 30 - 3-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.

Schuster has been largely phenomenal for Missoula this year after the D-backs snagged him as a tough sign (due to his strong commitment to play for the University of Florida) in the 13th round of the '09 draft.  He has followed a miserable outing on August 20, in which he surrendered five earned runs in 3 2/3 innings, with a pair of starts in which he has worked 11 innings and allowed just a pair of earned runs.  Schuster's strikeout rate isn't mind-blowing, with 57 K's in 70 2/3 innings, but he does a great job of keeping the ball on the ground, and, by extension, in the park.

Stone then provided the offense in support of Schuster, blasting another two home runs, his ninth and 10th for Missoula this year (though the Osprey would still lose the game in walk-off fashion).  Despite being just 20 years old, this is the third season that Stone will finish at Missoula, and success in Rookie ball is nothing new for the powerful first baseman.  He'll be sent to South Bend again to start 2011, and hopefully he'll be ready for the more advanced pitching this time around.

Others of note:

 - Triple-A Reno infielder Mark Hallberg has been awfully impressive with the bat since the All-Star break, with a .995 OPS in 36 games.  That came after posting a meager .588 OPS in 78 contests before the break.  Hallberg has recorded nine hits and three walks in his last four games, and also hit both a double and a triple in last night's game.

 - Third baseman Ryan Wheeler hit his first home run for Mobile in the first game on Sunday, his tenth homer of the year.  After a glimmering debut in '09, 2010 hasn't been the best year for Wheeler, who sports an overall .738 OPS between Visalia and Mobile.  The key going forward will be seeing if Wheeler can rediscover his strike zone control, as his strikeout totals have taken a dramatic leap in 2010.

 - Tommy Layne made another solid start for Mobile, throwing six innings and surrendering a pair of earned runs while striking out six, walking nobody, and not letting the ball leave the park.  The lefty has been very strong for Mobile outside of a disastrous June, in which he posted a 7.86 ERA.

 - Visalia right-hander Yonata Ortega collected his eighth and ninth saves for Visalia after collecting 22 for South Bend earlier in the year.  Ortega has an absurd 14:2 K:BB ratio in just 10 2/3 Hi-A innings, and could be in line for an aggressive assignment to Double-A to begin 2011.  Given that he'll begin 2011 at 24 years old, that's probably for the best.  I saw Ortega pitch earlier in the year, and he has a blazing fastball that really can jump on a hitter because of a throwing motion that reminded me slightly of Max Scherzer (from where I was sitting).

 - Despite being in the Cal League, there have been a few Visalia pitchers the last few days who have been impressive.  Eric Smith threw five shutout innings, allowing just two hits.  Chase Anderson struck out five batters in his three-inning relief appearance.  Patrick Corbin threw three shutout innings of work in his recent start, striking out three and walking nobody.

 - Visalia first baseman Paul Goldschmidt collected three hits including a double on the 30th, and two hits with a triple on the 29th.

 - 2010 fourth-round pick Kevin Munson made his first appearance for South Bend in 15 days on Monday, striking out all three batters he faced.  Munson was never placed on the Disabled List, and the team may have just been giving his arm some rest.

 - Yakima infielder Michael Freeman has paced the Bears' offense as of late, particularly with his four-hit night on Sunday.  Further, Freeman recorded his 19th stolen base of the year on Monday, having been caught just three times.  His line at Yakima currently stands at .345/.418/.424.

 - Stone wasn't the first Osprey player to hit a pair of home runs in a game this week: third baseman Matt Helm did it first on Sunday, though the Osprey were still demolished by Casper, 12-4.