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The Baby 'Backs Report: May 21 (.... just go with it)

Happy Saturday, everybody!  Okay, fine, I was supposed to do this three days ago, but that day was rather busy with packing away my life into boxes and bags.  So instead your report on Mobile and South Bend comes a few days late, but with the happy news of the big-leagues these days, I don't think anybody's been missing it.  That said, I do have a duty to eventually get this report done, so now that I'm settled in back in the desert, it's time for an update on the happenings of Double-A Mobile and Low-A South Bend.

Player titles for today's post come from these awesome videos.  If you haven't watched them, do it now.  All 35 of them (it's the dubbing-over of the entire HP1 movie).  Caution: language NSFW.

Paul Goldschmidt:

Ho-hum, water keeps being wet, the sun keeps shining, Nic Cage keeps being awful, and Goldschmidt keeps being awesome.  His K:BB is 28:39, though that equates to a slightly less-impressive 10:12 ratio in his last 16 games (since the last Mobile Baby 'Backs Report).  His power numbers remain sturdy: another four home runs in the last 16  games and a .273 ISO in his last ten games.  Although his OPS has dipped from the 1.247 mark from the previous report, Goldie's season line still sits at an incredible .333/.469/.693, and nobody's going to complain about a 1.162 season OPS.


Double-A Mobile:

Destroyer of Worlds: A fairly easy choice for me, this one has to be right-hander Charles Brewer.  In his last two starts, Brewer has thrown 10.1 innings and giving up just one earned run.  He's allowed eight hits in that span, striking out 11 and walking just two.  For all the hubbub about Jarrod Parker returning to Mobile, Brewer is the guy who was going to be the best arm in that rotation (performance-wise) from the start of the season, and, Wes Roemer's surprising start to the year aside, Brewer has done just that.  After missing time in late April with the after-effects of a concussion he suffered getting hit in the head by a foul ball in the dugout, he had a pair of short, shaky outings, but appears to be back in the groove.  If Brewer can keep this up for the rest of the year, he'll be a strong candidate to fill a rotation spot in Arizona on Opening Day 2012.

Val-Mart: I can't figure out what's wrong with Wade Miley.  At the end of last year, reports were coming out that his command was superb and fastball had jumped in velocity, fueling speculation that he was close to being big-league ready.  Early in Spring Training, Miley was the star of the show.  Then, the Spring Training games start, and it all seemed to fall apart.  The regular season hasn't helped Miley solve his issues, as he sports a mediocre 21:12 K:BB ratio through 34 innings of work, surrendering 44 hits and sporting an unsightly 8.21 ERA.  His last two starts have been a slight improvement, but it's hard to call 11 innings, seven earned runs allowed, and a 7:5 K:BB ratio particularly successful.  If things don't turn around in a hurry, Miley'll find himself buried behind some of the nice pitching depth lower in the ranks of the system.

Ronnie the Bear & The Wretched Harmony: Marc Krauss has had a heck of a five-game series at Tennessee, whacking nine hits, including two doubles and three homers, drawing eight walks, and striking out just three times in 16 at-bats.  The series has brought his line up to a very respectable .255/.375/.489, up from a sub-.800 OPS going into the series.  Whether or not he can sustain this production going forward is the big question, but we have something to be genuinely optimistic about with Krauss for the first time in 2011.

Right-handed reliever Bryan Shaw was promoted to Triple-A Reno after dominating Double-A for a month and a half.  Shaw ends his time at Mobile with 20.2 innings of work, a 15:8 K:BB ratio, and just two earned runs allowed for a 0.87 ERA.  Say what you want about the peripherals, but the promotion to Reno shows that the team has confidence in Shaw's arm working at the big-league level.  With the struggles littered throughout the Reno bullpen, Shaw has an opportunity to put himself at the top of the D-backs' relief call-up list now that Kam Mickolio is back in the majors.


Low-A South Bend:

Destroyer of Worlds: As much as I'm concerned about his delivery mechanics, I have to admit that it's been a good two-plus weeks of work for Patrick Schuster.  He's made three starts since May 7, and has started to see his good stuff translating into strikeouts.  In those three starts, Schuster has thrown 20.1 innings, struck out 20, walked just four, and surrendered only six earned runs for a 2.66 ERA over those outings.  He doesn't have a lot of velocity right now, but he's projectable, gets a ton of grounders, and features some nice off-speed offerings from the left side.  After a rough start to the year, it's nice to see Schuster start to dial in and pitch up to the level of his arm and the six-figure signing bonus we gave him out of high school.

Val-Mart: Not to pile salt on wounds, but Bobby Stone is finished as any sort of prospect (provided he wasn't finished a year ago).  He collected a pair of doubles on May 7 and a homer on May 10, but just one other hit from the 7th to the 18th before going on the Disabled List.  That makes for a .154/.273/.364 line over that ten-game span, and his season line is down at .193/.289/.301 on the year.  After spending parts of the last three years at Missoula trying to ready himself for full-season ball, this certainly isn't what the team was hoping for.

Ronnie the Bear & The Wretched Harmony: Yazy Arbelo leads the Midwest League in home runs with his pull-happy power, with a 1.012 OPS on the year and .306/.419/.694 line over his last ten games.  There's no doubt that he has raw power, I just don't see him succeeding in the upper levels of the minors, not to mention the big-leagues, without the ability to hit a breaking ball or change-up.  Needless to say, I would love to be proven wrong.

Someone with a bit more prospect potential (in my unprofessional opinion) who's heating up at the plate for the SilverHawks is catcher Raywilly Gomez.  Gomez was recently converted to the position, so his receiving and throwing accuracy behind the plate is rather raw, although he has a rocket arm.  He's always been a solid contact hitter with the ability to take a walk, but he's also collected a pair of doubles and a homer over his last ten games for a .147 ISO over that span, which is, believe it or not, a significant improvement on his season numbers (depressing ISO of .088).  Gomez has the highest upside of any catcher currently in the system, and if he can add some moderate pop and refine his catching, he's a heck of a prospect.



In other system news, a bevy of assignments have been made across the system, mostly from Extended Spring Training, with the following players being assigned to the full-season affiliates:

- Mobile: LHP Pat McAnaney (7-Day DL), 

- Visalia: RHP Christopher Odegaard (from Visalia)

- South Bend: RHP Juan Jaime (7-Day DL), RHP Gregory Robinson, RHP Andrew Wolcott (7-Day DL), OF Roberto Ortiz.