Blah blah blah David Holmberg blah blah blah utterly dominant blah blah blah Hi-A? blah blah blah just 19-years-old blah blah blah velocity consistently into the low-90's blah blah blah polished off-speed offerings and command blah. Yep, sounds like a broken record to me too. Holmberg made mincemeat of West Michigan in a day game on Tuesday. Here's the proof:
Snakelet of the Day:
David Holmberg (Low-A): 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 7:0 K:BB, 6:6 GO:AO.
Five straight scoreless starts, 34 straight scoreless IP.
Triple-A: Reno's game was postponed due to heavy storms in the area.
Double-A: Mobile 9, Montgomery 8. (41-35) This was a wild one, though the pitching match-up suggested a potentially rough night for the BayBears, as Kyler Newby was up against Nick Barnese. Newby struggled through six baserunner-laden innings of work, giving up seven hits, two walks, and hitting two batters to bring in six runs, five of which were earned. Newby also gave up a home run and struck out five. Mobile covered up Newby's rough outing and a spotty effort from Clay Zavada by taking advantage of some Montgomery errors early and bludgeoning the Biscuits' relief pitching late. Mobile received a three-hit effort from Josh Ford and a pair of hits from A.J. Pollock, but the big boppers were Jake Elmore, Ollie Linton, and 22-year-old (ARL: young for Double-A) top prospect Ryan Wheeler. All three had 2-4 nights, with Linton adding a double, Elmore adding a double and a stolen base, and Wheeler drawing a walk and clobbering a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth with two outs that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Hi-A: Visalia 6, Inland Empire 2. (34-41) The bats were alive for this one, as Bobby Borchering had a two-run homer in the second inning to tie things up, and Keon Broxton hit his third home run of the year as part of a two-run sixth inning that added some cushion to Visalia's lead. David Nick had a three-hit night including a double, and Borchering, Broxton, and Matt Davidson each had two-hit nights. Adam Eaton went hitless, but was plunked twice. Derek Eitel had another of his "on" games, holding the 66ers to just two earned runs in 6 innings of strong work on the mound. Eitel posted an 8:3 K:BB ratio and hit another batter, but helped himself with a 6:2 K:BB ratio. Eitel was probably happy to be pitching at home again after five straight starts on the road - on the year, he has a 3.30 ERA in five starts (30 IP) in Visalia with a strong 26:9 K:BB ratio and absurd 4.30 GO/AO, compared to an 8.69 ERA in nine road appearances (38 IP) with a less-stellar 28:14 K:BB ratio and solid 1.96 GO/AO. Eitel has also surrendered seven of his nine home runs on the road. Those aren't sustainable splits, but they do show how unfriendly some Cal League ballparks can be (i.e. High Desert). Amidst a season of underwhelming non-Tyler Skaggs starting pitching at Hi-A (Eric Smith, Mike Belfiore, and Trevor Harden), Eitel's been the second-best starter in Visalia's rotation with the peripherals to back it up in spite of his 6.05 ERA.
Low-A: South Bend 7, West Michigan 1. (37-37) Not only was Holmberg his usual teh awesom self, lowering his season ERA to 2.39 in 14 starts, sporting an absurd 81:13 K:BB ratio in 83 innings of work. His innings need to be watched, but he's ready for Hi-A ball. The relief work was solid as well, as both Eury De La Rosa and Jeremy Erben struck out a pair in their respective innings of work, though Erben surrendered a pair of doubles as West Michigan broke up the shutout. At the plate, the Silver Hawks received doubles from Mike Freeman, Zach Walters, Chris Jarrett, and Roberto Ortiz. Walters had a three-hit game, while Freeman had two hits and a walk to lead the way.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 7, Spokane 5. (4-8) Remember how bad that Yakima offense is? Well, that offense hit four home runs in this one, proving that you can never really know what's going to happen in a baseball game. The homers came from Jae Yun Kim, Zachary Jones, Garrett Weber, and Danny Pulfer, though all of them were solo home runs. Pulfer, Jones, Kim, and Jimmy Comerota had two-hit games, though Kim and maybe Pulfer are the only guys that could have solid futures. Kim in particular is intriguing as a 20-year-old catcher who commanded a significant signing bonus out of Korea. His two hits bumped up his batting average from .056 to .136 (BABIP in small sample sizes!), and he's been considered a solid defender since signing. He turns 21 in September, but still has one of the highest ceilings among catching prospects in the system if he can begin to turn things around with Yakima. Raul Navarro continues to flounder, going 0-4 with three strikeouts, as many K's as he had in his first four games with the Bears. Starter Teo Gutierrez didn't dazzle in his five innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned), but 2011 fourth-round pick Evan Marshall shined, recording his first professional save with a two-strikeout perfect ninth inning that also included a ground-out to the pitcher's mound.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 6, Billings 10. (3-6) Lefty reliever Johan Jaime ran into a buzzsaw after cruising through his first three stateside appearances untouched, allowing six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning on Tuesday, including a pair of homers. Reliever Seth Simmons, on the other hand, finally had a clean outing - his first scoreless outing of the year - striking out seven in 3.1 innings of work with no walks and one hit. The star at the plate was Ryan Court, who went 3-5 with a home run, his second of the year for Missoula. Jon Griffin added three hits, Fidel Pena had a pair of hits, and Chris Ellison had a hit and two walks.
Low-Rookie: Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 7. (4-3) It was a rough day for awesomely-named starter Juan Falcon, who gave up five runs in three innings of work on three hits, two of which were home runs, and three walks, though he did strike out a pair. Reliever Bryan Escanio was impressive in his US-debut after spending making four solid appearances in the DSL. Escanio struck out six AZL-Cubbies in four innings of relief work, walking one and allowing two runs (just one earned). Offensively, first baseman Derek Luciano had the best night for the AZL-Diamondbacks, collecting a pair of singles and a walk. Wagner Mateo only struck out once, drawing a walk and going 0-3.
DSL: Diamondbacks 8, Reds 7. (10-15) Another day of underwhelming performances, as the DSL-Diamondbacks scored their eight runs without collecting a single extra-base hit. Ronny Mejias had a pair of hits, and has clearly demonstrated that his plate discipline and approach are better than DSL pitching can handle, as he now sports a 13:21 K:BB ratio in 22 games for the DSL-backs.