I'm starting this one a bit late (11:58 p.m.) and have work in the morning, so I'll try to make this a more succinct report than usual. Starting..... now.
Snakelet of the Day:
Lucas May (Triple-A): 3-4, 2 2B
Triple-A: Reno 9, Salt Lake 6. (48-32) Here's a fun little sample size experiment for y'all. In the 25 games Lucas May spent at Triple-A Omaha in the Royals system this year, he hit a pathetic .176/.263/.329, posting a 22:9 K:BB ratio and .593 OPS. In the 11 games he's appeared in since his trade to Reno, May has hit .308/.372/.590 with a 5:4 K:BB ratio and .962 OPS. Keep in mind that Omaha is also in the PCL, so while Reno is one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the league, May was still stopping by Aces Ballpark for visits, as well as places like Colorado Springs and Las Vegas. Sample sizes are fun.
May was acquired from KC earlier this year, who had previously received him in the 2009 Scott Podsednik trade. May posted a line of .283/.349/.483 (.831 OPS) at three different stops in the minors and made a brief appearance in the major leagues, though he struggled to hit in his 12-game stint. He was listed in John Sickels' 2011 Prospect Book, so he's had some prospect luster in the past as a potential big-league-caliber back-up catcher. Not all of Kevin Towers' moves since taking over as GM have turned out to be particularly savvy (I'm writing a post on just that, as a matter of fact), but I do like the move that brought May to AZ for right-handed pitcher Andrea Pizziconi.
Ugh, the whole "succinct" thing isn't working. Aside from May, the Aces received an identical line to May's from Evan Frey, who wasn't co-SotD because he's a non-prospect after not hitting a lick in the Southern League for over two seasons. Collin Cowgill kept doing his thing, notching four hits - including his 18th double of the season - to go with his 25th stolen base of 2011, and Cody Ransom hit his 21st home run of the year. Zach Kroenke stunk on the mound, giving up four runs in five innings with a 3:5 K:BB ratio, and Esmerling Vasquez had a rough re-acquaintance with the minor leagues, giving up a two-run home run in the eighth inning. Thankfully, though, Kam Mickolio and Bryan Shaw were great in relief for Reno in their combined three innings, dashing any hopes of a Salt Lake comeback. Mickolio K'd three in two flawless innings, while Shaw K'd one in the ninth to notch his fourth Triple-A save of the year.
Double-A: Mobile 7, Montgomery 6. (43-35) Your Daily Goldschmidt: Paul hit the quarter-century home run mark just 78 games into the season (!!!!!!!!!) by cranking a three-run blast in the third inning to blow this game open. It turns out that Mobile would need all the cushion it could create, as Wes Roemer coughed it all up in his crap-tastic five innings of work. He K'd five, walked five, and gave up five runs on eight hits, raising his ERA to 4.19 and putting to bed any chance of him being a useful big-league pitcher. The bottom half of the lineup was rather BABIP-y, asJosh Ford, Alfredo Marte, and Ed Easley combined for eight hits, all of which were singles. A.J. Pollock was solid again, collecting two hits and a pair of stolen bases, bringing his season batting average up to .300 and giving him 21 stolen bases in 25 attempts. Pollock's line on the year is now at .300/.356/.425, a solid .781 OPS. Bryan Woodall was marvelous in the eighth inning, bringing his ERA down to 2.56, and Ryan Cook notched his eighth save in his scoreless ninth inning, bringing his ERA down to 2.72... and we have Yhency Brazoban in the major leagues.
Hi-A (11 innings): Visalia 6, Inland Empire 5. (36-41) Eric Smith continued his mind-boggling season, notching eight ground-ball outs but allowing five runs (three earned) in 5 innings of work with a 1:2 K:BB ratio. I have no idea what happened to this guy's peripherals, but it isn't looking good. Elsewhere on the mound, Mike Belfiore looks like he's enjoying his new relief role, throwing another 1.2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts, while Yonata Ortega threw 2.1 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts and a walk to give Visalia the opportunity to walk it off in the 11th. Visalia only managed one extra-base hit, a third-inning two-out grand slam from Raoul Torrez, and only collected eight hits overall, but were able to pull this one out largely due to the wildness of the 66ers pitching. Adam Eaton and Matt Davidson drew three walks apiece, with Eaton adding a single and a pair of stolen bases for yet another ho-hum night. After an unsightly 27:7 K:BB ratio in April, Davidson has posted a solid 56:22 ratio since.
-- PROMOTION NOTICE (I'll be posting one of these in my report for each major in-system promotion): Left-handerDavid Holmberg was promoted to Hi-A Visalia. Just a hunch, but I presume he'll be taking Diogenes Rosario's spot in the rotation, as Rosario started the year in the 'pen and works much better in that role as it is.
Low-A: South Bend 4, Lake County 2. (38-38) Somehow, South Bend managed to get four of its six baserunners across the plate in this one despite having just one extra-base hit, a double from Roberto Rodriguez. That would be more than enough due to the strong pitching effort from a committee of Silver Hawks, beginning with three scoreless innings from Bradin Hagens (whose innings are likely being limited now) and ending with a scoreless inning apiece from Dan Taylor, Keith Cantwell, and Blake Cooper.
Short-Season A: Yakima 4, Spokane 6. (4-10) Designated hitter Kerry Jenkins homered, and Raul Navarro appears to have gotten himself on track again, with a two-hit night that included a triple. John Pedrotty had a rough night on the mound, giving up two runs in his three innings of work with a 4:2 K:BB ratio. The bullpen was mostly solid until Greg Robinson came on in the eighth inning and allowed a two-run go-ahead homer with one out that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 5, Great Falls 8. (4-7) A rough start from Robby Rowland in spite of a solid 3:0 K:BB ratio, as the Voyagers managed nine hits off of the young starter in just three innings of work, tagging Rowland for five runs (four earned). Raymond Hernandez (brother of David), who had made a solid start against the Voyagers just five days prior to Thursday's game in what was his Pioneer League debut, scuffled in his second go at Great Falls, surrendering two homers and three runs in his four innings of relief. Jon Griffin hit a home run and Jeremia Gomez tripled and drew a pair of walks, but the rest of the offense was mostly silent. Justin Bianco had a particularly rough day, sporting the platinum sombrero (0-4, 4 K).
Low-Rookie: Schedule says the AZL-Diamondbacks were off on Thursday.
DSL: D-backs 7, Padres 15. (10-17) Keep an eye out for leprechauns or flying pigs, because the unbelievable happened tonight in the DSL - someone hit a home run. Make that two home runs. The first someone was 17-year-old Yorman Garcia, the high-profile center field signing the D-backs inked this year, who was 1-3 with the blast and a walk to cap off a great day at the plate. The other was a pinch-hit home run from Jonathan Perez, who doubled his hit total and tripled his total base total with his dinger. The pitching... was bad. I'll leave it at that.