It's been a strange couple of years for former Atlanta Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami. Kawakami was stellar in 2009, posting a 3.86 ERA and 4.21 FIP in 156.1 innings of work in his first state-side season. Then 2010 came around, and despite being, for all intents and purposes, the same pitcher, Kawakami's 5.15 ERA (4.35 FIP) was bad enough to get him optioned to Triple-A Rome. After being outrighted off the team's 40-man roster, Kawakami has spent 2011 working in, of all places, Double-A Mississippi of the Southern League, just two years after posting 1.7 fWAR in his debut year. Who would have believed it...
What does this have to do with the Arizona farm system, you say? Well, Kawakami was absolutely obliterated on Saturday night by the Double-A Mobile BayBears, including the following line from one of the D-backs' best prospects:
Snakelet of the Day:
A.J. Pollock (Double-A): 3-5, 2 2B, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI
Triple-A: Reno 14, Tacoma 5. (52-36) The Aces thrived off of the long-ball in this one, as three Reno homers accounted for eight of the team's runs - three-run blasts from Cody Ransom and Brandon Allen, and a two-run shot from Mark Hallberg. Hallberg also doubled, and Cole Gillespie and Evan Frey also added two-base knocks. That power was plenty for Reno, as Armando Galarraga had a half-decent start for the Aces, allowing one run in five innings on a solo home run while allowing five hits, posting a 4:2 K:BB ratio, hitting a batter, and accumulating a 2:9 GO:AO ratio. Jason Urquidez struggled out of the bullpen, but Jordan Norberto and Kam Mickolio were each solid in relief to close out the game.
Double-A: Mobile 10, Mississippi 4. (51-36) Mobile obliterated Kawakami early, tagging him for six runs in the first inning and eight innings in Kawakami's four innings of work. Even though Paul Goldschmidt took the game off heading to Arizona for the Futures Game, the 1-4 hitters were superb. Adam Eaton went 2-5 with a triple and a home run, A.J. Pollock went 3-5 with two doubles and a home run, Ryan Wheeler went 3-5 with a double, and Marc Krauss went 2-4 with a double, a home run, and a walk. Together, those four bats combined to go 10-19 with a walk, four doubles, a triple, and three home runs. That was more than enough for starter Tom Layne, who surrendered just three runs in seven innings of work in his second Double-A outing of the year.
Hi-A: Visalia 7, Lake Elsinore 4. (41-45) On almost any other night, Alfredo Marte's 4-4, four double night would have been an easy call for Snakelet of the Day, but the combination of Pollock's performance and overall greater prospect status took the nod over Marte. Nonetheless, Marte's .429/.429/.686 line since returning to Visalia is spectacular, though I don't foresee him getting a chance at consistent at-bats in Double-A as long as Eaton, Pollock, Krauss, and Ollie Linton are all ahead of him at Mobile. Matt Davidson added a two hits, including a double, and Ryan LaPensee went 2-3 with a double and a walk. Visalia starter Diogenes Rosario continues to give up a ton of fly ball outs - 10 in this game - but manages to remain somewhat effective as a starter in the power-friendly Cal League. Rosario allowed two runs - both earned - in seven strong innings, striking out six, allowing six hits, and walking two.
Low-A: South Bend 1, Dayton 4. (39-46) Yazy Arbelo homered in the second inning to put the Silver Hawks on the board early (he also walked), but that was all South Bend would manage in spite of doubles from Roberto Ortiz, Gerson Montilla, and Raywilly Gomez. Gomez also chipped in a single, making him the only bat in South Bend's lineup to have a multi-hit game. Starter Jeffrey Shields was the victim of some defensive gaffes, as two of the four runs he allowed in his seven innings of work were unearned. Shields posted a 3:0 K:BB ratio and allowed a home run, though he had a spectacular 14:2 GO:AO ratio. Jeremy Erben worked a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one.
Short Season-A: Yakima 6, Eugene 7. (7-16) Zachary Jones provided the offensive punch for Yakima, doubling twice, and Garrett Weber chipped in a triple to help the Bears offense. Starter Adam Kudryk was also a victim of the unearned run, as only three of the seven runs he allowed were earned. However, with a 4:4 K:BB ratio and a home run allowed in five innings of work, it's hard to say that Kudryk deserved a much better outing.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 8, Billings 5. (11-9) Continuing a spectacular pro debut campaign for the Osprey, outfielder Chris Ellison went 2-2 with a double and a pair of walks, lifting his season line up to .307/.424/.507 in 19 games. Missoula starter Raymond Hernandez was stellar once again, giving up just one unearned run in his five innings of work. The younger Hernandez struck out six batters and gave up just four hits and no walks, posting a 6:4 GO:AO ratio. Hernandez is definitely old for the level at 22 years old, and will turn 23 in September, but there are certainly some solid baseball genetics here, and perhaps he could be fast-tracked as a possible middle-relief guy.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 4, Rangers 9. (6-10) The AZL D-backs offense received doubles from Derek Luciano, Wagner Mateo, and John Leonard, but the pitching didn't hold up to its side of the arrangement. Cesse De Jesus and Ross Gerdeman combined to allow eight runs in their 5.2 innings of work, putting the team in a deficit that they wouldn't be able to overcome. Pat Donahue drew three walks.
DSL: D-backs 4, White Sox 1. (12-22) The DSL D-backs received doubles from Jesse Liriano and Anderson Bolivar, while Pedro Ruiz and Samuel Valdez each reached base three times. On the mound, Karl Triana was brilliant, pitching a complete game, scattering seven hits and a walk, allowing just one run. Triana only struck out two, and posted an 8:6 GO:AO ratio.