No, there wasn't a D-backs affiliate to hit three consecutive homers on Friday - instead, a D-backs prospect has earned the ever-distinguished Snakelet of the Day honor by homering twice, giving him four home runs in three games. Oh yeah, he also has a double and triple in that span and hasn't struck out, and even though he hasn't drawn any walks... can you blame him? That guy, of course, is none other than...
Snakelet of the Day:
Ryan Wheeler (Double-A): 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI
Triple-A: Reno 2, Sacramento 4. (60-38) Making a spot appearance for the Aces was right-hander Derek Eitel up from Visalia. (Note: last year's Visalia-to-Reno spot starter was now-D-back Ryan Cook, so the organization thinks there might be something here.) Eitel, without a doubt, has taken his lumps in the Cal League this year, but performed extremely well given the better competition he faced on Friday, allowing four runs - three earned - in six innings of work, posting a 5:0 K:BB ratio and 9:1 GO:AO ratio, allowing six hits and a home run. It was an all-around nice outing, and one that would usually earn a PCL pitcher a win. Unfortunately, Reno's offense took the night off, notching just two runs on solo homers from Tony Abreu and David Winfree. J.J. Putz pitched a scoreless inning of relief on his rehab assignment, and is scheduled to throw tomorrow as well, I believe.
Double-A: Mobile 7, Birmingham 8. (59-39) Nothing against Paul Goldschmidt, who had a solid 2-4 day with his 28th home run of the year, but at least for a few days or so I'm now officially instituting Your Daily Wheeler... at least until Goldschmidt starts playing better. Wheeler's 2-4, 2 HR game gave him 15 bombs on the year, and raised his season line to a glimmering .316/.373/.523, an .896 OPS. That figure is just .143 points lower than Goldschmidt, who is two years older and plays a more offensively-demanding position. With neither player exactly receiving glimmering reports from scouts in the area, there can actually be a legitimate argument that Wheeler is a better prospect.
Don't get me wrong, Goldschmidt is still ahead on my list (as are Matt Davidson and Bobby Borchering, making Wheeler the best fourth-best corner infielder in any system in baseball). However, although Goldschmidt has the better plate discipline and both guys have holes in their swing, Wheeler has the benefit of being a left-handed power hitter with positional value, while Goldschmidt is a right-handed-hitting and throwing first baseman. At the very least, it's become an interesting debate.
Unfortunately, those two by themselves weren't enough to overcome the unfortunate outing form Wes Roemer, who allowed seven runs, five earned, in five innings while striking out two, raising his ERA to 4.36. Since getting off to a hot start, Roemer's season has steadily collapsed. Roemer's ERA by month: 2.25 in five April starts, 3.69 in five May starts, 6.55 in six June starts, and now 5.09 in four appearances so far in July. Bryan Henry allowed what would be the deciding run in his three innings of relief, while Bryan Woodall pitched a scoreless inning.
Hi-A: Visalia 7, Rancho Cucamonga 4. (43-54) Starting for the Rawhide was Dan Taylor, who was mildly effective, though in a four-inning outing. Taylor allowed two runs, striking out three and allowing a homer, while walking nobody. Brian Budrow was even better in the next 3.2 innings, allowing just one run while striking out three. Providing the pop for Visalia were Keon Broxton, Brent Greer, and Jon Mark Owings, who each doubled, and Alfredo Marte, who tripled. Broxton, Marte, and Greer each walked, rounding out their solid nights.
Low-A: South Bend 1, Clinton 6. (45-51) An all-around bad game, as the offense mustered just five singles - three from Ender Inciarte - and four walks. The pitching wasn't much better, as Bradin Hagens allowed five runs in five innings on the mound, posting a 3:3 K:BB ratio and allowing a homer, though he did have an 8:2 GO:AO ratio.
Short Season-A: Yakima 2, Boise 3. (12-23) The pitching did its part, as John Pedrotty allowed two runs in his five-inning start, then the bullpen allowed one run the rest of the way. Offensively, Marc Bourgeois and Carter Bell doubled for the Bears, but the offense couldn't scratch enough runs across the board.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 4, Casper 3. (19-12) Starter Robby Rowland was unimpressive, allowing three runs in five innings on the mound, striking out three and walking two, though he registered nine ground-ball outs. Thankfully, the bullpen held up for four scoreless innings, and the offense did just enough for the win. Tom Belza and Jon Griffin homered (Griffin added a walk), Eric Groff doubled twice and walked, and Justin Bianco doubled and walked.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 15, Giants 14. (10-15) Oh hey, the D-backs beat the Giants!! Okay, so this win is a little less enthralling than a big-league victory over the Giants would have been, but it was nice to see some members of the offense click. Wagner Mateo had a big game with a double and a homer, Socrates Brito doubled and tripled, and Pat Donahue, the lead-off hitter in the lineup, hit a three-run home run in the first inning... and no, that's not a typo. Starter Blake Perry allowed four runs in four innings with a 2:2 K:BB ratio, and that was the best innings-to-runs ratio for any of the pitchers used by the AZL D-backs in this game, yet somehow the AZL D-backs pulled this one off.
DSL (7/21): D-backs 3, Rockies 8. Starter Karl Triana had a rough four-inning start, allowing seven runs, five earned, while striking out two and walking one. Unfortunately, the DSL D-backs offense had an even rougher time against the DSL Rockies' starter, Helmis Rodriguez, who struck out eleven in five innings of work, allowing just one hit - a double to Yorman Garcia, who went 2-4 to lead the D-backs offense.
DSL: D-backs 2, Reds 3. (17-30) Starter Luis Hernandez was mediocre, but Willy Paredes threw four scoreless innings of relief. Corner infielder Ranfy Vargas doubled, but the rest of the offense managed just four singles and seven walks - two of which were drawn by Yorman Garcia and three from Michael Gonzalez.