With all the hubbub yesterday regarding the draft's signing day, I'm starting this report, well, on Tuesday morning amid packing for school. I leave tomorrow at 1 p.m. to head back to the great frozen north - okay, it's not quite Canada, but it's close enough. Needless to say, I am depressed to see no remaining games against the Cubs since those are the only games I ever get to see in South Bend, but I'll be making my rounds at Covaleski Stadium soon again, as there will be a pair of home series remaining on the Silver Hawks' schedule when I arrive at ND. Expecting (hoping) to go to all seven games - it's not like I'll have much work to do in the first couple of weeks, right? Well... work might not be what gets in the way, admittedly.
Quick recap of the daily signings and possible destinations for the rest of the minor-league season: RHP Archie Bradleywas given $5MM spread out over five years (an absolute heist, if you ask me), and seems likely to head to the Arizona League, where he a) should dominate, and b) will be close to the mothership and some of the team's best instructors; LHPAndrew Chafin was given an $875,000 bonus and will likely head to one of the more advanced short-season affiliates - I would say Yakima with some certainty, except that the organization has kept most of its better prospects away from there, so Missoula is a possibility; RHP Anthony Meo received $625,000 and will probably follow Chafin to Yakima; C Michael Perez signed for $235,000 and is probably an AZL guy, given his rawness and general inexperience as a catcher.
Snakelets of the Day:
The Visalia Rawhide Offense: 13 runs scored - 19-41, 5 2B, 2 HR, 10:9 K:BB
Triple-A: Reno 1, New Orelans 3. (67-55) Man, this offense has been decimated lately. Now in a more neutral park environment at New Orleans, the Aces bats are doing nothing, recording just four hits and needing a solo home run byEvan Frey (surprisingly not an inside-the-parker - he got it over the wall) in the ninth inning to avoid the shutout. They were also rather hacktastic, collecting just a single walk in the contest. It's a shame, too, because right-hander Kevin Mulveyactually put together a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings. Granted, that came with a 1:1 K:BB ratio, but any sign of useful Triple-A innings-eating from Mulvey is worth taking. Kam Mickolio andRyan Cook each worked scoreless innings of relief to close out the game.
Double-A: The Southern League was still recovering from the godlike display on Sunday from Trevor Bauer, so nobody was willing to face Mobile on Monday.
....... Oh, fine, they had an off-day, but my story sounds cooler.
Hi-A: Visalia 13, Bakersfield 7. (56-64) The Visalia offense received stellar offensive performances from top to bottom on Monday night, as every Visalia hitter reached base at least twice. On the power side of things, Bobby Borchering crushed his 20th home run of the year for the Rawhide, while Alfredo Marte added his sixth bomb in just 41 games for Visalia after serving a 50-game suspension to start the year. Those two were helped out byRossmel Perez and Matt Davidson, who each doubled twice - the 33rd and 34th doubles of the year for Davidson - while Ryan LaPensee also doubled.
Here's the wrap-up on reached-base totals: Keon Broxton singled and walked twice, Chris Owings had three hits and drew a walk (kfpslerihsgklmewrwkqln-whaaaa???!!!), David Nick singled and walked, Davidson had three hits, Borchering had two hits (and three strikeouts), Marte had three hits and a walk, Perez had three hits and a walk,Raoul Torrez had two hits and a walk, and LaPensee had one hit and two walks. Spot starter Brad Wilson had a rough outing, giving up seven runs on 10 hits, a 4:0 K:BB ratio, a 7:3 GO:AO ratio, and a home run, but gave the Rawhide five innings of work before giving the ball to an effective Visalia bullpen. Brian Budrow threw three scoreless innings of relief, striking out three with no walks, while Blake Cooper struck out one in a scoreless ninth.
Low-A: South Bend 4, Bowling Green 3. (56-63) Starting pitcher Tyler Green had his second straight solid outing, perhaps gaining a second wind after showing signs of fatigue in late July and early August. Green struck out five and walked just one in five innings on the mound, posting a 5:3 GO:AO ratio and giving up two runs on a first-inning home run by Derek Dietrich, the Tampa Bay infielder who's being promoted about as slowly as the typical Tampa Bay pitching prospect (hint: he belongs in Hi-A). Perhaps even more impressive, though, was the work of Patrick Schuster in relief. In three innings of work, Schuster got ground balls (3:0 GO:AO), missed bats (3 K's), and showed good control (zero walks) while allowing just four hits and one unearned run. Eury De La Rosa threw a scoreless ninth with one strikeout.
The performances of those three pitchers gave the Silver Hawks offense a chance to steal this one late in the game, and they did just that with a three-run seventh inning to take the lead. After Bowling Green tied in the bottom half of the seventh, second baseman Gerson Montilla whacked his sixth home run in just 47 games in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League to give South Bend the lead for good. So long as Montilla's current 10.1% line drive rate isn't a normalized figure, I expect Montilla's .248 BABIP with South Bend this year to eventually rise, and with it .223/.277/.411 batting line for South Bend. Don't sleep on the 21-year-old Montilla - he may not walk much, but that's impressive power for his position. Also chipping in were Yazy Arbelo, who doubled and had a two-hit day, and Raywilly Gomez, who had two hits and a walk.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 7, Spokane 6. (22-36) Man, it was fun to dream on Yiomar Camacho when he was busy shredding the Arizona League. Now in the Northwest League, the 21-year-old right-hander has struggled, posting a 6:9 K:BB ratio in four starts, spanning 17.1 innings, with the Bears. The worst outing of that stretch came on Monday, when Camacho lasted just 1.1 innings into his outing with Yakima, striking out just one while walking three and hitting another batter, allowing four runs on just two hits. The bullpen came on and did well, though, allowing just two runs the rest of the way to keep the game within reach. The offense cashed in on the opportunity for a comeback, capitalizing on six Spokane walks and doubles from Jimmy Comerota and Matthew Jensen to steal a victory from the Indians.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 8, Orem 4. (34-19) Conrad Flynn started the game for the Osprey and turned in a solid performance, striking out six and walking just one in five shutout innings on the rubber. Unfortunately, Jesse Darrah, who followed in relief, struggled with his control and allowed a long-ball to top Angels third base prospectKaleb Cowart, allowing four runs on five hits in three innings with a 4:3 K:BB ratio. Matt Sample worked a scoreless ninth inning to seal the victory.
The Missoula offense did more than enough to cover up for Darrah's slight struggles by consistently obliterating the baseball Monday night. Jonathan Griffin homered for the 13th time and doubled, while Eric Groff hit his ninth home run of the year, now working on a new five-game hitting streak after seeing his all-time franchise-leading streak come to an end on August 8. Fidel Pena tripled and stole a base (no, not home plate), Roidany Aguila doubled twice, and Tom Belza added another double to cap off the power explosion. Center fielder Justin Bianco turned a walk into a triple by immediately stealing both second and third base.
Low-Rookie: The AZL also had an off-day. Off to go finish packing!