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Diamondbacks Farm Round-Up 8/28: Skaggs Edition

Fun fact: Tyler Skaggs can't legally drink.  What he can do, however, is utterly dominate opposing hitters on the mound.  Skaggs carried a perfect game into the sixth inning yesterday before finishing with the spectacular line below.  As he keeps getting better and better, it becomes more and more likely that he may be working in the major leagues sometime far sooner than we ever would have imagined going into this year: Opening Day 2012...  when he'll still be unable to legally drink.  Honestly, it's hard to say it would be rushing him.  Tell me if this sounds like the line of someone who needs more seasoning in the minors (for Double-A Mobile): 9 GS, 53.2 IP, 38 H, 16 R (13 ER), 2.18 ERA, 66:12 K:BB, 4 HR.

On the year (split between Mobile and Hi-A Visalia), Skaggs now boasts a remarkable 191:46 K:BB ratio in 154.1 innings of work.  If he's shut down, he can still work around 180 innings in 2012, although minor-league innings and major-league innings aren't identical in the stress they put on a pitcher's arm, so perhaps 175 would be a safer limit if he's in the Show immediately out of camp.  Still, Skaggs has clearly overtaken Jarrod Parker as the second best prospect in the system, and that is in no way a bash on Parker, who I'm a big fan of.

Snakelet of the Day:

Tyler Skaggs (Double-A): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 12:0 K:BB, 5:3 GO:AO

David Nick (Hi-A): 4-5, 3B, HR, R, 4 RBI

Triple-A: Reno 4, Tucson 6.  (73-63)  Starting pitcher Wes Roemer had a rough outing for Reno, striking out two with no walks but falling victim to precisely what ailed him so often at Reno in 2010 - the home run ball.  Of the seven hits Roemer allowed, two of them left the park in Tucson, leading to four of the five runs charged to Roemer crossing the plate.  The Aces bats kept it close against Padres starter Matt Buschmann with the help of a triple from Ryan Langerhans and a double from Mark Hallberg, but the offense was shut down by the Tucson bullpen for 2.2 innings.  Cody Ransom, back in the Aces lineup for the first time, singled and walked twice, while Tommy Manzella had three hits.

Double-A: Mobile 2, Chattanooga 1.  (81-52)  So, Skaggs was ridiculous.  But seeing as how I've already spent a good number of words discussing his awesomitude, there isn't much else left to say about the left-handed phenom.  The relief pitching was also impressive in this one, as Yonata Ortega threw a 1-2-3 eighth with one strikeout, followed by a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strikeouts from Mike DeMark, who notched his 14th save of the year.  It'd be interesting to know what DeMark's arsenal is, because his 1.91 ERA and 48:9 K:BB ratio in 33 innings this year suggests that he's ready at least for a promotion to Triple-A, but the 28-year-old Indy League sign is probably at his physical peak.  Considering his 0.68 GO/AO mark and only two home runs allowed, odds are he'd run into much more trouble keeping the ball in the park at higher levels, but it'd be a nice story if he could have at least a little big-league success.  The offense was led by Daniel Kaczrowski, who doubled and was driven in on a sac fly by Adam Eaton.  Ryan Wheeler walked twice, and was driven in on a two-out single by none other than Tyler Skaggs.  NL?  No problem.

Hi-A: Visalia 4, Modesto 10.  (61-72)  The 2-6 hitters in the Rawhide lineiup were abysmal, going 2-20 with three walks and 11 strikeouts, but the rest of the lineup was solid.  Mark Reed singled and doubled, while Ryan LaPensee added another double, but the star of the lineup was David Nick.  Nick raised his average above .300 and his OPS above .800 - he now sports a .304/.348/.454 line with 32 doubles and 13 home runs - with a 4-5 night that fell a double short of the cycle, driving in all four Visalia runs.  Additional good news: Nick's home run and triple came against right-handed pitchers Parker Frazier and Will Harris, bringing up his OPS against RHP to .771.  Starting pitcher Eric Smith had a rough day, which is what tends to happen when you post a 3:4 K:BB ratio and give up a home run, and not even his 11:3 GO:AO ratio could prevent him from allowing five runs (four earned) in six innings.  He wasn't helped by reliever Mike Belfiore, who allowed another five runs in just 1.1 innings of work walking two with no strikeouts, giving up four hits.

Low-A: South Bend 3, Lake County 2.  (64-67)  Silver Hawks starter Jeffrey Shields had an effective day on the mound, allowing just one run in six innings with a 6:2 K:BB ratio, surrendering just three hits.  Ender Inciarte chipped in a solo home run, while David Narodowski doubled to provide some pop to the Silver Hawks' offense.  Raywilly Gomez singled and walked, while Roberto Rodriguez and Marc Bourgeois each singled twice.

Short-Season-A: Yakima 3, Everett 5.  (30-41)  The Bears lost despite out-hitting the Aquasox 11-5, and all three of the Bears' runs came on a three-run homer from Justin Hilt, who also singled and walked.  Yakima starter John Pedrotty had his first mediocre outing since July 27, allowing five runs (four earned) in just 4.2 innings of work, posting a 5:3 K:BB ratio and allowing a home run, although he did post an impressive 8:3 GO:AO ratio.  Still, with Pedrotty having posted a 1.19 ERA in 30.1 innings prior to yesterday's outing, he remains one of the prospects whose stock has seen the biggest post-draft boost.  The bullpen also did good work, with Cody Geyer throwing 1.1 scoreless innings in his first outing since his promotion from the AZL and Teo Gutierrez working a scoreless eighth, as the organization starts limiting his innings.

Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 7, Ogden 15.  (39-27)  The Missoula offense recorded 10 hits despite striking out 16 times and hitting no home runs, but not even their absurd BABIP of .476 could help make up for the four home runs allowed by their pitching staff.  Three of those long-balls went against starter Raymond Hernandez, who allowed eight runs in five innings of work, though he did strike out six and walk just two, facing 26 batters.  Johan Jaime's outing was truly terrible, allowing two hits, two walks, and a two-out grand slam to Dodgers prospect Jeffrey Hunt, his second homer of the game.  Stephen Cardullo and Fidel Pena each tripled, while Chris Ellison doubled, but the most encouraging performance of the day belonged to top prospect Ty Linton, who had three hits, including a pair of doubles.  Linton remains exceedingly raw, with a 40:7 K:BB ratio in just 30 games this year, but his power potential is extraordinary.

Low-Rookie: D-backs 4, Cubs 5.  (20-35)  Arizona's 2011 supplemental-round pick, left-hander Andrew Chafin, made his pro debut yesterday in the Arizona League, working a scoreless first inning.  It was by no means clean, as Chafin allowed a double (to Cubs 2011 first-round pick Javier Baez) and hit a batter (2011 second-round pick Dan Vogelbach), but he also struck out two and recorded a flyout.  Mike Lebo came on after Chafin and worked six more scoreless innings, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out four with a 7:3 GO:AO ratio.  Unfortunately, Sean Johnson came on in the bottom of the eighth and promptly gave up hits to five of the six batters he faced, all of whom scored (including one runner inherited by Elroy Urbina).  Offensively, Domingo Soriano tripled while Pedro Ruiz and Pat Donahue each had two hits and a walk, with Donahue adding a stolen base to his day.