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Diamondbacks Farm Round-Up 8/30: Deep Breath Edition

Take a deep breath: that's a message for those panicking about Tuesday's start from Trevor Bauer.  Yes, Bauer's 1.2-inning, 10-run fiasco was an unfortunate bump in the road for the right-hander, but let's look at the big picture.  Despite his now-ugly ERA, Bauer still has a 26:8 K:BB ratio in 16.2 innings at Mobile, and no "poor command" can explain a 7/9 BABIP.  He'll probably always give up home runs, so the walks he's occasionally susceptible to allowing are a slight concern, but they won't be as catastrophic as they were on Tuesday.  Expect to see him in the D-backs rotation on Opening Day 2012, and expect him to be good.

Moving on, I happened to venture out to the Cove for South Bend's home finale on Tuesday night, and saw an awfully good game.  I've been one of this starter's biggest supporters all year long, and was witness to this fantastic pitching line from Tuesday's action:

Snakelet of the Day:

J.R. Bradley (Low-A): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R (0 ER), 9:2 K:BB, 10:3 GO:AO

Triple-A: Reno 2, Fresno 5.  (74-64)  Reno's and Fresno's lineup connection on a pair of home runs each, but the long-balls sent into the bleachers by the Aces bats were both solo shots, while Brett Pill's homer for Fresno was a three-run blast, which proved to be the difference in the game.  The Aces' blasts were back-to-back knocks in the seventh inning, courtesy of Mark Hallberg and Andy Tracy, their 6th and 18th home runs of the year, respectively.  Reno starter Kevin Mulvey had a superb 6:0 K:BB ratio in his five innings on the mound, but simply chose a bad moment to surrender his long-ball (to Pill), getting tagged with those three earned runs.

Double-A: Mobile 2, Chattanooga 14.  (82-53)  The Lookouts collected 20 hits in this game while striking out six times, hitting two home runs, and collecting zero sacrifice flies.  It was a home game for Mobile, so their pitchers worked a full nine innings (27 outs), so let's do some quick math.  27 outs - 6 strikeouts = 21 outs on balls in play.  20 hits - 2 home runs = 18 hits on balls in play.  18 / (21+18) = .462 batting average on balls in play.  Again: deep breaths, people - everything is going to be fine.  The more disconcerting performance on the night came from the offense, which notched just six hits (fun fact: the BayBears struck out just five times, fewer times than the Lookouts K'd), none of which went for extra-bases.  Reliever Kevin Munson made his Double-A debut, posting a 1:1 K:BB ratio and allowing two hits in two scoreless innings of work.

Hi-A: The Rawhide game was postponed, and Visalia hopes to play a doubleheader against Lancaster today.

Low-A (11 innings): South Bend 3, Lake County 4.  (65-68)  As mentioned in the intro, I was lucky enough to be at this game, and J.R. Bradley was disgustingly good.  I'll write up the details of what I saw yesterday (and from the other two games I've seen over the last week) when I find some time later in the week, but he solidified his spot as the best prospect on the Silver Hawks in my mind, season numbers be darned.  Bradley was missing bats with ease, striking out nine and posting a 10:3 GO:AO ratio in seven innings of work, allowing just two walks, five hits, and a pair of first-inning unearned runs.  Neither of the runs would have scored had catcher Raywilly Gomez not dropped a swinging third strike to Indians prospect and former unsigned Tampa Bay first-round pick LeVon Washington.  Granted, the Captains lineup is quite terrible, but Bradley's stuff looked great and I don't have any doubt that he would have succeeded against any other MWL lineup.

Sadly, the Silver Hawks offense was held without an extra-base hit until the bottom of the ninth, when Gomez doubled to lead things off, eventually scoring the tying run on a GIDP from Matt Helm that was nearly a triple-play.  The offense certainly wasn't helped by an early ejection of first baseman Yazy Arbelo, who was tossed along with Lake County starter Felix Sterling with nobody out in the bottom of the second inning.  Sterling missed inside for ball one around Arbelo's knees, then his second pitch hit Arbelo squarely in the back, at which point Arbelo charged the mound, eventually throwing his helmet at Sterling with an obvious intent to harm.  I have no idea if there was some prior tension brewing between Arbelo/South Bend and Sterling/Lake County, but I found Arbelo's short fuse remarkable and disconcerting.

Short-Season-A: Yakima 7, Eugene 1.  (31-41)  Starting pitcher Blake Perry locked down the Emeralds' offense, giving up just one run in seven one-hit innings on the rubber, posting a 2:2 K:BB ratio and a 6:8 GO:AO ratio.  Perry is one of what seems to be a dozen candidates for South Bend rotation slots in 2012, among possible returnees in Bradley and Tyler Green, fellow Short-Season studs Yiomar Camacho, John Pedrotty, and Jesse Darrah, and locks from the 2012 draft in Archie Bradley, Anthony Meo, and Andrew Chafin.

Some very good prospects, perhaps including Perry and Missoula's starting pitcher from Tuesday night, could be left in short-season ball due to a lack of innings to go around at SB.  The offense was led by a three-hit night from Danny Pulfer that included a double, while Tyler Bream and Jae Yun Kim each had two-base hits.  The Bears lineup showed plenty of patience, drawing a total of six walks in this one to go with their total of 10 hits, explaining the offensive output.

Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 7, Great Falls 13.  (39-28)  Ryan Court and Stephen Cardullo each homered for the Osprey, while Chris Ellison tripled and Ty Linton, Jon Griffin, Jeremia Gomez, and Fidel Pena each doubled.  Pena enjoyed a three-hit night, while Gomez was the only other Osprey bat to record a multi-hit game, adding a single and also drawing a walk.  Unfortunately, things keep going horribly wrong for right-hander Robby Rowland, who had seen an absurd home run rate tank his overall numbers.  Amid allowing three long balls in just three innings on Tuesday night, Rowland walked two, struck out none, and gave up eight runs (seven earned) and seven hits.

The outing raised Rowland's ERA to an atrocious 8.00 in 13 starts this year, with a 46:16 K:BB ratio and 13 home runs in 63 innings.  However, Rowland's season GO/AO stands at 2.35, so I imagine the issue is some combination of command wobbles and HR/FB absurdity.  Needless to say, he's a much better prospect than this, although he might need a third year in Short-Season ball.  At just 19 years old, though, he can still afford to need that extra refinement time.

Low-Rookie: Silly me, it appears that yesterday's AZL D-backs game was the last of their inaugural season!