The minor-league regular season is quickly coming to an end, the four full-season affiliates' regular-season schedules set to end after Monday night's action. The only affiliate with regular-season action beyond Monday night is, oddly enough, Rookie-level Missoula, whose regular season goes through Thursday, right up against the start of their postseason on Friday. Short-Season-A Yakima's regular season actually ended yesterday, but the Bears went out with a great game, particularly from their starting pitcher:
Snakelet of the Day:
John Pedrotty (Short-Season-A): 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9:0 K:BB, 3:3 GO:AO
Triple-A (11 innings): Reno 5, Tucson 6. (76-66) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 2. Right-hander Barry Enright had a nice outing for the Aces, working seven innings and giving up four runs, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio and 8:5 GO:AO ratio while allowing 10 hits. The bullpen then kept the Padres' offense locked down through regulation and in the tenth, but the Aces bats were unable to capitalize. Lucas May hit a home run, while Andy Tracy and Ryan Langerhans each doubled in regulation to help send the Aces into extra innings, but the Aces couldn't capitalize on Langerhans' second double of the game, which led off the tenth inning. Reliever Kyler Newby couldn't hold the tie in the eleventh, giving up a pair of runs, and Tommy Manzella's solo home run in the bottom half of the inning wasn't enough to make up the deficit.
Double-A: Mobile 6, Huntsville 5. (84-54) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 2. Lefty Tyler Skaggs was on the mound for the BayBears, and despite giving up four runs (three earned) in just four innings of work, he was pretty effective. He struck out nearly a third of the batters he faced, whiffing seven against 22 batters faced, but fell in trouble with hits (seven, good for a .583 BABIP) and walks (three, a total that I'm sure Skaggs himself would tell you is too high). The bullpen picked up their star left-hander, though, as Clay Zavada worked three scoreless frames and Bryan Woodall gave up one run over the last two innings with a pair of K's.
Leading the offense once again was A.J. Pollock, who doubled, walked, and singled in the second slot in the lineup. Ollie Linton reached base three times in the leadoff spot with a walk, a HBP, and a base hit, also hitting a sac fly and stealing his 20th base of the year in 28 attempts. Jacob Elmore doubled, singled, and was hit by a pitch while playing shortstop - unusual because Taylor Harbin, the team's typical everyday SS (who was voted by Baseball America as the best shortstop defender in the Southern League), was still in the lineup at Elmore's typical second base spot. Ryan Wheeler had a three-single day also stealing a base.
Hi-A: Visalia 5, Modesto 6. (62-76) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 2. Right-hander Diogenes Rosario had another short outing, working just 5.1 innings, the eighth time in his last ten outings that he has failed to work six innings. Nonetheless, Rosario pitched well enough for the Rawhide to win, giving up three runs with a 4:2 K:BB ratio and a home run allowed (to some guy named Nolan Arenado in Colorado's system... I think he's supposed to be good or something). One thing Rosario has been much better with lately is inducing ground balls (perhaps as a product of him getting tired late in the year and his fastball sinking more...), and his 6:3 GO:AO ratio in this game suggests more of the same.
Rosario is a legitimate prospect with solid stuff, but simply projects as a reliever rather than a starter, with his work in the rotation for the Rawhide coming as a product of a) a need for someone to start games for Visalia, and b) to give Rosario a chance to develop his off-speed stuff. (The latter of those reasons was why Tyler Green started the year in South Bend's rotation, but he has apparently pitched well enough to change the team's mind about the possibility of him making it as a starter in the big leagues.) For a little perspective, Rosario has a 23:6 K:BB ratio in 26.1 innings out of the 'pen this year, but a 65:38 K:BB ratio as a starter. His work as a starter is purely for additional development, not because of a belief in a long-term future as a starting pitcher.
The power in the Rawhide lineup came in the form of a triple from Keon Broxton and pair of doubles, coming from Jon Mark Owings and Brent Greer. Matthew Davidson had a three-hit day for Visalia, but David Nick had an eight-game hitting streak - during which he hit 15-31 (.484) with three doubles, a triple, a pair of home runs, and a 2:1 K:BB ratio - snapped with an 0-4 day that included a GIDP, but also an RBI. Even with a pair of 0-4 days bookending that eight-game streak, Nick has posted a .385/.390/.667 line over his last ten games. Not too shabby for someone a full year below league-average age.
Low-A: South Bend 1, Great Lakes 6. (66-71) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 2. The Silver Hawks offense couldn't touch fireballing top Dodgers prospect Angel Sanchez on Saturday night, scratching just one run across the right-hander in seven innings. Sanchez whiffed six Silver Hawks and walked just one, lowering his ERA with the Loons to an awfully-impressive 2.82 in 99 innings of work. He's a very interesting story, as the 21-year-old is not just making his US debut this year, but his professional debut, as he chose to go to college in the Dominican Republic before signing with a pro baseball team, despite offers as a teenager.
The decision obviously required some financial freedom to pay for college and be able to support himself, but his velocity jumped several miles per hour while at school, and he's one semester away from a degree - a stark contrast to the mid-to-upper-80's throwing teenagers who sign with pro teams that offer at least a few years of financial support, and hope to separate themselves from the crowd while at a team's Latin American academy. The one run off of Sanchez came courtesy of Gerson Montilla, who went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch, doubling in the seventh inning before being driven in on a Roberto Rodriguez single. South Bend starter Bradin Hagens also worked seven innings, but struck out just two while allowing a pair of walks, eight hits, a home run, and five runs (four earned).
Short-Season-A: Yakima 5, Eugene 4. (33-43) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 0. The D-backs' 13th round pick from the 2011 draft, Pedrotty has had a fantastic pro debut year with the Bears, ending his season with five nearly-flawless innings of work. Pedrotty whiffed half of the 18 batters he faced and controlled the zone - a big key since Pedrotty has struggled with free passes at times, reportedly working with Yakima's pitching coach, Doug Bochtler, on repeating his mechanics throughout the season - bringing his final season line to 68 IP, 3.04 ERA, 70:29 K:BB, 3 HR, 1.28 GO/AO. The left-hander has even handled right-handed hitters well, posting a 52:21 K:BB ratio in 50.1 "innings" against righties, as opposed to an 18:8 K:BB ratio in 17.2 "innings" against lefties.
With those kind of numbers, Pedrotty has seemingly turned himself into a strong candidate to receive a starting rotation slot at one of the D-backs' full-season A-ball affiliates in 2012. His destination for 2012 depends on how aggressive Arizona chooses to be with Anthony Meo and Andrew Chafin, as well as how the organization views his current skill and upside compared to others like Yiomar Camacho, Blake Perry, Cody Wheeler, Jesse Darrah, and Robby Rowland. There seems to be an enormous need for Low-A rotation slots next year, so some people with a lesser ceiling, like Pedrotty, could be bumped up to Hi-A to simplify things. Arizona has had plenty of success with pitching prospect selections in the early teens as of late, with Charles Brewer, Scottie Allen, and Patrick Schuster turning into legitimate prospects from that area of the draft.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 3, Helena 9. (40-31) Regular-Season Games Remaining: 5. Right-hander Jesse Darrah had a rough day for the Osprey, giving up eight runs (seven earned) in just three innings, striking out four of the 21 batters he faced and walking three, while allowing seven hits. On a much brighter note, Anthony Meo made his Osprey debut with a pair of scoreless innings in relief of Darrah, striking out one and facing the minimum (6). The bullpen held the Brewer close for the rest of the game, but the Osprey bats were unable to stage much of a comeback, with Fidel Pena's and Roidany Aguila's doubles representing the only Osprey extra-base hits.