As much well-deserved attention has been paid to the Double-A pitching staff this year, I think it's easy to forget that the lower ranks of the farm - often our only area of hope in prior years - is still absolutely loaded with quality prospects. I've talked about Archie Bradley plenty in these reports (and, rest assured, I do so in this report as well), but a darned-good left-handed starting pitching prospect who seems to have been lost in the crowd a bit turned in a spectacular outing on Friday. Seven innings and one earned run in the hitter-friendly Cal League is an awfully impressive feat:
Snakelet of the Day:
David Holmberg (Hi-A): 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 8:2 K:BB, 8:3 GO:AO, 1 HR.
Archie Bradley (Low-A): (Perfect Game through 5 IP) 5+ IP, 0 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4:3 K:BB, 7:4 GO:AO
Triple-A: Reno 12, Salt Lake 7. (8-14) Shortstop Taylor Harbin had a heck of a game, collecting three hits and falling a triple short of the cycle while driving in three, and first baseman Randy Ruiz went 2-4 with a three-run home run and a walk. Ryan Wheeler added a triple among his three hits, while Adam Eaton's three-hit day included a double - yes, folks, the offense was firing on all cylinders in this one. It needed to be clicking, too, as starter Chris Jakubauskas has a rough outing, giving up five runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings on the mound and helping to spot the Bees a 6-0 lead after four innings. However, Reno tied it up in the top of the fifth, and the bullpen did some quality work in limiting the Bees bats the rest of the way. Joe Paterson made his Aces debut, and D-backs fans will certainly be glad to hear of the results: one inning, three batters faced, one groundout, two strikeouts.
Double-A: Mobile 4, Chattanooga 2. (13-10) Starting the game for the BayBears was right-hander Derek Eitel, who was spectacular - seven innings, five hits, two runs (earned), four strikeouts, three walks, and nine groundouts. Right-hander Yonata Ortega finished off the final two innings with three strikeouts and just one hit, capping off a good day of pitching from the BayBears. Outfielder Marc Krauss led the way for the offense again, going 2-3 with a double and a triple, while Matt Davidson reached base twice on a pair of walks.
Hi-A: Visalia 7, San Jose 1. (8-14) This game was dominated by left-hander David Holmberg from the get-go, with a double play and a strikeout getting him through the first and a pair of swinging strikeouts and a groundout breezing through the second. Holmberg's only lasting blemish on the night proved to be a solo home run he surrendered to Giants catching prospect Andrew Susac, a highly-regarded second-round pick from the 2011 draft. Add in his eight strikeouts in seven innings of work, and Holmberg's night raised his season totals to 30.1 IP, 2.67 ERA, 35:7 K:BB - awfully impressive at Hi-A for someone who won't be able to legally drink until July. Don't expect Holmberg to be at Hi-A long - especially if Patrick Corbin is brought up to the major leagues, Holmberg seems destined to take a Double-A rotation slot sooner rather than later.
The offense supported Holmberg with an 11-hit outburst, although the final score may be somewhat misleading, as Visalia added four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Michael Freeman and Garret Weber each chipped in a double, while Weber had three hits and a walk on the night and Bobby Borchering tallied three hits of his own, all singles. It wasn't a power-filled game for the Rawhide, and the Visalia hitters drew just one walk, but well-timed singles proved plenty sufficient to secure a comfortable victory in this contest.
Low-A: South Bend 5, Cedar Rapids 3. (13-8) I'm sure this will come as a huge surprise to everyone, but right-hander Archie Bradley had a perfect game going through five innings in this game, with four strikeouts. Unfortunately, Archie ended up pitching three batters into the sixth, walking all three hitters he faced and seeing two of them cross the plate against reliever Keith Hessler, but it was nonetheless a dominant no-hit performance from the right-hander. Tyler Green worked the final three innings, allowing an unearned run and striking out two with no hits allowed, capping off a combined one-hit performance from the Silver Hawks pitching. On the other side of the ball, Chris Ellison went 2-3 with a double, a triple, and a hit-by-pitch to lead the way, while Marc Bourgeois doubled and Gerson Montilla drove in three on a single and a sac fly.