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Dbacks Minor League Round-Up 4/14: Owings Can Hit Too

With all the hubbub surrounding Didi Gregorius and to a lesser extent Cliff Pennington and Nick Ahmed, Chris Owings must feel like the forgotten man. But he's doing just fine in his first season at the AAA level and went 4 for 4 last night to raise his average to .404 and his OPS to .994. In the just completed series against Sacramento Owings went 10 for 14. Interestingly, last night he started at second base even though Gregorius is still serving as the DH. Sounds like they're planning on keeping him in Reno when Didi starts playing SS. There are also some who feel his future is at second base, that his defense is a tick below average for a major league shortstop. More importantly Owings is making a little progress on his approach with a 3/13 BB/K in 55 PAs. Baby steps.

Chris Owings has the bat off to a hot start for AAA Reno
Chris Owings has the bat off to a hot start for AAA Reno
Christian Petersen

All four teams were in action though it's getting difficult to keep reporting on Reno who got pounded again by Sacramento. In three games the pitching staff has allowed 51 runs. In contrast the Dbacks have only surrendered 47 runs in 12 games. Mobile won again 5-2 to raise their record to 6-4. The Visalia bullpen had a bad day as they allowed San Jose to win in come-from-behind fashion. South Bend raised their record to 6-2 with a double-header sweep of Lansing that included a 7-inning no-hitter by Kyle Schepel in Game 1.

Snake Stars
4 Stars: Kyle Schepel, South Bend 7 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 9 K, W (1-0)
3 Stars: Chris Owings, Reno 4 for 4, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 DBL, 2 RBI, 1 SB (3)
2 Stars: Bradin Hagens, Mobile 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 2 ER, W (2-0)
1 Star: Brandon Drury, South Bend 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 DBL, 1 TPL, 2 RBI
0 Stars: Nelson Figueroa, Reno 3.1 IP, 10 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 9 R, 8 ER

Triple A: Reno 6 Sacramento 22. The season-opening series against Sacramento is off to a horrible start as the pitching got shellacked again. This time it was Nelson Figueroa playing the victim along with some more bullpen arms including shortstop Taylor Harbin who pitched 2+ innings. The only positive was some good hitting from the infield. Chris Owings was perfect going 4 for 4 with a walk and 2 RBI. Didi Gregorius had 2 more hits and his first stolen base. Taylor Harbin had 2 hits including a triple and an RBI to show he's a good-hitting pitcher. One other negative is Owings committed his 4th error of the short season.

Double A: Mobile 5 Pensacola 2. Bradin Hagens put up his second consecutive good start to get to 2-0 and lead Mobile to victory. He threw 7 solid innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk with 5 strikeouts. Rossmel Perez paced the offense with a 3 for 4 night and 2 RBI. Hagens drove in 2 runs with a 2-run single in the 5th to help his own cause. Ender Inciarte, Jon Griffin and Brent Clevlen all added a pair of singles to the effort.

High A: Visalia 6 @ San Jose 8. Andrew Chafin made his third start of the season and has things in see-saw mode. A bad start-a good start-a bad start, etc. Last night was a bad start with 5 runs allowed on 7 hits and 4 walks in less than 5 innings. He did strike out 4. Fortunately he wasn't pinned with the loss because the offense rallied to take a one-run lead in the top of the 7th. Unfortunately, reliever Willy Paredes surrendered 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th and there were no more comebacks to be had. Yazy Arbelo had 2 doubles to start getting his season untracked. Tom Belza went 2 for 3 with a walk, a double, an RBI and a caught stealing.

Low A: Game 1. South Bend 1 @ Lansing 0. Kyle Schepel tossed a 7-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader in frigid weather. It was nearly a perfect game except for a walk in the 5th inning. Schepel also struck out 9 in the impressive outing. Brandon Drury drove in the lone run with a single in the 4th inning. Fidel Pena went 2 for 2.

Low A: Game 2. South Bend 8 @ Lansing 2. Blake Perry started Game 2 and threw 3 innings allowing a run on 4 hits and a walk. JR Bradley followed with 2 innings allowing 1 run and earned the victory. The offense was sparked by a 3-run homer from Roidany Aguila, a couple of extra-base hits from Brandon Drury (another piece from the Upton trade), and 2 doubles by Ryan Court. South Bend is currently in first place in the Eastern Division of the Midwest League.