An interesting signing a week ago that may or may not be meaningful saw the Dbacks ink a Brazilian prospect named Gabriel Maciel, a swift, switch-hitting center fielder. Not many prospects come out of Brazil but there have been recent efforts to develop the game there. Former major leaguers Barry Larkin and Steve Finley have been active recently as coaches as well as some academy and field investments from the Tampa Bay Rays and various Japanese leagues. Maciel has been playing for Team Brazil in the Under-18 World Cup and must have turned somebody's head. He immediately reported to the AZL Dbacks rookie team and already has 6 games under his belt going 11 for 29 (.379) with 4 stolen bases. At this point it's only mildly interesting but a further of growth for baseball in another part of the world than what we're used to seeing. There's a strong Japanese influence in Brazilian baseball and the Dbacks have another prospect they've signed out of Brazil, Bo Takahashi, obviously of Japanese descent. Only three major leaguers to date come from Brazil, but maybe there's more to come in the not-too-distant future.
3 Stars: Evan Marzilli, Mobile 4 for 5, 1 R, 1 DBL, 2 RBI, 1 SB
2 Stars: Chuck Taylor, Visalia 4 for 4, 3 R, 1 HR (2), 1 RBI
1 Star: Ryan January, Missoula 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR (2), 2 RBI
0 Stars: Braden Shipley, Reno 4 IP, 12 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 8 ER, L (6-4)
AAA: Reno 3 El Paso 13. Braden Shipley got blasted for 8 runs over 4 innings in his worst outing of the year. He had nothing going giving up 2 in the 2nd, 3 in the 3rd and was yanked in the 5th after allowing the first three runners to reach, all of whome scored. The game was over by then. The offense didn't have much response with Zach Borenstein picking up a couple of singles.
AA: Mobile 8 Birmingham 5. The first 3 runners reached for the BayBears in the bottom of the 1st and Kevin Cron blasted a grand slam to get the game started in style. That wasn't quite the end of things as the game tightened up in the middle innings. Billy Buckner started and gave up 5 runs through 5 innings for a sub-par start. The bullpen was terrific though going 4 shutout innings allowing 2 hits and striking out 6. Zac Curtis got the save with a perfect 9th. Evan Marzilli had a big day going 4 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI and a stolen base. Travis Denker went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI and Rudy Flores added 3 singles.
A+: Visalia 9 Rancho Cucamonga 4. Brad Keller had a solid outing pitching into the 7th though the line was sullied when he gave up 2 runs in that inning. He finished with 6 1/3 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits without a walk and striking out 7. He faced off against none other than a rehabilitating Brandon McCarthy who the Rawhide tallied 4 runs against over 5 innings. Chuck Taylor led the offense going 4 for 4 with a home run. Victor Reyes also went 4 for 4 with an RBI. Dawel Lugo had 2 hits including a 2-run homer.
A: Kane County 3 Burlington 2. Justin Donatella returned to form after three rough outings in a row. He pitched into the 8th and had a shutout going until he surrendered 2 runs in the 7th. Relievers Yuhei Nakaushiro and Drew Muren closed the door from there with Muren getting his 4th save. Donatella only allowed 3 hits and walked one with 4 strikeouts. Grant Heyman led the offense going 3 for 4 with a triple and 2 runs scored. Austin Byler went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI.
A-: Hillsboro 0 @ Vancouver 3. Starter Anfernee Benitez was okay giving up 3 runs over 6 innings while striking out 6. But it wasn't nearly good enough as the offense was shut out on 5 hits. Adam Walton had 2 of those hits and Alexis Oleda added a double.
R: Missoula 5 @ Helena 11. Starter Chester Pimentel didn't have it getting banged around for 8 runs on 13 hits in less than 5 innings. The offense did their best to make it look respectable with some late runs due to home runs from Ryan January, Eudy Ramos and Jose Herrera. Good to see Herrera getting some playing time. The 19-year-old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela has a $1 million signing bonus to start living up to. He's only played 5 games so far going 5 for 18 with 2 doubles.
AZL: Dbacks 6 @ Athletics 7. This one should have been over when the Dbacks posted a 5-spot in the 5th to take a 6-1 lead. Unfortunately relievers Palmer Betts and Jeremiah Muhammad had a 9th inning meltdown with the winning run eventually scoring on a wild pitch. Starter Jhoan Duran went 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 5. Pedro Marquez clubbed a double and a triple and drove in 2 runs to lead the offense. The 22-year-old Cuban outfielder is playing his first baseball outside of Cuba. Francis Martinez went 2 for 4 and drove in a pair.