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Diamondbacks Minor League Recap 4/15/17: Marcus Wilson swats a pair of dingers and Prospects of the Week for Week 2

The Kane County outfielder continues his strong start to the season.

No Diamondbacks prospect may be off to a hotter start than OF Marcus Wilson. Originally drafted as a Competitive B lottery pick in 2014, as part of the return for Ian Kennedy, Wilson has had slow and steady development in his first 3 years in the organization. Last year, he started to show signs of advanced plate discipline with a walk rate around 20%. This year, it looks like the power is starting to develop as he’s added a pair of homers to give him 6 extra base hits in 37 ABs to start the season. He should start shooting up prospect boards quick.

3 Stars: Kane County DH Marcus Wilson 3 for 5, 2 HR (3, 4), 6 RBI, 3 R

2 Stars: Visalia RHP Trevor Simms 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, GS 66

1 Star: Kane County RHP Ryan Atkinson 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, W (2-0), GS 64

0 Stars: Reno LHP Brian Matusz 1 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K

Reno Aces 10, El Paso Chihuahuas 5: Frank Duncan was decent for the first six innings of the game, as the game was tied at 3 to that point. However, things fell off the wheels in the 7th, where Duncan allowed 3 runs while getting only 2 outs. Despite solid K/BB ratio of 4/1, Duncan allowed 2 homers. The offense scored too late in this one as they could only muster 2 runs down 10-3 in the 9th. Ketel Marte led the team with 3 hits in 5 AB, scoring and driving in a run. Kaleb Fleck got the last out in the 7th and gave up a run in the 8th. Matusz pitched the 9th and allowed 3 runs to score.

Jackson Generals 3, Mobile Baybears 2: The Generals take the series thanks to stellar pitching from Brad Keller. Keller allowed 1 run in 5 innings, walking 2 and striking out 6. Keller is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA (1 run in 10 IP), 11/3 K/BB, and 1.00 WHIP. The bats weren’t great, but good enough as Colin Walsh drove in all 3 runs with a 3rd inning 2-run homer and a 5th inning sac fly, both of them scoring Rudy Flores, who reached three times (double, 2 walks) in the game. The bullpen was fantastic, especially with Miller Diaz and Yuhei Nakaushiro, who faced 8 hitters and gave up 0 hits, walks, or any free passes of any sort in the final 2 innings.

Visalia Rawhide 0, Inland Empire 66ers 1: The Rawhide wasted an excellent start from Trevor Simms (see above) despite iffy control (44/83 pitches for strikes), and ultimately never scored in the game. All they got was 2 hits and 1 walk over 10 innings. Matt McPhearson and Colin Bray picked up the hits and Matt Jones drew the walk. Bray did add a stolen base in the game. Relief pitching was fairly solid for Visalia, as the bullpen allowed 1 run in 5 innings. Cameron Gann ran into some trouble in the 6th and was bailed out by Kirby Bellow. Bellow would also proceed to pitch the 7th and 8th, striking out 5 of the 7 batters he faced. In his 2nd inning of work, Bud Jeter allowed a solo homer in the 10th for the game’s only run.

Kane County Cougars 8, Quad City River Bandits 4: The Cougars took control of this game from the get-go, scoring 5 runs in the first two innings. That was more than enough support for Ryan Atkinson, who allowed 1 run in 6 innings, walking none and striking out 5. As you know by the headline, Marcus Wilson had a monster game, hitting 3-run homers in the 2nd and 8th innings. The Cougars got contributions from all over their lineup with 7 of 9 hitters recording at least 1 hit. Huang pitched 2 scoreless innings and Burr pitched the 9th, allowing 3 runs before recording an out.

And for our prospects of the week for April 10-15...

Position Player: Kane County OF Marcus Wilson. Wilson wins the honor for the 2nd week in a row, with an impressive .409/.480/.864 slash, including 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and 5 runs scored. After hitting 3 homers in his first three seasons in the organization, he’s already got 4 in the first 10 games of full season ball. Depending on the type of season he has, could be a fast-rising prospect. I asked Joe Brand, who does Radio Play by Play for the Kane County Cougars, about Wilson and this was his response:

Pitcher: Kane County RHP Sam McWilliams. McWilliams pitched 5 1-hit innings against Cedar Rapids, striking out 8 and walking none. His start earned the highest game score of any Diamondbacks minor league pitcher, a mark of 76. McWilliams has pitched 10 shutout innings for Kane County, using his low 90s sinker to dominate hitters. His start to the season has slightly outdone last week’s winner, Jon Duplantier, in 2 starts.