Arguably the best player from the Diamondbacks 2016 draft class may prove to be RHP Jon Duplantier from Rice University. A heavy workload and shoulder problems limited him to 1 inning in his summer debut, but in his first action of 2017 was electric. He has the most upside from the rotation prospects in the system, although he’s farther away from the majors than Anthony Banda and Taylor Clarke.
3 Stars: Kane County RHP Jon Duplantier 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, GS 72
2 Stars: Visalia LF Grant Heyman 4 for 5, 3B, HR (1), 3 RBI, 2 R
1 Star: Jackson LHP Josh Taylor 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 9 K, W (1-0), GS 58
0 Stars: Reno LHP Anthony Banda 2 2⁄3 IP, 3 H, 4 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 2 K, L (0-1), GS 32
Reno Aces 1, Fresno Grizzlies 6: Anthony Banda did not have a solid first outing to the 2017 season as he was tagged for 4 runs in 2 2⁄3 innings. Banda surrendered 3 hits and 4 walks while only striking out 2. A fielding error by Oswaldo Arcia in LF contributed heavily as 2 of the 4 runs surrendered by Banda were unearned. The bats were also bad as the team managed just 5 hits for the game and 1 run. Hopefully we see better outings from Banda in the future.
Jackson Generals 3, Birmingham Barons 2: Josh Taylor followed up Clarke’s spectacular start last night with one of his own. Taylor scattered 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9 in a 1-run outing. The Generals scored individual runs in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings while the bullpen held the lead with 4 innings of 1-run ball. Victor Reyes clubbed out a tie-breaking homer in the 4th for the decisive run. Gabriel Moya, an underrated lefty reliever had 2 scoreless innings, followed by Yuhei Nakaushiro’s 1-2-3 8th with 2 strikeouts. Grant Sides allowed a run to score in the 9th, but locked things down for his first save of the year.
Visalia Rawhide 10, Lancaster Jethawks 6: The Rawhide trailed 6-5 in the top of the 9th, but plated 5 runs to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. Joel Payamps got rocked early for 6 runs in the first three innings to put the Rawhide in a big hole. However, he did recover to get 5 innings despite allowing 11 hits and walking 2. The bullpen behind him aided the comeback effort with 4 shutout innings, with Cameron Gann picking up the win with a scoreless 8th. Grant Heyman keyed the effort with a 4 for 5 day, finishing a double short of the cycle, driving in 3 and scoring twice. Austin Byler hit a tie-breaking 2 run homer in the 9th inning after the tying run came across on a wild pitch earlier in the AB. Heyman capped things off with a 2-run triple to ice the game.
Kane County Cougars 3, Clinton Lumber Kings 0: After two games, I think the 2020 Diamondbacks are going to look very good. Jon Duplantier started the 3 hit shutout effort with 5 innings of 1-hit ball with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. The offense wasn’t great, but good enough with strong pitching. Wei-Chieh Huang followed up Duplantier with 2 shutout innings, picking up the win in relief. Jeferson Mejia and Tyler Mark closed things out, the latter having to get 5 outs with his 3rd baseman making 2 errors to put the tying run up with 1 out in the 9th. Bottom of the order did most of the damage with Kyle Smith going 2 for 3 with a double and a walk, while Jason Morozowski and Manny Jefferson both picking up RBIs.