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Diamondbacks Minor League Recap 5/25/21: Thomas the Tank goes Yard

Syndication: Phoenix
The way Alek Thomas has been raking, reaching the big leagues this year might not be if but when.
Mark Henle/The Republic

The Diamondbacks Minor League affiliates combined for a 2-2 record. Reno coasted to a comfortable win, Amarillo got blown out, Hillsboro won on the strength of early offense and good bullpen, and Visalia was unable to hold an early lead.

Best Pitching Performance: Reno RHP Humberto Castellanos - 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, W (2-0)
Best Hitting Performance: Amarillo CF Alek Thomas - 2 for 3, 3B, solo HR (2), BB, 2 R

Rehab Outings:
Christian Walker: 0 for 3, BB, K

AAA: Reno Aces 6, Sacramento River Cats (SFG) 4

Humberto Castellanos started the game and was downright unhittable in this start, allowing just 2 hits and a walk over 5 shutout innings. Reno would score first after a couple free passes to start the game was followed up by a pair of flyouts that scored Nick Heath from 2nd. Drew Ellis would drive in Heath again in the 3rd after Heath walked, stole 2nd, and advanced to 3rd on a groundout. 2-run homers by Nick Heath and Ryder Jones would give Reno a nice 6-0 lead and they would need every bit of it in the 8th.

Newly signed minor leaguer Josh Lucas came in and did not retire any of the 4 batters he faced, opening up with a 4 pitch walk, a wild pitch, double, hit by pitch, then a 2-run double. Ryan Buchter came in and allowed both inherited runners to score before getting 3 outs. Runs for thee but not from me, I suppose? The 9th inning involved no drama as Buchter retired the side in order, 2 via strikes.

1B Seth Beer: 1 for 1

AA: Amarillo Sod Poodles 4, Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU) 17

Offensively, it was the Alek Thomas show as the only bright spot in the organization this year continues to rake. Thomas opened up the game by hitting the first pitch a very long way and would later put another stamp on the game with a triple in the 5th. Overall he reached base 3 times, improving his batting line to an absurd .344/.446/.639 in his first 74 PA at the AA level with nearly as many walks (12) as strikeouts (15). With the team having such a bad year, Thomas could end up getting an opportunity at the MLB level later this year if he keeps this up. We may have to include a daily Thomas section in the recap a la Paul Goldschmidt in 2011.

Here’s a clip of the home run if you want something to be excited about today:

Back to the rest of the game and it wasn’t very good. Starter Jeff Bain got demolished in the 2nd inning, as 6 runs crossed the plate as he was unable to complete the inning. Tyler Holton got charged with 7 runs in the 4th and 5th innings, putting Amarillo in a 14-3 hole at that point. Despite Thomas’ efforts, the rest of the team didn’t contribute much offensively.

CF Alek Thomas: 2 for 3, 3B, HR, BB, RBI, 2 R
LF Jake McCarthy: 0 for 4, RBI, 2 K
SS Geraldo Perdomo: 0 for 4, 2 K

High A: Hillsboro Hops 5, Tri-City Dust Devils (LAA) 3

Some early offense and a stingy bullpen won this game for Hillsboro. Andy Yerzy would start the scoring with a 2-run homer in the first. Ricky Martinez would drive home a run with a groundout in the 2nd and Eduardo Diaz mashed his own 2-run blast in the 4th. That gave Hillsboro a 5-0 cushion and they would need it. Starter Conor Grammes had been able to pitch out of trouble in the first three innings, but three straight hits in the 4th ended his day and accounted for Tri-City’s only 3 runs of the game.

As mentioned before, the bullpen had to get 18 outs and they did while shutting down the opposition entirely through a close game. Nick Snyder would complete the next 2 innings, allowing just a walk and striking out 4. Kenny Hernandez would do better, allowing just one baserunner via HBP and striking out 5 in 2 innings. Joe Jones would have the roughest outing, giving up a hit and a walk in 2 innings while punching out 3.

DH Blaze Alexander 0 for 4, BB, SB

Low A: Visalia Rawhide 6, Modesto Nuts (SEA) 9

Visalia would find their offense early, but the pitching was not competitive, to say the least. Visalia was paced early on by speedster Jorge Barrosa, whos 2 doubles were responsible for pacing the offense early on. Visalia would take a 5-2 lead in the top of the 3rd, but it didn’t last very long. It was a particularly rough game for both teams, as the two sides combined for 8 errors, 4 wild pitches, and a passed ball.

3B A.J. Vukovich: 0 for 2, 2 BB, 1 K, R