Minor League Report
Mike Belfiore — Photo courtesy South Bend Silver Hawks
By Dan Strittmatter
The Aces have had the last three days off for their All-Star break, and begin play again tonight against the Tacoma Rainiers — Aces pitcher Wes Roemer will face off against Rainiers starter Ian Snell, the 28-year-old right-hander who has spent parts of seven seasons, including this season, in the Majors.
3B Kory Casto – July 14 – 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1:1 K:BB
The BayBears have played one game, a 10-9 victory over Jacksonville on Wednesday, since the last report after finishing up their All-Star break, with nine BayBears featured in the Southern League All-Star Game, though two of those players have since been promoted to Triple-A Reno (detailed below). Kasto was the star of the game, scoring all three times he reached base, recording an RBI groundout in the first and clubbing a solo homer in the bottom of the third.
RHP Charles Brewer – July 12 – W (3-1 @ Visalia), 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R (0 ER), 7:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 11/2 GO/FO.
Since his first rough start at Visalia, Brewer has returned to his former, dominant self in his three starts since, recording three consecutive wins for the Rawhide. In those three starts, Brewer has thrown 22 1/3 innings, allowing a mere 12 hits and three runs (all earned) while striking out 20 Cal League batters. He has also conceded a mere three walks and a single homer in that span. Despite starting his High-A career with a 16.20 ERA, the 2009 12th round pick has since brought that number down to 3.16.
Low-A South Bend:
1B Ramon Castillo – July 12 & July 14 – 5-for-8, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 5 R.
Castillo just continues to rake, and has displayed a ton of power for his size (listed at 5’11”, 190 lbs.). He now has hit safely in all but one of his 21 games with the Silver Hawks, having collected as many doubles as strikeouts (nine) to go with four home runs in 82 at-bats. His BA/OBP/SLG line is .329/.382/.585 for a .967 OPS, the highest mark on the team by nearly a hundred points (Matt Davidson next at .869), and in a strong pitcher’s league where, according to Baseball-Reference.com, the average OPS is a mere .704.
CF Keon Broxton – July 11, 12 & 14 – 6-for-15, 3 3B, 1 R, 4:0 K:BB, 1 SB (1 CS).
While Broxton hasn’t been involved in a lot of run-scoring over the last few days, it certainly hasn’t been his fault. Broxton has come alive at the plate in July, much like most of the South Bend lineup. After posting monthly OPS totals of .745 in April, .584 in May, and .597 in June, Broxton has an OPS of .855 from a BA/OBP/SLG line of .288/.364/.492 through 14 contests in July, recording five triples and two doubles amongst his 17 hits.
2B/3B Raoul Torrez – July 14 – 3-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 SB (0 CS).
Torrez’s line on Wednesday is a pretty fitting microcosm for the set of skills that he has brought to Yakima in his nine games there. The 2010 21st round pick out of Arizona State has hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage for the Bears. Further, he has been successful in six of his seven stolen-base attempts and 4-for-5 in his last two games. The only aspect of Torrez’s game not on display Wednesday was his surprising power (for his 5-foot-10 frame), as he has also recorded a double, triple, and home run among his ten hits.
1B Bobby Stone – July 11, 12 & 14 – 7-for-11, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 0:3 K:BB.
After a disappointing stint at South Bend, the 20-year-old Stone was sent back to Missoula to regain some confidence and continue to work on shortening his swing, and has been, as you would hope, putting up the best numbers of his career. He has an OPS of .801 with an absurd .408 on-base percentage, and is in the midst of a fantastic three-game stretch.
Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:
RHP Juan Valdez – July 14 – 2 IP, 1 H, 4/2 GO/FO, the rest zeros.
The 18-year-old Valdez has been very impressive in the DSL this year, striking out six in 11 1/3 innings without issuing a walk and surrendering just one home run. Of course, a sample that small in the pitcher-friendly DSL is nothing to get hyped up about, but Valdez is a guy to certainly keep an eye on, as a 2.38 ERA is nothing to ignore.
Others of note:
· Some recent movement within the minor leagues:
o Assigned to Triple-A Reno:
§ RHP Joshua Collmenter from Double-A Mobile.
§ LHP Leyson Septimo from Double-A Mobile.
o Assigned to Double-A Mobile:
§ RHP Bryan Augenstein from Triple-A Reno.
§ RHP Bryan Woodall from High-A Visalia.
o Assigned to Hi-A Visalia:
§ RHP Eric Smith from Low-A South Bend.
§ 2010 27th round pick SS Niko Gallego.
§ RHP William Harvil from Rookie-level Missoula.
· OF Ollie Linton and C Konrad Schmidt also reached base three times for Mobile in Wednesday’s game. Linton collected three hits, including a double and scored three times, though he struck out twice. Schmidt collected a pair of hits, including a double, 2 RBI, a run scored and a walk.
· Mobile left-hander Pat McAnaney had one of his best starts of the season Wednesday, striking out six and scattering seven hits and a walk over five innings, allowing two runs (one earned). He did not factor in the decision.
· RHP Daniel Stange has been getting himself back on track at Double-A, and retired all four batters he faced on Wednesday, three of them by strikeout.
· RHP Bryan Woodall ended his time with the Rawhide with his ninth save of the season, striking out four batters in 1 2/3 perfect innings of work in Monday’s win.
· C Rossmel Perez and OF Alfredo Marte were perhaps the lone bright spots in Visalia’s ugly loss on Wednesday, combining to drive in all five of the Rawhide’s runs. Perez went 2-for-3 with a home run, 3 RBI, a run scored, and a sacrifice fly. Marte went 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, a run and two strikeouts.
· South Bend left-hander Michael Belfiore is scheduled to make his first start since June 19 tonight. He was put on the DL with a forearm strain.
· 2009 Sandwich-round pick 3B/DH Matt Davidson has been white-hot through 11 games in July, with a BA/OBP/SLG line of .357/.449/.548 – a .997 OPS – in, as mentioned above, a heavy pitcher’s league.
· Fellow ’09 draftee, first-rounder 3B/DH Bobby Borchering has also been having his best month of the season in July, hitting .328/.381/.466 through 14 games this month for an OPS of .846.
· South Bend reliever Brian Budrow threw two fantastic innings on Wednesday, recording five of his six outs through the strikeout without walking a batter. Unfortunately, he also conceded a run due to a bad-luck stream of singles.
· CF Westley Moss also went 3-for-5, including a triple, for the Bears on Wednesday, driving in two runs and scoring three with a pair of stolen bases of his own.
· The Yakima bullpen has thrown 14 1/3 innings in the team’s last three games without allowing a single earned run.
· Missoula C Jae Yun Kim is also in the midst of a pretty impressive three-game stretch, collecting six hits in his last nine at-bats with two doubles, an RBI, two runs scored, and a 1:2 K:BB ratio.