Minor League Report
Kris Benson – Photography: Jon Willey
By Dan Strittmatter
RHP Kris Benson – July 30 – 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0:1 K:BB, 5/3 GO/AO.
Benson is progressing through his second attempt at rehabbing from his shoulder injury, and had a solid outing for the Aces on Friday. He threw 32 pitches, 18 of them for strikes, and kept the ball on the ground effectively. Unfortunately, the Aces didn’t pitch very well in relief of Benson, coughing up eleven runs and handing a 12-9 victory to the Las Vegas 51’s.
LHP Zach Kroenke – Aug. 2 – 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5:3 K:BB, 6/4 GO/AO.
Unusual as it may be for two pitchers to be featured in the Triple-A section due to the immense hitter-friendliness of the Pacific Coast League, Kroenke was also deserving of notice for his five no-hit innings of work, making a spot-start for Reno. Perhaps even more impressive was that Kroenke pitched well enough to record the win in a matchup with Tacoma Rainiers’ phenom Michael Pineda, the 21-year-old Mariners prospect who breezed through Double-A and sports a 3.52 ERA at Triple-A.
Starting Pitching – Since July 24: Last Eight Games (LHP Tom Layne twice, LHP Patrick McAnaney twice, RHP Bryan Henry twice, LHP Wade Miley once, and RHP Kyler Newby once) – 48 IP, 35 H, 6 R (6 ER), 33:11 K:BB, 2 HR, 52/41 GO/AO, 1.13 ERA.
We’ve mentioned Mobile’s spectacular starting pitching many times in these reports, but viewing the consistent dominance of the BayBears’ rotation over the past week and a half really gives you an idea of how good these guys have been. Henry (15 1/3 innings, 3 ER, 8:0 K:BB, 1 HR, 1.76 ERA) has pitched like the Southern League-equivalent of a staff ace, and McAnaney (12 2/3 innings, 3 ER, 8:3 K:BB, 1 HR, 2.13 ERA) is starting to really turn around a disappointing season. Further, Newby was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week after his scoreless five-inning, seven-strikeout spot start. Miley pitches again tonight to try to follow up an impressive five-inning performance that was detailed in the previous Minor League Report.
LHP Patrick Corbin – July 30 – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 8:2 K:BB, 4/2 GO/AO.
We set the stage for Corbin’s debut in the previous Minor League Report, and Corbin did not fail to impress. Lake Elsinore hitters had a hard time putting the ball in play off of Corbin, and when they managed to make contact, the ball typically remained on the ground. The organization is being careful with the 21-year-old Corbin’s innings workload, but more outings like this from the young left-hander should keep him rocketing up the system.
July 31: 1-4, 1 HR (#30), 2 RBI, 1 R. Aug. 1: 2-4, 1 HR (#31), 3 RBI, 1 R.
The Rawhide’s official website now features a Paul Goldschmidt home run counter on its front page, so here at the D-blog, we felt it appropriate to follow suit and devote a section of our Minor League Reports to Goldschmidt’s continued destruction of the Cal League. Prior to yesterday’s off-day, Goldschmidt had clobbered his 30th and 31st homers in back-to-back games against Lake Elsinore to move into a tie with Triple-A Las Vegas’ J.P. Arencibia for the minor-league baseball home run lead.
Low-A South Bend:
3B Bobby Borchering – July 31, Aug. 1, & Aug. 2 – 7-for-13, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1:1 K:BB.
Borchering has spent the last few days spraying singles all over the place, and whacked a double on Sunday. Perhaps most importantly, Borchering has been making contact, striking out just once in the last three games despite his 93 whiffs in 101 games this year. The raw power is undeniable in Borchering, so the lack of extra bases isn’t too concerning — those extra bases will come along as he starts getting the barrel of the bat on the ball.
1B Ramon Castillo – Aug. 1 & Aug. 2 – 5-for-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1:2 K:BB.
Despite being 5-foot-11, hitting the ball with authority is Castillo’s specialty. He now has 11 doubles and six home runs in just 37 games for South Bend, for a team-leading .507 slugging percentage. Further, his OPS of .860 is just one point behind team-leader Matt Davidson‘s .861 mark. Castillo also has an impressive understanding of the strike zone, with just 17 K’s in 138 at-bats.
CF Westley Moss – July 31 – 3-for-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1:1 K:BB, 4 SB (0 CS).
Moss was unstoppable on Saturday, both in getting on-base in four of his six plate appearances and on the basepaths, stealing four bases without being caught. He nabbed second base three times, twice off of Salem-Keizer starter Edward Concepcion and once off of reliever Matthew Graham, and also took third base once off of Concepcion. The outing gave Moss eleven stolen bases on the year, and he has been caught just five times.
1B Bobby Stone – Last Four Games – 7-for-15, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R, 5:1 K:BB.
Stone has been mashing for Missoula in the cleanup spot lately, with four homers and three doubles in his last nine games. Further, he has been superb in getting runs across the plate, with a staggering 16 RBI’s in those nine games. Stone’s performance yesterday was especially impressive – he went 3-for-4 with a home run and four runs driven in.
Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:
LHP Diony Santana – Aug. 2 – 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1:0 K:BB, 8/7 GO/AO.
The 19-year-old Dominican southpaw rebounded from his worst outing of the season on July 27 (which had followed an eight-inning, one-earned-run outing) to continue his impressive campaign for the DSL D-backs, lowering his ERA to 2.16 with his solid outing against the DSL Rockies. Santana has now struck out 28 on the year while walking just nine in 41 2/3 innings of work. On the negative side, Santana has allowed 12 unearned runs, though much of this is attributable to the often-shady defensive play in the DSL.
Others of note:
∑ Reno right-hander Carlos Rosa has been particularly impressive as of late, throwing four scoreless innings in his last four outings out of the Aces bullpen.
∑ Double-A outfielders Evan Frey and Ollie Linton each put together good outings at the plate in the marathon July 31 game and on Aug. 1. In those two games combined, Frey went 5-for-11 with a pair of doubles and a pair of walks, while Linton went 6-for-12 with a triple and a walk.
∑ Yonata Ortega, promoted to Visalia from South Bend on July 31, made his debut for the Rawhide on Aug. 1, striking out two and recording a pair of fly-outs in 1 1/3 innings with no hits or walks.
∑ South Bend right-hander Kevin Munson has continued his dominance for the Silver Hawks, throwing a pair of innings on July 31 and another two innings on Aug. 2, allowing just one hit, no walks and no runs while striking out five. He has yet to allow a run, and has conceded just two hits, in 8 1/3 innings of work.
∑ Yakima reliever Jake Hale earned Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors by throwing five shutout innings in three appearances over the last seven days. Hale struck out five, walked nobody, gave up just three hits, recorded a pair of wins and collected a save.
∑ Matt Helm wasted no time getting acclimated to the Pioneer League, going 4-for-8 in his first three games for Missoula. The young third baseman has doubled twice, driven in three runs, scored once, struck out three times and walked.
∑ Missoula outfielder Roberto Rodriguez tore apart Billings last Friday, going 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and a walk, starting a small four-game hitting streak that is still active.
∑ Highly-regarded 17-year-old outfielder Socrates Brito debuted for the DSL D-backs on Friday, going 1-for-2 with an RBI and a strikeout.