Minor League Report
By Dan Strittmatter
1B Brandon Allen – Last Seven Games – 9-for-23, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 R, 6:6 K:BB, 2 SB (0 CS).
Yep, Brandon Allen is on yet another tear. Allen’s numbers on the year: 80-296 (.270), 16 doubles, three triples, 21 home runs, a 75:68 K:BB ratio and 10-14 in stolen base attempts. All of this amounts to an OBP/SLG/OPS line of .415/.557/.973 and wOBA of .417. And with those numbers being as incredible as they are, it’s easy to forget how the year started for Allen. In 21 games before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury on April 30, Allen was hitting just 16-74 (.216), with a line of .356/.405/.761 and a wOBA of .343. The fact that he’s played so well since that time that his overall season numbers look so impressive is, well, impressive.
OF Ollie Linton – Aug. 7 – 4-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 0:1 K:BB, 1 SB (0 CS).
Mobile beat Jacksonville 7-4 on Saturday, and Linton’s spectacular game was a big reason why. Not known for having much of a power tool, Linton hit just his second home run of the year, but a two-hit game on Sunday gave him 100 hits on the year with a .316 batting average. His OBP/SLG/OPS line is .426/.389/.816, an improvement on the .794 OPS he posted last year at Visalia. From a center fielder known for having a plus glove and great closing speed, that type of on-base skill is impressive. Further, Linton is now 7-for-10 in stolen base attempts since the All-Star break.
RHP Ryan Cook – Aug. 8 – 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9:1 K:BB, 5/2 GO/FO.
Cook was dominant on Sunday night against Modesto, though he did not record the win for his efforts, as the bullpen blew his lead before Yonata Ortega restored order, recording all four of his outs via strikeout, and got the win. Cook has been one of the least-heralded starters for the Rawhide despite his stellar performance on the year, with 93 strikeouts and 34 walks in 102 1/3 innings for Visalia and a fabulous 2.47 GO/FO ratio.
Aug. 7: 2-4, 1 3B, 2 R.
Goldschmidt may still be stuck on 31 home runs, but the big fella chugged around the bases on Saturday to record his second triple of the season. The player tied with Goldschmidt for first place in minor league baseball for home runs, J.P. Arencibia of Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, was promoted to the major leagues (where he has already homered twice), so Goldschmidt now has an opportunity to put himself in the lead.
Low-A South Bend:
RHP Andrew Wolcott – Aug. 7 – 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4:2 K:BB, 9/6 GO/FO.
RHP Scottie Allen – Aug. 8 – 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4:0 K:BB, 12/4 GO/FO.
South Bend has seen some nice starting pitching performances the past two days against Lake County, beginning with Wolcott’s stellar performance. Wolcott has had an interesting year, being bounced around from affiliate to affiliate. He began the year at Visalia, but was transferred to Yakima when their season began. After dominating the Northwest League, Wolcott was finally promoted to South Bend, where he has stuck. Saturday’s game was the second time Wolcott has thrown seven innings for the Silver Hawks, and Wolcott now boasts a 64:24 K:BB ratio in 94 2/3 innings spread across the three affiliates (strangely enough, his worst affiliate K:BB ratio was at Yakima, 16:8).
Allen’s performance is rather unusual for a couple of reasons. On one hand, a 68:21 K:BB ratio in 66 innings of work foreshadows a lot of success for a pitcher, but Allen currently sits on a 5.05 ERA despite being able to miss so many bats. So to see Allen strikeout only four, yet simultaneously put in one of his best efforts of the season, is a strange bit of coincidence. And for those looking to find an explanation for that unappealing ERA, take into consideration the fact that Allen’s BABIP in 2010 is a staggeringly-high .585 — possibly the definition of unsustainable. Allen’s FIP at South Bend is a fantastic 2.82. And he just turned 19 years old.
CF Westley Moss – Aug. 6 – 4-for-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI.
Hitting in the back of Yakima’s lineup, Moss had a fantastic game last Friday, collecting four hits and a double as well as stealing his 14th base of the year in 19 attempts. This was the second game in the last 10 days in which Moss has reached base four times, the other coming on July 31, when he recorded three hits, a walk and four stolen bases.
RHP Robby Rowland – Aug. 7 – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4:0 K:BB, 0 HR, 5/5 GO/FO.
Rowland followed up his worst outing of the season (1/3 IP, 4 ER on Aug. 2) with his best outing of the season. The D-backs’ third-round pick in 2010 missed bats and limited free passes en route to recording his first win in his professional baseball career in a 5-1 game against Billings.
Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:
1B Wilmer Santana – Last Four Games – 4-for-9, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2:2 K:BB.
Santana, an 18-year-old left-handed-hitting first baseman, has had some success over the last few days in getting on base for the DSL D-backs, and he isn’t the only one. The DSL D-backs have recorded 15 hits in each of their last two games, scoring 23 runs in a pair of victories, first over one of the DSL Orioles teams, and then against one of the DSL Cubs teams.
Others of note:
· Oh, what a difference an All-Star Break makes for Reno second baseman Mark Hallberg. Always known for his stellar defense in the infield, Hallberg limped along to a .588 OPS going into the break, and the former-top-prospect had been struggling with the stick ever since arriving to Double-A in 2009. But something clicked at the plate after the break for Hallberg, and in an 18 games since the break, Hallberg has hit 19-for-52 with eight doubles, a triple and a home run, all while collecting more walks (12) than strikeouts (9). The end result has been a fantastic OPS of 1.100 since the break, raising his season OPS almost a hundred points, to .678. It’s a small sample of games, but an encouraging sign for Hallberg.
· Mobile right-hander Bryan Henry‘s ERA keeps going lower as a starter. He threw six innings of work on Saturday, surrendering just an unearned run on two hits, two walks and two strikeouts. As a starter, his ERA is now 1.98. On the season, his ERA is 2.78.
· While Linton was the big source of offense on Saturday, three more BayBears stepped up on Sunday to provide the punch in the lineup. Third baseman Bryan Byrne went 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of walks, shortstop Taylor Harbin went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and first baseman Sean Coughlin went 3-for-3 with a home run.
· Since being promoted to Hi-A Visalia, RHP Yonata Ortega has been fantastic in a pair of appearances, striking out six and walking one in 2 2/3 innings. He has allowed a pair of hits and no runs, and even has recorded a save for the Rawhide, his 23rd on the season. Ortega had 41 strikeouts to 15 walks in 41 2/3 innings at South Bend prior to the promotion.
· The D-backs finally announced their player to be named later from the Dan Haren trade, left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs will join South Bend, though he’ll need a few days to get stretched out again before he can join the Silver Hawks rotation, as he has not pitched in a game since the trade was made in late July to make sure he did not suffer an injury.
· It’s been an up-and-down season for South Bend second baseman David Nick, but Sunday’s game was certainly one of the “ups.” Nick went 3-for-4 with solo home run to help South Bend beat Lake County 5-2.
· Yakima shortstop Zachary Walters saw his hitting streak end at 16 games.
· Missoula lefty Patrick Schuster followed up Rowland’s five-inning, one-run performance with one of his own. Schuster allowed five hits while striking out three, walking two and recording seven ground-ball outs.
· Movement around the minors:
o RHP Kasey Olenberger was picked up by the D-backs and assigned to Triple-A Reno.
o C Alex Herrnberger (from Short-Season Yakima) and IF Daniel Kaczrowski (from Hi-A Visalia) were assigned to Double-A Mobile, SS Jake Wald was released, and RHP Bryan Augenstein was activated off of the 7-Day DL.
o As mentioned above, Tyler Skaggs was assigned to South Bend.
o A pair of players, DH Evan Button and RHP Michael Bolsinger, were both assigned to Yakima, though both were also immediately put on the 7-Day disabled list.