Tagged: Minor Leagues

D-backs Deal S. Allen to Yankees for 1B Miranda



Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

While rumors swirled about big trades in the works, the D-backs made a less notable move Thursday, dealing minor league pitcher Scottie Allen to the New York Yankees for first baseman Juan Miranda.


Miranda, a native of Cuba, signed with the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 2006. He debuted in American pro ball in 2007, splitting games between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. He has spent parts of the last three seasons in the Major Leagues — including 33 games with the Yankees in 2010 — while playing the majority of his games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.


In 423 minor league games, Miranda posted a .281/.367/.478 line, hitting 62 homers 195 walks and 357 strikeouts.


Allen was an 11th round pick of the D-backs in the 2009 Draft and spent the 2010 season as part of a pretty solid South Bend rotation. There, he started 16 games with a 4.73 ERA in 78 innings, with 79 strikeouts and 22 walks. Allen did not crack Kevin Goldstein’s top 20 D-backs prospects on the recently released Baseball Prospectus list.


One thing the D-backs have a lot of in their system is mid-level right-handed pitching, and first basemen are another thing they have in spades. So this is a surplus-for-surplus trade from the D-backs perspective, with the local team receiving the guy who could play in the big leagues today if need be.

Collmenter Succeeding in Fall League

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Josh Collmenter is playing for his fourth different team in 2010, at four different levels.


The tall right-hander played for the Visalia Rawhide of the Class-A Advanced California League, the Double-A Mobile Bay Bears and the Triple-A Reno Aces. Now, the starter with the funky delivery is doing his thing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, and he’s doing it well.


Through three starts for the Scorpions, Collmenter has a stellar 1.80 ERA over 10 innings, with six strikeouts. Among starters with at least 10 innings so far, only two pitchers have an ERA better than Collmenter’s.


“I’m happy with everything,” he said of his results so far. “I really didn’t know what to expect, going against stacked lineups. But I’m just trying to execute and not change anything I’ve done all year. (Success) helps build the confidence.”


With his minor league track record in 2010 — a 3.38 ERA with 133 punchouts in 152 innings, 137 of which were at Mobile and Reno — coupled with likely significant changes at the Major League level, an appearance on the big league team in 2011 is a realistic goal for Collmenter at some point, if not at the outset of the season. It’s an impressive opportunity for a guy who was drafted in the 15th round only three years ago.


“We’ve got a lot of guys coming in, new guys, and they’re going to be doing who knows what with the organization,” Collmenter said. “I know there are going to be opportunities and a lot of holes to fill, so hopefully (I’ll advance), that’s the goal.”


His weapon is his changeup, and it drew rave reviews from former Mobile teammates Barry Enright and Konrad Schmidt. Collmenter has had success locating the pitch where he needs it, and his unique delivery (which involves holding his right hand behind his head for longer than a pitcher would generally keep it there) makes it difficult for a batter to pick it up.


“The biggest key last year was being able to throw it for strikes and really use it,” Collmenter said. “The changeup is the pitch that really got me where I am in my development, level to level. I’ve been able to hone that and make it do different things if I want to get a strikeout or if I want to get a groundball. The biggest key for me is being able to throw the changeup any time.


“My repertoire has been the same, pretty much since college. So I’m just fine-tuning that. It’s pretty much just changing up how I use it and when I use it. I’m working on throwing strikes with my off-speed pitches. I’m not going to throw the ball by guys, so I try to keep them off balance.”


Even more than the chance to pitch, the Fall League offers players the chance to get to know teammates inside the organization that they may not have played with before, or opposing players who they’ve played against but haven’t gotten to know previously.


“It’s been fun, being around different guys that you don’t get to play with or talk to during the season,” Collmenter said. “There are guys that you recognize and it’s cool to branch out and get to know everybody. It’s really laid back and the competition, you can’t beat it.”


D-backs Notes:

— Outfielder Marc Krauss started for the Scorpions in left field on Thursday, going 1-for-4 with a double. Last Friday, Krauss had highlight-reel night, driving in seven runs with a double and a grand slam in a 12-4 win for Scottsdale over the Peoria Javelinas. More than anything, it will be fascinating to watch Krauss’ development over the next few weeks in the AFL, as many of the pitchers in the league come from more advanced levels than him.


— Outfielder A.J. Pollock has been terrific for the Scorpions so far. His .387 average is second among Scottsdale players, and he’s hit four doubles with seven RBI in eight games. Pollock didn’t play all year after suffering an elbow injury in Spring Training, so it’s great to see him off to such a hot start here.


— Pitcher Bryan Shaw hasn’t allowed a run yet in AFL play, throwing six shutout innings with four hits and two walks allowed. Shaw spent the season starting at Double-A (4.26 ERA in 33 starts), so his development will be interesting to keep an eye on.

Pitching Trio Happy With Performances

Brandon Webb, Jarrod Parker and Tyler Skaggs could not be further apart along a spectrum of experience in pitching, but the three of them took the mound of the first innings of the D-backs Instructional League game against the Rockies squad at Chase Field Thursday.


The three all pitched under somewhat different circumstances, but all felt good about their performances.


Brandon Webb threw the first two innings, as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder surgery that cost him the entire 2010 season and all but one start in 2009; the last time he pitched at Chase Field was against the Rockies’ big league team on Opening Day of 2009. Webb said the start felt the way they always do, with the exception of the team’s location — the D-backs team was in the first base dugout, rather than their customary spot in the third base dugout.


“It felt good,” Webb said. “It was a little bit different warming up in the visitor’s bullpen, but other than that it felt good. It kind of went the way that it has been in bullpens and sim games and stuff like that. In the second inning, I ended up feeling better, even though I gave up a couple of runs. It felt like I was a little tired, but it was good.


“The best part about it was just being out there and being back on the mound competing.”


Parker followed with two innings of his own, including blowing away the first batter he faced with a strikeout. He lost his 2010 season to Tommy John Surgery, replacing a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. His fastball velocity was mid-90s and his delivery looked strong.


“I feel like I’m close to being back,” Parker said. “My delivery is a little cleaner now and the ball feels good coming out. I’m more consistent with my off-speed than I have been in the past.


“I’m finishing (the mechanics) a little bit more, getting a little more out of my body and shoulder, taking some stress off of my elbow.”


The game was the first at Chase Field in Parker’s career. It was also the first time since surgery he’s pitched to anyone that wasn’t wearing a D-backs uniform.


“It was fun,” he said. “Once they told me (about the game at Chase Field) I was really anxious. I just had to keep it under control. I had a blast getting out there and facing the Rockies.”


Chase Field is a realistic destination for Parker in 2011, assuming rehabilitation continues to go well. He’ll finish out his throwing program which is almost over, then head home to Indiana for the holidays. After that, he’ll report back to D-backs camp prepared to start the season.


He pitched 78 innings at Double-A Mobile in 2009, so there’s a chance he could start at either Mobile or Triple-A Reno to begin the year.


Skaggs isn’t rehabbing from an injury, but he is new to the organization since arriving as the Player to be Named Later in the deal that sent Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This was a first look at Skaggs for some people with the D-backs. The tall lefty allowed a baserunner, but then quickly induced a double play to end his inning.


“Everything felt good. Curveball, changeup felt good,” Skaggs said. “Everything felt pretty fluid. My fastball and curveball are good but I really need to work on pitching instead of just throwing.”


It was the first time Skaggs had ever pitched in a big league stadium, and while he is considerably farther away from the Major Leagues than Parker, he also was able to use it as motivation to make it back to Phoenix.


“It was pretty exciting. It’s a very big stadium, my first time pitching in a big league stadium. It felt really good.”


I hope to have some video to post tomorrow for the three pitchers working. Check back here for more.

Goldschmidt Named MVP of Cal League

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VISALIA–Paul Goldschmidt’s monster season in Visalia has been officially recognized, as the stocky slugger was named the California League’s Most Valuable Player today.

Goldschmidt currently leads the league in home runs with 33 and is tied for the lead in all of Minor League Baseball. His average has been above .300 for nearly two months, and his 96 Runs Batted In rank 2nd in the league.

With the award, Goldschmidt becomes the 9th Visalia player to be named League MVP. He joins Vada Pinson (1957), George Theodore (1971), Steve Douglas (1978), Les Pearsey (1979), Kent Hrbek (1981), Stan Holmes (1983), Marty Cordova (1992), and Reid Brignac (2006).

With 9 MVPs in franchise history, Visalia is now tied with Stockton for the most in California League history.

In addition to his MVP award, Goldschmidt was also named the league’s Rookie of the Year (awarded to a player in his first full season of professional baseball). He is the 5th Visalia player to win the award, joining Brignac (2006), Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett (1983), Gene Robinson (1978), and Bob Beall (1958).

In further honors, Goldschmidt was selected to the California League’s Post Season All-Star Team, along with Rawhide outfielder Marc Krauss. Krauss has slugged 24 homers to date, with a .308 batting average and 82 RBIs.

Thanks to the contributions of their all-stars and league MVP, the Rawhide are currently one game ahead of Modesto for the Wild Card playoff spot. They face the Nuts in a crucial 4-game series beginning tonight at Recreation Ballpark.

MiLB Transactions: Davidson, Wheeler, Augenstein promoted


Bryan Augenstein – Photography: Jon Willey

By Dan Strittmatter

Signing 2010 draft picks hasn’t been the only thing keeping the D-backs’ organization busy.  The last two days have also seen a flurry of movement within the minors, with players moving across all full-season affiliates.  We’re here to break down all of the moving parts.


Monday’s action was focused in the upper minors, centered around right-hander Bryan Augenstein.  Augenstein had been removed from the 7-Day DL at Mobile on August 5, making three appearances for the BayBears in what functioned as a sort of “rehab assignment” for him.  His first and last outings for Mobile were his best.  In his first, Augenstein threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a hit on Aug. 5.  In his last outing, Augenstein lasted 3 1/3 innings with one run allowed while scattering seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts on Aug. 12.


Augenstein will likely join the Aces’ rotation immediately, partially because right-hander Josh Collmenter, who had been in Reno’s rotation since July 19, was sent to Mobile, opening up a spot.  This was Collmenter’s second stint with the Aces in 2010, with mixed results.  Collmenter’s Reno debut, on April 30, was arguably his best start at the Triple-A level this year, when he went seven shutout innings with eight strikeouts and just three hits.  His last start would have likely been his best since that outing were it not for a pair of home runs – often Collmenter’s undoing in the thin air of the PCL – as he struck out nine and walked just two through six innings of work.


Also moving from Reno to Mobile was outfielder Chris Rahl, who had struggled in the first half of the year for Reno, but had ridden a scorching second-half of the season to an overall .813 OPS for the year at Triple-A.  Replacing Rahl in Reno is outfielder/first baseman Cyle Hankerd, joining Reno for the second time this year.  In six games for the Aces in early-May, Hankerd went 6-for-14 with three doubles, two walks and a strikeout, though he had struggled to a .708 OPS for Mobile in 78 games.


One final move from Monday was third baseman/first baseman Ryan Wheeler being promoted to Double-A Mobile from Hi-A Visalia.  Wheeler came into the year highly-regarded, having posted a 1.002 OPS in 2009, mostly at short-season Yakima, with eight games at Low-A South Bend as well.  This year hasn’t gone quite as planned, as Wheeler posted a .740 OPS at Visalia — though he did post an .820 OPS against right-handed pitching — in a lineup that featured star-quality performances from Marc Krauss and Paul Goldschmidt.  Nonetheless, it’s Wheeler who makes the jump to Double-A first.


If the Wheeler-to-Mobile move seemed a bit from left field on Monday, Tuesday’s big promotion cleared it up.  Top-prospect third baseman Matthew Davidson was promoted from Low-A South Bend to Hi-A Visalia to take over the everyday third baseman job there (and to give Bobby Borchering the everyday third baseman gig for South Bend).  Davidson has set the Midwest League on fire all season long, and boasted the sixth-highest OPS amongst MWL hitters with at least 2.7 plate appearances per team game with his .874 mark.


Aside from that OPS rank, Davidson was among the league leaders in many other major offensive categories at the time of his promotion — tied for sixth in home runs with 16, fourth in doubles with 35, second in RBI with 79 and sixth in slugging percentage with a .504 rate.  Also consider the fact that only one of the players ahead of Davidson on the MWL OPS leader-board, Mike Trout, was younger than Davidson, by about four months.  After Davidson, the next youngest on that list was Quad Cities third baseman Matthew Adams, who turns 22 years old on Aug. 31.


But that wasn’t the only action from Tuesday.  Collmenter’s addition to the Mobile rotation left the BayBears with six starting pitchers, as Augenstein had been throwing out of the bullpen for Mobile prior to his promotion to Reno.  So lefty Pat McAnaney, who had struggled for most of the season for Mobile, was sent to Visalia, where he began the season.


Also on Tuesday, two players were assigned to South Bend from Rookie-level Missoula — right-hander Derek Eitel, the D-backs’ 17th-round pick from the 2010 draft, and outfielder Chris Jarrett, the D-backs’ 42nd-round pick from the 2010 draft.  Eitel was in the Osprey rotation until David Holmberg was acquired from the White Sox in the trade that sent Edwin Jackson to Chicago and also brought Daniel Hudson to Arizona, then was moved to the ‘pen to open a rotation slot for Holmberg.  Jarrett had spent 46 games in the outfield for Missoula, mostly in center field.


Finally, right-hander Leo Rosales was assigned to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday to begin his rehab assignment after suffering a stress fracture in his foot.  He threw a perfect inning of relief for the Aces that night, striking out one.



Triple-A Reno:

Added to Roster:

Aug. 17 – RHP Leo Rosales assigned to Reno for Rehab Assignment.

Aug. 16 – RHP Bryan Augenstein promoted to Reno from Double-A Mobile.

Aug. 16 – OF Cyle Hankerd promoted to Reno from Double-A Mobile.


Removed from Roster:

Aug. 16 – RHP Joshua Collmenter assigned to Mobile from Triple-A Reno.

Aug. 16 – OF Chris Rahl assigned to Mobile from Triple-A Reno.


Double-A Mobile:

Added to Roster:

Aug. 16 – RHP Joshua Collmenter assigned to Mobile from Triple-A Reno.

Aug. 16 – OF Chris Rahl assigned to Mobile from Triple-A Reno.

Aug. 16 – 3B Ryan Wheeler promoted to Mobile from Hi-A Visalia.


Removed from Roster:

Aug. 16 – RHP Bryan Augenstein promoted to Reno from Double-A Mobile.

Aug. 16 – OF Cyle Hankerd promoted to Reno from Double-A Mobile.

Aug. 17 – LHP Pat McAnaney assigned to Hi-A Visalia from Double-A Mobile.


Hi-A Visalia:

Added to Roster:

Aug. 17 – LHP Pat McAnaney assigned to Hi-A Visalia from Double-A Mobile.

Aug. 17 – 3B Matthew Davidson assigned to Hi-A Visalia from Low-A South Bend.


Removed from Roster:

Aug. 16 – 3B Ryan Wheeler promoted to Mobile from Hi-A Visalia.


Low-A South Bend:

Added to Roster:

Aug. 17 – RHP Derek Eitel assigned to Low-A South Bend from Rookie-level Missoula.

Aug. 17 – OF Chris Jarrett assigned to Low-A South Bend from Rookie-level Missoula.


Removed from Roster:

Aug. 17 – 3B Matthew Davidson assigned to Hi-A Visalia from Low-A South Bend.


Introducing Tyler Skaggs

By Dan Strittmatter

Photo from Orange County Register 


If nothing else, Tyler Skaggs will bring phenomenal long-toss skills to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he may well be in the best shape of his life.


When the trade that sent Dan Haren to the Angels went down in late July, bringing pitchers Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin to Arizona with a player to be named later, many media outlets quickly leaked that Skaggs was the D-backs’ target for the PTBNL.


However, Skaggs could not be traded until Aug. 7. Players are not allowed to be dealt until one year after signing their first professional baseball contract, and that was the date one year ago that Skaggs signed with the Angels after being taken 40th overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. So, after pitching on July 23 for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, the Angels’ Low-A affiliate in the Midwest League, Skaggs was effectively in limbo. 


The D-backs wanted him as the final piece in the trade, so (according to the Orange County Register) they asked the Angels to keep Skaggs from doing any impact activities — lifting weights, throwing a bullpen session, or, of course, pitching game for Cedar Rapids. He would show up to the park for the games, hang around the clubhouse, and be in the dugout, in uniform, for their games. But what activities could Skaggs do? Long-toss and running.


On Aug. 7, the trade was completed and Skaggs was sent to the D-backs’ Midwest League affiliate in South Bend. He became the youngest pitcher on the roster — a mere 10 days younger than Scottie Allen — and the youngest position player on the roster, shortstop Chris Owings, is almost a month younger than Skaggs.


The D-backs were very high on Skaggs going into last year’s draft. They had seven of the first 64 picks in the draft, and one of those was the 41st overall. The Angels, however, had pick No. 40 and they grabbed Skaggs just ahead of the D-backs.


It took them over a year, but the D-backs now have their man. And if the team liked Skaggs a year ago coming out of high school, his performances thus far in professional ball must have them infatuated.


Skaggs threw a handful of innings in Rookie-ball for the Angels in 2010, striking out 13 and walking just two in 10 innings of work.


But it’s Skaggs’ 2010 season that has to have the D-backs excited. Despite just turning 19 less than a month ago, Skaggs has been toxic to the Midwest League, striking out 82 batters in 82 1/3 innings of work with just 21 walks and six home runs allowed. Opponents are hitting a mere .252 against him and he does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground, with more than 50% of balls put in play against Skaggs are ground balls (according to minorleaguesplits.com).


To put these numbers in perspective, the average age of hitters in the Midwest League, according to Baseball-Reference.com, is 21.4 years. So Skaggs is pitching against guys who are, on average, more than two years older than him, and nonetheless the results have been dominant.


Skaggs currently sits in the low-90s with his fastball, though with his height (6-foot-4) and thin frame, there may be more velocity on that fastball as his body fills out and develops. He also features a curveball, his best out-pitch, and a developing change-up that may be the key to his success going forward.


It will take a while for Skaggs to take the field for South Bend, as he now has to throw short bullpen sessions to begin stretching out his arm after being inactive for a couple weeks. But Skaggs, who instantly becomes one of the elite prospects in the D-backs’ system, is likely glad to be pitching again, in any capacity.


After all, it’s got to be better than long-toss and running.


Josh Collmenter — Beating the Odds


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Photography: Reno Aces


By Dan Strittmatter


Josh Collmenter isn’t supposed to be a top prospect.


He was a 15th round draft pick by the D-backs in 2007 out of Central Michigan University, 463rd overall. To put that in some perspective, there are just 11 other prospects from that round of that year’s draft who have played in the minors in 2010. Just two of them, Reds pitcher Chuckie Fick and Cardinals pitcher Matt Klinker, have reached the Triple-A level, and both of them have ERA’s above 5.30 there.


Even strictly from a scouting perspective, it would be easy to simply pass over Collmenter. His fastball tops out on the radar gun in the low-90’s, sitting in the upper-80’s. But the 24-year-old right hander has made himself into a serious prospect by simply continuing to get guys out in bunches.


It shouldn’t be a total surprise — it’s not as if succeeding in an uphill battle is a new story for Collmenter. Just getting to Central Michigan was a struggle in itself.


“Coming out of high school from a really small high school,” Collmenter said, “I didn’t get a chance to play Division I baseball until the very end (of his high school baseball career) – I signed with Central Michigan in July of the summer going into (college).”


It’s now safe to assume that CMU was extremely happy that he did sign there. Collmenter spent three seasons at Central Michigan, dominating the Mid-American Conference and establishing himself as one of the university’s best ever players. In each of his three seasons there, he posted ERAs below 3.50 — 2.70 as a freshman, 3.41 as a sophomore, and an absurd 1.93 as a junior when he carried a 117-to-26 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 116 1/3 innings.


His trophy case is chock full of awards from that Junior season: MAC Pitcher of the Year, All-MAC first team, All-Mideast Region first team, All-America third team by Baseball America, Great Lakes Region Pitcher of the Year by InsidePitching.com, Academic All-District IV second team, Academic All-MAC, and CMU’s Most Valuable Player. Collmenter also holds Central Michigan’s all-time career records for wins (24) and strikeouts (288). As icing on the cake, he also had a solid stint in the highly-competitive fall Cape Cod League between his sophomore and junior years, throwing 26 innings for the Hyannis Mets, striking out 26, walking eight and carrying a 2.42 ERA.


But there were a couple of concerns that made him slip so far in the draft to the D-backs. First, Collmenter was facing weaker college competition than some of his big-conference peers, though his Cape Cod stint helped assuage this concern. Second, his radar gun readings, as mentioned above, weren’t off the charts. And third, Collmenter has very unorthodox throwing mechanics.


D-backs fans may recall that when Brandon Webb was receiving instruction from Dr. James Andrews about lowering his arm slot, he was told that most starting pitchers work from an arm slot between 88 and 102 degrees (where zero degrees is straight down, moving up the side of your pitching arm). Collmenter’s delivery is almost directly above his head — he bends his body backwards to allow his arm to follow through.


One might think that this delivery was unnatural and could place added stress on his arm. Yet, Collmenter never felt anything out of the ordinary. He didn’t even realize his mechanics were unusual until he saw video of himself pitching.

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 “I really didn’t see exactly how I threw until my senior year (of high school) when my mom got some footage that she put together for a graduation DVD,” Collmenter said. “And that was the first time I’d ever seen how unique my wind-up is. It’s just natural. From when I first picked up a baseball, that’s how I’ve thrown all of my life.”


While unusual, this creates incredible deception in Collmenter’s delivery. The ball is hard for batters to pick up as he releases it since it appears to come out from behind his head. Thus, his high-80’s fastball jumps on hitters much faster than that reading would suggest. Add the deception provided by his best pitch, a good change-up, and you’re left with a very uneasy hitter in the batter’s box. And Collmenter credits his college coaching for the development of that change-up.


“Going into college, my pitching coach loved (the delivery), and loved the deception. That’s really where I developed the change-up I have now, and it’s continuing to get better,” Collmenter said. “(His coach said) ‘With that arm angle and the ability to hide the ball, that change-up is going to be your best pitch.’ I hadn’t thrown a change-up up until then, and he’s turned out to be absolutely right.”


Just like at Central Michigan, and despite the odds piled against him, the results have been stellar at every level of the minors where Collmenter has been in the D-backs’ system. He posted a 2.71 ERA at Short-season A Yakima after being drafted in ’07. The next year, he followed with a 3.41 ERA in 145 1/3 innings at Low-A South Bend. And, last year, Collmenter led the entire D-backs’ farm system with his 152 strikeouts at Hi-A Visalia.


To start 2010, Collmenter was back at Visalia, but only because of a lack of open rotation spots in the upper levels of the minors, and he certainly was not there for very long. Collmenter made just three starts for the Rawhide before being promoted. But not to Double-A Mobile — Collmenter made the jump up to Triple-A Reno because the Aces had an empty rotation spot. He threw seven shutout innings in his debut for Reno, but after a three more starts, was sent to Mobile while Wes Roemer had earned a promotion to Reno by tearing apart the Southern League to the tune of a 2.39 ERA.


Collmenter pitched incredibly well in his nine starts in the Southern League, with a 56-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 1/3 innings of work for the BayBears and an incredible 1.59 ERA. He also threw two complete games, including a complete-game shutout.


While at Mobile, Collmenter also had the experience of seeing one of his teammates, Barry Enright, called up to the Major Leagues. Enright had been picked 13 rounds ahead of Collmenter in the 2007 draft, and the two had played for the Yakima Bears in ’07, though they spent 2008 and 2009 at different affiliates. Collmenter reflected on watching Enright pitch, and have success, in the big leagues.


“I’ve definitely followed him. He threw really well last night (July 20 @ Chase Field – 8 IP, 1 R, 8 K, 1 BB) against a pretty good Mets team. Seeing that he’s had success not only builds confidence that ‘hey, I can make this jump, too,’ but also in the Diamondbacks’ management, that we have some guys in the system that, if called upon, can get the job done. It maybe paves the way for us.”


His stellar numbers in Double-A also earned him a spot on the Southern League All-Star Team with eight of his teammates, despite having spent just over half of his season at the level. But even his All-Star invitation had a funky delivery. The BayBears are in the Southern Division of the Southern League, and eight of their All-Star representatives played for the Southern Division team. But as the game approached, the Northern Division needed an extra pitcher.


So, Collmenter was chosen to start the game for the Northern Division squad… against his own teammates. The official Southern League Transactions Report page even has a note from July 12 saying that Collmenter had been “assigned to SOU North Division All-Stars from SOU South Division All-Stars.”


He threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, a walk and struck out two to earn the win. He retired Mobile teammates OF Evan Frey on a groundout and OF Collin Cowgill on a pop-up, while C Konrad Schmidt, who has caught many of Collmenter’s starts, drew a walk. After his two innings, he went into the Northern Division dugout, collected high-fives, then went back into the locker room to change uniforms and joined the Southern Division dugout.


“The All- Star Game was fun, and I got to face three of my own hitters,” he said, “almost like a Spring Training game.”


To add to hilarity of the situation, that start — picking up a win against an All-Star team that included eight of his Mobile teammates — was Collmenter’s last start as a BayBear, as he was transferred back to Triple-A Reno following the All-Star Game, with Visalia RHP Bryan Woodall taking his place.


Collmenter 1.JPG“The first time (being promoted to Reno) was a little more relaxed because no one really knows what to expect making the jump from A-ball to Triple-A,” Collmenter said. “Now, coming back up here after having some success in Double-A is exciting because you’re getting yourself that much closer to realizing your goal and everyone’s dream of being a Major League player.”


But Collmenter is trying to keep himself levelheaded while on the mound amidst the chaos of back-and-forth promotions.


“I guess I’m just trying to have fun and enjoy it, and let the stuff on the mound take care of itself,” he said. “And not worry about what I have to do, but just worry about what I can do.”


Without a doubt, Collmenter has had a marvelous 2010 campaign. With the organization demonstrating its willingness to promote pitchers quickly, such as Enright’s jump from Double-A to the Majors, Collmenter could may find himself at the Major League level sooner rather than later. And Collmenter, despite facing slim odds since the very beginning of his pro career, is motivated to make it in the Majors.


“I always continue to work hard, and it’s fun to be able to prove people wrong – to be able to go in and say ‘I know what I’m doing,’ have success and to continue to build on it,” he said. “You have to continue to prove yourself year-in and year-out in this game. One bad year and that could be the end of it.”