Tagged: Prospects

A Quick Toss with Wade Miley

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Photography: Rick Scuteri
By Greg Salvatore
D-backs left-handed pitcher Wade Miley is in big league camp after having a terrific season in the minors last year. 
Miley started at Class-A Advanced Visalia, where he posted a 3.25 ERA in 80 1/3 innings, allowing just one home run in a very homer-friendly league, before being promoted to Double-A Mobile. There, he was fantastic. Miley was 5-2 with a 1.98 ERA in 72 2/3 innings for the BayBears.
We caught up with Miley to chat about how things are going.
GS: How has the first week in big league camp been?
WM: Good so far. It’s been fun being around guys that are out here, the team, the big leaguers. The new complex is amazing. It’s been a great time.
GS: Do you have the chance to talk to big league catchers and pitching staff, to get views from different guys on what you have to work on?
WM: I try to pick their brains as much as I get an opportunity to. I don’t want to bug them too much. But when I get an opportunity, I talk to them. I actually live with Barry (Enright). So that’s good. I get to communicate a lot with him about things.
GS: That Mobile pitching staff last year was pretty impressive. Do you think there’s a chance that almost everybody in that rotation (Miley, Barry Enright, Josh Collmenter, Bryan Shaw, Tom Layne, etc.) is in the Major Leagues in the next few years?
WM: Who knows, there’s a chance for anything I guess. That would be great. It was a good staff, a lot of fun. Tom Layne, Collmenter and all those guys, it was fun pitching with those guys.
GS: You took a big step forward last year (153 innings, 2.65 ERA), what do you think were the biggest things that progressed for you?
WM: I just tried to start focusing on getting ahead in counts. I worked out in the offseason harder than I had prior to Spring Training the last year. The pitching part of it, I felt more into it. I could get ahead, and (decide) what pitch to throw here, what pitch to throw there. I talked with a lot of staff members in minor league camp and they helped me out tremendously.
GS: Is there a matter of physically adapting to getting older? This is the  body you’ve got, this is the stuff you’ve got, and you can kind of perfect things?
WM: When you’re younger, you’re still getting better and better and your stuff gets better. Now I’m 24 years old and I’m at that age where I’ve got to perfect it. Guys who are in here, that’s what they talk about, your stuff is what it is now. Just use it and be the best they can be with what they’ve got. 
GS: What are your goals for this year?
WM: I just want to go out and compete and have a good season. Whatever is in store is in store, I guess.

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.

Minor League Report

Triple-A Reno:


RHP Kevin Mulvey – Aug. 18 – 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 9:2 K:BB, 6/1 GO/FO

RHP Matt Torra – Aug. 19 – 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R (2 ER), 6:0 K:BB, 1 HR, 6/8 GO/FO

Back to back quality starts for the Aces over the last two nights, a particularly impressive feat considering the fact that the Pacific Coast League is incredibly hitter-friendly and has been absolutely treacherous to guys like Bryan Augenstein and Wes Roemer in 2010. Nonetheless, Mulvey had an incredible night, keeping the ball planted on the ground and shutting out the Oklahoma City RedHawks, going pitch-for-pitch with rehabbing Texas right-hander Rich Harden in the process. Torra has a solid 4.07 ERA at Triple-A this year through 161 1/3 innings of work for the Aces, and has failed to pitch seven innings just three times in his last ten starts, throwing at least eight innings three times, pitching into the ninth twice and pitching a complete game.



Double-A Mobile:


SS Taylor Harbin – Aug. 18 – 3-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SF

Harbin has had a rough year overall with the bat, with an OPS a tick shy of .700, but Wednesday’s performance against Carolina was one to remember. Harbin hit two of Mobile’s five doubles in the game, both off of left-hander Joseph Krebs in the same inning — Mobile’s 7-run ninth (as a matter of fact, four of Mobile’s five doubles were hit off of Krebs in that inning). Mobile went on to win the game 13-5.



Hi-A Visalia:


RHP Eric Smith – Aug. 18 – 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 10:2 K:BB, 0 HR, 3/3 GO/FO

It’s been pretty rough sailing for Smith ever since arriving at Visalia, despite breezing through the Midwest League at South Bend. But even though this outing only lowered Smith’s ERA to 7.01, there is a lot to like in this outing as the team starts looking forward to 2011. Smith missed a ton of bats with his polished sinker/slider combo, and his last two outings have been his best two outings of the season, allowing a combined two earned runs over 12 innings of work.



Low-A South Bend:


CF Keon Broxton – Last Two Games – 3-for-10, 2 3B, 2 RBI, 1 R

LHP Tyler Skaggs – Aug. 19 – 2 IP, 1 R (1 ER), 3:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 2/1 GO/FO

Broxton hit two more triples in his last two games for the SilverHawks, and is currently chasing the all-time single-season Midwest League record for triples, 19 set all the way back in 1954, currently sitting at 18 with 19 games remaining in the SilverHawks’ season.


Skaggs, the player-to-be-named-later and focal point of the package Arizona received in the Dan Haren trade, made his debut for South Bend after not taking the mound since July 23. He had been forced to sit out until he could be officially traded on Aug. 7, and then needed to stretch his arm back out in bullpen sessions prior to starting for South Bend. He worked just a pair of innings on Thursday night, but showed a very good curveball in striking out three against Lansing.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


SS Zachary Walters – Aug. 18 – 2-4, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.

Walters continues to display some impressive power for the Bears this year, despite playing at a premium defensive position where power is typically considered an afterthought. On the year, Walters has collected 14 doubles, four triples, and four home runs amongst his 67 hits for a slugging percentage of .483, to go with an OPS of .837 while hitting in the heart of the Yakima lineup.



Rookie-level Missoula:


RHP J.R. Bradley – Aug. 18 – 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R (0 ER), 4:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 7/4 GO/FO

RHP Robby Rowland – Aug. 19 – 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 5:3 K:BB, 0 HR, 8/0 GO/FO

The two highest draft picks of the D-backs’ 2010 crop put together solid performances on back-to-back nights for Missoula, with Bradley shutting down Idaho Falls en route to a 4-3 win, and Rowland taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and earning the win in a 10-7 game, also against Idaho Falls. Both 18-year-olds have struggled a bit for Missoula, but the D-backs didn’t draft these two for their stuff right now, as both are highly projectable, younger than much of their opposition and figure to add velocity as they mature. Though they certainly won’t complain if they keeping like they did over the last two days.



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


OF Jeremia Gomez – Aug. 18 & 19 – 5-for-9, 1 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 1:1 K:BB

After making a brief foray on the pitcher’s mound, Gomez has returned to the outfield, and despite getting off to a slow start, has been mashing as of late. Gomez is back in the heart of the DSL D-backs’ order, and has paced them to wins in their last two games, a 5-4 victory over the DSL Rockies on Wednesday and a 7-3 win over the DSL Twins on Thursday.


Others of note:

         While Torra was dazzling on the mound for the Aces on Thursday, outfielder Doug Deeds provided the offensive spark, with a home run and three RBI.

         Mobile third baseman/first baseman Bryan Byrne also hit two doubles in Mobile’s win in Wednesday’s win.

         Third baseman Ryan Wheeler had a successful debut for the BayBears on Wednesday, going 1-for-4 but reaching base three times, collecting a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Wheeler also scored a pair of runs.

         Coming into the game in relief of Smith, Visalia right-hander Chase Anderson threw three innings, striking out four and allowing just one run on three hits and no walks or home runs.

         Outfielder Chris Jarrett had a fantastic debut for the SilverHawks, collecting three hits, including a triple, with two RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.

         First baseman Yazy Arbelo continued his power surge for Yakima on Wednesday, hitting his 14th home run of the season.

         Coming up big in support of his younger brother, Richie Rowland had a pair of hits, including a double, and two RBI in support of Robbie Rowland on Thursday. Adam Eaton also collected three hits, including a home run.

         DSL D-backs right-hander Berling Cruz came up big on Wednesday, throwing six innings and allowing just one earned run on nine hits and three strikeouts, with no walks or home runs. He did, however, allow a pair of unearned runs.

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.


Draft Deadline Day: D-backs sign Perry, Green and Linton

By Dan Strittmatter


Prior to yesterday’s 9:01 p.m. (Arizona time) deadline for signing draft picks from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, the D-backs signed three more of their top fourteen selections – sixth-rounder Blake Perry, eighth-rounder James Green, and 14th-rounder Ty Linton.


Perry, the 181st overall pick, is an 18-year-old high school right-hander from Florida. He fits the term “projectable right-hander” — much like fellow 2010 picks, second-rounder J.R. Bradley and third-rounder Robby Rowland, high schoolers who signed earlier in the summer — as the team believes that as his body develops, he will add velocity on his fastball and refine his off-speed pitches. According to Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, the D-backs had to sign Perry away from a commitment to play baseball at the University of Kentucky, where his brother, Bryce, already plays. This college commitment kept Perry, a top-round talent, out of the upper rounds of the draft, as teams were worried about whether or not they would be able to sign Perry.


The 18-year-old Green was selected with the 241st pick out of high school in Texas. Committed to TCU, it also took the D-backs a significantly over-slot bonus to bring Green into the fold. According to Aaron Fitt, Green’s fastball has hit 95 MPH on the radar gun, and he uses a hard curveball as well. According to Interim General Manager Jerry Dipoto on Nick Piecoro’s blog, the D-backs felt Green was a top-100 talent in this draft, but fell due to concerns about whether or not he could be convinced to leave his commitment to TCU. (The full quotes from Dipoto on all three players signed yesterday can be found here, on Piecoro’s blog.)


Ty Linton


Nabbing the 19-year-old Linton was perhaps the most impressive signing from yesterday. Linton fell to the D-backs with the 421st-overall pick in the 14th round due to a strong two-sport commitment to the University of North Carolina, where he would have played baseball and football as a top-rated high school linebacker. To pry Linton away from this two-sport commitment, the D-backs gave him the highest bonus they gave out in the 2010 draft. All indications are that Linton is giving up football to focus solely on baseball.


On ESPN.com writer Keith Law’s top-100 prospect rankings from June 2, Linton was rated No. 75, and in Law’s prospect profile for Linton (available to ESPN Insiders only), Linton’s power tool grades out as solidly above average. Prior to the draft, MLB.com’s scouting staff had filed a video scouting report of Linton, available here, and touted that Linton’s power is “his best tool – he’s got well above average to plus raw power.”



A look at the high school numbers and honors of the three prep players can be found on the D-backs’ website, here.


Minor League Report

By Dan Strittmatter

Triple-A Reno:


Jeff Bailey
– Aug. 11 – 1-for-2, 1 2B, 1:1 K:BB, 1

Despite facing off against Memphis
right-hander Kyle Lohse, on a rehab
assignment for the St. Louis Cardinals after posting a 3.78 ERA in 2008 and a
4.74 ERA in 2009, Bailey had no problems at the plate. He reached base three
times and whacked a double off of Lohse, bringing his batting average up to
.306 and OBP/SLG/OPS line up to .399/.494/.892 for the 2010 season.



Double-A Mobile:


Kyler Newby
– Aug. 9 – 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 10:1
K:BB, 2 HR, 5/2 GO/FO.

This was a dominant start for Newby
that was skewed by a pair of solo home runs. Half of the balls put in the air
against Newby went out of the yard, which may be as much a factor of bad luck
as Newby making a pair of mistake pitches, and those two home runs were in fact
the only two hits Newby allowed in his start. He missed a ton of bats, striking
out 10, which made him the second BayBear to record double-digit strikeouts in a
start in 2010 (the other being Josh Collmenter). As a starter in 2010, Newby
has posted a 2.67 ERA in 27 innings of work, striking out 36 and walking just nine, with a phenomenal 1.93/1 GO/FO ratio.



Hi-A Visalia:


Yonata Ortega
– Aug. 10 – 1 IP, 3 K, the rest

While it is unusual to see a relief
pitcher headlining a team’s report, not to mention a reliever who has made just
three appearances with his current affiliate, Ortega has simply been that
dominant for Visalia. Yesterday’s three-up, three-strikeout performance
provides a good indication of how phenomenal he has been. In a mere 3 2/3
innings, Ortega has allowed just two hits and a walk, while striking out nine and recording a win and two saves.
There have only been two batters who Ortega has retired without striking them
out, both via flyout in his first Visalia appearance.



Low-A South Bend:


Ramon Castillo
– Aug.  10 – 2-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1:0 K:BB.

Amidst a poor overall offensive
performance for the SilverHawks on Tuesday was Castillo’s impressive day, in
which he drove in runs both with a solo home run in the fifth inning and an RBI
single in the seventh to score David
. While Castillo has cooled down a bit from his scorching start to the
season, his line still stands at an impressive .348/.485/.833 on the year, good
for the team’s second-best OPS.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


Michael Freeman
– Aug. 9 – 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 SB.

The Bears had an off-day yesterday, and
Monday’s game was a 6-1 loss to Spokane, but Freeman’s performance was
nonetheless impressive. The 23-year-old shortstop has hit .333 for Yakima with
a .407 OBP after signing as an 11th-round pick in the 2010 draft out of
Clemson. Aside from his strong contact skills, Freeman has also put his speed
on display for Yakima, successful stealing 11 bases in 12 attempts.



Rookie-level Missoula:


David Holmberg
– Aug. 9 – 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 6:2 K:BB,
7/4 GO/FO.

Holmberg, newly acquired from the
Chicago White Sox organization in the Edwin Jackson trade, was much better in
his second start for Missoula. Coincidentally, this start, just like his first
as a member of the Osprey, happened to be against his former team, the Great
Falls Voyagers. After being hit around a bit in his first outing against his
former mates, Holmberg struck back with six strikeouts in six shutout innings. The
lefty has now allowed just three earned runs through 11 innings of work for



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


Jose Jose –
Aug. 9 – 4 IP, 7 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3:2
K:BB, 2/6 GO/FO.

While “Jose Squared” was never quite
able to harness his tremendous raw power at the plate for the DSL D-backs due
to the length of his swing, his power left arm is being put to good use on the
pitcher’s mound. Through 34 2/3 innings, “Jose x2” now has struck out 31
batters, and owns an impressive 2.86 ERA. Control is obviously an issue, as his
breaking-ball command is a work-in-progress, but there is certainly the
potential for a big-league reliever here.


of note:

  • Right-hander Kevin Mulvey had a solid outing for the Aces yesterday, though he
    earned the loss as he was out-dueled by Lohse. Mulvey threw seven innings,
    allowing five hits, two runs (both earned) and four walks while striking out
    three. He recorded twelve groundball outs to keep Memphis under control.
    Double-A outfielder Ollie Linton has begun appearing fairly
    regularly in reports. In his last two games, Linton has reached base four times
    and swiped a bag, and is also consistently being slotted at the top of the
    lineup for the BayBears.
    Charles Brewer was
    phenomenal for Visalia once again yesterday, allowing just one run through six
    innings of work. He surrendered five hits and a walk while striking out five
    and recording eight groundball outs.
    Yesterday’s game featured a couple of
    offensive standouts for Visalia as well. Catcher Rossmel Perez reached base three times, and Ryan Wheeler drove in a pair of runs with a two-out double.
    South Bend 3B/DH Matt Davidson connected for his fifteenth home run of the 2010
    season on Monday against Lake County.
    Henry Zabala
    also reached base for Yakima three times on Monday, and recorded an outfield
    assist by throwing out Spokane first baseman Clark Murphy at third base from
    right field.
    Outfielder Javan Williams was impressive for Missoula, pacing the offensive
    with a pair of hits, including a two-run home run in the third inning.
    Right-hander Frank Santana recorded the save in the winning half of the
    doubleheader between the DSL D-backs and DSL Reds, and did so in dominating
    fashion by striking out all three batters he faced. Third baseman Jesus Abreu was also impressive in that
    game, going 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, a run and a walk.

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.