Tagged: Prospects

Minor League Report

By Dan Strittmatter


Triple-A Reno:


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.



Double-A Mobile:


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.



Hi-A Visalia:


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.



Paul Goldschmidt:


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.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


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.



Rookie-level Missoula:


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.

Minor League Report

By Dan Strittmatter


Triple-A Reno:


RHP Cesar Valdez – Aug. 4 – 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9:0 K:BB, 0 HR, 7/2 GO/FO

RHP Kris Benson – Aug. 4 – 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R ( 1 ER), 1:0 K:BB, 0 HR, 5/2 GO/FO

The Aces received a dominant two-man performance on the mound yesterday, with Benson starting the game on his rehab assignment, throwing 39 pitches in an efficient and effective outing as he begins to rebuild strength in his arm. This is the second straight rehab outing for Benson in which he’s thrown three innings and surrendered just a single earned run.

Benson was followed by Valdez, who came in from the ‘pen to throw a mere 62 pitches in shutting down the Nashville lineup in six frames. Valdez appears to be regaining his dominant form at Reno from the start of the season, as he has now gone at least six innings while giving up one run or fewer for the third time in his last four appearances.



Double-A Mobile:


LHP Wade Miley – Aug. 3 – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2:3 K:BB, 0 HR, 9/2 GO/FO

RHP Kyler Newby – Aug. 4 – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7:2 K:BB, 4/3 GO/FO

Just add another 10 innings with one earned run at the bottom of the list of incredible starting pitching performances for the BayBears over the last couple weeks. While Miley’s strikeout and walk rates may not have been as superb as he’s shown us in the past, he continues to force Southern League hitters to pound the ball into the ground. Anytime you give up one earned run in five innings of work and your ERA rises (to 1.61), you’re having a darn good season.


On the other hand, strikeout and walk rates were certainly not an issue for Newby. In his fifth start in the Mobile rotation filling in for Barry Enright, Newby missed a ton of bats and also did an admirable job keeping the ball on the ground. Allowing fewer than one baserunner per inning is pretty impressive however you look at it. On the season, Newby’s ERA is now an impressive 3.40, and in those five starts, it’s an even more impressive 2.57 (3.89 out of the ‘pen).



Hi-A Visalia:


RHP Charles Brewer – 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4:0 K:BB, 1 HR, 9/5 GO/FO

Since his first start for Visalia (3 1/3 innings, 6 ER), Brewer has been phenomenal for the Rawhide, allowing just 12 earned runs in 44 1/3 innings of work (2.44 ERA) with 35 strikeouts, 11 walks and three home runs allowed. Also in that span, Brewer has induced 60 ground ball outs as opposed to just 33 outs in the air. Add those numbers to a 1.83 ERA in 69 innings at South Bend before his promotion to Visalia, and you’ve got a ridiculous first full season in the pros.



Low-A South Bend:


3B Bobby Borchering – Last Five Games (Aug. 1 – Aug. 5) – 14-for-23, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 8 R, 3:0 K:BB, 1 HBP


3B Matt Davidson – Last Six Games (July 31 – Aug. 5) – 12-for-22, 3 2B, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 4 R, 6:4 K:BB, 1 SF

Bobby Borchering’s bat came alive for the month of August in a way that is reminiscent of some of Brandon Allen‘s explosions at Triple-A Reno. He has collected 25 total bases in 23 at-bats, (1.087 SLG), and an absolutely ludicrous August OPS of 1.712. Arguably his best game of the month came yesterday, when he went 2-3 with a solo home run — his second in two days and 11th of the season — three runs scored, and a hit-by-pitch while not striking out. We’ve been expecting this power surge all season long from Bobby, and it seems that batting practice power is turning into in-game power.


Not to be outdone, Matt Davidson has been equally impressive over the past week. His best game of the stretch (no “arguably” necessary on this one…) came on Aug. 3 against Bowling Green, when he went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs, five RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a strikeout. Davidson now has 30 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs amongst his 112 hits in 2010, and has an OBP/SLG/OPS line of .382/.509/.892 on the year, the best OPS on the Silver Hawks and third best OPS of all current Midwest League batters. To add to how impressive he’s been, both of the players ahead of Davidson on that list are 22 years old. Davidson, on the other hand, turned 19 last March.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


SS Zachary Walters – 15-Game Hitting Streak – 26-for-65, 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R, 14:3 K:BB, 5 SB (0 CS)

RHP Jake Hale – 2010 season – 17 games, 28 1/3 IP, 17 H, 2 R (1 ER), 29:5 K:BB, 0 HR, 1.50/1 GO/FO, 0.32 ERA

While the 15-game streak is extremely impressive, the numbers from Walters’ last ten games are even better – 20-for-42, five doubles, a triple, a home run, 12 RBI, 12 runs scored, three stolen bases and a 6:2 K:BB. He struggled earlier in the year with strikeouts and getting on-base, but while he still isn’t the most patient hitter, he’s certainly making a lot better contact as of late, and he’s got a lot of pop in his bat for a middle-infielder, particularly a shortstop. His batting average is up to .317 on the year with this streak, and his line of .333/.455/.788 is good for the third-best OPS on the Bears.


As for Hale, it’s about time he received some recognition here for being absolutely dominant all year long. While he’s old (24) for his level, the 2009 draft pick is poised to start rocketing up the system, as he has been almost completely unhittable in 2010. He was even dominant in the outing in which he allowed his one earned run of the year — he struck out three in two innings of work on July 15, but a series of balls put in play found holes in the defense, as four hits brought a run across the plate.



Rookie-level Missoula:


SS Raul Navarro – Last Three Games – 7-for-16, 3 R, 3:0 K:BB.

Navarro, the 18-year-old shortstop who spent 2009 in the DSL, has impressed in 2010 with Missoula hitting .299 with a line of .340/.438/.777 through 37 games. While the power hasn’t been there over the last three games, he’s making good contact, is playing a premium defensive position and his .139 ISO shows that he does have some pop in his bat.



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


OF Wagner Mateo – Last Three Games – 5-for-12, 1 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R, 3:0 K:BB, 1 SB (0 CS).

Widely regarded as the top prospect on the DSL D-backs, Mateo has been impressive recently, with a two-homer, six-RBI game on Wednesday against the DSL Padres followed by three more hits, including a double, in a doubleheader yesterday against the DSL White Sox. Mateo’s OPS on the year now sits at .811, 21st-best in the DSL. For a 17-year-old in a pitcher-friendly league made up almost entirely of players older than him, that number is very impressive.


Others of note:

         While the great pitching of Wednesday night’s Triple-A Reno game was really nice to see, as Benson and Valdez are looking to re-establish themselves as Major League contributors, it would be a shame to overlook the Aces’ offensive explosion, as they scored 12 runs off of Nashville. Leading the way (once again) was Brandon Allen, who collected two hits, including a two-run homer, three RBI, and a hit-by-pitch. Ryan Roberts also homered and walked.

         Right-hander Kevin Mulvey followed the strong performances of Benson and Valdez with a strong outing of his own on Thursday night, throwing seven innings, scattering eight hits and surrendering just a pair of runs. He gave up a homer and recorded a pair of strikeouts.

         After a strong start was followed by a breakdown in the Major Leagues, Daniel Stange is piecing his command, and his season, back together at Double-A Mobile. His last nine appearances have been scoreless, spanning 10 2/3 innings.

         Lefty Patrick Corbin made his second start for Visalia since being acquired in the Dan Haren deal. His innings are being limited, but he threw three scoreless frames, allowing just a pair of hits and striking out four with no walks.

         Keon Broxton has also been dangerous at the top of the Silver Hawks’ lineup as of late, currently riding a seven-game hitting streak that includes a pair of three-hit games. One of those three-hit games came on Wednesday night, when Broxton also collected a double, a home run, and a walk.

         19-year-old South Bend right-hander Scottie Allen struck out eight batters in just four innings of work on Tuesday night, but, unfortunately, every ball that was put in play seemed to fall for a hit against him, as he surrendered six earned runs. This has actually been an unfortunate trend of Allen’s for the entire 2010 season. His batting average on balls in play is an astounding, unsustainable .655.

         On Tuesday, Yakima pitchers Andrea Pizziconi, Rashad Tucker, Keith Cantwell, Hale, and Corey Davisson combined for a shutout of the Eugene Emeralds, allowing just five hits, striking out nine and walking nobody.

         David Holmberg, the left-hander acquired from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, made his debut for the Rookie-level Missoula Osprey on Wednesday. He threw five innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, though just three of those runs were earned. He struck out three, walked a pair and didn’t allow a home run.

         Another lefty from Missoula, Patrick Schuster, had a good outing on Tuesday. Schuster went five innings, giving up seven hits and a pair of unearned runs while striking out five and walking just one.

         DSL D-backs outfielder Socrates Brito has already jumped out to a .375 OBP in his first seven games with the team.

         Some shifting around in the minor league system:

o    INF Tony Abreu was sent to Triple-A Reno as the D-backs recalled RHP Rafael Rodriguez, who was acquired in the Dan Haren trade.

o    Ed Easley was promoted to Triple-A Reno to give the Aces a second catcher after John Hester was called up by the D-backs to replace the traded Chris Snyder.

o    Double-A RHP Bryan Augenstein was activated from the 7-Day DL. He threw two innings of scoreless relief last night, striking out a pair and allowing a hit.

o    Back on Monday, RHP’s Casey Upperman and Rashad Tucker were promoted to Short-Season Yakima from Rookie-level Missoula.

Minor League Report


Kris Benson – Photography: Jon Willey


By Dan Strittmatter


Triple-A Reno:


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.



Double-A Mobile:


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.



Hi-A Visalia:


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.



Paul Goldschmidt:


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.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


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.



Rookie-level Missoula:


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.

Minor League Report

By Dan Strittmatter

Triple-A Reno:


OF/1B Jeff Bailey – July 28 & 29 – 5-for-10, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 1:0 K:BB

Bailey continues to be a force in the cleanup hole, and has taken advantage of the lineup protection afforded him by an absurd streak of power from Brandon Allen in the five spot to go on a tear of his own. Bailey has been hitting the seams off of the ball in July, with an even 1.000 OPS in 25 games, and now has 65 RBIs in 2010 with an .899 season OPS.



Double-A Mobile:


RHP Bryan Henry – July 28 – 8 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3:0 K:BB, 0 HR, 7/11 GO/AO

LHP Wade Miley – July 29 – 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 7/3 GO/AO


The BayBears received some fantastic starting pitching over the last couple of days, beginning with Henry’s absolutely dominant outing on Wednesday. He worked into the ninth, facing a mere 30 Montgomery batters, with Dan Stange coming on in relief to record a quick double-play to end a ninth-inning threat.


Miley then picked up right where Henry left off, although he was on an innings limit and couldn’t go as deep into the game. He needed just 63 pitches to get through five quick innings, and allowed just three baserunners, wiping away one of them with a double play. A scoreless inning of work from Jeff Dietz, two scoreless innings from Bryan Woodall, and a scoreless save from Stange closed up the 1-0 win.



Hi-A Visalia:


CF Alfredo Marte – July 28 – 3-for-6, 3 R

1B Paul Goldschmidt – July 28 – 4-for-6, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB


Marte has had a great July, with a .365/.516/.882 OBP/SLG/OPS line in 24 games. He tacked on a three-hit night on Wednesday to break out of a two-game hitless slump in which he went 0-for-8.


And Goldschmidt… what else can be said, really? He hit a three-run home run, his 29th of the season, which was his third in four games. He drove in four more runs, scored two more runs, collecting four more hits to bring up his average to .313 on the season with a .979 OPS and remarkable .609 slugging percentage. He’s just an unbelievable power hitter who is absolutely dominating the Cal League.


Low-A South Bend:


Not much to cover from South Bend. The Wednesday game was early, so it was covered in that Farm Report. Then, the SilverHawks were handed a 6-1 loss on Thursday while recording just six hits, all of which were singles. Keon Broxton and Ender Inciarte stole bases, Inciarte and Errol Hollinger reached base twice, and Scottie Allen struck out four in three innings of work, though he also walked four and surrendered a pair of runs.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


3B Raoul Torrez – July 28 & 29 – 5-for-7, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R, 1:1 K:BB

Torrez has been one of the best bats in Yakima’s lineup since signing after the D-backs took him in the 2010 Draft. His OBP is a nice .359, and his .761 OPS has been steadily climbing over the past few games, particularly his last two, in which he has been seemingly impossible to keep off of the basepaths.



Rookie-level Missoula:


OF Adam Eaton – July 29 – 3-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1:1 K:BB

Eaton had a spectacular game for the Osprey yesterday, though in a losing effort. He hit his fourth home run of the season and also had an outfield assist from center field, nailing Billings Mustangs third baseman Cristobal Rodriguez at home. Eaton raised his batting average to a fantastic .381 on the season, with a .523 OBP and 1.107 OPS.



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


1B Jonathan Perez – Last Four Games – 5-for-8, 1 2B, 1 3B, 7 RBI, 5 R, 0:6 K:BB

Perez has been impossible to keep off of the bases lately, and despite his batting average of .228 on the year, his on-base percentage is .441 on the season, and he has an OBP/SLG/OPS line of .514/.409/.923 in his last ten games.


Others of note:

         Kris Benson is scheduled to make his first start Friday since June 8 for Triple-A Reno, trying again to rehab from an injury that sidelined him in the middle of May.

         Despite being hitless in his last two games (0-for-4), Reno first baseman Brandon Allen has reached base five times, collecting three walks and getting hit by a pitch twice.

         Mobile right-handed pitcher Bryan Woodall has been superb since being called up to Double-A Mobile. In four games, he has thrown 7 1/3 innings, striking out eight, giving up just six hits with no walks or homers and allowing just two unearned runs.

         Catcher Rossmel Perez also added a three-hit game to Visalia’s lineup on Wednesday in their 14-10 victory.

         Hi-A Visalia Shortstop and 2010 draft pick Niko Gallego collected the first extra-base hit of his career on Wednesday, a two-RBI triple.

         Lefty Patrick Corbin is scheduled to make his first start tonight for Hi-A Visalia after being acquired in the Dan Haren trade.

         Yakima catcher Raywilly Gomez hit his third home run of the season on Wednesday, and his second in the last week. This was after hitting no homers in his first two seasons as a pro, in which he played 122 games.

         Italian right-hander Andrea Pizziconi threw three scoreless innings of relief for Yakima on Thursday, lowering his season ERA to 2.02.

         DSL D-backs LHP Johan Jaime has been superb in his last three starts, giving up just one earned run in each of those appearances, throwing 15 2/3 innings with 18 strikeouts, 11 walks and no home runs allowed.


D-backs acquire Hudson and Holmberg



Dan Hudson — Christian Petersen/Getty Images


By Greg Salvatore

The D-backs have traded right-handed starting pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox for right-handed starter Dan Hudson and left-handed starter David Holmberg.

Hudson was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the White Sox’ organization by Baseball Prospectus coming into the 2010 season, and the No. 4 prospect by Baseball America. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked him No. 3 in the Chicago system.

Hudson started three games in the big leagues for the White Sox this season (6.32 ERA) and 17 at Triple-A, where he went 11-4 with a 3.47 era and 108 strikeouts in 93 1/3 innings. His strikeout and walk numbers in the minors this year were consistent with the excellent rates he’s put up throughout his minor league career, whiffing 10.6 batters (10.4 in 2010) per nine innings and walking 2.5 (3.0 in 2010).

Hudson, a fifth-round pick in 2008 out of Old Dominion, has allowed 24 home runs in 310 1/3 minor league innings in his career (a very solid 0.7 per nine), which is a good number to look at to find future success at homer-friendly Chase Field.

Hudson, like Joe Saunders, who was acquired in the Dan Haren deal, will take a rotation spot immediately.

Holmberg was a second round pick in 2009 and has played this season at Great Falls in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Baseball America and Law both ranked Holmberg No. 8 in their White Sox prospects list, while Baseball Prospectus had him at No. 10.

The D-backs now have nine of the top 80 picks from the 2009 draft — Bobby Borchering (16), AJ Pollock (17), Matt Davidson (35), Chris Owings (41), Mike Belfiore (45), Eric Smith (60), Marc Krauss (64), Holmberg (71), and Patrick Corbin (80) — and could wind up with a 10th, depending on the identity of the player to be named later in the Haren deal.

Holmberg, who just turned 19 last week, is the youngest and furthest from the Majors among the players the D-backs acquired in the two trades this week. He put up a 4.46 ERA in the Pioneer League this year, striking out 29 and walking just nine in 40 1.3 innings. His strikeout rate is alright, walk rate excellent and home run rate (0.4 per nine) also excellent. The runs seem to come from the hits he’s allowed (52 in 40 1/3 innings), so he’ll have to work on missing bats a bit more. 

He faced Missoula, the D-backs affiliate club in the Pioneer League, twice this year, with similar results both times. On July 2, he went six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk, with three strikeouts. On July 12, he went six innings allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts.

Minor League Report


Brandon Allen — Photography: Jon Willey

By Dan Strittmatter


Triple-A Reno:


1B Brandon Allen – Last seven games11-25, 7 HR, 13 RBI, 11 R, 6:7 K:BB, 1 SB (0 CS).

Yes, Brandon Allen has seven home runs in his last seven games. He started the season horrendously by his standards (.757 OPS in April) then wound up on the DL in early May. But since returning, Allen has played so well, with a line of .435/.607/1.042 (OBP/SLG/OPS), that his overall season OPS is now up at an impressive .962, with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and a pair of triples amongst his 68 hits. To add on to this, his season K:BB ratio is 66:59. Extremely impressive.



Double-A Mobile:


OF Collin Cowgill – Last five games9-22, 3 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 3:2 K:BB, 2 SB (0 CS).

Cowgill has been filling the box score for the BayBears lately, and his season numbers have started to look extremely impressive. His line this season stands at .367/.480/.847, and, regardless of what many say about his short size, 19 total bases in five games is some nice power production. Add a few walks for on-base skills, a couple of stolen bases, and trademark good defense in the corner outfield, and you have evidence that Cowgill is starting to adapt to the upper levels of the minor leagues, with the Hi-A to Double-A jump often considered the most difficult to make (outside of going to the Major Leagues).



Hi-A Visalia:


RHP Chase Anderson – July 24 – 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 7:1 K:BB, 2/0 GO/FO.

Anderson’s innings may be under strict watch in his first full season of professional baseball, but he’s certainly finding plenty of opportunities to leave a strong impression on his organization. The last time Anderson had pitched, 10 days before his outing on Saturday, Anderson had his worst outing of the season, giving up five runs on a walk and two homers, though he struck out three batters in three innings of work. On Saturday, though, Anderson flat-out refused to let batters put the ball in the air or get it out of the infield, not to mention hit one out of the park. The only two batters to make contact grounded out. After walking Stephen Parker to start the eighth inning, Anderson struck out the next three batters in order to make sure Parker didn’t go anywhere. Now that is the definition of “dominant.”



Low-A South Bend:


OF Ender Inciarte – July 28 – 3-4, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB (0 CS).

Inciarte’s year has been disappointing overall, with just a .534 OPS at South Bend in two stints there, and a .614 OPS in a stint at Yakima after being sent down. But Inciarte was unstoppable at the plate Wednesday. He had three hits: a ninth-inning, go-ahead homer that would be the difference in the game, a triple, and a single (after which he stole second base). For a guy that’s still only 19 years old and is playing in full-season ball, don’t let a bad half of a season sour you on the possible bright future this kid has.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


RHP Enrique Burgos – July 26 – 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 2:1 K:BB, 7/7 GO/FO.

Walks and command have been a huge problem for Burgos this year, with 26 free-passes allowed in 36 1/3 innings helping lead to a disappointing 5.94 ERA for the big Panamanian prospect. So seeing Burgos allow just a single walk in his solid six-inning appearance on Monday was a nice step forward. And even though two Ks is underwhelming, the strikeouts will come with the stuff that Burgos has once his control is refined.



Rookie-level Missoula:


RHP J.R. Bradley – July 24 – 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R (2 ER), 6:0 K:BB, 1 HR, 5/3 GO/FO.

The D-backs’ 18-year-old, 2010 second-round pick had his best outing of the season on Sunday as the team builds up his innings totals going into 2011. He pitched five innings for the first time, and also had his highest strikeout total of the season. While his ERA still is underwhelming, his 14:6 K:BB ratio in 19 innings and 1.28 GO/FO ratio are certainly not.



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


OF Wagner Mateo – Last five games – 9-19, 3 2B, 8 RBI, 5 R, 4:4 K:BB, 1 HBP.

Mateo has continued to put up good numbers for the DSL D-backs, and has been particularly impressive lately. Hitting cleanup for manager Juan Ballara, Mateo has been a constant source of offense in a league that heavily favors pitching. Mateo has struck out in somewhere near a third of his at-bats this year, 51 K’s in 167 AB’s, so to see him strike out four times in 19 at-bats, while not a great rate, is certainly improvement, and is particularly nice to see.


Others of note:

         Acquired in the Dan Haren trade, right-handed pitcher Rafael Rodriguez made his debut for the Triple-A Reno Aces on Monday, striking out a batter and giving up a walk, two hits, and a run in two innings of work. Rodriguez induced four groundball outs and just one out in the air.

         Right-handed pitcher Bryan Woodall hasn’t allowed an earned run in any of his three appearances, spanning 5 1/3 innings, for the Mobile BayBears since being called up from Hi-A Visalia. He has given up four hits, struck out six batters and not conceded a walk or a homer. To top it off, his GO/FO ratio is a staggering 2.33 (though this number is down from the unreal 3.83 ratio he posted at Visalia).

         We’ll stop mentioning him when he stops hitting… Paul Goldschmidt‘s last three games have been superb – five hits in 12 at-bats, all of them for extra-bases: three doubles and a pair of homers to drive in seven runs. Goldschmidt now has 28 home runs on the year. This is getting a bit ridiculous.

         Also acquired in the Dan Haren trade, lefthanded pitcher Patrick Corbin has been assigned to Hi-A Visalia.

         South Bend left-hander Michael Belfiore lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his second outing back from the DL, but struck out six while walking three and allowing three hits. He gave up three runs, but just one of them was earned.

         Matt Davidson continues to thrive for the Silver Hawks. In his last three games, he has four hits, three of them doubles, has not struck out and has recorded a walk.

         In his last five games for the Yakima Bears, Raywilly Gomez hasn’t struck out a single time, recording six hits and a pair of walks, including a home run. The switch-hitting catcher has just four Ks in 76 at-bats in 2010 while drawing eleven walks. His OBP is an incredible .398 and his OPS is .832.

         Kevin Eichhorn had yet another good outing for the Rookie-level Missoula Osprey. Though he threw just 5 1/3 innings, he struck out eight batters and gave up only a single earned run.

         DSL D-backs pitcher Juan Valdez picked up a save on Monday by throwing three frames in which he conceded just a single unearned run. He struck out four, allowed just one hit and lowered his season ERA to 1.62.


A Look at the Arms Coming to Arizona


Jeff Gross/Getty Images


By Dan Strittmatter


A quick look at the pieces acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Los Angeles Angels for right-handed pitcher Dan Haren:


– LHP Joe Saunders

Saunders was an All-Star in 2008 when he posted a 3.41 ERA and 17-7 record in 31 starts for the Angels, though he has seen his numbers dip since. Not a big strikeout guy (career 5.10 K/9IP), he is at his best when limiting free passes, something he has struggled with on the whole this year (3.36 K/9IP, 2.98 for his career). However, he has pitched very effectively as of late, with a 3.48 ERA in his last five starts, spanning 33 2/3 innings, and has a 3.80 ERA in his 14 starts since May 8, spanning 90 innings.


– LHP Patrick Corbin

Corbin is in the midst of his second season of professional Corbin-Patrick-2010.jpgbaseball, and has lit up the Midwest and California Leagues. He works with three big-league quality pitches, and while he may not sport top-of-the-rotation stuff, he has racked up plenty of strikeouts in the low minors, 152 strikeouts in 165 innings in his career, with 106 of them coming in his 118 2/3 innings in 2010. Add to those numbers a total of just 39 career walks, 28 of them in 2010, with high ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratios, and Corbin is a pitcher who simply doesn’t have any major flaws in how he pitches.


Perhaps where Corbin has been most impressive is the Hi-A California League, due to its notoriety as a hitter-friendly league with warm, thin air and some tight ballparks. In his eleven starts for Rancho Cucamonga, the Angels’ Cal League affiliate, Corbin struck out over a batter per inning, racking up 64 strikeouts while walking just 18 in 60 1/3 innings of work. His GO/AO ratio was also a fantastic 1.51:1 for Rancho Cucamonga.


Corbin has been assigned to Hi-A Visalia, the D-backs’ affiliate in the Cal League.


– RHP Rafael Rodriguez

Rodriguez-Rafael-2010.jpgRodriguez comes to the D-backs as another solution for the team’s bullpen woes, and boasts an impressive Triple-A track record to back it up. He posted a 1.85 ERA in 22 games, spanning 34 innings, at Triple-A Salt Lake in the Pacific Coast League in 2009 before spending 18 games pitching out the Angels’ big-league pen. He posted a 3.04 ERA for Salt Lake in 37 appearances in 2010 prior to the trade.


Rodriguez has been assigned to Triple-A Reno, the D-backs affiliate in the Pacific Coast League. He debuted yesterday for the Aces.


– An important, final piece of the deal (there was one player to be named later) should be announced later this year, and we’ll have a look at him when the official announcement is made.



Josh Collmenter — Beating the Odds


Collmenter 2.JPG


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.

Collmenter 3.JPG  

 “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.”


Minor League Report

Mike Belfiore.jpg

Mike Belfiore — Photo courtesy South Bend Silver Hawks

By Dan Strittmatter

Triple-A Reno:


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.



Double-A Mobile:


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.



High-A Visalia:


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.



Short-Season-A Yakima:


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.



Rookie-level Missoula:

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.


Minor League Report

By Dan Strittmatter


Triple-A Reno:


LF Doug Deeds – July 6 & July 7 – 5-for-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2:3 K:BB.

Deeds responded well to being named Reno’s replacement for promoted pitcher Jordan Norberto on the Pacific Coast League All-Star Team, going on an offensive binge as the Aces lost a pair of high-scoring games to the Sacramento RiverCats due to some shaky pitching performances.  Yesterday’s 4-for-5 explosion drove Deeds’ batting average up to .310 on the year, hitting primarily in the leadoff spot for the Aces.



Double-A Mobile:


The Entire Lineup – July 6

Yes, everybody.  The BayBears collected 18 hits on Tuesday, easily routing the Jacksonville Suns 9-1.  Here are the numbers for batters 1-8, each of whom recorded at least one hit (and Jacob Elmore drew a pinch-hit walk in the nine-hole, so every position in the lineup reached base at least once):

         1 – CF Evan Frey: 3-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 HBP, 1 SB.

         2 – RF Collin Cowgill: 4-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.

         3 – 3B Kory Casto: 2-4, 1 RBI, 1 R.

         4 – C Konrad Schmidt: 1-5, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K.

         5 – 1B Cyle Hankerd: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.

         6 – 2B Taylor Harbin: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 2 K.

         7 – SS Jake Wald: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K.

         8 – LF Ollie Linton: 3-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 K.

         Overall: 18-37, 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 9 R, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 1 SB.  BA/OBP/SLG line of .486/.513/.649, OPS of 1.162.


For comparison’s sake:  during Todd Helton’s best offensive year in 2000, Helton hit 216-for-580 with 103 walks, 59 2B, 2 3B, and 42 HR.  His BA/OBP/SLG line was .372/.463/.698, for an OPS of… 1.162, good for the 38th best single-season number in baseball history.  On Tuesday night, every hitter in the BayBears’ lineup was the Southern League equivalent of Todd Helton circa-2000.  Now that is impressive.


RHP Josh Collmenter – July 6 – 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 5:2 K:BB, 0 HR, 8-8 GO-AO.

But in the midst of such impressive offense, let’s not forget about the once-again dominating work of Josh Collmenter, who lowered his Mobile ERA to a Josh Johnson-ian 1.59.  In three starts at Hi-A Visalia, four starts at Triple-A Reno, and now nine starts at Double-A Mobile, Collmenter’s overall ERA is 2.42 in 100.1 innings of work, striking out 95 batters while allowing 30 walks and six home runs.  Collmenter threw 102 pitches, 63 of which were for strikes.



Hi-A Visalia:


1B Paul Goldschmidt – July 6 & July 7 – 4-for-6, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 2:2 K:BB.

Goldschmidt has continued right where the middle of the lineup left off in the last update, and is now 8-for-14 with two doubles, four homers and a 4:3 K:BB ratio, for an OPS of — you might want to sit down — 2.218.  Goldschmidt now has a remarkable 26 home runs on the year in the cleanup spot for Visalia.  The only downside?  All four of his home runs in that four-game span were solo shots.


RHP Charles Brewer – July 7 – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 5:1 K:BB, 0 HR, 7-9 GO-AO.

Since his first disastrous start at the Hi-A level, Charles Brewer has rebounded fantastically well in his two appearances since, hurling 15.1 innings and allowing just three runs.  What makes Wednesday’s start all the more impressive is the fact that it came at the home of Seattle’s Hi-A affiliate, High Desert, notorious for being one of the most hitter-friendly parks in professional baseball.  The fact that Brewer shut down the Mavericks over seven brilliant innings is very impressive.



Low-A South Bend:


2B David Nick – July 6 – 3-for-3, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 HBP.

It hasn’t been a fantastic year for Nick, who is hitting just .243 with a .644 OPS, but Wednesday night he showed a glimpse of his potential at the dish by reaching base five times, highlighted by his second triple of the season. 



Short-Season-A Yakima:


RHP Andrea Pizziconi – July 6 – 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4:2 K:BB, 0 HR, 3-2 GO-AO.

The Bears were off on Wednesday, but received another promising performance from the 6-foot-2, 18-year-old Italian prospect, making his first start of the season as he starts stretching out his arm and building his innings counts.  Pizziconi on the season has now thrown 12.2 innings, struck out 11, walked four, and given up three earned runs with two home runs for a fabulous 2.13 ERA.  This is all the more impressive when you take into consideration the fact that Pizziconi is going up against a lot of newly-drafted college players, as evidenced by the fact that the average age of batters in the NWL, according to Baseball-reference.com, is 21.4 years.



Rookie-level Missoula:


RHP Derek Eitel – July 7 – 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 5:2 K:BB, 11-4 GO-AO.

The D-backs’ 17th-round choice in the 2010 draft, and the first player ever taken in a pro sports draft out of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, has had quite an impressive start at Missoula, though this is expected from a 22-year-old in the Pioneer League.  Nonetheless, Eitel has thrown 20.1 innings, striking out 12 with seven walks, and doing a great job keeping the ball on the ground with a 2.83/1 GO/AO.  This has led Eitel to allow just nine runs in his four starts, for a 3.98 ERA.



Rookie-level Dominican Summer League:


RHP Jency Solis – July 6 – 3 IP, 1 K, 4-3 GO-AO, the rest zeros.

The 17-year-old Solis has been strong in his last three outings for the DSL D-backs, throwing nine innings without allowing an earned run (and just one unearned run).  In that span, he has struck out six, walked three, and allowed a mere three hits.


Others of note:

         After being held hitless on Tuesday, first baseman Brandon Allen responded on Wednesday, going 2-4 with a double, a homer, two RBI, two runs, a walk and a strikeout.

         Despite having one of the less-glimmering performances with the bat on Tuesday, Double-A Mobile catcher Konrad Schmidt  made up for it with a 1-2, 1 2B, 1 R, 2 BB performance on Wednesday.

         Hi-A Visalia LF Marc Krauss’ hitting streak ended at 16 games on Wednesday, in the hitter-friendly confines of High Desert, of all places.

         Speaking of streaks, Low-A South Bend 1B/DH Ramon Castillo‘s hitting streak is still alive, as he has now recorded a hit in each of his first 15 games in 2010.

         More streaks: just as we noted Raywilly Gomez‘s streak of 14 games without a strikeout at Short-Season Yakima to begin 2010 on Tuesday, he K’d for the first time this season later that night.  However, Gomez also ended another streak by hitting the first home run of his professional baseball career.  Something tells us that Raywilly will be perfectly okay with the ending of his streaks.

         The D-backs signed 16-year-old Venezuelan center fielder Yorman Garcia.