Farm Rumblings Week 2: One swing away from perfection in Visalia
Another week is in the books in the minor league baseball season, and for the most part, the affiliates of the Arizona Diamondbacks are doing a lot of winning.
The Reno Aces, Jackson Generals, Visalia Rawhide and Kane County Cougars combined to go 15-10 last week and the pitching staff of one club nearly provided some history.
Here’s a quick look at some of the happenings in the D-backs’ farm system.
Perfection just missed
The Visalia pitching staff has been good so far in 2017, logging a collective ERA of 3.70 in 90 innings — the fifth-best mark in the California League.
On Tuesday, they were nearly unhittable. The combination of starter Joel Payamps and relievers Kirby Bellow and Cameron Gann completely shut down the Lake Elsinore Storm for nine innings. Twenty-seven batters up, 27 batters down. The problem was, the Rawhide couldn’t push across a run themselves, so the game went to extra innings.
Finally, in the 10th inning, catcher Matt Jones smacked a two-run homer off of Lake Elsinore’s Colby Blueberg. Visalia called on right-hander Bud Jeter to close out an even more rare 10-inning perfect game. Jeter struck out Michael Gettys to lead off the inning, but then Chris Baker tripled to right to break up the no-hitter and perfect game. Jeter would retire the next two batters to save the game and the shutout.
The California League hasn’t seen a perfect game since 1999.
A hot week for Walker
The Diamondbacks snapped up first baseman Christian Walker off waivers from Cincinnati late in spring training after two other teams had dibs on him, and the 26-year-old has manned the position quite nicely so far.
Walker was the most productive hitter in the D-backs’ system last week, hitting .379 (11-for-29) with four home runs and 12 RBI in seven games.
Walker, who was drafted by Baltimore in 2012 and was the Orioles’ third-best prospect heading into the 2015 season, is tied with Iowa’s Jeimer Candelario for the PCL lead in RBI with 16.
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) April 17, 2017
Wilson on fire
Outfielder Marcus Wilson, the D-backs’ 25th-best prospect according to MLB.com, had himself a week for the Kane County Cougars of the Single-A Midwest League.
Wilson batted .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs and eight RBI for the Cougars, who went 3-3 on the week and lead the Western Division with a 7-3 mark. He is third in the Midwest League with a .405 batting average, he ranks second in home runs (4) and leads the circuit with 12 RBI.
Saturday, Wilson homered twice, drove in six runs, scored three runs and stole a base in the Cougars’ 8-4 win over Quad Cities.
Wilson, 20, also drew four walks and continues to show good plate discipline — he’s drawn eight walks in his first 10 games this year and has earned 108 free passes in 175 minor league games.
Nuggets in 140 characters or less
Ildemaro Vargas flashing the leather…
— Reno Aces (@Aces) April 16, 2017
— Reno Aces (@Aces) April 16, 2017
The Aces are emulating their parent club, at least when it comes to bold uniform styles.
Check out our new Reno Evolution Jerseys. 🔥😳🔥😳🔥😳🔥 pic.twitter.com/iE9sNe14n0
— Reno Aces (@Aces) April 15, 2017
More on Wilson and his increased home run power
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) April 16, 2017
|4-3||5-6||Tied for 3rd in Pacific Northern Division; 1.5 games behind Tacoma|
|5-1||8-2||1st place in North Division; 3-game lead|
|3-3||6-4||In 4-way tie for 1st in North Division|
|3-3||7-3||1st place in Eastern Division; 1-game lead over Bowling Green and Lansing|