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Farm Rumblings Week 3: Ketel Marte swinging a hot bat

D-backs’ affiliates went 14-13 last week at four levels of minor league ball, but for the most part, there’s been a lot of winning by teams with the Arizona ‘A’ on their sleeves in 2017.

acesCalling the Ketel Red-Hot

After being acquired by Arizona in November, Ketel Marte was very much in the hunt for a roster spot with the big-league club. However, the 23-year-old, who played in 119 games for Seattle last season, started the year in Reno as the D-backs opted to go with Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed to man the shortstop position.

Marte is still making a push for a call-up. He batted .452 (14-for-31) last week with four RBI. For the season, Marte is hitting .419 — good for second in the PCL, behind only Sacramento’s Christian Arroyo.

Entering this week’s action, Marte is riding an 11-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 16 of the 17 games he’s played in. His 31 hits lead all of MiLB.

acesArcia’s Power Display

Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia hit 34 home runs over two big league seasons in 2013 and 2014, so his power should come as no surprise.

The 25-year-old Venezuelan had back-to-back two-homer games last week. Arcia had two long balls in Monday’s 13-2 win over El Paso and then turned the trick again in Tuesday’s road win over Albuquerque.

Arcia’s 17 RBI rank third in the PCL, trailing only teammate Christian Walker (21) and Iowa’s Jeimer Candelario.

acesAces Making Pitching News, Too

The D-backs’ top prospect, left-hander Anthony Banda, got two wins last week, including one over El Paso Sunday in which he struck out 11 Chihuahua hitters over 5.2 innings of work.

It’s the second-most strikeouts Banda has ever had in a minor league contest. In 2015, while pitching for Single-A Visalia, Banda had 13 punchouts in a 5-4, 11-inning win over San Jose.

Zack Godley, who opened eyes two seasons ago with a solid performance as a spot starter for the D-backs, has become somewhat of a forgotten man in the Arizona organization.

But the 27-year-old was outstanding in his most recent outing. Godley pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit and struck out seven in a 5-1 win over Albuquerque last Wednesday. Raimel Tapia singled to lead off the seventh inning to break up Godley’s no-hit bid. The only other base runner he allowed was Noel Cuevas, whom he hit with a pitch leading off the second inning.

Godley was a picture of efficiency on the night, throwing 61 pitches, 44 of which went for strikes.

cougarsFree Baseball, Anyone?

The Kane County Cougars of the Single-A Midwest League played a lot of extra baseball this week. The Cougars participated in three extra-inning contests, including a 17-inning pitchers’ duel Wednesday against Beloit, which they won, 1-0.

In all, Kane County logged 13 extra innings of play.

Wednesday night, the Cougars’ bullpen was taxed into working 15.1 innings. Starter Tyler Mark was pulled with two outs in the second inning after a long rain delay. Right-hander Jon Duplantier did a good amount of the work, striking out six in 5.1 innings of hitless relief. He was followed by Austin Mason, Jeferson Mejia and Sam Lewis. Then, for the last four innings of the game, manager Butch Hobson relied on infielders to do the job. Paxton De La Garza and Kyle Smith combined on four innings of more shutout relief to nail down the win.

In all, Kane County’s bullpen worked 57 innings in seven games.

IciclesNot Everything Is Sunny

Not everyone was red-hot last week in the Arizona chain. Double-A Jackson’s Jared Miller struggled mightily in Thursday’s loss to Montgomery. The lefty walked three, allowed three hits and seven earned runs in one-third of an inning to take his first loss of the year. Miller’s ERA jumped from 3.86 to 12.27 after the ill-fated appearance.

While Kyle Smith did well in emergency bullpen duty, the 23-year-old first baseman is struggling at the dish for Kane County. Smith batted .048 (1-for-21) on the week and is hitting just .167 on the season.

Visalia’s Fernery Ozuna is also begging for anything to fall right. The 21-year-old infielder is hitless in his last seven games and has seen his batting average plummet from .231 to .118 during the slump.

Standings

Team Week Season Notes
aces 5-2 10-8 2nd place in Pacific Northern Division, .5 games behind Tacoma
generals 2-4 10-6 1st place in North Division; 1-game lead over Montgomery
rawhidesmall 3-4 9-8 3-way tie for 2nd place in North Division
cougars 4-3 11-6 1st place in Eastern Division; 2-game lead over Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities and Wisconsin

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