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D-backs Farm Report: Mitch Haniger red-hot in Reno


Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Week: 3-1 | Overall: 49-45, tied for 2nd place in Pacific Northern Division — 4.5 games behind Tacoma

The Aces came out strong following the Triple-A All-Star break, winning three of four from Oklahoma City.

Haniger staying hot: Because of injury, the D-backs dipped further into the Reno pool of outfielders, selecting Mike Freeman to fill the gap. They very well could have chosen Mitch Haniger, who had a big week. Haniger hit .538 (7-for-15) in four games, with a double, a triple, two home runs, six RBI and five runs scored. In 35 games with Reno, Haniger is hitting .367 (47-for-128) with 12 homers, 32 RBI and an OPS of 1.151. He’s got 16 multi-hit games at the Triple-A level.

O’Brien settling back in: After a rough stint in the big leagues, Peter O’Brien looks to be getting back to his old self. The slugger clubbed two more home runs last week, bringing his Reno total to 20. It’s the fourth straight year O’Brien has had 20 or more home runs in a minor-league season.

Godley dominant in latest win: Right-hander Zack Godley hasn’t let frequent call-ups and demotions affect him this season. He showed that again in his most recent start, going seven strong innings against Oklahoma City Thursday. Godley allowed just six hits and one earned run while striking out a season-high nine batters en route to his second win for the Aces. And, he’ll be back in the bigs Tuesday, pitching once again for the D-backs when they host the Toronto Blue Jays at Chase Field in the first of a two-game Interleague series.

Which uniform am I wearing today?: Ildemaro Vargas was a man on the move last week, playing games at three different minor league levels. The 25-year-old Venezuelan infielder started the week with Mobile, playing Monday through Friday with the BayBears. Saturday, he was in Bakersfield with Visalia. Then Sunday, he made his Triple-A debut, going 1-for-4 with two stolen bases in a 6-2 win over OKC. On the season, Vargas has posted a .275/.323/369 slash line with four homers and 20 RBI.

Freeman thanks the fans: Mike Freeman has played a lot of baseball in Reno — 272 games to be exact. So when he finally got called up to the big leagues for the first time, he took time to thank Aces fans. Pretty classy move.


Mobile BayBears (Double-A Southern League)

Week: 4-3 | Overall: 13-11, 1st place in South Division (2nd half) — 1.0 game ahead of Jacksonville, Mississippi and Pensacola

A lot of fireworks: The BayBears exploded Friday in a 20-2 road win over the Chattanooga Lookouts. The output tied a 19-year franchise record set in their inaugural season in 1997. The BayBears had 12 extra-base hits (eight doubles, four homers) in the win.

Bringing ’em home: First baseman Kevin Cron was incredibly productive last week, driving in 10 runs — all of which came in his last four games. The week was highlighted by a 5-RBI performance Friday night that included a grand slam in that rout of Chattanooga. Cron, the former 14th-round pick out of TCU in 2014, now has 59 RBI, which is tied for third-most in the Southern League. He’s had 16 multi-RBI games this season.

Back with a vengeance: After getting released by Chattanooga in 2012, a career’s end could have been the result for third baseman Travis Denker. Instead, the 30-year-old went the independent league route, including stints with the Lancaster Barnstormers, Laredo Lemurs and Sugar Land Skeeters. He also played most of 2015 with the Reynosa Broncos of the Mexican League. He’s back in affiliated ball now with Mobile, and had a terrific week for the Bears, hitting .364 (8-for-22) with 10 runs scored, a homer, four RBI and six walks.

Stites has been lights out: Right-handed reliever Matt Stites racked up three saves in three appearances last week, allowing just one baserunner in the process. Stites threw a total of 25 pitches over 2.1 innings of work, with 19 of them strikes. The 26-year-old has lowered his WHIP to 0.96 and opponents are batting just .193 against him this season.


Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

Week: 1-5 | Overall: 8-16, 5th place (2nd half) in North Division, 10 games behind Bakersfield

Rough week for the ‘Hide, who were able to snap a seven-game skid with a 9-3 win at Bakersfield on Sunday.

Tough-luck loss: Right-hander Joel Payamps was excellent in his last outing, but couldn’t get enough (or any) run support in a 4-0 loss to Bakersfield Saturday. Payamps allowed just six hits and one run over seven innings while striking out nine but took his third loss of the season. The Dominican native has 35 strikeouts in 33 innings with Visalia

Castillo with a big night: Second baseman Henry Castillo had a big night Friday, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three doubles in a 6-3 loss to Lake Elsinore. Castillo now has 31 doubles in 89 games, which lead the California League by a comfortable margin.


Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

Week: 1-5 | Overall: 8-16, 8th place (2nd half) in Western Division — 10 games behind Clinton

Almonted saddled with two ‘Ls’: Jose Almonte, who was acquired by Arizona in the deal that sent reliever Brad Ziegler to the Boston Red Sox, took not one, but two losses last week for the Cougars. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed five hits and two earned runs over six innings in a 4-0 loss to Cedar Rapids Monday. He followed that by lasting just 2.2 innings while yielding six runs (three earned) in an 8-5 loss to South Bend Sunday.

Power outage: The Cougars didn’t hit a home run in their six games last week. On the season, Kane County hitters have accounted for just 39 home runs in 94 games, which is 10th in the Midwest League. In case you’re wondering, the West Michigan Whitecaps are dead-last in the 16-team circuit with just 16 homers on the year.

Setting the table: Outfielder Colin Bray has done a nice job in the leadoff spot for the Cougars since reporting to the team on July 4. In six games last week, Bray hit .333 (7-for-21) while also drawing six walks and stealing four bases.


Hillsboro Hops (Short-Season-A Northwest League)

Week: 4-2 | Overall: 15-15, 2nd place in the South Division — 6.0 games behind Eugene

Grier looking comfortable: The D-backs’ top overall pick in June, Anfernee Grier (39th overall), is showing improvement each week for the Hops. The former Auburn Tiger hit .333 (8-for-24) with a homer, two RBI and three stolen bases in six games. In 18 games with Hillsboro, Grier has a .257/.297/.329 slash line, but he’s batting .282 over his last ten games. Oh yeah, he’s pretty good with the glove, too.

Jefferson with a big game: Manny Jefferson, Arizona’s 13th-round pick in June out of Pepperdine, went 3-for-4 with four RBI in Friday’s 9-7 win over Everett. Despite batting just .233 on the season, Jefferson has the second-most RBI (13) on the Hops roster in 2016, trailing only Justin Chigbobu (14).


Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

Week: 2-4 | Overall: 12-17, 3rd place in North Division — 6.5 games behind Billings

Hill providing thrills: First baseman Tanner Hill, a 26th-round pick out of Texas State in June, put together a nice game on Saturday, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored, two homers and five runs batted in during a 12-11 win at Idaho Falls. The home runs were the first two of Hill’s pro career, but he’s no stranger to the long ball. Hill had 35 home runs in his four-year college career, including 15 for the Bobcats in 2016, which led the team.

Grey dazzles: Right-hander Connor Grey, a 20th-round pick out of St. Bonaventure last month, had the best outing of his young pro career Monday against Great Falls. Grey allowed just one hit and one earned run with eight strikeouts over 7.1 innings of a 7-1 win. He did suffer his first pro loss Sunday on the road at Idaho Falls, but Grey has been solid so far for the Osprey, posing a 3-1 record with a 3.51 ERA, 22 strikeouts and only 12 walks.


Arizona Rookie League Diamondbacks

Week: 4-1 | Overall: 12-10, 2nd place in East Divison — .5 games behind AZL Athletics

Pobereyko dealing: Right-hander Matt Pobereyko, who went undrafted out of Kentucky Wesleyan, has been as steady as they come for the AZL D-backs. The 24-year-old has yet to give up a run and has allowed only two hits and two walks over 6.2 innings of work. His WHIP is a minuscule 0.60 and opponents are batting just .091 against him. Pobereyko went 9-2 with a 1.84 ERA in 11 starts in 2015, striking out 104 batters in just 73.1 innings.

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