D-backs Farm Rumblings: Clarke shines and gets the call from Arizona

May 6, 2019, 7:24 AM
Taylor Clarke  #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the ninth in...
Taylor Clarke #45 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the ninth inning at Wrigley Field on April 20, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

Here’s your weekly look at what’s going on in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system, including one right-hander who is about to get his first big league start.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the Week: 4-3
For the Season: 13-17, third place in Pacific Northern Division, 2.0 games behind Sacramento

The Reno pitching staff put on a clinic Wednesday night in a 2-0 win over the Las Vegas Aviators. Right-hander Taylor Clarke, the D-backs’ number-10 prospect according to, had easily his best start of 2019, going five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits while striking out one. Then the bullpen combo of Mark Rzepczynksi, Rubby De La Rosa and Jimmie Sherfy took over, allowing just one hit over the next four innings to complete the win.

Clarke, who made his Major League debut and picked up a three-inning save at Wrigley Field a little more than two weeks ago, got his third win of the season and lowered his ERA from 7.65 to 6.12 in the process. Clarke will be plugged into Arizona’s rotation for Tuesday’s game in Tampa Bay against the Rays.

Shortstop Domingo Leyba had a four-hit game Thursday night in a 6-3 loss to Las Vegas. Leyba had three singles and a home run in registering his first four-hit game since 2016 for Visalia.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 15-14, tied for third place in North Division, 4.0 games behind Montgomery

Right-hander Matt Peacock, a 23rd-round pick out of South Alabama in 2017, got the ball rolling in the right direction by throwing four solid innings in a 3-1 win over Pensacola Monday night. Peacock did allow a run, but only two hits before giving way to the quartet of Tyler Mark, Lucas Luetge, Kevin Ginkel and Michael Kohn, who combined to allow just two hits over five innings. Ginkel picked up the win — his first of the year — while Kohn notched his sixth save. The 32-year-old veteran who was released by Minnesota in March of 2018 has allowed just one earned run in 14.1 innings out of the Generals’ bullpen. Opponents are batting just .125 against him this season.

After dropping three straight to the Tennessee Smokies to start a series, the Generals broke out big-time Friday night knocking out 18 hits in a 16-9 win. Jackson had scored a total of five runs in the first three contests, but exploded for six runs in the first to set the tone. Jazz Chisholm and Jamie Westbrook each hit their sixth home runs of the season. Westbrook, the Valley native who played at Basha High, led the way with four hits and three RBI.

Chisholm, the D-backs’ top prospect, continues to work his way out of a lengthy slump. The 21-year-old had a couple of solo home runs against Tennessee starter Cory Abbott in a 6-3 loss Saturday night. He hit another homer Sunday in a 3-0 win over Tennessee. Chisholm still has only 16 hits on the season, but nine of them have been home runs, which leads the Southern League. He hit 25 homers last season in 456 at-bats split between Kane County and Visalia.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 4-3
For the season: 22-9, First place in North Division, 7.0 games ahead of Modesto

Japanese right-hander Shumpei Yoshikawa, whom the D-backs inked to a deal that included a $650,000 bonus last August, made his American professional debut Tuesday night in Stockton. The 24-year-old pitched three innings, allowed six hits and five earned runs while striking out four in a 5-3 loss. Yoshikawa had gone undrafted by Nippon Professional Baseball out of high school and pitched in an industrial league.

Jeff Bain and Cole Bartlett, two right-handers Arizona found in the 2017 draft, combined on a gem in a 6-1 win over Stockton Thursday night. Bain went five innings, allowing just one run and three hits while striking out six and Bartlett worked four perfect innings with five punchouts for his second save of the season.

Visalia’s solid pitching carried over to Friday night when Matt Mercer and Justin Vernia combined to shut down Inland Empire in a 7-2 win. Mercer, Arizona’s 28th-ranked prospect according, pitched six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts to pick up his first victory of the season. Vernia worked three innings and fanned six to pick up his first save. A bulk of the offense was supplied by Renae Martinez, who clubbed a three-run shot in the fourth inning to break the contest wide open. Martinez also had a two-homer game against Stockton on Monday night.

Matt Brill, a 24-year-old closer, hasn’t been much fun to hit against for California League foes this season. The 12th-round pick out of Appalachian State in 2017 is 2-0 on the year, with a 1.59 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 11.1 innings of work. He’s also converted four out of five save opportunities.

Luis Alejandro Basabe started off last week with an honor, claiming Visalia’s second straight California League Player of the Week Award.

Shortstop Camden Duzenack hit two home runs and drove in three runs in Visalia’s 5-3 over Inland Empire Sunday. Duzenack, a ninth-round pick out of Dallas Baptist in 2017, has clubbed four homers over his last four games and has seven round-trippers for the season, doubling his professional baseball total. His seven homers are tied for the California League lead with Lazaro Armenteros of Stockton and Luis Liberato of Modesto. For the week, Duzenack led all Arizona minor league players in home runs, RBI and OPS while batting .350 (7-for-20).

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 3-3
For the season: 17-13, third place in Western Division, 2.0 games behind Quad Cities

Right-hander Jackson Goddard, a third-round pick out of Kansas last summer and the D-backs’ 29th-rated prospect, had been rolling along in 2019 — until Wednesday night that is. Goddard allowed six hits and four runs in a 10-4 loss to Fort Wayne. Prior to that night, Goddard had yielded just one earned run in 22 innings (a 0.41 ERA) in his first full year of pro ball. Even with the slip up, the 22-year-old’s ERA is still a sterling 1.73.

Lefty Franklyn Soriano got touched up for three runs while recording only four outs Thursday night against Fort Wayne, but the bullpen came through in a big way for the Cougars. Kenny Hernandez and Blake Workman combined on 7.2 innings of scoreless relief in a 4-3 win over the TinCaps. Workman, a right-hander picked by Arizona out of Cal State Fullerton in the 22nd round last summer, was nails, throwing three perfect innings with six strikeouts to earn his third save of the season. The Vegas native has allowed just one earned run in 11.2 innings in 2019.

The Chicago Tribune did a piece on reliever Andy Toelken, the 23-year-old right-hander who threw 4.2 innings in a combined Kane County no-hitter back on April 19. Interesting note on that game against Quad Cities — it was played on a neutral field in Peoria, Illinois, and Kane County pitching coach Mike Parrott claimed there were no more than 20 people in attendance.

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