D-backs Farm Rumblings: Tomás, Leyba lead prolific Reno offense

May 27, 2019, 8:34 AM

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All in all, it was a good week in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system.

The Reno Aces put up silly offensive numbers, won five out of seven games and saw four of their players get the call from the D-backs to play in the Majors.

The four affiliates combined to go 14-9 on the week, and there were plenty of noteworthy highlights.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the Week: 5-2
For the Season: 21-29 (4th place in Pacific Northern Division; 5.5 games behind Fresno)

The Aces just went nutty Monday night, beating the Tacoma Rainiers 25-8 at Greater Nevada Field. Reno scored three or more runs in five different innings, including a nine-run fifth inning. Eight of the nine players in the lineup had at least two hits. Yasmany Tomás led the way, going 5-for-6 with four home runs and eight RBI. Tomás opened the scoring with a three-run blast in the bottom of the first. The Cuban slugger added a solo shot leading off the third, a two-run blast in the fifth and a solo shot in the eighth that made the score 24-5. He’s the first PCL hitter to go deep four times in one game since 2008.

But Tomás wasn’t the only Reno hitter to have a huge day. Left fielder Matt Szczur hit for the cycle and drove in three runs, Kevin Cron went 3-for-4 with five runs scored, two home runs and six RBI. Tim Locastro, Domingo Leyba and Juniel Querecuto each added three hits in the Aces’ 25-hit performance.

The Aces had 10 home runs, tying a Pacific Coast League record that has stood since 1974.

By the way, a player hitting four home runs while a teammate hits for the cycle has only been accomplished once in professional baseball, according to the Society for American Baseball Research. It happened all the way back in 1932 when Lou Gehrig went deep four times while Tony Lazzeri hit for the cycle in a 20-13 win over the Philadelphia A’s.

Tomás homered the next day in a 10-7 win over El Paso. In fact, Tomás homered four straight days, leaving the park seven times in that span. Second baseman Domingo Leyba went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and five RBI to pace the Aces. For the week, Tomás batted .400 (12-for-30) with two triples, seven home runs, 13 RBI and a ridiculous slugging percentage of 1.233.

Wednesday, right-hander Taylor Widener had his best start of the season, going 5.0 innings and allowing just one earned run with eight strikeouts in a 9-1 win over El Paso. Widener got plenty of offensive support with Reno hitting five home runs courtesy of Leyba, Tomas, Locastro, Caleb Joseph and Cody Decker.

Leyba, himself, was another nightmare for PCL pitchers to deal with. The 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic batted .520 (13-for-25) with six doubles, a triple, three home runs and 12 RBI for the week. His 1.771 OPS topped all D-backs minor league players, including Tomas (1.671) and Kevin Cron (1.702).

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the Week: 4-2
For the Season: 28-20 (2nd place in North Division; 0.5 games behind Montgomery)

Left-hander Bryan Valdez, a 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic, twirled a beauty Thursday when he allowed just three hits over seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over Montgomery. Robby Scott and Damien Magnifico each worked a scoreless inning of relief to complete the shutout, which was their seventh of the season and first since May 5 against Tennessee. Catcher Daulton Varsho had three hits, including a solo homer, and drove in three runs to pace the Jackson attack.

Jazz Chisholm’s solo home run in the seventh inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave Jackson a 3-2 win over Montgomery Friday night. It was Chisholm’s 11th home run of the season, which ranks him among the leaders in the Southern League, but it’s been a strange season for the D-backs’ top prospect. Chisholm is hitting just .155 on the season and has had only seven singles in 143 at-bats. The homer was Chisholm’s only hit of the week (1-for-19).

On Saturday, the Generals fell behind 5-0 early in Montgomery, but staged a huge rally to score a 6-5 win. Drew Ellis got Jackson on the board in the fourth inning with a sac fly that scored Jamie Westbrook. The Generals struck for three more in the fifth on a Varsho RBI-double, a Westbrook sac fly and a run-scoring pop-up from Pavin Smith. In the eighth, Ellis plated Chisholm with an two-out single to tie the score and Varsho homered to center in the ninth to put Jackson up for the first time in the game. Junior Garcia entered the game and walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the ninth, but retired the next three hitters he faced to get his second save of the season.

Andy Young, whom the Diamondbacks acquired from St. Louis in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, had three hits and three RBI in Jackson’s 8-1 win over Montgomery Sunday afternoon.

The Generals showed a little love to a slugger who used to wear their colors on his way to the big leagues.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the Week: 2-1
For the Season: 31-14 (1st place in North Division; 11.0 games ahead of San Jose)

Bad weather in California really made things hard for the Rawhide to get game work in. Their Wednesday game was postponed as was a double-header for Thursday. And then after beating San Jose on Friday and Saturday, their Sunday contest was suspended due to rain in the third inning.

Friday, Anfernee Grier scored Jorge Perez with a sac fly with two outs in the eighth inning, giving the Rawhide a 5-4 lead over San Jose. Reliever West Tunnell nailed down the win by striking out the side in the ninth after allowing a leadoff single. Grier, the D-backs’ top pick in the 2016 draft out of Auburn, also homered and drove in three runs in the win.

Japanese right-hander Shumpei Yoshikawa threw five scoreless innings Saturday, allowing just one hit and striking out six in a 4-2 win over San Jose. It was the 24-year-old’s first pro win on American soil. Yoshikawa has been outstanding in his last two starts for Visalia, allowing just two hits and two walks without yielding a run in 10 innings. He’s also struck out 14.

Jose Caballero, a 22-year-old Panamanian second baseman, has been quite the thief on the base paths this season for the ‘Hide.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the Week: 3-4
For the Season: 27-23 (3rd place in Western Division; 6.0 games behind Quad Cities)

Outfield prospect Alek Thomas went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, Edwin Diaz had three hits and first baseman Joe Gillette homered to power the Cougars to a 9-3 win over Quad Cities Wednesday. It was the 15th multi-hit game of the season for Thomas, but first with more than two. The second-round pick in 2018 out of Mount Carmel High School in Chicago is now batting a robust .299 on the season, good for the 11th-best mark in the Midwest League.

Buddy Kennedy had three hits, three runs scored and three RBI while Thomas and Zachery Almond homered in a 10-1 win over Beloit Saturday. Levi Kelly started and allowed one run over three innings while the trio of Kai-Wei Lin, Ryan Miller and Blake Workman combined on six innings of scoreless relief work.

Here’s a little more on Kennedy…

The Cougars, more specifically right fielder Tra Holmes and second baseman Blaze Alexander, showed off in the field Friday night in a win over Beloit.


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