D-backs Farm Rumblings: Jake Lamb working his way back

Jun 17, 2019, 7:23 AM | Updated: 11:27 am
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There’s a lot going on in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system.

The MLB Draft is complete. The D-backs selected 45 players over the three-day event and now many will begin their pro baseball careers.

In addition, the Hillsboro Hops and Missoula Osprey have started their seasons, the Dominican Summer League is in full swing and the Arizona League gets cranked up this week.

Here’s a quick look at everything going on in the D-backs’ organization.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the Week: 2-4
For the Season: 29-40 (4th place in Pacific Northern Division; 7.0 games behind Sacramento)

Jake Lamb, still working his way back from a quad injury suffered in early April, went 2-for-2 with a run scored, a walk and three RBI in leading the Aces to a 6-4 win over the Memphis Redbirds Monday night. The former National League All-Star got Reno on the board with an RBI single that scored Abraham Almonte in the bottom of a three-run first inning. Then in the second inning, Lamb delivered again, singling in Almonte and Matt Szczur to put the Aces up 5-2.

Lamb had himself a decent week for the Aces, hitting .313 (5-for-16) with a home run and six RBI. He also walked five times in 21 plate appearances, so he was able to post a solid .476 on-base percentage.

Ricky Nolasco, a 36-year-old right-hander, made his Reno debut Wednesday night throwing 3.2 innings in a 9-8 road loss to Round Rock. Nolasco, who signed a minor league deal with Arizona back in February, allowed three hits and two earned runs while striking out six. He had previously pitched in two games for Jackson earlier this month. Nolasco was out of baseball last season after being released by Kansas City in March of 2018, but has 114 big-league wins on his résumé in action with the Marlins, Dodgers, Twins and Angels. Reno staked Nolasco to a 6-0 lead, and the Aces were still up by four runs when he exited with two outs in the third inning, but unfortunately the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.

John Ryan Murphy, Wyatt Mathisen and Szczur each drove in three runs in leading a 17-hit attack in a 16-3 pasting of Round Rock on Friday. All three homered, as did Lamb for Reno, who posted its second-highest run total of the season and the 11th double-digit scoring game of 2019. Right-hander Taylor Widener started and pitched well, going six innings and allowing just four hits and two runs while striking out nine.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the Week: 5-4
For the Season: 39-31 (2nd place in North Division; 5.0 games behind Montgomery)

The Generals played a lot of baseball Monday and Tuesday, thanks to Mother Nature. Monday and Tuesday saw Jackson host Mississippi in what amounted to back-to-back double-headers, which included the conclusion of a game suspended earlier this season due to rain. The Generals could only muster a total of five runs in the four games, but were able to eek out a 2-1 win in the first game Tuesday thanks to a two-run home run from third baseman Drew Ellis in the third inning.

Left-hander Bryan Valdez allowed just one run over 7.1 innings in a 5-1 win over Biloxi Wednesday. Valdez allowed seven hits and walked two with three strikeouts in picking up his third win at the Double-A level. The win pushed his minor league record to 15-5 with a sterling 2.38 ERA in stops in the Dominican Summer D-backs, Hillsboro, Kane County, the Arizona League D-backs, Missoula, Kane County, Visalia and Jackson.

Andy Young clubbed a grand slam home run in the seventh inning Thursday which proved to be instrumental in Jackson’s 5-4 win over Biloxi. Young’s blast, his 8th of the season, gave Jackson a 4-3 lead. Biloxi would tie things up in the top of the eighth, but the Generals answered again in the bottom of the frame when Jamie Westbrook singled in Ellis with one out in the inning. Right-hander Cameron Gann was able to get the last three outs in the ninth for his first save of the year.

Ellis continued his power-hitting ways Saturday when he smashed two home runs in a 6-3 win over Biloxi. The 23-year-old former second-round pick gave Jackson a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first with a three-run shot off of Shuckers starter Cameron Roegner. He then added a two-out solo shot in the sixth off of reliever Devin Williams that stretched Jackson’s lead to 6-1.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the Week: 5-3
For the Season: 44-22 (Clinched 1st place in North Division)

Second baseman L.T. Tolbert had a two-run home run and Japanese right-hander Shumpei Yoshikawa allowed just three hits and one run over six innings in Visalia’s 3-1 win over Modesto Monday night. Yoshikawa had a rough introduction to American pro ball by giving up 11 earned runs over his first three appearances, but since then, he’s settled down and looked like a different pitcher. In his last five starts dating back to May 16, the 24-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Yoshikawa has fanned 24 and walked just eight in that span.

Right-hander Josh Green combined with relievers Kyler Stout and West Tunnell on a two-hit shutout in a 1-0 seven-inning win over the San Jose Giants Wednesday. Green, 24, pitched five scoreless frames while striking out four before handing things off to the bullpen, which finished off the win. Third baseman Alex King provided the offense for Visalia with a second-inning solo home run. Green won his sixth consecutive decision and lowered his stellar season ERA to 2.12 in the process.

Right-hander Jeff Bain continued his strikeout tear in a 4-3 loss to San Jose Thursday night. Bain fanned nine Giants hitters over six innings to bring his season total to 83, a mark that is tied for second-most in the California League. In his last two outings, Bain has struck out 22 and walked three in 13 innings of work.

Jake McCarthy, last summer’s 39th overall pick by the D-backs, finally connected on his first home run of the season during a 10-5 win over San Jose Friday. The former Virginia Cavalier connected on a three-run shot in the sixth inning off of Giants reliever Aaron Phillips. McCarthy had five home runs in 85 college games and hit three in 55 contests last summer for Hillsboro after being drafted.

Pretty cool feature on Visalia play-by-play broadcaster Jill Gearin and other women calling minor league games from the Boston Herald.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the Week: 4-3
For the Season: 35-34 (4th place in Western Division; 9.5 games behind Quad Cities)

Blaze Alexander, the D-backs’ ninth-best overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, delivered a big night by going 3-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored in Kane County’s 9-3 win over Quad Cities Monday. Alexander, an 11th-round pick out of IMG Academy in Florida last summer, cracked a solo shot in the second inning to tie the score at 1-1. In the fifth, he was hit by a pitch and scored on Eddie Hernandez’s three-run triple. The 20-year-old would add two singles late in the game.

Joey Rose and Hernandez combined for eight hits, four runs scored, two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in the Cougars’ 10-4 win over Burlington Tuesday. Designated hitter Zack Shannon also contributed a three-run homer in the winning effort. Rose’s big night came in his first game of the season.

Levi Kelly, Andy Toelken, Wesley Rodriguez and Blake Workman combined on a three-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over Beloit Sunday. Kelly, a 20-year-old right-hander whom the D-backs selected in the 8th round of last summer’s draft, threw five scoreless innings, striking out four. The win was Kelly’s second straight after earning seven consecutive no-decisions to start the season.

Hillsboro Hops (Short Season-A Northwest League)

For the Week: 2-1
For the Season: 2-1 (2nd place in South Division; 1.0 game behind Salem-Keizer)

The Hops started their 2019 season Friday night with a 2-0 loss at Eugene, but didn’t take long to rebound. Right-hander Marcos Tineo threw five scoreless innings and struck out five before handing things off to a quartet of relievers who preserved the zero in a 4-0 win over the Emeralds Saturday night.

Hillsboro followed that up with another 4-0 blanking of Eugene on Sunday. Adrian Del Moral, a 20-year-old right-hander from Mexico, was brilliant in his season debut, going five scoreless innings while yielding just one hit and striking out seven.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the Week: 2-1
For the Season: 2-1 (2nd place in North Division; 1.0 game behind Idaho Falls)

Wilfry Cruz, a 21-year-old right-hander, allowed just one unearned run over five innings in leading the Osprey to a season-opening 6-4 win over Great Falls Friday night. Cruz struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. The Dominican native is looking to build on a 2018 season (also spent in Missoula) during which he went 5-2 with a 5.27 ERA in 14 starts.

Shortstop Liover Peguero and first baseman Francis Martinez each drove in three runs while center fielder Kevin Watson clubbed a two-run home run for the Osprey in an easy 9-0 win over Great Falls Sunday. Five Missoula pitchers combined to blank the Voyagers on just four hits and five walks.

D-backs 1 (Dominican Summer League)

For the Week: 4-2
For the Season: 7-6 (Tied for 2nd place in Baseball City Division; 1.0 game behind Padres and Reds)

Endy Estrada, a 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder, is off to a great start in the Dominican Summer League for the D-backs. Estada is batting a robust .404 (19-for-47) with five doubles, two triples and a home run in his first 12 professional games. From June 7 to June 12, Estrada had a stretch of four straight multi-hit games.

D-backs 2 (Dominican Summer League)

For the Week: 5-1
For the Season: 9-4 (Tied with Phillies White for 1st place in San Pedro Division; 2.5 games ahead of Cubs2)

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