D-backs Farm Rumblings: Aces play HR derby; Cron is a wrecking ball

Jul 1, 2019, 8:05 AM | Updated: 5:59 pm

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Here’s a quick look at everything going on in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ minor league system.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 5-2
For the season: 37-45 (4th place in Pacific Northern Division; 5.5 games behind Fresno)

Right-hander Taylor Widener continued his midseason resurgence with a strong outing Tuesday. Arizona’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline went six shutout innings while allowing just three hits and striking out five in a 7-0 Aces’ win over Salt Lake. Connor Grey and Robby Scott teamed on three innings of relief to finish the win. Widener is 3-0 over his last four starts and has posted a 3.68 ERA over that span while striking out 24 and walking five.

There’s no other way to say it — the Aces played home run derby Saturday in Las Vegas. Reno hitters hit nine (yes you read that right) home runs en route to a 20-9 win over the Aviators at Las Vegas Ballpark. Seven of the nine players in the lineup went deep, with shortstop Domingo Leyba and catcher John Ryan Murphy each doing so twice. Things started early, as leadoff hitter Abraham Almonte homered on the first pitch of the game from Aviators starter Tyler Alexander. Leyba followed suit two pitches later, and the tone was set. In all, 16 of Reno’s 20 runs came via the long ball.

Leyba was the ringleader in Saturday’s win. Recently optioned to Reno by the D-backs, he went 5-for-6 with three runs scored, three singles, the two homers and six RBI.

Kevin Cron didn’t take long to get re-acclimated to Pacific Coast League pitching. The infielder batted .370 (10-for-27) with 12 runs scored, three doubles, five home runs and 13 RBI in seven games after being optioned to Reno by the D-backs.

Cron, along with Yasmany Tomas and Jimmie Sherfy, will represent the Aces in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 2-5
For the season: 4-7 (5th place in North Division; 3.0 games behind Birmingham)

Right-hander Joel Payamps threw a complete game seven-inning shutout for the Generals Thursday night in a 5-0 win over the Mississippi Braves. Payamps, a 25-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine in his second career minor league shutout. His first shutout also came in a Jackson uniform back on Aug. 3, 2017, when he blanked Tennessee on one hit in a game that was also part of a seven-inning double-header.

The Generals found themselves on the wrong side of a masterful pitching performance Friday night as they were no-hit by Mississippi in a 2-0 loss. Braves starter Ian Anderson mowed down Jackson for the first seven innings, striking out 14 and walking two. Reliever Jeremy Walker worked two perfect innings to complete the no-no, the third in Braves history. In a twist you’d only find in the minor leagues, Anderson and Walker completed the feat while wearing throwback Jackson (Mississippi) Generals jerseys and hats. The Generals were a Texas-League affiliate of the Houston Astros from 1991 to 1999.

A big honor for Jackson catcher and top D-backs prospect Daulton Varsho.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 6-5 (2nd place in North Division; 1.0 game behind Stockton)

Visalia’s pitching staff shined on Sunday in a 6-0 win over Modesto. Right-hander Josh Green threw six shutout innings while allowing only two hits and striking out seven before handing things off to the bullpen. Lefty Mack Lemieux took over from there, navigating through two scoreless frames with four strikeouts. Then closer West Tunnell, the Boulder Creek High School graduate, retired the Nuts to complete the win.

Green picked up the victory, pushing his season record to 7-1 while Lemieux lowered his already microscopic ERA to 0.56.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 5-1
For the season: 8-2 (Tied with Wisconsin for 1st place in Western Division; 1.5 games ahead of Clinton)

Left fielder Eduardo Diaz had himself a nice night in the leadoff spot going 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI in the Cougars’ 8-3 win over the Beloit Snappers Tuesday. Diaz led off the game by belting a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to give Kane County a 1-0 lead. The 21-year-old added a run-scoring single in the sixth to stretch his team’s lead to 5-2. He added his third hit, another single in the seventh, but didn’t get an RBI as Tra Holmes scored from first on a throwing error on Beloit’s Lester Madden. It was Diaz’s eighth three-hit game of the season.

Alek Thomas’ two-run double highlighted a six-run fifth inning as the Cougars beat Beloit for the third straight night 6-4 Thursday. Two batters later, Buddy Kennedy singled with two men on, knocking in Geraldo Perdomo and Thomas, and Kennedy himself scored after two throwing errors on the play by Beloit.

Thomas, like Jackson’s Varsho, will represent the D-backs in the MLB Futures Game in Cleveland.

Right-hander Matt Tabor, the D-backs’ 13th-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was outstanding in his last start, a 3-1 win over Beloit Friday. The 20-year-old allowed just two hits and one run over six innings while fanning nine in picking up his second win of the the year. Over his last three starts, Tabor has struck out 24 while walking only one in 16 innings of work.

Hillsboro Hops (Short Season-A Northwest League)

For the week: 5-2
For the season: 11-6 (1st place in South Division; 1.0 game ahead of Salem-Keizer)

Ricky Martinez, Steven Leyton, Kristian Robinson and Jorge Barrosa each had three hits in an 18-hit barrage for the Hops during a 13-4 win over Vancouver Monday night. Hillsboro broke open a close game with a seven-run sixth inning to put the game away. Barrosa had two of the eight hits for the Hops in the inning.

The next night, the Hops put on a pitching clinic in a 7-0 win on the road at Salem-Keizer. Lefty Michel Gelabert allowed just one hit over five innings while striking out six. Franklyn Soriano and Justin Garcia pitched well out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit over the next four innings. Robinson and Ryan January each homered in the game for Hillsboro.

Barrosa delivered again Saturday night, knocking in Andy Yerzy with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to give the Hops a 4-3 walk-off win over Eugene.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 3-3
For the season: 7-8 (2nd place in North Division; 6.0 games behind Idaho Falls)

Big week for infielder Kevin Lachance, a former 10th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2016. The 24-year-old went 4-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in a 9-6 win over Billings on Tuesday night. Thursday night, he added two more hits and two RBI in a 7-2 win in Billings, and then on Saturday, Lachance was assigned to Visalia in the California League.

Speaking of big weeks, we can’t forget shortstop Liover Peguero, who is absolutely raking in Missoula. The 18-year-old Dominican native went 11-for-20 (.550) with two doubles and two RBI. Peguero’s .434 batting average through 13 games this season ranks third in the Pioneer League. Peguero already has eight multi-hit games this year.

D-backs (Rookie Arizona League)

For the week: 1-5
For the season: 6-6 (4th place in East Division; 3.5 games behind Giants Orange)

D-backs 1 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 3-3
For the season: 12-13 (Tied for 3rd place in Baseball City Division; 4.0 games behind Reds)

Right-hander Hamilton Andujar, a 19-year-old from the Dominican, was brilliant in his latest start. Andujar went five shutout innings and allowed just three hits while striking out five in the D-backs’ 4-1 win over the Padres Wednesday in Dominican Summer League action. Andujar signed a minor league contract last August and has adjusted well to pro ball. In five appearances (three starts), he’s gone 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and has struck out 20 while walking seven in 18.2 innings.

Outfielder Jeferson Espinal, a 17-year-old, enters this week riding a 7-game hitting streak. Espinal is batting .384 on the season.

D-backs 2 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 3-2
For the season: 13-11 (3rd place in San Pedro Division; 3.5 games behind Phillies White)

Danyer Sanabria, a 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder had himself a game Thursday in a 10-3 win over the Tigers1. Sanabria went 5-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, a home run and four RBI in spearheading the win. It was his first multi-hit game of the season.


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