D-backs Farm Rumblings: You should get excited about Kristian Robinson

Jul 29, 2019, 7:33 AM | Updated: 8:29 am

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Saturday, MLB Pipeline revamped its big league prospect rankings, and the Arizona Diamondbacks saw quite a shift in their organizational picture.

Seven members of the D-backs’ 2019 draft class now appear on Arizona’s Top 30 Prospects List.

The highest-rated newcomer is Corbin Carroll, who was picked 16th overall out of Lakeside School in Seattle last month. Carroll is currently playing for the D-backs Arizona League team based at Salt River Fields and came in at No. 4 on the club’s prospect list.

Other new draftees to crack the list are left-handed pitcher Blake Walston (26th overall, ranked 12th), right-hander Brennan Malone (33rd overall, ranked 9th), right-hander Drey Jameson (34th overall, ranked 14th), right-hander Ryne Nelson (56th overall, ranked 23rd), left-hander Tommy Henry (74th overall, ranked 20th) and outfielder Dominic Fletcher (75th overall, ranked 22nd).

Jackson shortstop Jazz Chisholm is Arizona’s top prospect, followed by Kane County outfielder Alek Thomas and Hillsboro outfielder Kristian Robinson (a lot more on Robinson in the Hillsboro section.) Jackson catcher Daulton Varsho rounds out the top five.

Here’s a quick look at everything else going on in the D-backs’ minor league chain…

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 6-0
For the season: 48-59 (4th place in Pacific Northern Division; 10.0 games behind Sacramento)

The Aces continued their power-hitting ways Tuesday night in a 10-7 win over Tacoma. Reno smacked four homers — a two-run shot from Domingo Leyba in the first inning, a three-run blast by Abraham Almonte in the fourth, a solo shot from Andy Young in the sixth and another two-run shot from Yasmany Tomas, this one in the seventh.

They picked up where they left off Wednesday night with four more home runs in a 14-3 romp over Tacoma. Leyba and Young each went deep again, while Juniel Querecuto and Blake Swihart joined the fun. In this game, though, the Aces also got solid pitching. Jon Duplantier started and went 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run while fanning three. Braden Hagins, Lucas Luetge and Joey Krehbiel combined to yield just two runs in 5.2 innings of relief.

The Aces beat Fresno 8-6 Saturday, and while he wasn’t flawless, right-hander Kevin Ginkel earned another save. The former Arizona Wildcat got the last four outs of the game and struck out two batters in the process. Starting on July 11, Ginkel had a stretch of four straight appearances in which he pitched one inning and struck out the side in each of those stints. He’s had two strikeouts in each of his last two appearances. Ginkel, who has elevated to No. 29 on MLB Pipeline’s ranking of D-backs prospects, has 34 Ks in just 15.1 innings with the Aces this year. In a total of 28 minor league appearances in 2019, Ginkel is averaging a ridiculous 16.3 strikeouts per nine innings. To put that in perspective, MLB’s leader, Houston’s Gerrit Cole, is averaging 13.3.

Ildemaro Vargas went 5-for-6 with two runs scored and the Aces beat Fresno 10-6 Sunday for their sixth win in a row. Vargas is the third Aces player to have five hits in a single game this season, joining Tomas and Leyba.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 19-15 (3rd place in North Division; 5.5 games behind Montgomery)

The Generals got rained out Monday night, so they would host the Mississippi Braves in a seven-inning doubleheader Tuesday. Offense was hard to come by. In the first game, right-hander Matt Peacock turned in a gem for Jackson, throwing a complete-game (yes, it counts even though it was only seven innings) shutout while allowing a single hit and two walks while striking out six. Jackson only had three hits on the night and got two runs in the fifth when Drew Ellis and Ramon Hernandez scored on a fielding error. The nightcap was much of the same, but this time it was Mississippi’s pitching staff that did the handcuffing. Evan Marzilli’s third inning single was the only hit the Generals would muster in a tough 1-0 loss.

Right-hander Josh Green, a 14th-round pick out of Southeastern Louisiana in 2018, was outstanding in his latest start Thursday night. Green pitched seven shutout innings while scattering six hits and striking out four. He got nothing to show for it though as the Generals’ bats remained quiet in a 3-1 loss to the Braves. Green was making only his second Double-A start after excelling at Visalia, where he went 9-1 with a 1.73 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP for the Rawhide. Green is ranked as the Diamondbacks’ 19th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Third baseman Drew Ellis jacked a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to snap a 1-1 tie and give the Generals a 3-1 win over Biloxi Sunday night. Peacock (mentioned above) was brilliant over six innings, allowing just three hits and a single earned run before handing things over to the bullpen trio of Matt Brill, Cameron Gann and Michael Kohn, who were perfect in three innings of relief.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 21-17 (1st place in North Division; 1.0 game ahead of San Jose)

The Rawhide turned in a sloppy performance Wednesday night in dropping their third straight, this one a 4-0 loss to San Jose. Visalia managed only four hits and made four errors in the field. It’s only the fourth time all season long the Rawhide have lost three or more games in a row.

The losing stopped on Thursday night, however. Anfernee Grier led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run to left field off of San Jose reliever Casey Meisner, giving the ‘Hide a 4-3 win and an end to their mini losing skid. The long ball capped a three-hit night for Grier, Arizona’s top draft pick from 2016. It was Grier’s first home run since June 27.

But the 23-year-old outfielder homered the next night too — this one a two-run shot in the seventh inning. It wasn’t enough as Visalia lost to the Lancaster Jethawks, 7-6. It is the first time Grier has had back-to-back games with a home run in his minor league career, which has spanned 275 games. For good measure, Grier added another blast Sunday — a two-run shot — in a 4-1 win over Lancaster. He’s now homered in three of his last four contests.

The Rawhide put on an incredible team hitting display Saturday night in a 14-0 shutout win over Lancaster. Not only did Visalia have 21 hits as a team in the contest, every player had at least two on the night. Third baseman Luis Alejandro Basabe led the way with four hits and center fielder Eduardo Diaz had three. In fact, the only inning the ‘Hide didn’t get at least one base hit was the sixth. It was an easy night for the pitchers too; Shumpei Yoshikawa combined with Connor Grey and Luis Castillo on the three-hit shutout.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 5-1
For the season: 24-11 (1st place in Western Division; 2.0 games ahead of Clinton)

Dominic Fletcher’s two-run double highlighted a five-run seventh inning that lifted Kane County to a 9-3 win over Dayton Monday night. Fletcher has acclimated nicely in his first summer of pro ball after the D-backs picked him in the Competitive Balance Round out of Arkansas in June. Fletcher had a nice week, hitting .429 (9-for-21) with three doubles and three RBIs. The 21-year-old is ranked as Arizona’s 22nd-best prospect by MLB Pipeline.

Buddy Kennedy and Zack Shannon each homered in the seventh inning, helping Kane County to a 5-3 road win at Clinton on Wednesday night. Kennedy led off the frame with a long blast, his sixth of the season. Four batters later, Shannon homered to left scoring Blaze Alexander in front of him.

Tra Holmes and Tim Susnara each drove in two runs and Jackson Goddard led a solid pitching performance in the Cougars’ 5-3 win over Clinton Friday night. The win was Kane County’s fifth in a row and ninth in its last 11 contests. Goddard, a 22-year-old right-hander, started and struck out six while allowing one run over 3.1 innings of work. The bullpen combo of Ryan Miller, Andy Toelken, Blake Workman and Jose Cuas took over from there, limiting the Lumber Kings two runs and five hits the rest of the way.

Saturday, Shannon got to play the part of the hero as he delivered a two-run single that plated Alexander and Joey Rose and gave the Cougars a 6-5 walk-off win over Wisconsin. The win was Kane County’s sixth straight.

Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

For the week: 4-3
For the season: 3-3 (Tied for 1st place in second half in South Division with Boise, Eugene and Salem-Keizer)

Right-hander Marcos Tineo, a 22-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, pitched out of the bullpen for the first time in 2019 and mowed down Eugene in a 4-0 win Monday night. Andrew Saalfrank, a lefty picked in the sixth round in June out of Indiana, started and pitched two shutout innings. That’s when Tineo took over. He’d pitch five hitless innings and strike out eight to notch his third win of the year. Right-hander Jacob Stevens finished off the effort, striking out four over two innings of relief.

Kristian Robinson went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a two-run homer, in Hillsboro’s 5-4 win over Salem-Keizer Tuesday night. Robinson, Arizona’s third-best minor league prospect, is simply killing Northwest League pitching, hitting .322 (fifth in league) with nine home runs (second) and leads the league with 34 RBIs. And, he doesn’t turn 19 until December.

Robinson also got plenty of media coverage in Oregon this week. John Canzano, the great columnist for The Oregonian, not only wrote a column on the teenager, but also had him as an in-studio guest on his radio show on 102.9 The Game in Portland. It’s a great listen.

Lefty Tommy Henry, a Competitive Balance pick in June and one of Michigan’s heroes in their march to the College World Series championship round, made his professional debut Tuesday night as well. Henry started, but did allow a hit and a run in his only inning of work. Henry won 18 games in his three years in Ann Arbor, including an 8-5 mark this year. He’s now ranked as Arizona’s 20th-best prospect and second-best southpaw according to MLB Pipeline’s updated rankings.

The Hops rapped out 14 hits — all singles — in a 7-5 series-opening win at Boise Friday night. Jorge Barrosa led the way with three hits, while Steven Leyton, Andy Yerzy and Daniel Wasinger each had two.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 3-4
For the season: 1-2 (3rd place in second half in North Division; 2.0 games behind Great Falls)

Dominic Canzone went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, two homers and three RBIs while Tristen Carranza went 4-for-5 with a three-run blast and four RBIs as the Osprey crushed Idaho Falls 13-3 Monday night. Jared Liebelt, Oliver Rosario, Landon Whitson and Ezequiel De La Cruz combined on five hitless innings in relief of starter Tyler Poulin.

Canzone, an eighth-round pick out of Ohio State in June, continued his hot week at the plate with another two-hit game, including a home run, in a 13-11 shootout win over Billings Thursday night. Canzone upped his season total to 22 RBIs, which is tied for the team lead with Spencer Brickhouse, although the outfielder has reached this total in 52 fewer at-bats.

D-backs (Rookie Arizona League)

For the week: 3-2
For the season: 3-2 (2nd place in second half in East Division; 1.0 game behind Cubs2)

D-backs1 (Rookie Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 2-4
For the season: 21-27 (4th place in Baseball City Division; 12.0 games behind Reds)

Rael Santos combined with Gustavo Del Pozo and Anderuris Meran on an efficient five-hit shutout in an 8-0 win over the Reds Wednesday. Santos allowed four hits and struck out five in 5.0 innings of work before giving way to Del Pozo and Meran, who baffled Reds hitters over the last four frames, yielding just one hit while striking out eight. Outfielder Juan Batista had three hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs for the D-backs.

D-backs2 (Rookie Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 3-3
For the season: 27-21 (4th place in San Pedro Division; 3.0 games behind Cubs2)

Third baseman Alexander Hernandez clubbed a three-run homer, his seventh of the season, as the D-backs2 knocked off the Cubs2 9-5 on Tuesday. The D-backs won the game despite six pitchers combining to walk 16 batters, but the Cubs hitters only managed three hits, left 17 men on base and hit just 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

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