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D-backs Farm Rumblings: A week full of debuts and promotions

Last week, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ new-look prospect rankings from MLB Pipeline were featured in this space.

Just a week later, that list looks a lot different, thanks to a series of trades prior to last Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Arizona’s top prospect, Jazz Chisholm, was sent to Miami in exchange for right-hander Zac Gallen, who is now ranked fifth.

The Diamondbacks also swung a deal with the Houston Astros, sending Zack Greinke away in exchange for four prospects. First baseman Seth Beer, acquired in that deal, is now ranked fourth on MLB Pipeline’s list, right-hander J.B. Bukauskas is 12th and right-hander Corbin Martin is 13th.

With Chisholm’s departure, Alek Thomas and Kristian Robinson now occupy the first and second spots in the D-backs’ rankings — and both got promoted this week. Thomas, drafted 63rd overall in 2018, is now with High-A Visalia after ripping apart Midwest League pitching this season. Robinson, an 18-year-old from the Bahamas, is now with Kane County after beginning this season in Hillsboro.


Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 4-2
For the season: 52-60 (3rd place in Pacific Northern Division; 9.0 games behind Sacramento)

Juniel Querecuto, playing first base and batting ninth, paced a dominant Reno offensive performance by going 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs in a 13-7 win over the Iowa Cubs Tuesday. Andy Young and John Ryan Murphy also homered for the Aces. Right-hander Jon Duplantier started and got roughed up a bit, giving up seven hits and five runs over four innings, but Matt Koch worked five solid innings of relief to pick up the win.

Joel Payamps, Mark Rzepczynski and Kevin Ginkel worked together on a one-hitter Thursday in a 3-1 win over Iowa. Payamps, a 25-year-old right-hander, went seven innings, allowing only a solo home run before handing things off to the bullpen. Alberto Rosario was the difference-maker offensively. The catcher had a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth that scored Blake Swihart and Jamie Westbrook and broke a 1-1 tie.

The Aces went nutty Friday night, banging out 23 hits, including four home runs, in a 23-8 cakewalk over Omaha. Westbrook, a Gilbert native, homered twice and drove in five runs. The long balls were the first for Westbrook at the Triple-A level this season. Joshua Rojas, making his Aces debut after being acquired in the Zack Greinke deal with Houston on Wednesday, went 4-for-6 with three RBIs. Domingo Leyba had his second five-hit game of the season. Everyone who batted for Reno had at least one hit and the Aces scored at least one run in every inning except the eighth.

This game had everything, including a visit from a couple of skunks.

How about this stat on Westbrook?

The hot hitting continued Saturday night, with Reno belting out 18 hits in a 13-7 win over the Storm Chasers. Ildemaro Vargas led the way by going 4-for-6 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Rojas chipped in three hits from the leadoff spot, giving him seven hits in his first two games.

Did you know Reno outfielder Ben DeLuzio is faster than Deion Sanders? Read about that and more in this feature on DeLuzio from Tahoe Onstage.

Rojas, the Glendale native who played his prep ball at Millennium in Avondale, is enjoying his new setting a lot. He went 4-for-6 again on Sunday, with two runs and three more RBIs. Unfortunately, it came in a wild 12-11 loss to Omaha. In three games with the Aces, Rojas is hitting .688 (11-for-16) with a home run and seven RBIs.


Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 6-1
For the season: 25-16 (2nd place in North Division; 1.5 games behind Montgomery)

Emilio Vargas pitched five innings of shutout baseball and Ramon Hernandez delivered a two-run pinch-hit double in the sixth inning as the Generals started the week with a 5-1 road win over Biloxi. The victory was Vargas’ first since April 22. The right-hander missed about six weeks with an injury and spent time rehabbing with the Arizona League D-backs for most of June. Vargas was even better on Saturday, hurling seven shutout innings in a 7-1 win over Mobile. He scattered three hits and struck out four before handing things off to Justin Donatella, who worked the last two frames to complete the victory.

Pavin Smith, Daulton Varsho and Drew Ellis all homered in leading the Generals to a 5-3 win over Biloxi Tuesday night. Smith’s solo shot in the fourth tied the score at 1-1. Varsho gave the Generals a 2-1 lead with a solo shot in the sixth, and three batters later, Ellis connected on a two-run blast to make it 4-1.

Speaking of Smith, he earned an award for his performance in July, during which he batted .341 with four home runs and 18 RBIs while posting an OPS of .999.

Right-hander Cole Stapler was simply dominant Thursday night in a 6-0 home win over Mobile. Stapler allowed five hits, walked two and struck out 11 in seven innings of work. The 24-year-old has been very good since getting promoted to Double-A on July 1. In six starts, Stapler is 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 36 innings.

Seth Beer, acquired from Houston two days earlier, made his D-backs organizational debut Friday, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a 4-1 win over Mobile. Matt Peacock continued Jackson’s stellar pitching, going seven innings and allowing just five hits and one run while fanning five. Peacock is now 8-3 with a 2.32 ERA for Jackson this season.


Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 5-1
For the season: 26-18 (1st place in North Division; 4.0 games ahead of Modesto)

Jorge Perez belted a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning that broke a 2-2 tie and provided the winning margin in Visalia’s 4-2 over Inland Empire Wednesday night. Right-hander Justin Vernia was solid for seven innings, allowing just five hits and two earned runs.

First baseman Yoel Yanqui went 3-for-4 with three doubles and five RBIs in the Rawhide’s 10-4 win over Rancho Cucamonga Friday night. Yanqui’s first double came as part of a three-run first inning when he drove in Ryan Grotjohn to give Visalia a 3-0 lead. The 23-year-old Cuban doubled again in the fifth, but was stranded at third base. He delivered again in the eighth, plating Jancarlos Cintron and Luis Alejandro Basabe to push the score to 10-4. Yanqui now has 20 doubles on the season, seventh-most in the California League.

Justin Lewis, Jayson McKinley and Cameron Gann hooked up on a great pitching performance Saturday night in a 2-1 win over Rancho Cucamonga. Lewis, a 23-year-old right-hander, went six innings and allowed four hits, one run and struck out seven. McKinley got the win by throwing two scoreless innings and Gann picked up his first save. Visalia trailed 1-0 until Jorge Perez doubled in Yanqui and Alex King with two outs in the seventh inning.


Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 5-2
For the season: 29-13 (1st place in Western Division; 3.0 games ahead of Clinton)

The aforementioned Thomas, the D-backs’ new top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, had a monster week. The 19-year-old began the week with four straight multi-hit games, including three three-hit nights. In all, Thomas batted .545 (12-for-22) with two doubles and two RBIs on the week.

Thomas was instrumental in Kane County’s big 10th inning Friday night in a 10-5 win over the Peoria Chiefs. He singled to load the bases with nobody out and later scored on a wild pitch to put the Cougars up 8-5. Thomas, Zack Shannon and Steven Leyton all had three hits in the win.

Shortstop Blaze Alexander singled in Zack Shannon with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving the Cougars a 2-1 walk-off win over Quad Cities Saturday night. Levi Kelly, the D-backs’ No. 9 prospect, started and pitched five solid innings, allowing four hits and one run while striking out nine. He gave way to Kenny Hernandez, who threw five scoreless innings of relief and picked up his fifth win on the year.

Fast forward to Sunday, where the Cougars won their third straight 10-inning game and second straight 2-1 walk-off over Quad Cities. Dominic Fletcher doubled in Nick Dalesandro with the game-winning run.


Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

For the week: 7-0
For the season: 10-3 (1st place in South Division; 2.0 games ahead of Eugene)

Tyler Holton and Dayni Olivero combined on an impressive three-hit shutout Monday night in a 3-0 Hops’ win over Everett. Holton, a left-hander drafted in in the ninth round out of Florida State in 2018, started and threw four innings while striking out five. Olivero, a 21-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out seven over the last five innings. With the win, Olivero pushed his season mark to 6-1 and improved on his ERA, which he lowered to 1.80.

Hillsboro exploded for five runs in the first inning and coasted to a 7-2 win over Salem-Keizer Friday night. The win was the Hops’ fifth straight. Tristin English, a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech in June, had a double, a triple and three RBIs in leading the win.

The Hops are well-represented on the Nortwest League All-Star Team.

And one later addition…

And Wednesday night, the Hops had a Hall-of-Famer on the mound…at least for a pitch.

The Hops extended their win streak to seven in a row Sunday with another 7-2 win over Salem-Keizer. Designated hitter Andy Yerzy contributed three hits and two RBIs in the win.


Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 5-1
For the season: 6-3 (Tied for 1st place in North Division with Billings; 3.0 games ahea of Great Falls and Idaho Falls)

First baseman Francis Martinez led a 19-hit attack with four singles while Axel Andueza doubled, homered and drove in three runs as the Osprey pounded Idaho Falls 10-4 Monday night. Dustin Lacaze, a right-hander drafted in the 21st round out of Texas A&M Corpus Christi in June, worked 4.2 innings in relief and had nine strikeouts to pick up his second win on the season.

Cool feature on Missoula pitcher/rodeo roper Dustin Lacaze.

Plenty of All-Star representation for the Osprey as well.


D-backs (Rookie Arizona League)

For the week: 3-2
For the season: 6-4 (Tied with Cubs2 for 2nd place in East Division; 1.5 games behind Giants Orange)

Kevin Cron, on a rehab assignment, jacked a two-run home run in the first inning, but it wasn’t enough as the D-backs lost to the Cubs2 3-2 on Wednesday. The rehab assignment was a short one, as Cron was elevated back to Triple-A Reno on Thursday. Cron also homered twice for the Aces after returning to the club, giving him 32 dingers in just 61 minor league games.


D-backs1 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 1-4
For the season: 22-31 (5th place in Baseball City Division; 15.5 games behind Reds)

Endy Estrada, a 17-year-old Venezuelan first baseman, went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs as the D-backs knocked off the White Sox 6-3 on Monday.


D-backs2 (Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 6-0
For the season: 33-21 (Tied for 1st place with Cubs in San Pedro Division; 1.5 games ahead of Phillies White)

Left-hander Diomedre Sierra right-hander and Jheyson Perez combined on a gem in a 4-1 decision over the Brewers Monday night. Sierra started and went four innings of no-hit ball while walking two and striking out eight. Perez finished the game, going five innings, allowing just four hits and one run to go along with 11 strikeouts.

Outstanding pitching continued to be a theme for the D-backs2 on Tuesday as Jean Marcelino, Pablo Pimentel and Edinson Soto combined on a three-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts in a 3-0 win over the Brewers.

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