D-backs Farm Rumblings: Plenty of postseason action ahead

Sep 3, 2019, 7:42 AM
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As the Arizona Diamondbacks continue their quest to secure a National League Wild Card spot, several of their minor league affiliates have already locked postseason spots.

The Jackson Generals, Visalia Rawhide, Kane County Cougars, Hillsboro Hops and Dominican Summer League D-backs2 are all playing for championships in their respective leagues. The Missoula Osprey are also still in the hunt to get into the Pioneer League postseason as well.

All this and everything else going on in the D-backs’ minor league system.

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the week: 5-3
For the season: 66-74 (Finished 2nd in Pacific Northern Division; 7.0 games behind Sacramento)

Pitching hasn’t been the Aces’ strong suit in 2019, but they got a lot of it in a 5-1 win over Sacramento Wednesday night. Right-hander Braden Shipley had one of his best outings of the season, going six innings while scattering six hits and allowing only one earned run and one walk. Right-hander Jon Duplantier worked the seventh and eighth innings, and didn’t allow a hit or a run, but did struggle with control, walking four. Stefan Crichton worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

Kevin Cron led an offensive onslaught with four of Reno’s 16 hits while driving in three runs in a 13-9 slugfest win over Salt Lake Friday night. All four of Cron’s hits were singles. In fact, Cron saw his homer-less streak hit 11 games in the process. But it’s not like he hasn’t produced in that span. Since Aug. 19, Cron is hitting .366 (15-for-41) with five multi-game hits and seven RBIs. Amazingly, Cron, who has been a home run machine this season, had only one extra-base hit (a triple) in this 11-game stretch.

Cron’s last single in the game topped off a five-run 10th inning. The win, believe it or not, was Reno’s first extra-innings win of the season.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the week: 3-2
For the season: 39-26 (Finished 2nd in North Division; 3.5 games behind Montgomery. Clinched Wild Card Playoff spot)

The Generals used home runs from Ben DeLuzio, Ryan Grotjohn and Cam Duzenack and strong pitching from Matt Peacock and three relievers to put away the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 7-2 Friday night. DeLuzio led off the game with a homer to set the tone and Grotjohn and Duzenack padded Jackson’s lead with back-to-back solo shots in the seventh. Meanwhile, Peacock was dealing. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed four hits and two runs while fanning seven over six innings to pick up his eighth win of the season.

Jackson got a stellar pitching performance from five players while Daulton Varsho went 2-for-3 with a solo home run in a 2-1 win over Jacksonville Saturday. Cole Stapler started and allowed one run over four innings before handing off to the bullpen. Jayson McKinley, Matt Brill, Kevin McCanna and West Tunnell combined on five innings of scoreless baseball to close out the win. Varsho’s homer was his 18th of the season. The 2017 draft pick came into this year with 19 minor league home runs in 123 games and has nearly matched that total in 108 contests this season.

In the eighth inning, McCanna threw an immaculate inning — striking out three Jacksonville hitters on nine pitches.

The Generals’ season came to an end a little early, as the Southern League cancelled games Sunday and Monday against Jacksonville. The move was made to allow the Jumbo Shrimp to get home to prepare for Hurricane Dorian.

The Generals, meanwhile are getting ready for the Southern League Playoffs. They’ll face the Montgomery Biscuits in the North Division starting later this week. Montgomery had the best record in the division in both the first and second halves of the season.

Baseball America featured Pavin Smith and the great season he had in Jackson.

Smith, Varsho and third baseman Drew Ellis all landed on the Southern League All-Star team.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the week: 3-5
For the season: 39-31 (Finished 1st in North Division; 3.0 games ahead of San Jose)

Every player in the lineup had at least one hit and Justin Vernia pitched seven shutout innings in leading the Rawhide to a 9-2 win over Modesto Thursday night. Second baseman Alex King led the hit parade with three hits while top prospect Alek Thomas had two including a two-run home run to pace the offense. Vernia, a 23-year-old right-hander who spent parts of two seasons of independent ball after going undrafted out of Gonzaga in 2017, continued to be quite a find for the D-backs’ organization. Vernia yielded five hits and struck out seven in the process of picking up his eighth California League win on the year.

The Rawhide are wrapping up their regular season and getting ready for a playoff push after a dominant 2019. had a nice feature on the determination of Rawhide right-hander Ryan Weiss.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the week: 7-1
For the season: 46-24 (Finished 1st in Western Division; 1.0 game ahead of Clinton)

Right-handers Luis Frias and Jackson Goddard combined on a pitching gem in an 8-1 Kane County win over Quad Cities Monday night. Frias, a 21-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, started and allowed a single run over five innings while striking out seven. Leading 3-1 after five, he gave way to Goddard, who efficiently mowed down the River Bandits over the next four innings to pick up the save — his first of the year.

The Cougars rallied for two runs in the top of the ninth to earn a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Quad Cities Tuesday night. Blaze Alexander led off the ninth with a single and was then sent home on Kristian Robinson’s RBI double. Three batters later, Steven Leyton singled to right, scoring Robinson and giving Kane County its winning margin.

Robinson, the D-backs’ second-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline stayed hot after his RBI double Tuesday. The 18-year-old homered in a 3-2 loss to Wisconsin Wednesday. He then jacked a grand slam home run in the third inning of an 8-4 win over the Timber Rattlers Thursday night. Robinson took a while to find his footing after being promoted to Kane County, but has looked more comfortable over his last 10 games, with three home runs and nine RBIs.

Frias, Ethan Larrison and Goddard teamed up on another great pitching show in a 9-1 win over Burlington Saturday. Frias went 4.2 shutout innings, and allowed just two hits. Larrison went 1.1 scoreless and Goddard pitched the last three innings, yielding just one garbage-time run in picking up his second save of the year.

Like the Generals and Rawhide, the Cougars are headed to the postseason as well.

Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

For the week: 5-2
For the season: 24-14 (Finished 1st in South Division; 4.0 games ahead of Salem-Keizer)

Hillsboro lefty Tyler Holton was racking up the Ks Monday night in a 7-2 win over Spokane. In just 4.1 innings, Holton fanned 10 Indians hitters while allowing just two runs and four hits. Over his last four starts, Holton has struck out 38 opposing hitters in just 20.1 innings — a ridiculous 16.82 strikeouts per nine innings.

Four Hops pitchers — Ryne Nelson, Wilfry Cruz, Brennan Malone and Avery Short — combined on a three-hit shutout in a 6-0 triumph over Boise Friday night. Nelson started and struck out five while allowing two hits over three innings. Cruz came in and breezed through the next four innings to pick up the win. Malone and Short combined to close out the game without surrendering a hit. The quartet combined to strike out 14 Boise batters.

Tristin English and Ryan January were responsible for all of Hillsboro’s runs in a 10-3 rout of Boise Saturday night. The Hops actually trailed the game 2-0 before exploding for 10 runs over the last four innings. English, who went 3-for-5, belted a grand slam in the seventh to give Hillsboro a 6-2 lead. January notched a three-run blast in a four-run ninth that put the game away. Both players had five RBIs — a season-high for both.

Do you sense a trend here?

Right-hander Deyni Olivero was named the Northwest League Pitcher of the Year. The 21-year-old posted a 8-3 record to go along with a 2.09 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. In his minor league career, which started back in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, Olivero is 23-10 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the week: 4-2
For the season: 19-14 (2nd place in North Division; 1.5 games behind Billings)

First baseman Spencer Brickhouse had two solo home runs to help the Osprey to a 7-4 win over Billings Wednesday night. Brickhouse, a seventh-round pick out of East Carolina in June, led off the second inning with a solo blast to right to cut Billings’ lead to 2-1. Two innings later, Brickhouse led off again and again homered to right, breaking a 2-2 tie. It was the 21-year-old’s first multi-homer game in the pros.

Mitchell Stumpo had a pretty good season at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, but didn’t get drafted in June. He signed with the D-backs, and has pitched very well for the Osprey this season. In a 3-2 win over Idaho Falls Friday night, Stumpo worked two innings to pick up his first win of the year. Stumpo struck out four of the six men he faced during his hitless two-frame stint. Prior to that, the 23-year-old had earned saves in four straight appearances. He’s a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities and opposing hitters have managed to bat just .133 against him in 2019.

Sweet catch here by center fielder Wilderd Patino.

D-backs2 (Rookie Dominican Summer League)

For the week: 5-1
For the season: Find themselves one game away from Dominican Summer League Championship

It took a little longer than expected, but the D-backs were able to push two runs across in the top of the 10th inning and steal a 6-5 win over the Reds to clinch their best-of-three Dominican Summer League Playoff series Wednesday. The Reds managed to push across five runs on only three hits against a quintet of D-backs pitchers.

Deivis Vegas had a three-run triple in the fourth inning and the D-backs scored two runs on a scoring error in the sixth on their way to an 8-5 win over Pirates2 in a Dominican Summer League Playoff semifinal. Pirates2 were the best team in the 45-team DSL, sporting a ridiculous 56-16 record on the year.

The momentum continued Saturday as the D-backs eliminated the Pirates with a 9-4 win. Outfielder Alvin Guzman went 3-for-5 for the D-backs. Guzman also delivered an RBI single that scored Vegas in the sixth which tied the game at 3-3. One batter later, Guzman stole second and forced a throwing error which plated Roman Ruiz to give the D-backs their first lead of the game. They’d go on to post three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to clinch the series.

Penguin Air

Penguin Air


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