D-backs Farm Report: Brito, Jensen pacing offense in Reno; Visalia cruising
Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)
Week: 4-2 | Overall: 33-29, 2nd place in Pacific Northern Division, 2.0 games behind Tacoma
The Aces did a nice job of closing the gap in the Pacific Northern Division, taking three of four games from Tacoma to close the week.
Right-hander Braden Shipley was nails again in the series finale, working seven innings and allowing just three earned runs with four strikeouts. He won his second straight decision and is now 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 13 starts in 2016.
Final line for @shipley25: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. 100 pitches/66 strikes. Fifth time in 13 starts this year he’s worked 7.0+ innings.
— Aces Communications (@RenoAces_PR) June 12, 2016
Picking up where O’Brien left off: Peter O’Brien had a monster week last week for Reno. This week, it was first baseman Kyle Jensen’s turn. The 28-year-old, who is in his first year in the D-backs organization, clubbed four home runs and drove in 12 runs while batting .333 (8-for-24). Jensen had a string of three consecutive games with a home run — a three-run blast Monday against Salt Lake, a two-run shot the next night against the Bees and another three-run shot two nights later in the series opener in Tacoma. Jensen has 10 home runs on the year, and he’s tied for second in the PCL with 51 RBI, trailing only O’Brien in that category. Brito on fire: After being demoted by the Diamondbacks earlier this season, Socrates Brito struggled offensively at Reno. Those struggles are over. Brito is currently riding a 14-game hitting streak — with two four-hit games mixed in. During the streak, Brito is batting .455 (25-for-55) with three doubles, three triples, a homer and 10 RBI.
Haniger makes a contribution: Mitch Haniger got the call-up from Double-A Mobile, and had an excellent three-game stretch for the Aces — his first Triple-A action. The Compensation A pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012 had five hits in 10 at-bats for Reno, driving in four runs. Haniger was acquired by Arizona in 2014 in the deal that sent outfielder Gerardo Parra to the Brewers.
The thief: Outfielder Zach Borenstein swiped four bases on the week, including a three-bag game Tuesday night in an 11-2 win over Salt Lake.
Mobile BayBears (Double-A Southern League)
Week: 4-3 | Overall: 29-33, 4th place in South Division, 7.0 games behind Biloxi
King Cron: First baseman Kevin Cron supplied some souvenirs last week, hitting four home runs for the Bears. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound slugger from TCU (14th round pick in 2014) had home runs in back-to-back games against Birmingham Tuesday and Wednesday, then repeated with long balls in wins over Jacksonville Saturday and Sunday. On the season, Cron has a team-leading nine homers and 31 RBI, which is second behind only Gabriel Guerrero’s 36.
Everyone gets into the act: In Saturday night’s 8-2 win over Jacksonville, every Mobile starter had at least one base hit. Cron, Jamie Westbrook, Ronnie Freeman, Ildemaro Vargas and starting pitcher Taylor Clarke each had two as the BayBears rapped out 14 hits in the contest.
Buckner notches his first: Right-hander Billy Buckner has pitched a lot of professional baseball — 242 games for 16 different minor-league clubs since being drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. But Saturday, Buckner notched his first career save for an affiliated team. Buckner worked the final three innings of Mobile’s 8-2 win over Jacksonville, allowing just one hit, one walk and striking out two. The 32-year-old did have another save last season, but it was for the independent Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
Big-time representation: Five members of the BayBears — Anthony Banda, Daniel Gibson, Joey Krehbiel, Mitch Haniger and Kevin Medrano — were named mid-season Southern League All-Stars.
— Mobile BayBears (@Mobile_BayBears) June 8, 2016
Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)
Week: 6-0 | Overall: 41-21, 1st place in North Division, 6.0 games ahead of San Jose
The ‘Hide are rolling, entering this week with an eight-game winning streak. They’ve stretched their first-half lead over San Jose to six games, and they have the best winning percentage (.661) of any of the 30 High-A teams in minor league baseball. In a four-game sweep of Lancaster, Visalia outscored the JetHawks 29-5.
Flores getting hot…again: First baseman Rudy Flores went deep three times last week, driving in nine runs in the process. The 2012 draft pick (21st round) now has 14 home runs on the season, which is second in the California League and he’s tied for the league lead with 47 RBI. Six of those came in a 15-1 thrashing of Lancaster on Sunday.
Lugo an All-Star: Third baseman Dawel Lugo, the D-backs’ 15th-best prospect according to MLB.com, added another accolade to his résumé last week, being named a mid-season California League All-Star. Lugo is hitting .288 with nine home runs and 27 RBI this season for Visalia. Lugo will represent the Cal League against the Carolina League All-Stars June 21 in Lake Elsinore, Calif.
Shelby on the mend: D-backs right-hander Shelby Miller started his rehab assignment for the Rawhide Thursday night, and didn’t disappoint, giving up just two hits and striking out 11 over six scoreless innings of work.
Outdone by Taylor?: As good as Miller was Thursday, Josh Taylor may have been better the next night. The 23-year-old Phoenix native pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one unearned run and struck out 13 in a 4-1 win. Taylor tied his career-high for strikeouts set last July 31 while he was pitching for Kane County. Taylor leads Visalia with 58 Ks in 62.1 innings this season.
Milkin’ it: The Rawhide also celebrated Dairy Night at the ballpark, so of course, they wore these uniforms:
Support your cows. Go Rawhide! pic.twitter.com/B1aavchZlT
— Jeff Bajenaru (@jeffbajenaru) June 12, 2016
Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)
Week: 2-4 | Overall: 29-33, tied for 6th place in Western Division, 4.0 games behind Peoria
Not a great week for the Cougars, who not only lost four of six games, but were outscored 40-21 in the process, including a 18-9 whooping at the hands of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Friday night. Kane County hitters batted just .230 (46-for-200) on the week and struck out 64 times. Hey now, Heyman!: Outfielder Grant Heyman had an offensive outburst Friday night in that loss to Wisconsin. The 22-year-old went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBI. Heyman has six homers on the season (three at Visalia) and has established a new career high in the category. Payamps impresses: Right-hander Joel Payamps was outstanding Thursday night in a 2-0 win over Cedar Rapids. The 22-year-old, who was signed by Arizona last November, pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and notching a season-high eight strikeouts. Payamps has been a swing guy for Kane County, starting just four of the 13 games he’s pitched in this season, but has been outstanding of late. In his last 10 appearances (40.1 innings), he’s got a stellar ERA of 2.01 with 38 strikeouts and only five walks.