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D-backs Farm Report: Matt Stites could be big-league relief option


Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

Week: 5-2 | Overall: 60-48, 2nd place in Pacific Northern Division — 3.0 games behind Tacoma

First time for everything: Catcher Dan Rohlfing, a 27-year-old who was a 14th-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins in 2007, has played in 583 minor league games. For the first time in his career, Rohlfing connected on two homers in a single game Wednesday night in a 7-3 win over Sacramento. Rohlfing had a solo shot off of Sacramento starter Clayton Blackburn in the second inning and followed that with a three-run shot off of reliever Duke Welker in the sixth.

O’Brien struggling: Outfielder Peter O’Brien hit just .091 (2-for-22) with 13 strikeouts in six games. Since returning to the Aces after a big-league stint with the D-backs, O’Brien is batting just .197 (15-for-76) with 36 strikeouts. The man’s a menace: Mitch Haniger continues to terrorize PCL pitching. The outfielder batted .357 (10-for-28) last week with a homer, five doubles and seven RBI. The performance capped off a month for the ages.

Ogando surfaces: Veteran right-handed reliever Alexi Ogando was released by the Atlanta Braves on July 1 and signed a minor-league deal with the D-backs 10 days later. It’s been a rough go so far for the former All-Star. Ogando gave up seven hits and six earned runs over three innings of work last week. His ERA over five appearances for Reno is a robust 16.62.


Mobile BayBears (Double-A Southern League)

Week: 3-2 | Overall: 20-15, 2nd place in South Division — 1.5 games behind Mississippi

Quiet bats: Not a lot of offensive fireworks for the Bears, as they managed to plate only nine runs in five games, with position players batting just .175 (25-for-143) on the week.

The pitching, however: Mobile’s pitching staff shined on the week, posting a 1.84 ERA. The starting rotation of Cole Johnson, Taylor Clarke, Matt Koch, Josh Taylor and Billy Buckner was even better, posting a 1.74 ERA in 31 innnings.

What about Stites?: Right-handed reliever Matt Stites has been outstanding as of late. Stites has had 10 straight appearances without allowing an earned run. In three outings last week, Stites picked up two saves, to bring his season total with Mobile to 11. He’s also lowered his ERA to 0.93. With all of the problems the Diamondbacks have had at the Major League level finding relievers to get anybody out, Stites, who has pitched in 48 big-league games, might be an option to keep an eye on.


Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

Week: 4-3 | Overall: 16-21, in four-way tie for 2nd place in North Division — 6.0 games behind Bakersfield

Big week for Reyes: Infielder Robelys Reyes, whom the D-backs claimed off waivers last December from the St. Louis Cardinals, had a very good week at the plate, hitting .476 (10-for-21) with two doubles, three RBI and four stolen bases. Reyes went 4-for-4 in a 9-2 win over Modesto Wednesday night. The 26-year-old shortstop is batting .302 in 33 games with Visalia this season.

Payamps paying off: Right-hander Joel Payamps, another player the D-backs acquired in the offseason, had great outing Wednesday. The 22-year-old allowed just one hit and one walk over seven innings while striking out nine in a victory over Modesto. The nine strikeouts matched a season-high for Payamps, who has hit that mark in two of his last three starts.

Whole lot of zeroes: Lefty Alex Young, rated the D-backs’ fifth-best prospect by, had by far his best outing since joining the Rawhide at the beginning of July. The former TCU Horned Frog allowed just one hit and three walks while fanning eight over six innings of work in a 2-0 win over Stockton Sunday. Young got help from the bullpen as well, with Nick Baker, Gabriel Moya and Cameron Gann combining on three innings of perfect relief to seal the win. Young has a 0.75 ERA over his last two starts (12 innings).


Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

Week: 2-4 | Overall: 12-24, last place in Western Division, 13 games behind Clinton

Whole lot of zeroes, in a negative way: Kane County’s bats went missing last week. Over their last four contests, the Cougars were shut out three times, and squeezed out a 1-0 win over Clinton on Saturday. They scored 12 runs in six games, and nine of those came in a win over Lansing Monday night. As a team, KC batted .184 (35-for-190) with 62 strikeouts. Fernery Ozuna did drive in five runs in that Monday night game — nearly half of Kane County’s weekly offensive output.

Look out, Bellow!: Kirby Bellow, a 24-year-old lefty out of the University of Texas (26th round, 2015), worked a three-inning save Saturday night. Bellow faced nine batters, striking out seven in his perfect stint. In 12 games with the Cougars this year, Bellow is 1-0 with a 0.92 ERA and a tiny 0.61 WHIP. Including time spent with Hillsboro in the Northwest League, Bellow has a string of 21.2 scoreless innings entering this week.


Hillsboro Hops (Short-season-A Northwest League)

Week: 5-2 | Overall: 4-2 (second-half), 1st place in South Division, 1.0 game ahead of Boise and Salem-Keizer

Slingin’ shutouts: The Hops notched two shutouts last week. Taiwanese right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang and four relievers collaborated on a five-hit blank job Monday in a 3-0 win over Tri-City. Two nights later, it was right-hander Bo Takahashi and Palmer Betts combining on a three-hitter in a 4-0 triumph over Boise. Takahashi has thrown 11.2 scoreless innings during his current rehab stint with Hillsboro.

Lowery heating up: Catcher Luke Lowery, a 14th-round pick out of East Carolina in 2015, had quite the week for the Hops, hitting .526 (10-for-19) with eight RBI. The week was highlighted by a 4-for-4 performance with four RBI Friday night in a 10-4 win over Salem-Keizer.


Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

Week: 4-2 | Overall: 2-1 (second half), tied for 1st place in North Division with Billings

Offensive explosion: The Osprey more than made up for any organizational offensive lag by scoring 52 runs in six games last week, including 34 in back-to-back wins over Helena Saturday and Sunday. The Osprey beat the Brewers 21-12 Saturday, banging out a franchise-record 26 hits in the process. Everybody in the lineup had at least two base hits, with Pedro Marquez and Yan Sanchez leading the way with four apiece. Sanchez and Eudy Ramos each drove in five runs in the game, which featured 36 hits, two eight-run innings and eight errors.

Ramos raking: Ramos, for the week, hit three more home runs, bringing his season total to 11, which lead the Pioneer League. The 20-year-old Dominican native is now hitting .321 on the season.


Arizona Rookie D-backs (Arizona Rookie League)

Week: 3-1 | Overall: 3-1 (2nd half), tied for 2nd place in East Division — 1/2 game behind Angels

You don’t see that every day: The D-backs trailed the Cubs 1-0 entering the bottom of the ninth at Salt River Fields Thursday night. Andy Yerzy tied the game with an RBI single that scored Paxton De La Garza. Four batters later, with one out and the bases loaded, Cubs reliever Ho-young Son plunked Jeff Smith with a pitch, scoring Yerzy on a walk-off HBP, giving the D-backs a 2-1 win.

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