Saturday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: The Sky Sox managed two hits in last night's four to one loss, one was an Ian Stewart homerun, the other a Sean Barker single. Byung Hyun Kim pitched four innings and gave up all four Fresno runs on five hits and three walks.

Tulsa: When I evaluate pitchers, one of the first things I look for is performance floors, ceilings, and sofas. The first two categories might be more obvious than the last one, the floor being the worst start of the season, the ceiling the best start of the season, and the sofa will be a small range that represents the mode of the data set, or the type of start that the pitcher most frequently throws, or the place that he seems to live. After four official starts for Greg Reynolds, the sofa already seems to be something similar to last night's 6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 R performance. In relation to his floor and ceiling, thus far, you see he lives in a very cramped luxury apartment. Similar to Chris Iannetta and Ubaldo Jimenez last season, I'm going to say that Reynolds gets the bump up to Colorado Springs by the Texas League All-Star break in late June if he keeps this up. The Drillers' offense couldn't generate any runs to support Reynolds, and took a four to two loss.

Modesto: The Nuts won three to one behind another strong outing from pitcher Alan Johnson. Johnson's range of outings is a bit wider than Reynolds, but he too seems to be more comfortable near the ceiling than the floor. Over his last three starts, he's put up this line:

20 IP, 15 H, 1 BB, 14 K, 3 R

With stats like those and Hynick's, a fairly good start by Chaz Roe and decency in the rest of the rotation, as well as dominance in the pen with Strop and Andrew Johnston, you begin to wonder why Modesto is only 11-11 so far on the season. Then you look at the team .304 OBP or 177/714 K/AB ratio and stop wondering. Yesterday the offense came through, however, with EY Jr (two hits and an HBP,) Chris Nelson (a BB and HBP,) Phillip Cuadrado ( two hits,) and Jeff Kindel (two hits,) all getting aboard at least twice. Eric Young has a streak of getting on via hit or walk of eight games now. During that span he has just one extra base hit (a double last night) but also has gone seven of eight in the stolen base department. So it's a .417 OBP and .305 SLG for Young in those eight games, but the success rate at SB's is making him considerably more valuable than that would indicate.

Chris Cook made his 2007 debut yesterday, going zero for four.

Asheville: Modesto could probably use Michael Paulk's bat, but there might not be a place for him with Kindel and Cook getting the time with the Nuts. Paulk had two hits, including a homerun, to bring his average to .397 for the season. He also walked once, but even with this he was overshadowed by the other Asheville first baseman, Logan Wiens. Wiens went three for four homering and finishing a triple shy of the cycle, and also walked once. Tourists manager Joe Mikulik has been struggling to find AB's for Wiens this year with Paulk entrenched, but Wiens' performance in just 11 games so far is making this an issue sooner rather than later.

So how can we shake this out? Wait a couple of weeks to know for sure, but I think the time is near that the organization will have to deal Aaron Rifkin, or otherwise let him find opportunity to play elsewhere, and replace him with either Kindel or Paulk. Wiens' performance to date says that he may need a chance to establish himself in a full time role. For comparison, here are the stats for Logan and Columbus Catfish first baseman Matthew Fields:

Wiens 1/13/1986: 39 AB, 14 H, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 6 BB, 11 K
Fields 7/8/1985: 83 AB, 20 H, 4 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 32 K

I compare him to Fields because you have to wonder if Tampa Bay (the parent club of the Catfish) regrets cutting Logan during extended Spring Training last season. Fields has filled his frame more at 6'4" 255 lbs, but as Logan (6'6", 210 lbs) develops mass, the power could continue to come in with it.

Anyway, Josh Sullivan had an effective, albeit not overpowering outing and received decent bullpen support to help earn the 7-3 victory.

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