Side note regarding the new PuRPs polling. I'm really sorry I've flaked on that this weekend, some stuff came up. We could discuss prospects here, though, and I'll put up a polling thread tomorrow.
Colorado Springs: L 0-4
The Sky Sox had just two hits, one by Chris Nelson, one by Brad Emaus. Rex Brothers collected three more strikeouts, giving him a total of 28 in just 15 innings this season. He did give up one of the Sacramento runs in his one inning pitched.
Tulsa: W 15-3
The Drillers knocked out 17 hits, collected 10 walks and otherwise clobbered the Naturals. Tim Wheeler had two hits, including a home run (his ninth of the season) walked three times and scored four runs. Wilin Rosario went four for five with a pair of doubles and a walk. The opposing starter, Edgar Osuna was a Rule 5 pick by the Royals a couple of years ago from the Braves, and the Braves decided to let the K.C. organization keep him. Seems a wise choice today. Wheeler's been a liability as a base-thief, but otherwise he's a center-fielder hitting like a corner player. He had a similar power surge his final college season prior to being drafted, so the question going forward will be about whether and for how long he can sustain this level of play. It's been a clear step forward for him as a prospect, though.
Juan Nicasio pitched for the Drillers, and while the seven innings, seven hits, two walks and seven K's actually make for one of his least impressive starts season to date, offensive environment last night should be taken into account and make it a bit more in line with what we've seen from him.
Modesto: L 7-8
Mike Zuanich hit a home run and along with Delta Cleary Jr, Angelys Nina and Orlando Sandoval had a multiple hit game in the loss to Visalia. One of the interesting things to watch this season will be how NL West 3B prospects Nolan Arenado and Bobby Borchering fare in the California League. Borchering was considered by the Rockies before the 2009 draft with the pick that eventually would be used to select Tyler Matzek. The D-backs snagged Borchering instead in the first round, and the Rockies selected Arenado in the second. So far in their second full seasons, it would seem on the surface that Borchering has a bit of an advantage with a .259/.298/.431 line and five HR's (including one last night) compared to a .257/.284/.321 line for Arenado. Same league, same age, one guy has power, one doesn't both aren't taking a free pass yet.
Go beneath the surface, however, and it's looking a lot more promising for Arenado right now. Borchering's already racked up 42 K's in 122 plate appearances. He needs to take a massive step forward in his contact ability before he'll be ready for the MLB. Arenado, on the other hand, has 14 K's in 117 plate appearances. As for the power, the difference is legit, but Borchering also plays half his game in one of the Cal League's most offense rich environments. Modesto is a pitching park in the league context, albeit neutral at best overall.
Asheville: L 4-7
Rafael Ortega started his season a little slowly, not an uncommon occurrence for players young for their leagues, but has since heated up nicely. Ortega collected four hits, a stolen base and scored twice, he's batting .385 in the month of May so far. The power's disappeared again, meaning the amount he produced in Casper may have indeed been a small sample, high altitude illusion, but the hit tool is still of a high quality with him. Russell Wilson went two for three with a pair of stolen bases. Alberto Campos pitched and allowed ten hits in five and two thirds innings. Patience should be practiced with Campos, his 6/1 K/BB rate yesterday and the ten hits show that he's not missing the plate, and more mature hitters are better equipped to hit him right now, but he remains a work in progress.