Sunday Pebble Report: David Dahl, Rockies' Top Prospect, Continues to Shred Pioneer League

Rookie Grand Junction - W 10-1, (10-10, W1, 2nd, 2.0 GB)

Jayson Aquino (2009, DR) has already walked more batters in four starts with Grand Junction than he did in nine starts in the DSL, evidence of more selective hitters in the Pioneer League. That has been the biggest adjustment for Aquino, who otherwise has not missed a beat in Grand Junction. The lefty went seven innings, allowing just three hits and an unearned run at Suplizio Field. Pioneer League hitters are hitting just .198 against the 19-year-old, who is 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in his stateside career

Aquino wasn't the only story for the Rockies last night, as the offense pummeled the Great Falls Voyagers from the start. David Dahl (2012, 1st round), who is an easy #1 PuRP over Arenado and Story in my opinion, fell a home run shy of the cycle. He doubed home a run in the first, tripling home two in the eighth and drawing a walk. Dahl is leading the Pioneer League in batting average, slugging percentage, triples, runs and has a monstrous lead in hits (82 to 69) and total bases (133 to 112). As the eighth youngest hitter in the Pioneer League with tools to spare, Dahl is the obvious favorite for Baseball America's top prospect in the Pioneer League after the season. Nolan Arenado was the #8 ranked prospect in the Pioneer League, and while Trevor Story also earned the #1 position, he didn't dominate the Pioneer League nearly as much as Dahl has. Neither Arenado nor Story are the complete toolshed that Dahl is either.

Julian Yan (2008, DR) hit his league-leading 15th home run and Wilfredo Rodriguez (2012, 7th round), one of seven Pioneer League hitters younger than Dahl, had two hits. The win was the Rockies' sixth in seven games as they charge towards a playoff spot.

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AAA Colorado Springs - W 9-8, (68-60, W3, 2nd, 4.0 GB)

The Sky Sox brought the sticks to Salt Lake, rapping out 16 hits in a narrow victory over the Bees. Omir Santos (2012, MiLB FA) had four of them, including a home run, and Andrew Brown (2012, waivers) had a home run and double. Chad Tracy (2012, trade) and #9 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round) each had three hits, including a couble. Eric Junge (2012, MiLB FA) got hit around for eight runs in five innings, but Austin Biebens-Dirkx (2012, MiLB FA), Ricky Brooks (2012, MiLB FA) and HM PuRP Coty Woods (2009, 33rd round) shut down Salt Lake with four hitless, shutout innings in relief.

AA Tulsa - L 1-5, (22-32, L5, 3rd, 13.5 GB)

Dan Houston (2008, 7th round) pitched brilliantly, striking out seven and allowing just five hits over seven innings with one free pass. One of those five hits was the 22nd home run for Miles Head, sent from Boston to Oakland in the Josh Reddick-Andrew Bailey trade. The Dickerson-less offense didn't support Houston, scoring just one unearned run on five hits. #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado (2009, 2nd round), Ben Paulsen (2009, 3rd round) and Kiel Roling (2008, 6th round) went a combined 0-for-12 in the middle of the order. Tim Sexton (2012, MiLB FA) struggled in the eighth, using 42 pitches to record just two outs. Five of the seven men he faced reached, with four of them scoring. The Drillers have scored just five runs on their winless four game road trip.

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High-A Modesto - W 10-3, (31-23, W3, 1st)

The Rockies' Latin pipeline is usually filled with pitchers, but it was the Latin hitters that led the charge against Anthony Meo, ranked the #9 prospect in a deep Diamondbacks system by Kevin Goldstein before the year. #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ) hit his eighth home run (a 3-run shot), walked and scored three times. Juan Crousset (2007, DR) doubled and singled twice and #20 PuRP Cristhian Adames (2007, VZ) had three hits as well. Kennil Gomez walked a tightrope to allow just one run in six innings, allowing six hits (two doubles) and a walk while striking out just one. #10 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) had a rough game, striking out twice and grounding into a double play. He did reach base twice...on an error and walk.

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Low-A Asheville - W 12-2, (31-24, W2, 2nd, 4.5 GB)

#13 PuRP Will Swanner (2010, 15th round) returned to action last night from his ankle injury and had two singles. Each member of the Tourists lineup recorded a hit as Asheville bludgeoned the Red Sox affiliate. #3 PuRP Trevor Story (2011, sandwich pick) had two doubles and a single and is 6-for-11 with four extra base hits in his last two games. Taylor Featherston (2011, 5th round) had two doubles, and Joe Mikulik got multi-hit evenings from Ryan Casteel (2010, 17th round), Jordan Ribera (2011, 21st round) and Jared Simon (2010, 6th round). Alex Gillingham (2011, 11th round) was the beneficiary of the onslaught, but he performed well in his own right, allowing two runs in six strong innings, inducing 11 ground outs, increasing his ground ball rate to 61% for the year.

The Tourists have won 10 of 14 and are making a charge to catch the Rome Braves for first in the Southern Division, but Rome isn't cooperating, running with a six game win streak. Asheville won the first half crown though, so their spot in the playoffs is already assured.

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Short-season Tri City - L 2-8, (9-16, L6, 4th, 8.0 GB)

Yafistel Roja (2008, DR) singled in the third, and that was the only hit the Dust Devils had in the game...until the ninth. Tom Murphy (2012, 3rd round), who deserves top-10 PuRP consideration, followed an error with a two-run home run to erase the shutout, but Tri City got outscored 22-10 in getting swept at home by first-place Boise. #28 PuRP Dillon Thomas (2011, 4th round) returned to action for the first time since June 27 and played five innings. Thomas grounded out twice, but he did gun down a runner trying to advance to third base from left field.

Peter Tago's (2010, sandwich pick) wildness continued, as the right-hander walked three and hit a batter in five innings. All four of those free passes came around to score, and Tago also threw a wild pitch and committed an error on a pickoff. The big blow was a grand slam by Rock Shoulders, which cashed in two walks. Tago did manage to retire Cubs top draft choice Albert Almora all three times, but Tago's continued regression is very frustrating from a player selected two picks ahead of Mike Olt.

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DSL Rockies - W 7-2, (38-28, W1, 2nd, 0.5 GB)

Four consecutive losses dropped the Rockies out of the division lead, but a win last night pulled them back within a half game. Henry Garcia doubled twice, while Raimel Tapia and Wilson Soriano each had two hits. Angel Lezama was very good over seven innings, striking out eight, inducing 11 ground ball outs, walking one and allowing two runs (one earned). He did throw two wild pitches and allow seven hits

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