Samuel Deduno had another fantastic performance for Asheville, striking out nine Blue Claws and allowing only three hits and three walks yesterday in five and a third innings. The rest of the Tourists meanwhile scrapped together two runs, which were enough to win, 2-1. In a fairly rare occurrence and speaking to the pitching depth the Rockies have at the lower levels, all three of the relievers in the game, Adam Bright, Chris Buechner, and 2003 second rounder Scott Beerer could also be noted as potential big league prospects, Beerer picked up his sixth save.
The night before saw a bit more offense for the Tourists, but an equally dominant pitching performance, this time by Juan Morillo who scattered seven hits (all singles) and a walk over six innings while striking out seven. Morillo hopefully has finally gotten into the groove of things and can join Deduno and Dragon Lo at the top of what should be the best rotation in Single A. Meanwhile, much of that offense was supplied by shortstop Jeff Dragicevich (four hits), who has used Chris Nelson's absence to the best advantage. Dragicevich doesn't project to have very much power, but he's been hitting the ball to all fields this year and can play every position around the infield, which could make him a marketable commodity somewhere down the road.
Modesto, meanwhile, lost two to the Royals' affiliate, High Desert. Sandy Nin took the loss Saturday, giving up two homeruns, one to the very impressive looking (thus far) Billy Butler. John Sickels took a look at Butler and the rest of the first round 2004 high school position players (including Chris Nelson) a couple of days ago for his website, it would be worth it to check it out.
Matt Macri hit a homerun Sunday, but it wasn't enough, as Aaron Marsden took the loss.
The big news was that Sunday marked the 2005 debut of our number one prospect, Ian Stewart. Stewart went hitless in five at bats, but it's nice to see him back anyway.
Tulsa split a pair with the Frisco Rough Riders. Saturday's game was the nice one for our side, an 11-2 win that featured strong performances from our trio of toolsy outfielders (Tulsa's trio of toolsy outfielders, dang, I should write copy for the movietone news) Ryan Spilborghs, Tony Miller and Jeff Salazar. Spilborghs did the one thing he hasn't so far this season -hit a homerun- while Miller hit his third, and Salazar tripled and drove in three. Salazar and Spilborghs each had two more hits Sunday, Miller had one and a walk and scored twice, so the three continue to be the main bright spot for Tulsa.
Meanwhile, Jayson Nix sat out Sunday after going zero for five (he was the only Driller to not get a hit), dropping his average to an abysmal .183.
Baseball America didn't even have Spilborghs in its depth chart of future Rockie outfielders (I know Brian Barre is a fellow Trojan, but is he even in the system anymore? Why him and not Spilborghs?) but I think the oversight might be because Tracy Ringolsby has as much trouble as me remembering how to spell his name. No actually, his career line hasn't ever shown anything like what he's doing so far this year, and he's always been old for the leagues he's been in. So is this year a fluke, a sign of things to come, or what? Since it is so anomalous, I wouldn't put much into his success carrying over until I see him replicate it at AAA.
Which brings me finally to Colorado Springs. The Sky Sox swept a doubleheader Saturday, Mike Esposito picking up his first win of the season despite struggling with his command and giving up four runs. Ryan Shealy and Danny Ardoin each homered in an eight run fifth and recent Rockies Scott Dohmann and Ryan Speier each pitched scoreless innings to close the win. Game two saw Denny Stark come back to the system and Ardoin hit another longball, his fifth. Ardoin's a career AAAA type guy, but I bet his hot start has Rockies management keeping a close eye on him as long as JD Closser continues to struggle. Would demoting Closser for a while send the right message? I don't know, but it's something to think about.
Ryan Speier came back and pitched another scoreless inning yesterday, I think we'll see him back with the Rockies before the season's over as he's too much of a competitor to stay down long. Listen to me, "too much of a competitor," what was that, Peter Gammons inhabiting my body for a second ala Being John Malkovich? Now I feel icky, I'm going to take a shower.