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Weekend Pebble Report - Asheville pitchers pummeled

The weekend didn't turn out so well for our affiliate franchises after the promising start on Friday. Apparently the wind was blowing out at McCormick Field, as well as relief weariness taking hold by the fourth game according to the Citizen-Times as Asheville dropped a 19-16 twelve inning tilt to the Hagerston Suns on Sunday and a 12-9 regulation one on Saturday. Our two starting pitchers for the games, Samuel Deduno and Ching-lung Lo had their worst outings of the season to date, with Lo's in particular being a brutal ten run thrashing in four and two-thirds. The final straw was apparently a double steal of second and home by Mets' "prospects" Dante Brinkley and Armand Gaerlon in the top of the fifth. Brinkley is breaking out after spending four years showing very little in the Mets' system. He's leading the SAL in multiple categories, but take it with the usual grain of salt for 23 year olds who are repeating the level. Matt Miller (5 for 8, two doubles) of the Tourists is also slugging, is a year younger (still old for the league at 22) but in his first year at the level so his stats carry quite a bit more weight to them at the moment. Joe Koshansky hit his seventh and eighth homeruns of the season, and Scott Beerer blew his first save in the loss.

Saturday, the Tourists tried another ninth inning comeback, but the Suns eight run lead proved too much. As usual, Miller and Koshansky were the driving offensive forces (and as the article linked above points out, catcher Kyle Wilson now that Rick Guarno was promoted.) Wilson should replace his namesake, Neil on the depth chart I made the other day, and could rise further if he keeps this up. Deduno was pulled after only two innings, as soon as I know why I'll let you know, or alternatively, if any of you have heard feel free to post a comment. Meanwhile, David Patton and Chris Nelson have been sent back to extended Spring Training in Arizona after more hamstring problems. I'm going to start a diary soon of all the off-season conditioning related injuries as it seems to be a major storyline in the system thus far.

Modesto won Sunday, Ubaldo Jiminez pitched well enough to earn the victory but not well enough to earn much more, Seth Smith and Erik Dean homered, and Ian Stewart actually went zero for the weekend in nine at bats. Saturday saw Visalia jump out on Aaron Marsden early, while the punchless Modesto offense couldn't get anything off of the D-Rays' top pitching prospect, Jeff Niemann despite his four walks. The Nuts finally scored three in the sixth on four consecutive hits, singles by Jud Thigpen and Smith, and a two run triple by Jordan Czarniecki followed by another single from Chris Ianetta. That was all though, as the Nuts lost eight to three.

Tulsa split a pair with the Frisco Rough-Riders winning 7-2 on Saturday, but losing 6-4 on Sunday. Tony Miller hit solo homeruns in both games and now has a .833 OPS on the season, Jeff Salazar had his sixth stolen base and two walks Saturday(oops, I'm certain somebody advocated he give up the practice after his fourth CS- whoever it was, I disagree, he needs to get better certainly, but baserunning is a refinable skill and Salazar has the potential to have well over a 75% success rate as long as he learns it in the minors) but went only one for five Sunday. Jayson Nix went zero for eight in the two games, dropping back below .200 and after going zero for four with three K's on Sunday, Sean Barker (he has an awful 5/21 BB/K rate on the season) dropped below .300 for the first time in quite a while.

Colorado Springs split a pair of close 3-2 contests, winning Saturday behind Jason Young's strong start (another candidate to fill in for Kennedy, he was pulled after just five innings) but losing on Sunday despite another good day at the plate for Ryan Shealy (a double and homerun in four at bats) and Jeff Baker (three for four). Later this week I'll update my top ten Rockies prospect list, and starting tomorrow and every-week thereafter leading up to the draft, I'll have a discussion thread open to discuss where were headed with our picks, especially the four in the top two rounds.