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Saturday Pebble Report:

Rox Girl is a veritable fount of wisdom today (well, that or I'm just long winded.)

Colorado Springs: Jon Asahina paid for intentionally walking Greg Dobbs to fill the bases in the bottom of the fifth, as the next batter, Adam Jones, hit a three run triple which provided the difference in the Sky Sox' five to two loss. Ryan Spilborghs did nicely working out of the leadoff slot, getting three hits, including a double to start the game in five total at bats. Overall, however, Colorado Springs couldn't capitalize on opportunities, as after that two run top half of the first, they were held scoreless by a less than stellar opponent.

Tulsa: Up until a few days ago, Driller stadium had been a fairly miserable place for Joe Koshansky. Before the current Tulsa homestand his OPS was in the low .600s when he played in front of the friendlies. Well, this line over these last five games ought to change that:  21 AB, 8 H, 3 2B, 2 HR, 7 R, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K. Overall this streak has pushed him into the top five in the Texas League in OPS, and while his K rate is still too high, his performance is making the pending loss to the system of Ryan Shealy more palatable. I still have some concerns over his ability to carry this sort of production through all the way to the majors, but he has done a lot to answer some of my doubts this year.

The Drillers beat the Hooks ten to four, as Jud Thigpen and Joe Gaetti homered. Gaetti's homerun was a pinch hit, two out, two run shot, so you have to like that. Koshansky went two for five with a double an RBI and two runs scored. Two of the Texas League's elite prospects, our own Troy Tulowitzki and Astro prospect Hunter Pence haven't looked very good these last two games, having almost identical zero for eight lines. There hasn't been an update on Ian Stewart's expected return date. Since the MRI on his wrist came back negative he's been listed as day to day, but if he misses tonight it will be a full week he's been riding the pine. Does Stewart's injury history in the minors raise some caution flags about his long term value? Absolutely, but his age helps alleviate some of those as he's still young enough to heal quickly and more completely. More important will be to see how the layoff affects him, as he was in a bit of a slump before he got hurt.

Modesto: Christopher Frey continues to impress me this year - mostly because I had rather low expectations for his bat entering the season. However, batting leadoff yesterday he went two for three with two walks and what more can you ask of a leadoff hitter than that? His defense has always been solid, so the addition of any offense is an added dimension he needed to gain in the minors if we wanted to consider him as a possible contributor at the MLB level. Well it's still A ball in Modesto, but I'm now seeing him as slightly more than mere minor league filler. We'll call him a possible fringe utility outfielder/AAAA player for now. The Nuts won six to five as Matt Miller, Michael Davies and Neil Wilson each also collected a pair of hits.  Miller also gunned down the potential tying run at home, so with Chris and Matt patrolling out there, you know Modesto's outfield D to be pretty good.

Catching? Not the best night for Wilson behind the plate as he allowed five successful steals and had one passed ball. How much of that is on starter Samuel Deduno? It's definitely something opponents are exploiting lately when he starts, over the last three times out he has more SB attempts against (11) than innings pitched (10 2/3). Even more discouraging is the wildness he's been experiencing. No WP's this time out (last start he had four in one inning) but there was the passed ball, four walks and two HBP's in four innings.  

Asheville:  Xavier Cedeno had a very good start, but big trouble in the third inning cost him the victory:

Pedro Espinoza walks.
     Wladimir Sutil reaches on force attempt, fielding error by first baseman Christopher Cook. Pedro Espinoza to 3rd. Wladimir Sutil to 2nd.
     Joshua Flores singles on a ground ball to shortstop Christopher Nelson. Pedro Espinoza scores. Wladimir Sutil to 3rd.
     Eric King out on a sacrifice fly to center fielder John Restrepo. Wladimir Sutil scores.
     Ole Sheldon pops out to second baseman Jason Van Kooten.
     Mitch Einertson homers (6) on a fly ball to left field. Joshua Flores scores.
     Eli Iorg grounds out, shortstop Christopher Nelson to first baseman Christopher Cook.

Outside the one walk, two hits (one an infield single) and the four runs that crossed the plate this inning, Cedeno's line looked like this: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Of course, those runs count the same as any others so the Tourists loss still stands, but as prospect watchers we can take heart that there were only two well hit balls against Cedeno, the Einertson homer and an Eli Iorg double in the sixth. Cedeno is looking very solid as a legit rotation candidate right now. Daniel Carte hit his second homerun of the season and the week, but all in all the Tourists were unlucky on offense, with several line drives getting snagged by a good defense and unfortunate location. Ashevile lost five to two.