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Wednesday Pebble Report:

I put up another farm report at the Rocky Mountain News yesterday, focusing on Ian Stewart. Stewart lined a single in his lone at bat in yesterday's loss.

Colorado Springs: L 13-3

The Sky Sox are currently losing today's game against Portland too, also, so at first it might seem that the Rockies can't hit against any Padres affiliate, but you can check just below this for the Tulsa score to see the exception. Former Rockies pitcher Sean Estes was most responsible for keeping the Sky Sox offense in check. Christian Colonel was the only Sky Sox with two hits, Joe Koshansky and Doug Bernier -who both doubled- were the only two to have more than a single.

Tulsa: W 11-5

This day game had been hyped by as a pitcher's duel between Brandon Hynick and Pads prospect Will Inman, but both were pretty much shelled early. Luckily the Drillers bullpen looked a lot more impressive than the Missions did. Daniel Carte hit his fourth homerun of the season, and Matt Miller had three hits and three RBI to help push the runs across the board. Chris Nelson and Dex Fowler did just fine as table setters, getting on base safely in six out of ten plate appearances and scoring five of the runs. Corey Wimberly didn't fare quite as well, going one for six, but thanks to a couple of fielders' choice plays, he also scored three. Hynick's day was pretty miserable, he only got through three innings, giving up six hits, four walks and five runs. Edward Valdez deservedly picked up the W with four scoreless innings and Ryan Mattheus and Pedro Strop also put up goose-eggs in the line score.

Modesto: Postponed due to wind

If they were able to play, the game might still be going with the scores somewhere in the mid-80's. Lancaster's always crazy with its wind, but as Brian VanderBeek points out, when it's as bad as last night, Simon Ferrer should be particularly thankful that he didn't get his turn on the bump.

Asheville: W 9-0

Cory Riordan and Matt Reynolds combined on the shutout of the West Virginia Power. And thanks to a promotion the Tourists have with Dunkin' Donuts, I got a free donut out of it as well. Woot! Anyway, Riordan's performance was impressive, but the umpire had a pretty wide strike zone, which helped the two teams combine for 24 strikeouts. Second, the temperature was cold and damp, so the strength of contact seemed dampened as well. To me that meant Darin Holcomb's laser homerun to the deepest part of center field says a lot more about his power potential than most HR's at McCormick Field would.

I could see why Holcomb gets overlooked by scouts, he doesn't have the length they will typically look for. If you stood him up between Brian Rike and Lars Davis and asked "who's the ballplayer?" he'd be the last one picked, but I'm liking what I've seen of him. His swing is fairly short and compact, he's able to cover most of the plate and has the quick reflexes needed to stay alive if he gets fooled. I have a lot more confidence in him after seeing him play in person. I couldn't get a great read on his defense, but I'll see enough of him that I should be able to complete the scouting report later.

If Lars Davis fails at baseball, he should go into modeling. I could see why the golden blonde has a growing fan club here in Asheville even while he struggles at the plate. Anyway, Davis' swing seemed long to me and while he might have an aesthetic edge over the opposition's catcher last night, Jonathan LuCroy, as a Rockies fan I would still rather have the latter, although part of that is because LuCroy was looking very sharp, both at the plate and behind it, and I could see him having a rapid rise to the majors. Lars is going to take some time.

Helder Velzquez is in a similar boat, he's a very good looking young person and has the basic tools of being a good baseball player. His swing doesn't appear to have the holes that Davis showed, and I could definitely see more power coming to Helder as he develops. On defense, he had one throwing error saved by first baseman Jeff Cunnngham and another charged to him when it looked to me like Cunningham bailed him out with a tag down the first baseline a second time. Suffice it to say, he could probably work on his accuracy, and his arm doesn't have quite the zip of Tulo's or Hector Gomez, but his range is solid and he has soft hands. I'm not sure where we'll stick him down the road, but I think he's got potential that it's important for the franchise to hang on to.

Everth Cabrera's got some nifty range, he saved at least one hit up the middle, and the error charged to him came on a bobble in the outfield grass behind first base that I was surprised he even got to. His throws were accurate and sharp. At the plate, he might be a little too patient for higher levels and isn't going to have much power at all. I can see it being a difficult task to prove himself up the ladder, and once his speed goes, he may not retain much value offensively. He does bunt pretty well. I'm thinking his ceiling's as a utility infielder in the Jamey Carroll mold.

Brian Rike didn't really connect last night but I saw him work the count and his swing looks like it could do some damage. Obviously it has already this year. Like Davis and Velazquez, he has a frame that still shows potential for further growth. I was kind of surprised to see that, and it makes me excited considering how he's already performed. My initial impression is pretty positive.

Okay, now depsite my earlier caveat regarding the umpiring, Cory Riordan did look promising. Riordan's fastball was mostly in the 87-90 mph range, topping out at 92 and slowing to 86-88 by his last inning. That said, it must have had a lot of deception, as West Virginia hitters -outside of Lucroy- were always late on it. His off-speed offerings were also pretty decent, most of his K's were off his change-up, but he did use the slider as an out pitch. I think he only had one or two K's off the fastball, so he's not going to blow the ball by anybody, but he was very effective at mixing speeds and keeping the opponents guessing all night. I don't think he's going to be anything more than a number three at the very top of his ceiling, but he should be ready to help the Rockies fairly soon, as he's looking polished for his level.

West Virginia's pitcher and former Colorado prep-star Evan Anundsen also looked really good last night. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the bigs in the not too distant future.