Charlie Blackmon tricked his summer team into giving him his shot in the outfield, Stephen Dodson learned and has drawn self-motivation from a foolish prank before the College World Series in 2006. More have learned on the field in more traditional ways how to succeed. My farm report at the Rocky Mountain News has links to stories and quotes about and by our first ten draft picks, who seem to have a theme of self-improvement as players.
Colorado Springs: L 2-3
It was the same score for the second night in a row as the Sky Sox lost. Jason Hirsh threw ninety pitches in just five innings and walked four as command was an issue, but he was otherwise effective, allowing just two hits and no runs. In my blog at the Rocky I mentioned that Jayson Nix had as many homeruns as strikeouts in his last ten games. With a homer and double last night and no strikeouts he now has more HR's than K's over his last ten games.
Tulsa: W 6-2
Dexter Fowler doubled twice, one of which drove in two of the five runs Tulsa scored in the seventh inning, and Ching-lung Lo won his fourth straight decision with seven strong innings. In contrast with Hirsh, Lo threw only 84 pitches through the seven frames. I don't know if it's a quirk in the schedule or deliberate manipulation to get Lo as many starts as possible in Tulsa, but it's paying off as he does much better at Drillers stadium for some reason. Meanwhile, Fowler has an OPS of 1.013 in June so far. He's been having a very strong month and is looking much more polished of late than he did earlier in the year. Is a late summer call-up to the MLB still possible? While I still think it's not the likeliest scenario, I'd say the possibility is looking a lot stronger now than it was a couple of weeks ago, he's turned up his game at the perfect time. Matt Miller and Tony Blanco also had two hits for the Drillers.
Modesto: W 9-6
Here's a philosophical player development question for you: Would you rather push a polished college pitcher to a level just above his capabilities for his first full season experience and watch him struggle, as the D-backs are doing with Barry Enright and Wes Roemer at Visalia, or put him in a level where he'll succeed but won't be as challenged such as the Rockies have done with Cory Riordan and Connor Graham in Asheville?
Enright had done well since May 10, with five of six quality starts in that span, but he took a hammer from the Cal League's lowest scoring team yesterday, giving up seven hits in five innings to the Nuts, six of them for extra bases. Michael Paulk fared especially well, rapping out two doubles and a first inning homerun off of him. Todd Ritchie got the starting assignment and pitched well for four innings.
The Tourists will play an abbreviated double header tonight.
Rockies DSL: W 3-0
Edwar Cabrera's old for a Dominican Summer League prospect at 21, but considering the guy game out of nowhere and this is presumably his first time through the league, his first two starts have been nothing short of sensational, even with his age factored in. Yesterday Cabrera pitched eight innings against the Diamondbacks DSL squad, allowing just two hits and two walks and striking out thirteen. He's got a groundball rate thus far of 57% of those that are able to get contact into play, which isn't many since the left-hander has struck out more than 40% of all the batters he's faced this year.
Some position players of note in the early going for the Rockies DSL team are 18 year-old outfielder John Rogers (who scored a $100,000 bonus last winter) and has a .356/.476/.824 line through six games, Juan "The Big Boss" Croussett, an 18 y.o. first baseman/DH who's hitting .296/.345/.630 in seven games, and 17 y.o. Venezuelan shortstop Gabriel Reyes who has a .321/.387/.429 line thus far. I've also been keen on 18 y.o. pitcher Juan Gonzalez for the last couple of seasons and it seems like he might be breaking out with a 12/1 K/BB ratio in 8 1/3 innings. He's also got heavy sink to his fastball and while he was hit a little by the Yankees on Monday, keep an eye on him.