One of the Rockies better hopes for internal pitching help later in the season, Greg Smith, lasted just three and a third innings in a rehab outing and gave up eight hits, including two home runs, and five runs in total as the Drillers were taken to the old Ozark woodshed by the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Besides Smith, Xavier Cedeno was equally ineffective on the mound, allowing six more runs in two innings, so it looks like the Naturals have a keen liking for LHP's. Good thing RHP Esmil Rogers gets the call tonight, and let's hope Keith Weiser comes up with a better plan of attack against them later in the series.
Michael Paulk and Anthony Jackson were the two Drillers with two hits in the loss. Tulsa's now tied for first with Springfield and this NW Arkansas team is just one game back, so the series is pretty crucial for first half playoff implications.
Another multihit game for Scott Beerer as the man among boys came up with four for five performance with two doubles and four RBI. He's definitely not going to stay at this level long, the question is how far the Rockies will push him for the next stop.
The Ghosts season starts today at Idaho Falls. Prospects that I'll be keeping a particular eye on include outfielders David Kandilas, Avery Barnes and Juan Crousset, and several of our Latin American pitchers, including and perhaps particularly Alejandro Barraza, Vianney Mayo and Juan Gonzalez. I'll write more about these guys as the season goes along.
Other storylines to follow:
The Rockies have had several prospects come into the system via Puerto Rico and Jorge Posada's dad, including the aforementioned Cedeno, but so far none have really panned out in a big way. Infielder and 23rd round selection Jose Rivera is the latest to make an attempt.
Probably the most intriguing storyline for me of all is this one. RHP Kyle Hancock's comeback attempt starts again with Casper, Hancock got cold feet and decided not to pursue a professional baseball career after being drafted, signing with the Rockies and arriving at ironically, Idaho Falls with the then Casper Rockies in 2005. You can read more about him from Jack Etkin here. He made it through Spring without getting cut and is on the Ghosts roster, it will be a very interesting story to see what becomes of him at this point.