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Thursday Pebble Report: Aaron Cook Impressive, Thomas Field Hits Walk-off Tater in Tulsa

Eye On - Thomas Field - AA 2B

Almost like a broken clock, Rockies' prospects seem to lull offensively when playing for the High-A Modesto Nuts. But if a broken clock is right twice a day, there are players who are the antithesis of that, and Thomas Field most certainly is.  The 2008 24th rounder was mired in obscurity as a part time player in Asheville in 2009, but Modesto was Field's springboard to notoriety in 2010.  Field earned himself playing time with the big boys in Spring Training with his 2010 season, a year in which he hit .285/.391/.467 with 15 HR for the Nuts.  That vaulted him from ambiguity to  #24 in the most recent PuRPs poll.  So how is he doing this season?  Not good.  Not good at all.  Coming into last night, Field was hitting just .202 with a .317 OBP and just five extra basehits in 123 plate appearances.

So was 2010 a mirage?  Should Rox fans move on from the 5'9" 24-year-old second sacker?  I have not watched him play this season, but before you write him off, consider this:  he has improved his walk rate, has a comparable strikeout rate, and his line drive percentage has improved from 11% to 26%.  Yes, really.   His down year is due in part to not hitting the ball out of the yard as frequently, but mostly out of really rotten luck.  Oh yeah, home runs.  Last night, he hit a two-out two run walk off home run to give Tulsa a one run win.

AAA Colorado Springs - Off Day (16-24, 3rd, 9.0 GB)

The Sky Sox were off for a travel day.  They will open a four game road series at the Round Rock Express (Rangers) tonight at 6:05 MDT with Claudio Vargas (2011, MiLB FA) on the mound.

AA Tulsa   W 4-3 (22-16, 1st)

Aaron Cook threw his second rehab start for Tulsa, and this outing was very encouraging.  Red struck out six in five innings, permitting just one run, one walk and three hits before exiting after five innings and 77 pitches.  The only run came through on a double, passed ball and ground out.  Most encouraging:  he recorded eight groundouts and zero air outs.  #16 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round) singled twice and hit a sacrifice fly to preface the ninth inning heroics by the aforementioned Thomas Field.

High-A Modesto W 12-9 (20-20, 5th, 5.0 GB)

It was a day for offense in Modesto.  The Nuts scored in each of the first five innings including a 5-run fourth to leap out to a 12-4 lead.  Kent Matthes (2009, 4th round) and Kiel Roling (2008, 6th round) hit back-to-back home runs, Mike Zuanich (2008, 28th round) and Scott Robinson (2006, 30th round) both doubled and singled twice, and #30 PuRP Delta Cleary Jr. (2008, 37th round) doubled his season total for doubles with two doubles.

Dan Houston (2008, 7th round) got the win despite having his worst pitching performance of the season in allowing 6 ER in 5.1 IP.  He allowed 3 ER on May 7, his only previous start to have eclipsed two runs.  Mike Marbry (2007, undrafted) worked the last three innings and allowed just one baserunner for the save.


Low-A Asheville L 7-8, L 2-5 (19-21, t-2nd)

Game 1:  #20 PuRP Albert Campos (2008, DR) continues to walk few and put up decent strikeout and home run numbers.  Yet last night, Campos gave up 6 ER in 6.1 IP to raise his ERA to 6.63.  Why?  How about 13 hits per 9 IP?  Last night, he allowed 10 hits for the third time in seven starts.  Asheville tends to inflate offense quite a bit, but the consistency that he is finding barrels is a bit concerning.  It actually mirrors his last start of 2010, which I witnessed.  Still, the Tourists led Game 1 7-4 going into the ninth thanks to a two out 2-RBI double by #9 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round), 2-out RBI single by Parker and solo home runs by #15 PuRP Corey Dickerson (2009, 8th round) and Helder Velazquez (2006, 5th round).  After Campos allowed two hits to lead off the final inning, closer Juan Perez (2010, 18th round) blew the save after giving up three hits and two wild pitches.

Game 2:  #21 PuRP Josh Slaats (2010, 5th round) turned in an encouraging outing, going 5.1 IP and allowing just two runs on five hits.  Mark Tracy (2010, 22nd round) drove in two with a second inning single.  Bradley McAtee (2008, 45th round) coughed up the lead in the sixth by allowing three runs himself and allowing a no-out-inherited-runner-on-first to score.