Eighteen year old Rosell Herrera is a switch-hitting toolsy shortstop with solid contact and projectable power who earned a $550,000 bonus in July of 2009. That profile has earned him some Rockies prospect buzz already, as he was one of the final five omitted from the most recent PuRPs list. His Dominican debut last season (.237/.323/.284 with 1 HR) was decidedly underwhelming, and he only got on base once in his first two games with Casper. But last night, Herrera broke through in a low-scoring game with a standout offensive performance. Herrera tripled and singled three times, scoring a run and stealing third base. Two hits went to right field, one to center and one to left. He has the ability to put up some eye-popping numbers in the Pioneer League, and he should definitely be a guy to keep your eye on.
AAA Colorado Springs - W 9-6 (34-40, 2nd, 9.0 GB)
Eliezer Alfonzo (2011, MiLB FA) is easily the most overlooked catcher in the Rockies upper levels. With Jose Morales hurt, the Rockies brought up Matt Pagnozzi, while fans clamored for Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario. Alfonzo wanted to make sure you didn't forget about him anymore.
The former major league backstop stole a base. That's surprising enough, but he also hit a 3-run home run and grand slam in Tacoma against the AAA affiliate of his 2010 MLB team. Mike Jacobs (2011, MiLB FA) added his 12th home run as the Sky Sox powered over the Mariners minor leaguers. Alan Johnson (2005, undrafted) struck out eight and walked one while allowing one run in six innings for the victory. Oh yeah, Dexter Fowler and Ian Stewart were a combined 0-for-10 with three K's. It has to get better eventually.
AA Tulsa - L 2-6 (33-38, 3rd, 5.0 GB)
There should be no more doubts about whether the Power of #10 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round) is legitimate. He smacked his 18th home run last night, accounting for both Drillers runs. Those 18 home runs place him top 20 in all of minor league baseball, and exactly zero of those with more dingers than Wheeler are youngerthan he. He ranks first in the Texas League and second in all of AA behind Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt for the level. These accolades don't happen by accident. While batting leadoff in Tulsa this season, he might just be showing glimpses of developing a middle order bat.
Cory Riordan (2007, 6th round) scattered eleven base-runners in seven innings to earn a quality start in the loss, but Adam Jorgenson (2008, 26th round) continued his poor season by allowing three runs in his inning of work.
High-A Modesto - Off Day (32-37, 4th, 18.0 GB)
The Nuts were off yesterday in their final day of the All Star Break. Modesto opens a series in Bakersfield against the Blaze tonight at 8:45 MDT. Pitching match-ups have not been announced.
Low-A Asheville - Off Day (31-38, 4th, 8.0 GB)
Like Modesto, the Tourists were off yesterday as part of their All Star Break. #16 PuRP Albert Campos will take the hill tonight at 5:05MDT in Asheville against the Rome Braves.
Short Season-A Tri-City - L 2-3 (3-3, t-2nd, 2.0 GB)
The incomparable David Hernandez (2009, undrafted) had another solid game, rapping out two singles and a walk. He was also on the back end of a double steal, a play in which 3B Jayson Langfels (2010, 16th round) swiped home, one of two stolen bases for Langfels. Christian Bergman (2010, 24th round) allowed three runs in 5.2 IP for the loss, and Ching-Lung Lo (2002, Taiwan) worked two scoreless innings, striking out four.
Rookie Casper - W 4-1 (1-2, 3rd, 1.5 GB)
In addition to Herrera's breakout performance, the Ghosts got a solo home run from catcher Angel Reyes (2010, DR). Sam Mende (2011, 31st round) doubled twice and scored an insurance run in the ninth. A day after getting pummeled, Casper held the same Orem Owlz squad in check all night. Twenty year old Jefri Hernandez (2008, DR) got the start and struck out four against zero walks in six strong innings, and Russell Brewer (2010, undrafted) converted two scoreless frames into a "hold." Michael Wolford (2011, 26th round) worked around two singles for his first save in his first pro appearance.
DSL Rockies Suspended (10-8, 4th, 2.5 GB)
The Dominican team was to play two games yesterday, but their line in that department reads like a standard Ubaldo batting line after a start: 0-for-2. The June 6 game against the Cubs was to be made up this morning before the regularly scheduled game against the Cubs, but both were rained out.