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Saturday Pebble Report: You Might Want to Think about Moving Nick Schmidt up Your PuRP List

AAA Colorado Springs – W 5-1, (25-23, 2nd, 0.5 GB)

It was a tidy win to for Sky Sox. They were able to maximize their eight hits, only two of which went for extra bases, and produce five runs. Chris Nelson got the scoring started in the third with a bases loaded single to center and the Sky Sox never looked back. Nelson would add another hit in the 5th to post his second straight multi hit game. He is eligible to come off the DL for next Wednesday’s game against the Astros.

On the mound, Carlos Torres, Edgar Gonzalez, Mike Ekstrom, and Rex Brothers all threw multiple innings and combined to give up just one run on four hits. Brothers was the most impressive as he struck out five and only walked on in his two innings of work that closed out the game.

AA Tulsa – W 4-3 – 12 Innings, (27-20, 1st)

This one had a little bit of everything. First, Nick Schmidt took the hill for the Drillers and turned in his third straight outstanding start for Tulsa. The 6’ 5", 245 lb lefty fired seven shutout innings and has now only given up 2 ER in his last three outings in which he’s gone 22 IP (at least 7 IP in each start), struck out 17, and only walked two. In fact, after getting roughed up for six runs in just 4.1 IP in his first start of the season, Schmidt now has a 2.09 ERA and a 42 to 4 K/BB in his last 51.1 IP. Normally I’d take a 26 year old in AA with a grain of salt but Schmidt is intriguing. He was the first round pick of the Padres in 2007 but has never lived up to that billing – Getting stuck in the low minors and always posting a BB/9 that was too high. Last December, he was the "player to be named later" in the Houston Street deal, and ever since coming over to the Rockies’ farm system, he’s displayed more command of his pitches than San Diego ever dreamed he could. Also, he shares a birthday with Tulo (one year younger) and I consider that a good omen.

Schmidt didn’t get the win however as the bullpen coughed up the lead in the 8th inning. After Coty Woods tossed a scoreless 9th to keep his ERA at a sparkling 0.00 on the season, the game went to extras tied at three. It would remain deadlocked until the 12th when # 26 PuRP Ben Paulsen worked an 11 pitch walk, #22 PuRP Kent Matthes doubled, and Frisco pitcher Wilfredo Boscan wild pitched Tulsa to the win. Within all the craziness, #2 PuRP Nolan Arenado had two hits, Matthes posted his first three hit game of the season, and #9 PuRP Josh Rutledge was on base three times with two hits and his fourth walk in the last seven games.

High-A Modesto – W 4-0, (24-24, 3rd, 7.0 GB)

For the second straight start, #5 PuRP Tyler Matzek went seven innings, struck out seven, and only walked two. The only difference in his line from the May 19th outing against Stockton was that he gave up zero runs instead of one and three hits instead of four. It’s only two starts, but it’s the two most encouraging starts we’ve seen from Matzek all season. If he can back this up with another similar outing next time out, we may be cooking with gas.

Meanwhile, #19 Cory Dickerson continued his assault on California league pitching as he recorded his 6th consecutive multi hit game; Jared Clark extended his organizational home run lead as he went deep with a solo shot in the 8th for his tenth of the season, and #7 PuRP Kyle Parker went two for three with a walk.

Low-A Asheville – W 11-1, (32-16, 1st)

A full team offensive attack propelled the Tourists to their ninth win in their last ten games and to the top of the South Atlantic League standings. Every starter except for Jared Simon had a hit (he did have two walks) and every starter except #12 PuRP Trevor Story scored a run. The night was highlighted with a seven run explosion in the 6th inning in which Sam Mende capped the scoring with his sixth home run of the season.

The pitching was also solid as Asheville starter Dan Winkler threw seven inning of one run baseball and got the win. For Winkler, it’s the third straight outing in which he’s only given up one run.