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Prospect Roundup: Rockies affiliates Tulsa and Asheville poised to advance in Minor League playoffs

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Tulsa and Asheville are on the verge of advancing to their respected championship series. Both teams are enjoying superb pitching performances, and have seen a recently returned team member lead them offensively.

David Dahl is looking to lead Asheville to the SAL Championship
David Dahl is looking to lead Asheville to the SAL Championship
Charlie Drysdale

The Asheville Tourists are primed to move on in the South Atlantic League playoffs after winning Game 1 this week and Friday night's Game 2 was suspended with the Rockies affiliate leading 2-1 when a sudden downpour made the field unplayable in the eighth inning. The Tourists had just taken the lead thanks to a David Dahl double, which allowed the Alabama native to eventually score on a wild pitch.

Grounds crew and members of both front offices worked to repair the field, but the game was stopped and scheduled to restart Saturday at 4 PM EDT. If the Tourists hang on and win that game, they will advance to the SAL Championship Series. However, if Savannah makes a comeback, then the deciding game will be played afterwards.

The winner of the series goes on to face the Hagerstown Suns, a team with one of the best records in the minor leagues this season. The Suns are anchored by SAL MVP Wilmer Difo, ranked the No. 20 prospect of the Washington Nationals. Difo is a 22-year-old infielder, who hit .315 this season with 14 home runs at the Low-A level.

David Dahl has been a force for the Tourists, going 3-for-4 with a home run in the first game and scoring the go-ahead run last night. The outfielder recently returned to Asheville to help with the playoff run, and has had a mediocre run in Modesto, posting a 93 wRC+ after a spectacular 133 wRC+ in the lower level.

Year

Age

AgeDif

Tm

PA

2B

3B

HR

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

2014

20

-2.8

Modesto

125

8

2

4

0.267

0.296

0.467

0.763

2014

20

-1.5

Asheville

422

33

6

10

0.309

0.347

0.500

0.847

The Alabama native explained some of the differences he saw in skill level between the two leagues in an interview for MiLB.com.

"The starters that I faced there and here, they're about the same," he said. "Up in the Cal League, it was more consistent with the relievers. Every guy, I felt like, came in throwing mid- to high-90s with really, really good sliders. Here, you face just a couple of guys like that out of the 'pen. Guys up there use their off-speed a little more and threw it in a lot of hitter's counts."

The starter for Friday's game was Antonio Senzatela, who struck out seven, while allowing just one run on five hits. The Tourists ganged up on the Sand Gnats in Game One, throwing Johendi Jiminian, Konner Wade and Alex Balog for a shutout, which also combined to create 14 strikeouts. First round pick Kyle Freeland is waiting in the wings and likely scheduled to start Game 3 if necessary.

Tulsa poised to advance

The Rockies have two teams on the verge of advancing to Championship Series as Double-A Tulsa pulled ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five playoff series against Arkansas. The Drillers dropped Game 1, despite a solid performance by starter Eddie Butler.

The right-hander went five solid innings, allowing just two runs on six hits. The Tulsa offense was completely shutout however, as Drew Rucinski allowed just one unearned run. Both Rucinski and Eddie Butler received early season promotions to their respected big league clubs, but have since returned to Double-A and are trying to regain their form.

Things looked dire for the Drillers in Game 2 as they were nearly no-hit, until Cristhian Adames launched a home run in the seventh inning to open things up for Tulsa. Adames later produced the walk-off hit in the bottom of the 10th, pulling his team even with the Angels Double-A affiliate at a game apiece.

Tyler Anderson was superb in Game 2, allowing just two hits, including a solo home run in seven innings pitched. The lefthander struck out six and walked only one. Reliever Cole White earned 14 saves throughout the season, but was saddled with a blown save after allowing a two-run home run in the ninth.

The Drillers received another strong pitching performance in Game 3, as Carlos Hernandez pitched a complete game shutout, striking out five, while allowing just three hits. Cristhian Adames was once again in the middle of the action, scoring twice after reaching base three times on the night. Ryan Casteeel slugged a pair of doubles and plated two runs from the cleanup spot in the lineup.

A win on Saturday would be the first playoff series win since the club joined the Rockies organization. Tulsa hasn't registered a playoff series win since 2002. Dan Winkler , Jon Gray, Jayson Aquino takes the mound for the Drillers on Saturday. The left-hander has a 3.00 ERA in two starts since joining the Double-A Drillers, but has struggled with walks since his recent promotion-giving up six walks and only two hits in his last outing.

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Tyler Anderson is dominant and Cristhian Adames shows off his stick in this playoff win.

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In Game 3 for Tulsa, Carlos Hernandez produces the, "Game of his life!"

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Jose Briceno delivers with a bases-loaded double, scoring Raimel Tapia and David Dahl in the first inning of Game 1 for Asheville in the SAL playoffs.