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Colorado Rockies prospects: Ryan Casteel, David Dahl lift teams to wins

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As the weather heats up, so do the bats, apparently.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (14-21)

Albuquerque 9, Fresno 8

W: Rusin (3-2, 5.52); L: Cruz (0-2, 5.40); SV: Diaz (5)

Ryan Casteel really wants to be an MLB player. Given that he doesn't have the draft profile that guarantees him a tryout, or the defense that ensures his roster spot, it will need to be his bat that gets him to the show. Casteel had a .306/.316/.333 line at the end of April in his Triple-A debut, which is fine if you are DJ Lemahieu but won't cut it for a first base/designated hitter/backup catcher-type.

But since then, he has gone crazy.

Casteel's line in May is .652/.667/.957 with 15 hits (including four on Thursday), five doubles and a triple in his last six games. The Topes' offensive onslaught included a three-hit game by Matt McBride, and home runs by Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker. The pitching kept trying to give the game away, as Rex Brothers came on in the ninth and gave up a hit by pitch, a single and two walks he left the bases loaded for Jairo Diaz. Albuquerque's closer quickly emptied the bases by allowing a grand slam to Matt Duffy before striking out Matt Dominguez to end the threat.

Double-A: New Britain Rock Cats (26-7)

New Britain 4, Portland 2

W: Gurka (3-0, 2.08); L: Augliera (1-6, 5.60); SV: House (13)

They say the jump from High-A to Double-A is the biggest in the minors. David Dahl's .222/.267/.309 line in 19 April games would certainly seem to agree, but he seems to have put that behind him now. Dahl is now on an 11-game hitting streak and has homered in two straight games. His line in 12 games in May, .340/.353/.560, looks a lot more like what one would hope for from the best hitting prospect in the system. From the pitching side, scheduled starter Yohan Flande was called up, but the bullpen -- including spot starter Gus Schlosser -- turned in a strong outing, allowing just one earned run while striking out seven and walking only one. Hard to believe that on April 15, the parent Rockies were 7-2 and the Rock Cats were 2-5. Since then, the new Double-A affiliate has gone an insane 24-2 with strong hitting and pitching throughout.

High-A: Modesto Nuts (18-16)

Modesto 5, San Jose 4

W: Estevez (5-0, 1.45); L: Forjet (0-1, 3.48)

Raimel Tapia continued his assault on the Califonia League with another mult-hit game that included a home run. Tapia had a great start to his year, hitting .321/.352/.543 in April, and has decided to ratchet it up with a .375/.417/.554 line in May. When Carlos Estevez decided uncharacteristically to blow a save allowing a run to score on two hits in the ninth, Tapia picked him up by hitting a single, stealing his eighth base of the season, and coming around to score the winning run on a Correlle Prime single.

The prospect of watching Dahl and Tapia in Denver is one of the most enjoyable parts of being a Rockies fan right now.

Low-A: Asheville Tourists (14-19)

W: Beech (2-2, 3.60); L: Howard (1-4, 4.60); SV: Quintana (2)

Last year, the team that is the core of that dominant New Britain team was absolutely awful in Modesto. This year, the team that seems to inexplicably have fallen off a cliff is Asheville. The Tourists have a ton of talented players, but whether it is approach, the weather or just that the team is so much younger than their competition, the Asheville team is really struggling to hit the ball.

Forrest Wall is the only Tourist slugging .450 or better; last year there were eight. Devoid of power, this team has turn to speed, with Wes Rogers already at 24 stolen bases on the year. As a team, Asheville's 76 steals are almost three times as many as Kannapolis, which is last in the South Atlantic League in stolen bases with 27. In this game the speed was again on display with the Tourists' second run being scored when Emerson Jimenez singled then stole his way to third base before scoring on a ground out. The offensive woes wasted Sam Howard's second straight strong start. He went 6 1/3 innings, striking out eight, walking two and allowing just one earned run.