April 2012

History is made again …

by Ben Catley

Time for a dose of Six Degrees of Separation, Osprey style.

There have only been two cycles hit at the Major League level by former Osprey players, with the second one happening on Friday night in Denver. New York Mets outfielder Scott Hairston, a 2001 member of the Osprey, hit for the cycle in a game which turned into an 18-9 loss to the Colorado Rockies. In part, the win – buoyed by an 11-run fifth inning – was ignited by former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (2003), who drove in six runs on the night, five in that fifth inning. (more…)

Brewer’s Audition Now in Reno

by Ben Catley

Charles Brewer is going to get the chance to play that role of “I’m Major League Worthy” in a different location now. He’s gone from his days as a member of the Missoula Osprey in 2009, to getting a chance in South Bend and Visalia in 2010, and pitching in Mobile both in 2011, and at the start of the 2012 season. But now, Brewer has another stop – at Triple-A Reno – to show that he is ready for the ultimate stage.

The promotion was among a series of moves made by the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend, and included another former Osprey, who was here a shorter amount of time than nearly any other former Osprey this side of Daniel Taylor. (more…)

How things can change in a hurry …

by Ben Catley

Remember when there were all of those trade rumors swirling around Gerardo Parra?

Funny how a jammed thumb and a take-out of the left-center field wall at Chase Field can change things, isn’t it?? Especially with Chris Young now on the 15-day DL because of that collision. (more…)

Roster moves

There have been a few roster moves involving former Osprey throughout the D-backs’ system over the past few days. A summary …

– OF Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey) has been promoted to Triple-A Reno from Double-A Mobile.
– RHP Chase Anderson (2009) is back healthy and pitching in Double-A Mobile. He pitched two-hit ball over four innings in his first start on Wednesday, but also had three walks and five strikeouts while surrendering just one run. Eury De La Rosa (2009) came on and pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Montgomery to pick up the win.
– Anderson comes in and takes the roster spot of 2B David Nick (2009), who has landed on the 7-day DL with an injury. Right-handed pitcher Bryan Henry (2007) has also landed on the DL.
– Ryan Court (2011) was moved from Class A South Bend to Class A Short Season Yakima. Court, for now, is back in Arizona at Extended Spring Training.
– Two other players on the DL – right-handed pitcher Jeremy Erben (2010) and outfielder Ollie Linton (2008).

Three other players have been released by the D-backs in the past couple of days – right-handed pitchers Casey Upperman (2090-10), Miles Reagan (2008-09) and Daniel Stange (2006). Stange was the most surprising, being a right-hander with Major League experience. Upperman’s growth was slowed by injuries, while Reagan battled control issues throughout his stints with both Missoula and Yakima. However, Reagan will forever be a part of Osprey history – he started the game back on June 30, 2008, which was the most recent Osprey no-hitter, a 1-0 win at Helena.

Ironically, none of those three pitchers are in the D-backs minor-league system – Reagan was released, Jesse Orosco moved on to the Padres’ organization after being released in 2009 (not sure he is still there) and Bryan Shaw is currently in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen.

Eaton promoted to Triple-A

We’ve learned that Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey) has been promoted to Triple-A Reno to take the place of outfielder AJ Pollock, who was promoted to the D-backs to take the roster spot of DL’ed utility player Geoff Blum. Eaton had raised his vatting average to .300 after a slow start at Double-A Mobile, and his on-base percentage has also risen, to a more Eaton-like .451. We’ll post more information as soon as possible.

Hold your horses …

OK, the past couple of days have been hazardous for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielders. If you missed it, Chris Young had to leave Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh after running into the wall to make a catch in the fourth inning; and Justin Upton had his right thumb examined and drained of fluid, an injury that he suffered nearly two weeks ago.

However, none of that has outfielder AJ Pollock headed to the D-backs from Reno. Instead, that would be Geoff Blum, who has also been injured and was placed on the 15-day DL on Tuesday.

But before you write Adam Eaton (2010 Osprey) his plane ticket to Phoenix, keep in mind that both CY and Upton are listed as day-to-day, and the belief is that, at the moment, neither are quite headed to the DL, albeit Upton is still 50-50. However, that could change on Wednesday.

So why Eaton? Honestly, because he has become one of Gibby’s guys – someone in the minors who has proven himself to be a worthy candidate. Eaton stuck around until late March in Major League camp as a non-roster player, and despite not having the kind of numbers he posted last spring, still left an impression with the D-backs manager. Oh, and after a three-hit game on Monday, look who’s back hitting .300 with an on-base of .451? Yeah … OUR Eaton.

So keep your ears to the ground … that train may be ready to pull out after all and head down the tracks. Details will be released when it does …

Closer in waiting?

Here’s some different news involving a former Osprey pitcher who has stepped into an all-purpose role in the bullpen.

So, on Sunday, here’s Bryan Shaw (2008 Osprey) closing out another Arizona Diamondbacks win, picking up the save in the 5-2 triumph over the Colorado Rockies. It was a four-out save to boot.

In the first couple of weeks of the season, Shaw has closed out a pair of games, pitched in the eighth inning, pitched in the seventh inning and been … well … not in one specific role. (more…)

Friday the 13th …

by Ben Catley

So it’s a Friday the 13th. Makes me wonder where Jason is … oh, wait, that was a movie, right?? Of course, right now, Saturday the 14th (at least this time around) may be a little more intimidating, but that is another story for another day on another blog.

Right now, though, it looks as if hitters in the Midwest League and California League have discovered pitchers that are their new nightmares – Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin.

The pair of 2011 Osprey alums have been dominant in each of their first two outings. Bradley picked up his first win of his career in his latest outing, a 3-1 South Bend win over Fort Wayne. Bradley has allowed just two runs in his first 11 innings with the Silver Hawks.

Chafin, meanwhile, was even more dominant, allowing just three hits and a walk while fanning nine in his first home start.

Two of the top three picks from the 2011 draft continue to impress, and one of them would be moving on up when a spot opens up for them. Question is … which one? And will any of them be sent to Triple-A before making it to the Major Leagues?

There is room for improvement, too, since they haven’t done a Dylan Bundy … yet. Although Chafin is close, six perfect frames is pretty darn good.

On to the rest of the news:

– The Cincinnati Reds have officially ended their time with left-handed pitcher Clay Zavada (2006).

– I was wondering when people would jump off of the Jose Valverde (2000) Save Machine bandwagon, but at the same time, now that he has begun a new streak, how many jumped right back on??

– It looks like Carlos Gonzalez (2003) is starting to warm up … and he may be poised to go all sorts of 2010 on the Major Leagues this season.

Osprey Alumni Minor League Update:
Triple-A Reno (3-5): It could be said that the biggest surprise from the former Osprey standpoint is infielder Jake Elmore (2008), who is hitting .333 with two doubles, an RBI, and two stolen bases. Right now, the other three former Osprey on the Aces roster are struggling – infielder Taylor Harbin (2007) is hitting below .200, while pitchers Tom Layne (2007) and Daniel Stange (2006) have had rough outings.

Double-A Mobile (6-2): In this week’s Under the Radar spotlight is former Osprey starter Derek Eitel (2010), who is the “other” starter … the one who hasn’t received all of the hype. Although Eitel is beginning to show that he may be worthy of some attention. He has allowed just three runs in his first two starts, spanning nine innings of work, while scattering 12 hits and four walks and adding seven strikeouts to the mix. It also helps when you have offense getting your runs, too. Speaking of offense – David Nick (2009) remains red hot, hitting .455 with three doubles, three RBIs and two steals in the first eight games of the season.

Class A Advanced Visalia (5-2): I think former Osprey coach Jason Hardtke (2009-10) is in good shape right now. His top two hitters? Former Osprey first baseman Jonathan Griffin (2011), who is hitting .400, and Mr. Steady himself, Raywilly Gomez (2009), who is right on Griffin’s heels with a .393 batting average. Griffin, though, has an OPS of 1.204 in the first seven games.

Class A South Bend (4-3): Test – Which former Osprey has the better ERA after two starts for the Silver Hawks, Archie Bradley (2011) or Jeff Shields (2010)?? It’s not like either of them are bad, but Bradley’s ERA is at 1.64 … while Shields has posted a 1.50 ERA in two starts. Something else – Shields had a “work on this pitch” start on Thursday, and the opponents, the Dayton Dragons (a bunch of the 2010 and 2011 Billings Mustangs) struggled with the High-80s sinker thrown by Shields. And he threw it – a lot. Better to talk about Shields and other former Osprey pitchers, like Taylor Siemens (2011), Seth Simmons (2011), Kable Hogben (2009), DJ Johnson (2011) and Jesse Darrah (2011), all whom have yet to allow a run this season. Click on Johnson for more on his last outing, which a blogger raved about. And outside of Matt Helm (2009-10), who is hitting .296 with five RBIs … the offense has a long way to go – six former Osprey are hitting below .200, and infielder Josh Parr (2011) is right at the Mendoza line. Despite that, the Hawks are above .500 earlier than normal.

It’s good to be an Osprey …

by Ben Catley

So I am watching MLB.tv on Sunday, catching the tail end of the D-backs game, and on the mound in the ninth inning, during a mound visit, were three Osprey – pitcher Bryan Shaw (2008), catcher Miguel Montero (2002-03) and first baseman Lyle Overbay (1999). A fourth, outfielder Gerardo Parra (2006), was in left field. And a fifth, Paul Goldschmidt (2009), had just pinch-hit a half-inning prior.

Yes, I was smiling.

I smiled even more when Shaw blew a 94 mile-per-hour fastball past Buster Posey to finish off his first Major League save, capping off a D-backs comeback of epic proportions, rallying down from 6-0 down to win, 7-6, and finish off a sweep of the San Francisco Giants in their 2012 Opening Series at Chase Field.

Overbay doubled twice and homered – a tape-measure shot, by the way – and drove in three runs to lead the charge.

It caps off what was a great week to be a former Osprey. Well, for a good number of them, anyway. (more…)

Opening Day ’12 – Part 4

So the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the teams that doesn’t open the season until today … which, by our best count, is Day 4 of Opening Day. Which is why Major League Baseball is marketing things now as “Opening Week”.

And a good number of baseball fans are all for it.

Let’s face it, you have to at least be an Osprey fan to read this blog, if not a baseball fan. And baseball fans, at least once in their lives, have thought that Opening Day should have been a federal holiday, especially since the game is our National Pastime. (more…)

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