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.

One who is trying to recover from a weird week is Robby Rowland, who is trying to get back to the basics at Pittsburgh Pirates Extended Spring Training. Rowland was traded about 10 days ago from the D-backs to the Pirates in order for the D-backs to keep Brett Lorin and give him more time to develop in the minors. One thing that is brought up in the article … the Pioneer League, where you can “bunt the ball and it goes out of the park.” according to Rowland, who also blames his lack of success on (much more accurately) a bad arm slot, which forced him into bad habits and bad location on his pitches. We’ll see if going back to a three-quarters delivery does the trick. If he is dedicated enough, he will fight through and do just fine for himself.

As for the dig on the Pioneer League … well, here’s my response – any pitcher that makes mistakes up in the strike zone in any league will get hit hard and surrender home runs. There are also some pitchers which are fly-ball pitchers, so they prefer larger parks. Bottom line is, I have watched fly-ball pitchers who are starters survive just fine in this league, some of which have gone on to the Major Leagues (Brandon McCarthy, for one – who pitched in Great Falls before eventually making his MLB Debut with the Chicago White Sox, and is now with Oakland. Of course, when I first saw him, it was in a Lamar Community College uniform … but that’s another blog for another day on another website).

OK, on to the rest of the story …

The Saturday minor-league recap, courtesy of AZ SnakePit. Plenty of former Osprey doing their thing … again. The Osprey-slanted one makes its 2012 debut below …

– Here’s a piece on Aaron Hill, which brings up an interesting point at the end of the piece. As many entries as I’ve found talking about Miggy leaving, I’m glad to find one talking about how to keep him in a D-backs uniform.

– Anyone who saw Archie Bradley pitch for the Osprey last season will not be surprised that his debut in South Bend was nearly flawless. Bradley’s win-loss record took one in the L column because of the slow start that seems to happen each season for the SilverHawks. Could it be that he and fellow 2011 draftee Andrew Chafin (2011) are just making starts their auditions for Trevor Bauer’s rotation spot in Mobile?

– Quick side note that is D-backs’ related … for those of you who wondered why the D-backs parted with both Ryan Robowski (2009) and Kevin Eichhorn (2008-10) for Armando Gallarraga, here’s another reason why your wondering is justified.

– Jose Valverde (2000) had a rough Opening Day, but still ended up with a win … however his 51-save streak came to an end. And, after one weekend, it’s looking like 2012 could be a rough year on closers.

When I saw this write up on Shaw, it made me laugh. It’s the one constant (finding your favorite pants) in any minor-league clubhouse … that and two other uniform-related things – stretching out the jersey pants (that is a blog entry of all its own) and how Scrubbing Bubbles has become the best shoe cleaner ever.

Osprey Alumni Update:
Outside of the D-backs Family, but still in ours …
Ryan Robowski (2009) pitched two innings and fanned two batters while posting zeroes in the rest of the columns in his Erie SeaWolves (Dounle-A, Detroit) debut on Saturday. One side note – Robo is actually on the sidebar of the Lakeland Flying Tigers website. Robowski pitched for Lakeland in 2011 … Speaking of the Flying Tigers (Class A Advanced, Detroit), former Osprey pitcher Kevin Eichhorn (2008-10), also made a stellar debut, scattering six hits and a walk in six innings of work, allowed an unearned run and struck out four in his High-A debut on Friday … Bryan Augenstein (2007) also had a solid start in his debut with the Durham Bulls (Triple-A, Tampa Bay) on Saturday, allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out eight in what also turned into a no-decision … Right-handed pitcher Scottie Allen (2009) will make his 2012 debut with Charleston (Class A, NY Yankees) tonight against Augusta … In the Sacramento (Triple-A, Oakland) debut of former Osprey pitcher Jarrod Parker (2007), it was a mixed bag, that turned into a no-decision. In six innings, Parker allowed three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four batters … Parker’s debut came against Las Vegas (Triple-A, Toronto), who has a pair of former Osprey in its ranks – outfielder Danny Perales (2005) has doubled twice in 10 at-bats, plus driven in a run, while reliever Jerry Gil (2000) has made two relief appearances, not allowing a run on two hits and a walk in two innings of work.

On the farm …
– Triple-A Reno (2-2): 
The Aces ended up opening the season with a four-game split against Colorado Springs … and for the former Osprey on their roster, all is well at the moment. Jake Elmore (2008) went 5-for-10 in the opening series, Taylor Harbin (2007) was 4-for-12, and Daniel Stange (2006) pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning. Tom Layne (2007) makes his 2012 debut tonight, as he is back in the starting rotation and will face Salt Lake City.

– Double-A Mobile (4-0):  Can we call the shot now?? OK, we will wait until the next series, at least, to call Mobile the favorites to win the Southern League, again, especially in light of the Josh Collmenter start on Sunday for the D-backs – he may be keeping the seat warm for Patrick Corbin or Trevor Bauer. Anyway, the BayBears have looked good, especially on the bump, as the season gets cranked up. On the pitching front – Charles Brewer (2009) was very good in his start, allowing just a run on four hits and a walk while fanning six batters in six innings of work; Derek Eitel (2010) was strong in his four-inning start, pitching around four hits and a couple of walks without surrendering a run; and Eury De La Rosa (2009) looked good in his scoreless inning of work. Some did struggle, like Taylor Sinclair (2008), who allowed two runs in two innings of work, while Yonata Ortega (2007) did allow a run in his first appearance, but was scoreless the next time out. And not to forget Bryan Henry (2007), who pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his first outing of 2012.

At the plate, Rossmel Perez (2008) went 3-for-6 in his first two games, but David Nick (2009) may make me change my mind as the next Osprey position player this side of our Adam Eaton (2010) to make his Major League debut. He is having a torrid start to the season, with a .474 (9-for-19) start to the season, with two doubles, three RBIs and a stolen base. Speaking of Eaton – a quiet 3-for-15, but scored six runs, drew three walks and stole a pair of bases.

– Class A Advanced Visalia (2-2): Here’s your Rawhide Stat of the Day – of the 12 pitchers to make an appearance for Visalia in 2012, 10 of them are former Missoula Osprey. Half of them have allowed at least one run, and only two of them have allowed more than one. Everyone else – spotless at the moment. Kudos to Andrew Chafin (2011) who made his first Mobile audition look good, allowing just two hits and two walks in five innings, surrendering one run and striking out nine batters. Also, it was great to see Mike Belfiore (2009) have back-to-back solid outings out of the bullpen – a hit and a walk surrendered in three innings, with four Ks.

– Class A South Bend (1-2): The early-season story at the Bend is Matt Helm (2009-10), who has four hits – three doubles and a triple – and two RBIs in three games. The rest of the offense has caught the South Bend Starts Slow Bug, and is struggling at the plate. Of the pitchers of note, DJ Johnson (2011) had a solid two-inning outing, allowing a hit and striking out a batter, while Taylor Siemens (2011) has made two relief appearances, scattering a pair of hits in three innings while fanning five batters.

And that will put a lid on this one … you may now resume your regular reading.

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