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.

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