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.

While some are wondering how well the D-backs will survive this, the week’s events have brought about three items worth mentioning – the non-trade of Parra, the moves in the minors surrounding former Missoula Osprey and how one of those teams now has a deeper starting rotation than imaginable.

It looks like it was a shrewd move by Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers to not trade the Gold Glove-winning outfielder, who now should be in the everyday lineup for the next few weeks until C-Y is ready to get back to action. Parra (2006 Osprey) should have a chance to find a groove offensively, and – as he has proven at every prior level – show that he is like that young pup who bites … he will just plain-old hit.

It will also be interesting for both Adam Eaton (that would be OUR Adam Eaton, circa 2010 Osprey) and for the Mobile BayBears, because they have seen some changes as well.

First, there’s the 19th round draft pick that continues to prove worthy of attention. The Miami (OH) product – and proud graduate of Kenton Ridge High School – is proving to be Parra-like at the plate – getting a hit in his first at-bat with the Triple-A Reno Aces on Wednesday. In his first start in the outfield, Eaton was 1-for-5 with a run scored.

The BayBears, in the meantime, lost Eaton but gained a power bat (1B Yazy Arbelo was called up from Visalia) and another solid arm for their pitching staff. So now the starting rotation for the BayBears includes Trevor Bauer (3rd pick overall in 2011 MLB Draft), Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Charles Brewer (2009 Osprey) and Chase Anderson (2009 Osprey). Anderson was shut down last season due to an arm injury, and in his first start, pitched four strong innings, allowing just a run on two hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.

On to the rest of the stuff …

- Check out who’s hot, who’s not and who’s steady in this early-season assessment here. Plus awards to Lyle Overbay (1999) and Miguel Montero (2002-03), Minus award to Paul Goldschmidt (2009), who is off to a slow start, and “what is expected” out of Parra and Bryan Shaw (2008).

- Scott Hairston (2001) may end up being the odd-man out, for now, with the New York Mets. While there is a lot of speculation, it seems as if Hairston will go back to the bench role rather than be in a platoon with rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Then again, the Mets could get budget-happy and cut some expensive former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder whom is on theit roster instead. (Read the story on the link above for the why Bay move would happen to make sense from a Mets’ bottom line prospective.)

Osprey Alumni Minor League Update:
Triple-A Reno (5-10): Just in case you didn’t notice, Jake Elmore (2008) is hitting .378 with three doubles, two RBIs and two stolen bases. From a former Osprey prospective, that is the best news happening in Reno this side of Eaton’s promotion. Why? Well, Taylor Harbin (2007) is hitting just .125, Tom Layne (2007) struggled on the bump again in his third start and is now 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA, and Daniel Stange (2006) had a 23.62 ERA in three appearances before he was released.

Double-A Mobile (9-6): With David Nick (2009) on the DL at the moment (which stinks, since he was hitting .372 at the time), the lone position player in action from the former Osprey prospective is IF/OF Kyle Greene (2008), who is hitting .267 with two doubles and two RBIs in nine games. Greene put together a 19-game hitting streak while in Missoula, now the third-longest in club history … While Brewer had a rough outing his last time out, three pitchers continue to do some solid work – left-handers Eury De La Rosa (2009) and Taylor Sinclair (2008), and right-hander Yonata Ortega (2007). De La Rosa is 2-0 in five appearances, spanning 5 1/3 innings pitched, allowing just a walk with four strikeouts. Sinclair has allowed eight hits and three walks in seven innings, but has surrendered just two runs and fanned four batters. Ortega still has control issues – he has allowed four walks and four hits in 4 1/3 innings – but has given up just one run and fanned three batters.

Class A Advanced Visalia (6-8): Looks like Chris Owings (2009) has found his offense. Among the regulars, Owings shares the top current batting average honors with fellow former Osprey Raywilly Gomez (2009) – both are hitting .316 at the moment. Owings also has three homers and seven RBIs. The rest of the group of former O’s in Rawhide Country have slowed from their torrid starts. Keon Broxton (2009) is one of those guys actually climbing after a slow start, and hit a home run in his last start – which is one more home run than the entire South Bend squad at the moment. On the bump, the big surprise (to everyone else, not us) is Raymond Hernandez (2011), who is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, posting nine strikeouts in eight innings of work.

Class A South Bend (7-7): Tom Belza (2011) found something when he was here in Missoula. The utility player did not fare so well at the plate for Yakima, then busted out for the Osprey in 2011. He’s now leading the SilverHawks in hitting (.347), runs batted in (seven) and stolen bases (four). And with a team that includes bashers Matt Helm (2009-10) and Bobby Stone (2008-10), the Hawks indeed do not have one single home run. On the bump, getting lost in all of the Bradley/Shields talk (yes, they have both been good in their first three starts each,  a combined 1-3 with a combined 1.29 ERA) is Keith Hessler (2011), who has 11 strikeouts in his first five innings of work.

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