Bianco, BirdWire and the latest from around the farm …

by Ben Catley

OK, so after I had this all written, and set to post at a certain time, it would be helpful to not to change the year. Better late than never, I guess. So now that I have figured that out … let’s not hide all of this until next year, shall we. Especially this part …

36 days until Opening Night at home, 32 days until Opening Day in Billings

Feature entry on the Chasing the Dream blog on former (and possibly returning) Osprey, Justin Bianco. The Pennsylvania native gets into his love of the game, his best memory of the 2011 season and where he could be this summer.

– Cool thing from MLB on Facebook, talking about baseball’s best nicknames. Carlos Gonzalez (2003) is featured as the picture. Oh, that would be CarGo.

– Some good news on the Goldy front, too. The splits for Paul Goldschmidt (2009) – based on Avg./OBP/Slug. – have improved nearly across the board, from April’s .193/.288/.281 to May’s .250/.265/.417. He has 14 strikeouts in 40 May at-bats, compared to 18 Ks in 57 April at-bats. Progress?? Possibly, although the on-base percentage has slipped as the strikeout rate has risen a bit.

BirdWire
So what do you think this is? Well … think of birds changing which wire they are sitting on. Sort of like roster moves, right?? OK, now we know that Osprey are too cool to sit on a wire (not even Ollie would do that, right??), but BirdBranch didn’t seem right …

– Congratulations to former Osprey catcher Bryan D. Henry, who was promoted from Extended Spring Training to Class A South Bend earlier this week. Henry is fully recovered from getting in the face with a pitch during Spring Training, and has been impressive enough to get a look with the Silver Hawks.

– Reliever Victor Capellan (2009) is back with Class A Advanced Visalia. Capellan spent some time filling in for the Triple-A Reno Aces earlier this month.

– The D-backs have released former Osprey first baseman/outfielder Bobby Stone (2008-10). The Montgomery, TX product, who holds a bunch of career Osprey records, was hitting just .144 with a pair of home runs and 14 RBIs in 24 games this season for South Bend. In this spot, maybe it’s time to share one of the big hits by “The Mayor” in an Osprey uniform … (I still get chills listening to this …).

– On the other side .. former Osprey pitcher Clay Zavada (2006) has signed a minor-league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Zavada has also been placed at Triple-A Memphis.

Osprey Alumni Minor League Update:
Triple-A Reno (20-20): EatonMania did make an error, his first of the spring, but yet OUR Adam Eaton (2010) still leads the PCL in hitting with a .391 batting average. It’s insane what he has been able to do, and what makes things more interesting is that, right now, Eaton is in the same outfield with Chris Young. The D-backs normal starting center fielder is currently with the Aces on a rehab assignment. Young may be changing places with AJ Pollock shortly, but we shall see what happens over the next few days. Oh, yeah, there’s also that guy named Jake Elmore (2008), who actually now has a better OPS than Eaton, and is still hitting .376.

Double-A Mobile (24-16): We have mentioned, from time to time, that there are guys who were born to hit. We use this tag on Gerardo Parra (2006) a lot. It’s starting to apply a little more to Kyle Greene. Remember, Greene (2008) had the second-longest consecutive game hit streak in Osprey history with his 19 in a row run during the 2008 season. That is, until Eric Groff (2010-11) smashed through the prior record of 20 games last season. Now, Greene, along with David Nick (2009) continue to have steady springs at the plate for the BayBears. Nick is hitting .283 with nine RBIs, while Greene is at .271, and has hovered around that mark for a month. Another good sign is that Chase Anderson (2009) is out-pitching nearly everyone still left in a BayBears’ uniform not named Trevor Bauer. In six starts, Anderson is 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA, and 42 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched.

Class A Advanced Visalia (20-20): Yes, the Rawhide had a silly game this week in which they scored 26 runs and hit over .500 AS A TEAM! And did you ever expect to see the line … Jonathan Griffin (2011) ended up a double shy of the cycle. It happened. By the way, this is the latest that I can remember that all four D-backs’ minor-league long-season affiliates have been at .500 or above. Hopefully, this bodes well for the 2012 Osprey. Anyway, you have to like the fact that the top three hitters in average are all former Osprey – Raywilly Gomez (2009) leads with a .333 mark, Chris Owings (2009) is at .331, with nine home runs and 20 RBIs, and Griffin is at .301, with eight homers and 25 RBIs. Anthony Meo (2011) goes tonight against San Jose, looking to improve on his 1-3 record and 4.24 ERA.

Class A South Bend (22-19): Matt Helm (2009-10) had a double and a RBI, while Ryan Court (2011) and Ender Inciarte (2009) added base hits as the Silver Hawks beat Lake County earlier today, 2-1. Helm drove in his 19th run of the season, while Inciarte added a pair of stolen bases. Taylor Siemens (2011) and Matt Sample (2011) combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings of relief behind Tyler Green, with Sample collecting his third save of the season.

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