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. Continue reading
T-minus 40 days before the home opener, 38 days before the season opener, and less than a few hours before the final weekend that exists until mid-September. At least for most folks who work in short-season baseball … and, oh, by the way … it’s Friday the 13th.
– On the transaction front – former Osprey pitcher Enrique Burgos (2009) has been promoted to Class A South Bend from Extended Spring Training. Burgos takes the place of starting pitcher Tyler Green, who was placed on the disabled list on Thursday.
– The ever-improving Esmerling Vasquez (2004) has played his part in solidifying one of the achilles’ heels of the D-backs last season, it’s bullpen. That group has put together a solid first few weeks of the 2011 season.
– Evan Scribner (2007) has been pretty good for the San Diego Padres since his call-up last month. In four outings – including one against the D-Backs – “The Scribbler” (it comes from his Wikipedia page …) has a 1.13 ERA and seven strikeouts and two walks in eight innings of work. His hometown paper provides a bit of an update, and here’s more on his move to longer outings out of the bullpen.
– From the video archive … since we have people come and searching for info on Extended Spring Training guys, we share this with you. It’s a feature video of right-handed pitcher Robby Rowland in his high school days – playing basketball. Yeah, he was okay on the court …
– More draft notes from Nick Piecoro. Looks like the D-backs are going to have plenty of options with two of the first seven picks in next month’s draft.
– Sergio Santos (2002) continues to be a puzzle Major League hitters are struggling to solve. The former Osprey shortstop-turned-reliever continues to be in the closer’s mix for the Chicago White Sox.
Minor League Update:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces registered an 11-3 decision over Omaha on Thursday. Former Osprey bullpen mates Daniel Stange and Jordan Norberto (both 2006) combined for three innings of hitless relief.
– Double-A Mobile: The BayBears were held in check by Jacksonville in a 4-1 setback on Thusday. Charles Brewer (2009) allowed all four runs in his second start back from a concussion, while Bryan Henry (2007) pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Mobile had just two hits, one of which was picked up by Taylor Harbin (2007).
– Class A Advanced Visalia: Eric Smith (2009) struggled once again – allowing 10 runs in four-plus innings – as the Rawhide lost to Bakersfield, 11-4. The bullpen was solid, allowing just a run in 5 2/3 innings – Adam Worthington (2009), Christian Beltre (2007), Taylor Sinclair (2008) and Yonata Ortega (2007) getting it done. David Nick (2009) had three hits, including two doubles, and two runs batted in, while Bobby Borchering (2009) added three hits, and Adam Eaton (2010) added a pair of safeties and a RBI, raising his batting average to .370 in the process.
– Class A South Bend: The SilverHawks succumbed to a big inning once again and lost “Eike vs. Former Osprey II”. Kevin Eichhorn (2008-10) scattered six hits and allowed just two runs – one earned – with a walk and two strikeouts as West Michigan posted a 5-3 win. Roberto Rodriguez (2010) singled and doubled, while Bobby Stone (2008-10) was the only other former Osprey to collect a hit in the game. Ender Inciarte walked twice and stole a base, but was also picked off by Eichhorn. Eury De La Rosa (2009) pitched three innings of scoreless baseball in relief of Jeff Shields (2010), who took the loss.
Today’s games (and Osprey probables):
AAA Reno (22-13) vs. Omaha – Tom Layne (2007) gets the start for the Aces.
AA Mobile (19-13) at Jacksonville
A Adv. Visalia (17-17) vs. Bakersfield – Derek Eitel (2010) gets the ball tonight for the Rawhide on Ghostbusters Night.
A South Bend (15-19) at Bowling Green – No starter announced for this one, could be Burgos.
T-minus 41 days until the home opener, 39 days before the season opens and 23 days before Osprey individual game tickets will go on sale at the new ticket office location, inside the MSO Hub at the corner of Higgins and Main.
– Here’s one blogger’s thoughts on Emilio Bonifacio’s contributions to the Florida Marlins’ success this season.
– Chris Owings, a member of the 2009 Osprey, had a huge night in Visalia’s win over Bakersfield. We’ll hit on more on this game in the Minor League Update below.
– Former Osprey reliever Jose Valverde reached a milestone on Sunday while closing out a game for the Detroit Tigers, earning his 200th save. What’s even more intriguing – the payback that Valverde will be apparently getting in the clubhouse (and if we were chatting online right now, we’d end this with a LOL).
– Speaking of laughing – Ollie Osprey makes us do that from time to time. But what we have learned is no laughing matter – unless you think winning a prize pack is so cool it makes you giggle with glee. If you’re not friends with Ollie on Facebook (yes, the bird has his own Facebook page … how does he type with those talons, anyway?), head here and add Ollie as a friend.
As if he doesn’t have enough friends, Ollie is looking to break the “attendance record” of 4,076 fans through his Facebook page. The person that does it will win a cool prize pack. Become friends with Ollie for more details.
– Gerardo Parra (2006) has been a hitter at every level he has played, but what doesn’t get talked about enough, according to Nick Piecoro, is his defense.
– Defense is also something that former Osprey catcher Miguel Montero is looking to improve on … he leads all of the Majors with seven errors.
Minor League Update:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces tried to rally, but could not overcome some middle-inning success by the Omaha Storm Chasers in a 6-5 loss on Wednesday.
– Double-A Mobile: A six-run eighth inning doomed the BayBears in an 8-3 setback on Wednesday. Paul Goldschmidt had just the home run in four trips, while Ollie Linton (2008) and Taylor Harbin (2007) each collected a base hit and a run scored.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: Other than Owings’ huge night (see link above), David Nick (2009) and Adam Eaton (2010) each had three hits, while Bobby Borchering (2009) and Rossmel Perez (2008) each had a pair. Eaton, who also drove in three runs, bumped up his batting average to .364 with the effort. Mike Belfiore (2009) struggled, allowing six earned runs on eight hits and four walks, but the offensive support was enough for him to get six innings of work in and pick up the victory. Victor Capellan (2009) continued his strong season, posting a scoreless ninth inning. The win also puts the Rawhide over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
– Class A South Bend: The Hawks picked up a nice 6-1 win at West Michigan on Wednesday. David Holmberg (2010) allowed just a run on five hits over six innings of work to pick up his second win of the season, while Blake Cooper (2010) added two innings of scoreless relief. At the plate, Ender Inciarte (2009, two runs scored), Matt Helm (2009-10, run, RBI) and Raywilly Gomez (2009) collected two hits each to help the offense. Gomez raised his team-leading average to .326 with the effort, as he has hit in six straight games.
Today’s Games (and Osprey probables):
AAA Reno (21-13) vs. Omaha
AA Mobile (19-12) at Jacksonville – Charles Brewer (2009) will make the start for the BayBears.
A Adv. Visalia (17-16) vs. Bakersfield – Eric Smith (2009) gets the call for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (15-18) at West Michigan – It’s a battle of former Osprey – Jeff Shields (2010) gets the start for the Hawks, while Kevin Eichhorn (2008-10) goes for the Whitecaps.
Hmm, let’s see – 42 days (or six weeks) before the home opener … 40 days before the season opener … and about 24 hours before Osprey radio voice Ben Catley begins his version of Spring Training.
– It’s official, the Osprey will be “nesting” in a new location. The offices are moving into downtown Missoula, in the newly-formed MSO Hub on the corner of Main and Higgins.
– The first item is a big deal – the only thing that could trump Goldy’s minor-league-tying 13th home run, hit in the first inning of today’s game for Mobile at Jacksonville.
– While South Bend is checking in with West Michigan – they’re playing now (as of 9 a.m.) in the third of a four-game series – we checked in on former Osprey Kevin Eichhorn (2008-10 Osprey), who was trying to right things in Grand Rapids. While Eichhorn is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA, he has struck out 36 in 30 innings pitched, and his WHIP is at a respectible 1.27. However, he has also allowed three home runs – a problem he started running into with the Osprey last season. We’ll keep you up to date on his progress.
– Speaking of in-game updates … Hawks lead Whitecaps in today’s action, 3-0, entering the top of the fourth inning. Ender Inicarte is part of the story – he has two hits in two trips, with a run scored. Inciarte has his average back up to .463 (through the 2nd inning), as he continues his torrid start. Here’s a great story on Inciarte, who is playing this season with a heavy heart after losing his father to a heart attack during Spring Training.
– The other former Osprey involved in that D-backs’ trade with the Detroit Tigers that sent Eichhorn away was left-hander Ryan Robowski (2009), who has been solid for the Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League. In 14 2/3 innings, ‘Robo’ has allowed as many walks as he has collected strikeouts (seven), but has just surrendered one earned run for a 0.61 ERA, plus has two saves to his credit.
– Gerardo Parra is starting to become a regular in D-backs’ manager Kirk Gibson’s lineup, thanks in part to some extra work on the old No. 2.
Minor League Update:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces managed to take care of business on Tuesday, beating Omaha, 5-1. That run was allowed by Daniel Stange (2006) in the eighth, on a solo home run. Stange scattered two other hits and struck out two batters in the outing, which raised his ERA to 3.93.
– Double-A Mobile: The BayBears used a solid outing from Jarrod Parker (2007), a scoreless four innings from its bullpen (including 2006 alum Clay Zavada, who allowed just a walk and struck out two in two innings of work), and plenty of offense in securing a 10-1 win over Jacksonville on Tuesday. Ollie Linton (2008) had two hits and a RBI, Jake Elmore (2008) singled home a run, while Taylor Harbin (2007), who scored twice, and Paul Goldschmidt (2009) each chipped in with a base hit.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: Adam Eaton (2010) singled, tripled, and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning as the Rawhide reached the .500 mark with a 2-1 win over Bakersfield. Keon Broxton (2009) also had two hits, while Bobby Borchering (2009) had a single for Visalia. Borchering’s platoon-mate, of sorts, Matt Davidson, drove in both runs with a solo home run and the ninth-inning single. The winning run came off of Clayton Shunick, who has seen comebacks before by Osprey, as a former pitcher for the Billings Mustangs.
– Class A South Bend: The SilverHawks split a doubleheader with West Michigan on Tuesday. JR Bradley (2010) used two double play balls to help scatter eight hits and allow just one run in six innings of work while picking up his first win of the season in a 6-1 lidlifter triumph. Bobby Stone (2008-10) finally hit his first home run of the season, as the Hawks won their fifth in a row. Matt Helm (2009-10) had two hits and a RBI, while Ender Inciarte (2009) continued his surge at the plate with three hits and two runs scored. In the nightcap, the offense went quiet behind Daniel Taylor (2010) as the Hawks lost, 5-0. Raywilly Gomez (2009) singled and doubled, while Ramon Castillo (2009) added a double for all of the Hawks’ hits in the contest.
Today’s games (and former Osprey who are starting …):
AAA Reno (21-12) vs. Omaha
AA Mobile (19-11) playing at Jacksonville.
A Adv. Visalia (16-16) vs. Bakersfield – Mike Belfiore (2009) gets the ball tonight for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (14-18) playing at West Michigan … David Holmberg (2010) made the start today for the Hawks, and has allowed just one hit through 3 innings.
Countdown – T-minus 65 days until the Home Opener, 63 Days before the 2011 Season opens at Helena, and at least another week before the latest edition of the Osprey Record Book is done. Sorry, but Sunday turned into a fun day …
– First, a quick reminder that the Osprey Job Fair will be held on Tuesday, from 3-8 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Missoula.
– Bobby Borchering had started in quite the funk for the Visalia Rawhide this season. Let’s hope Sunday’s effort goes a ways in breaking that up. We here at Bird Droppings hopes the same thing can happen to Pedro Ciriaco, and soon.
– Speaking of Visalia, their games attract runs like free food brings people out of the woodwork. Sunday’s win was the first time in four games this season that one of the teams involved scored at least 10 runs.
– Speaking of a ton of runs, Mobile and Mississippi combined for 24 of them on Sunday, with the Braves earning a 14-10 win. Five of the BayBears runs came off the bat of … yup, Paul Goldschmidt, who cranked out a RBI single and a grand slam in the slugfest. Through 10 games, Goldy is 10th in hitting (.364), and leads the Southern League in home runs (6), RBIs (15), slugging pct. (.939) and OPS (1.439). Teammate Taylor Harbin (2007 Osprey) is fourth in the league in hitting with a .387 mark.
– More on the former Osprey in the farm system can be found both here and here. Also an interesting read from Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro on how close the D-backs are to having a great farm system, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.
– Good signs are arriving about the early season performance of former Osprey pitcher Esmerling Vasquez, especially when everyone seems to have notice the newfound bite on his curveball.
– Lyle Overbay explores one of the great mysteries of baseball life – why some guys can hit against certain teams. Overbay is a .400 hitter against the Cincinnati Reds, whom he now gets to see on a semi-regular basis with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
– Also looks like Daniel Schlereth has found a home in the Detroit Tigers bullpen, and is part of a youth movement being used on the road to (Jose) Valverde.
– Nice piece we stumbled across on former Osprey reliever Evan Scribner and his odd road to the closer role for the Tucson Padres. Scribs has been up-and-down out of the gate, with an 0-1 record, two saves, and a 6.43 ERA. In five outings, he has struggled in two of them, and been virtually unhittable in the other three. Ahh, the life of a closer …
– The South Bend Silver Hawks are struggling out of the gate – again – but the offense was helped a bit by seeing a somewhat familiar face – Kevin Eichhorn. Eichhorn (2008-10 Osprey), now in the Detroit Tigers organization, was touched up in his second start this season on Sunday, allowing four hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched against the Hawks. Eichhorn also struck out six batters, and retired the order the first time through, but Raul Navarro (2010) drilled a two-out single in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader. Keon Broxton (2009) also had a bunt single (he’s at .302 for the season), while Chris Jarrett (2010) walked twice in the SB setback.
– Here’s today’s minor league schedule and former Osprey who get the call on the mound:
AAA – Reno (7-3) vs. Colorado Springs
AA – Mobile (7-3) vs. Hagerstown
A Adv. – Visalia (4-7) at Stockton
A – South Bend (2-8) at Great Lakes – lefty David Holmberg (2010) will get the start for the Silver Hawks.
OK Osprey faithful – a good number of our alumni will be opening their seasons today, and yet there are a handful whom will be waiting to start their seasons – let’s hope a good number of those who are waiting are back in Missoula.
It may be Opening Day in the minor leagues for the full-season leagues, but the Osprey are still in countdown mode – 76 days until the home opener, 74 days until the season opener, and an estimated 72 days before the first batting practice home run finds the Clark Fork.
– One former Osprey who would be a “new face, new place” candidate is Lyle Overbay (1999 Osprey), who is off to a solid start for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In six games, he’s hitting .304 with a home run and four RBIs. Here’s also a sit-down chat Overbay had at the start of Spring Training about joining the Pirates.
– We mentioned Miguel Montero’s start in our last post – he homered again in the D-backs win on Wednesday at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs – but we also should mention the start by Gerardo Parra (2006) as well. Parra had a three-hit day on Wednesday, and his average climbed to .333 with the effort. Parra has made the start in all five of Arizona’s games so far this season.
– Daniel Schlereth not only made his first Opening-Day roster, earning a place on the Detroit Tigers’ 25-man roster, but made an appearance in the opener as well. He pitched an inning for the Detroit Tigers, allowing a hit, on March 31 at Yankee Stadium. So far, that is the lone appearance for Schlereth, who will likely be used as a left-handed specialist this season by the Tigers.
– Today marks Opening Day for the minors, as all of the full-season leagues will begin play today – or tonight – throughout the land. Along with the 49 former Osprey who are on rosters with teams in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, there are others who are in the minors with other teams. The list, and a little bit of info on each:
Evan Scribner (’07), Tucson (AAA-San Diego)- Ben Catley’s pick to be the next former Osprey to make his Major League debut. The right-handed reliever has developed into quite the find for the Padres, who traded Tony Clark in 2008 for Scribner, straight-up, before the trade deadline. Scribs’ best pitch is a slider which has a lot of bite. If he gets guys out at Tucson, he’ll get the call soon enough.
Ryan Robowski (’09), Lakeland (A Advanced-Detroit)- Robo is a lefty who looks a bit like Scribner in his delivery, and was the pitcher on the mound who closed out the Northern Division Playoff with Great Falls in 2009. He will stay in the bullpen with the Tigers’ organization.
Scott Allen (’09), Tampa (A Advanced-NY Yankees)- Allen is young, has electric stuff and has some potential to be a solid starter. He’ll get to play in the same league as Robo (Florida State League), and in fact, they will open the season by facing each other.
Kevin Eichhorn (’08-’10), West Michigan (A-Detroit)- Eike will get to be a starter for the Whitecaps, where he will be pitching in the Midwest League. The potential for a start against South Bend looms … he’ll be in the starting rotation.
Greg Smith (’05), Colorado Springs (AAA-Colorado)- The left-hander is looking to work his way back to the Major Leagues. Smith had a so-so spring, so we shall see what pitching at altitude (Colorado Springs is actually nearly 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Denver) treats him.
Wilkin Castillo (2004), Gwinnett (AAA-Atlanta)- Castillo is looking to have a solid spring and be waiting for a chance to be back in the Major Leagues.
JD Closser (1999), Albuquerque (AAA-LA Dodgers)- Closser is also looking for another chance to be with the Major League club, as he continues his career. He is in his third season with the Dodgers organization.
Jerry Gil (2000), Louisville (AAA-Cincinnati)- Gil is trying to do a Sergio Santos, but one better – if he would make it back to the Major Leagues as a pitcher, he would be the first and only Osprey to do so as a position player and as a pitcher.
Steven Jackson (2004), Chattanooga (AA-LA Dodgers)- Jackson was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers and assigned to Chattanooga to pitch out of the Lookouts’ bullpen. Jackson spent parts of two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and made his MLB debut in 2009.
Reynaldo Navarro (2007-08), Wilmington (A Adv.-Kansas City)- Navarro was a shortstop here, but is being turned into a second baseman by the Royals’ organization. Navarro has had some experience playing the other middle infield position, and according to scouts, his arm seems a better fit on the right side of the infield.
– TRIVIA ANSWER: Tuesday’s question dealt with the best opponents batting average allowed by an Osprey pitcher (minimum 65 innings pitched). The trick is the qualifier – in the Osprey Official Record Book (coming as a PDF file to a computer near you sometime in May!), the record-holder is based on at least 10 innings pitched – which would be Jose Valverde (.075 in 2000). But under the qualifier of the question, the answer would be Jordan Norberto, who holds the mark of .216, set in 2006 … Eichhorn, at one point in the 2010 season, had a shot of breaking the mark, but a start at Casper changed all of that.
Today’s question – How many former Osprey are currently playing in the Mexican League? A hint: You have seen video of at least one of them in this very blog. Answer coming on Monday …