by Ben Catley
Time for a dose of Six Degrees of Separation, Osprey style.
There have only been two cycles hit at the Major League level by former Osprey players, with the second one happening on Friday night in Denver. New York Mets outfielder Scott Hairston, a 2001 member of the Osprey, hit for the cycle in a game which turned into an 18-9 loss to the Colorado Rockies. In part, the win – buoyed by an 11-run fifth inning – was ignited by former Osprey outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (2003), who drove in six runs on the night, five in that fifth inning. Continue reading
We’re just two weeks away from Osprey baseball. The Osprey will play at Helena in their season opener on June 20, as they face off with the defending Pioneer League champion Brewers. It’s on the air at 6:40, with the first pitch at 7:05, on AM 930, KMPT, and MissoulaOsprey.com.
And were 16 days away from the Home Opener, also with the Brewers. Get your tickets now at the MSO Hub Box Office at 140 N. Higgins or online at MissoulaOsprey.com.
– Read here for more on the three former Osprey selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star game in two weeks.
– The 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft begins tonight at the MLB Network Studios, with the First Round and Compensation Round A taking place in the first of what will be a three-day event. Rounds 2-30 will happen on Tuesday, and the final rounds, 31-50, will be held on Wednesday.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will have the No. 3, No. 7 and No. 43 picks in the draft, and there has been a lot of debate as to where the D-backs will go with those picks. The top two picks also seem to change with the breeze, so who will even be available when the D-backs make their first pick is up in the air.
We will be posting each pick (and what info we can gather about each pick) as soon as possible all three days. More than likely, the picks on Tuesday and Wednesday will be posted in groups of several at a time, since the rounds will begin to tick by as fast as fish try to swim away from Ollie. The key word there is try.
-While the D-backs lost on Sunday, the team has put together an amazing 60 games so far this season, anchored by a pair of former Osprey in the lineup and one on the mound:
*Miguel Montero (2002-03) is hitting .271 with 14 doubles, six homers, 27 RBI and an .807 OPS.
*Gerardo Parra (2006) has been solid with the glove, plus is batting .267, with five doubles, a triple, four home runs and 16 RBIs.
*Right-handed reliever Esmerling Vasquez (2004) has an 0-1 mark with a 3.63 ERA, walking just nine while striking out 18 in 22 1/3 innings pitched. Vasquez was ejected during yesterday’s festivities after hitting a Washington batter with a pitch. This followed Justin Upton getting hit for the fourth time in the series (and the Nationals’ Jason Marquis getting the heave-ho), which was proceeded by Washington’s Jayson Werth getting plunked by a pitch, and warnings going to both sides. And here we thought the next potential bout of testiness would be between Florida and San Francisco.
– Goldy Watch: On Sunday, Paul Goldschmidt (2009) went 2-for-3 with an intentional walk and a strikeout. Goldy’s now hitting .341 for the season, with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs.
– Former Osprey pitcher Greg Smith (2005) is making the best of his opportunity with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the American Association (Independent). In five starts, the left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. Smith, who is a Louisiana native, signed with the Air Hogs after being released by the Colorado Rockies in April.
– Former Osprey infielder-turned-utilityman Emilio Bonifacio (2003) has become very valuable to the Florida Marlins these days. In fact, Bonni is getting an extended time starting at shortstop with Hanley Ramirez nursing a back problem. Of course, there is still work to be done.
Minor League Update:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces lost a slim lead late, and fell to Salt Lake City on Sunday, 3-2. Daniel Stange (2006) pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but the Aces were unable to rally late.
– Double-A Mobile: Jarrod Parker (2007) and Bryan Henry (2007) combined to allow four hits while striking out 10 batters in seven innings of work to help the BayBears’ pitching collect their second straight shutout, a 4-0 blanking of Huntsville on Sunday. Parker fanned six batters in his five innings of work, while Henry added four punch-outs in two innings pitched. Jake Elmore (2008) had a double and 2 RBI from the leadoff spot, plus scored a run for Mobile, who has won seven straight games to take sole possession of first place in the Southern League’s Southern Division. The BayBears have outscored the Stars, 9-0, in the first two games of their 5-game series.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: One night after being rained out, the Rawhide were two-hit by Modesto, falling 5-0 on Sunday. Trevor Harden (2008) allowed all five runs on four hits and a walk in seven innings of work, including two home runs, and struck out seven batters. Christian Beltre and Yonata Ortega, 2007 Osprey teammates, both pitched a scoreless inning of relief behind Harden.
– Class A South Bend: Patrick Schuster (2009-10) allowed just a run on four hits in seven innings of work, while South Bend had a pair of four-run uprisings late in the game to beat Quad Cities on Sunday, 9-1. The Silver Hawks scored four times in both the sixth and eighth innings to take the win. Schuster walked one and fanned four to help lower his ERA to 3.14 for the season, while picking up his fifth win in seven decisions. Ender Inciarte (2009) doubled, Roberto Rodriguez (2010) singled, walked twice, drove in a run and stole a base; Matt Helm (2009-10) singled, scored twice and drove in a run, and Raul Navarro (2010) added a base hit and two RBIs.
– DSL D-backs: Did not play on Sunday. In four games so far this season, former Osprey outfielder Alan Santiago (2009) is 4-for-12 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
Today’s Games and former Osprey Probables:
AAA Reno (34-24) vs. Salt Lake City
AA Mobile (33-24) vs. Huntsville
A Adv. Visalia (25-31) vs. Modesto
A South Bend (30-27) has an off-day on Monday
DSL D-backs (2-4) at DSL Padres
So we’re drawing close – 34 days before the home opener, 32 days before the season gets underway, and 20 days before the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
– Bobby Borchering (2009) had a big day at the plate to support Major League pitcher Zach Duke – who was in Visalia on a rehab assignment – in a rout of Rancho Cucamonga. More on this one in the Minor League recap below.
– While Miguel Montero (2002-03) has been solid most of the season at the plate for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gerardo Parra continues to get better. Both had a huge hand in a win on Tuesday for the D-backs. Parra drove in a pair of runs in the victory, but it was Montero’s RBI double that snapped a 1-1 tie in a 6-1 win.
– Speaking of Parra (2006), with the two hits he collected in the D-backs’ 5-4, 11-inning win over Atlanta on Wednesday, he’s now hitting .264 (which is below his .275 career BA) with a pair of home runs and 10 RBIs. While some may yearn for more on the power side, Parra’s defense makes up for it, as he has turned into a very good outfielder. Of course, when we can, we provide video evidence.
– Reading this blog entry could make one feel bad for former Osprey Carlos Gonzalez (2003) and Jorge De La Rosa (1999-2000). De La Rosa ended up getting locked into a pitcher’s duel with Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels last night, but the Phillies ended up with the win. It was by far the best pitching performance not only of the season for the lefty, but in his career against the Phillies.
– If you’ve been wondering about Greg Smith (2005), and can’t find him on the Colorado Springs SkySox roster – there is a reason. The Rockies released Smith after Spring Training, and he ended up signing with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the American Association. In two starts, the lefty, who was the 2005 Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year, is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA, including a complete-game shutout in his latest outing.
Minor League Recap:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces had an off-day on Wednesday, as they prepared for a road trip that begins in Albuquereue and continues to Round Rock.
– Double-A Mobile: Deuces were running wild for Paul Goldschmidt (2009) on Wednesday, with two singles, two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored in a 4-for-6 game as Mobile routed Carolina, 16-6. Ollie Linton (2008) singled, walked and scored three times, while Kyle Greene (2008) doubled, drove in a run and also scored thrice.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: In the 10-2 win over Ranch Cucamonga, Adam Eaton (2010) had a huge day – hitting a home run, triple, two singles, scored three times and drove in a pair of runs. Eaton’s now second in the Cal League in hitting (.395) and leads in on-base percentage (.500). Derek Eitel (2010), who was scheduled to make the start before the D-backs decided to place Duke there for the rehab assignment, pitched two innings and allowed a run on four hits, with two strikeouts. Taylor Sinclair (2008) and Yonata Ortega (2007) each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. David Nick (2009) added two hits and two runs scored, while Keon Broxton (2009) chipped in with a hit and a run.
– Class A South Bend: The SilverHawks fell to Lansing, 5-3, on Wednesday. It was a good day for former Osprey pitchers – Jeff Shields (2010) had an effective start, with five innings pitched and three runs allowed, followed by two shutout innings of work by Daniel Taylor (2010), and Keith Cantwell (2009) added a shutout inning as well. At the plate, though, the lone former Osprey to get a hit was Roberto Rodriguez (2010), who came into the game after Bobby Stone was apparently injured during his first at-bat. No word on what the injury was, or how long, or if, it will keep him out of action.
Today’s Games (and Osprey probables):
AAA Reno (25-15) at Albuquerque.
AA Mobile (23-15) at Tennessee.
A Adv. Visalia (19-21) at Rancho Cucamonga – Trevor Harden (2008) will get the start for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (17-23) vs. Lansing – Patrick Schuster (2009-10) gets the call for the Hawks tonight.
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 …
It’s that time of the year, where productivity at workplaces all over the country will drop significantly (thanks NCAA March Madness), when more alcohol will flow in one town today than the average weekend (thanks, Butte, America, for one of the best St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around), and when managers start grumbling with the beat reporters in both Arizona and Florida, like this example.
– Another Top Prospect list is out featuring 14 of the gems in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system. It should be no surprise that eight of them are former Osprey.
– According to MLive.com blogger Steve Kornacki, it looks like Jose Valverde will not be the only former Osprey in the Detroit Tigers bullpen come opening day.
– If Daniel Schlereth wants to be in the Tigers ‘pen, he needs to stay away from days like these.
– Among the former Osprey players who were sent back down to minor-league camps on Monday were left-handed pitcher Greg Smith (2005 Osprey, Colorado) and right-handed pitcher Evan Scribner (2007, San Diego). Both are likely to start the season at Triple-A. Scribner’s option is his first since being added to the 40-man roster in November.
– While it’s doubtful that Wilkin Castillo (2004 Osprey) will make the Atlanta Braves’ Opening-Day roster, he is still making the most of what chances he is getting in Braves’ camp. In nine Grapefruit League games, Castillo has gone 3-for-9 with a pair of RBIs.
And, in case you were wondering, the “Boss Button” is on the top-right corner of your March Madness viewing window. Just remember that’s it’s not an active sheet, so you may want to open it once or twice to get an idea about it before you get quizzed on it.
Today brings us a mixed bag of things to check out, and know about, when it comes to the Missoula Osprey … just remember, it’s 111 days until the Osprey season opener, and 113 days before the Osprey home opener. It’s also 13 days before you begin to call the Osprey office and hear the countdown …
– If Gerardo Parra (2006 Osprey) wants to see some significant playing time this season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hard work will have to come beforehand. So far, so good, according to this story.
– Another mixed-bag day for Osprey fans at Salt River Fields, with no Goldy, the return of CarGo and Mr. Smith getting touched up a bit by his former organization. Check out the box score here.
– Hector Ambriz (2006) will begin the season, by all indications, at Triple-A Columbus. The right-handed pitcher was outrighted to Columbus by the Cleveland Indians in late October, this after he was shut down in September with a sore elbow – a problem that Ambriz experienced during Spring Training. Ambriz was selected by Cleveland in the Rule V Draft in 2009, and stayed on the Active (25-man) Roster for the Tribe the entire season (DL time included). Ambriz was 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA in 2010, his first in the Major Leagues.
– Nothing like impressing your new teammates. Scott Hairston (2001 Osprey) did just that in a New York Mets intrasquad game last week. Hairston is off to a solid start this spring, going 2-for-5 in three Grapefruit League games (thru Tuesday’s games) with a double and two runs scored.
– Look for more information soon on a Kids National Anthem Tryout. It will take place during the Kids Fair on March 12, which means that Ollie Osprey will be flying by and making an appearance. The Kids Fair is the typical first weekend that Ollie gets to stretch his wings and fly back home to Missoula, although he has been spotted around town a little more frequently this winter. Details are coming soon.
– Lastly today, when looking for Osprey alumni stuff, we stumbled across this video of former Osprey, and Pioneer League Triple-Crown winner, Jesus Cota (2001), who has spent the past four seasons playing for Saltillo of the Mexican League. Cota was doing one of those “Get to know your Sarapellos” pieces. The audio, by the way, is in Spanish, although we’re pretty sure Denzel Washington translates the same in both English and Spanish.
Watching that swing, it’s not hard to see him winning a Triple Crown. He’s also hit over .330 the past two seasons for Saltillo, inlcuding when they won the Mexican League championship in 2009.