FutureBacks Power Rankings: Week 4

To shake up a disappointing and injury-plagued Arizona Diamondbacks team, prospects Esmerling Vazquez, Josh Whitesell, and now Bryan Augenstein have been called upon for assistance. Those promotions have sent a chain reaction of subsequent advancements throughout the system.

Reno Aces 13-17 (3rd); 3-4 This Week
Mobile BayBears 19-11 (2nd); 3-3 This Week
Visalia Rawhide 22-9 (1st) ; 4-3 This Week
South Bend Silver Hawks 16-14 (3rd); 5-2 This Week

Bryan Augenstein will start Wednesday to replace Yusmeiro Petit (shoulder) in the Arizona Diamondbacks rotation. The 22-year old Augenstein went 5-0 with an 0.78 ERA in six starts at Mobile, with 31 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. Double-A batters hit .145 against him.  Augenstein has appeared at the top of the FutureBacks.com Power Rankings in all four weeks thus far and will not be purchased until after Tuesday's game so that the D-backs can keep another arm in the bullpen.

How will Augenstein fare in his major league debut?  It's difficult to say.  Prospects can have mixed results once promoted - no matter how dominant that prospect was at the previous level - and Augenstein skipped right over Triple-A.  Josh Whitesell and Esmerling Vasquez, for example, have not been able to match their Triple-A success at the big league level thus far.  Additionally, Hector Ambriz struggled with his first Reno start after dominating the southern League and the recently-promoted Bryan Byrne is mired in perhaps the worst slump of his career.

On the other hand, Jarrod Parker has hardly missed a beat since advancing to Double-A.  Rossmel Perez had come out of extended spring training showing why he may be the best catching prospect in the entire organization. Augenstein, along with Wes Roemer and Trevor Harden, are trying to emulate those performances.  Roemer and Harden shift up thanks to Augenstein's promotion.  Harden had been light-out in the Midwest League while Roemer had been bafflingly more effective than last year despite his walk rate shooting up.  He walked only 33 batters all of last year, but has already issued 13 free passes in 2009.

Remember,  these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity ,weighing recent performance most heavily, not the best prospects overall. 

Abbreviations: Mob=Mobile, SL=Southern League, PCL= Pacific Coast League
SB=South Bend, MWL=Midwest League, Vis=Visalia, CL=California League

Stats are accurate as of Sunday, May 10th.  A highlight indicates a promotion this week.

Rank Prev Pos Name Team Comment
1 1 SP Bryan Augenstein Az Unhittable in Double-A; let's see how he handles the Reds
2 3 OF Gerardo Parra Mob 3 OBP points behind SL leader; 3 AVG points behind 2nd-place
3 4 SP Jarrod Parker Mob 11 K and 1 BB in two Double-A starts
4 13 SP Trevor Harden Vis Led MWL in W, CG, SHO, and IP before promotion
5 5 OF Collin Cowgill Vis Homered the day after his 7-G hit streak snapped
6 10 OF Brendan Duffy SB 13 hits, 9 walks, 10 runs scored, and 5 stolen bases in last 10 games
7 6 OF Ollie Linton Vis Cooling off at the plate, but heating up on the bases (3 SB Saturday)
8 19 SP Pat McAnaney Vis 4-0; only two runs allowed in his last 3 starts
9 12 SP Ryan Cook SB 4-0, hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in any start
10 16 IF Justin Parker SB 13-game hit streak despite battling flu symptoms
11 7 1B Joshua Whitesell Az Just 1-for-14 with the D-backs, but only 2 strikeouts and a .316 OBP
12 2 OF Cyle Hankerd Mob Hitless in five straight games before single and double Saturday
13 25 C Rossmel Perez SB Batting .425 w/10-game hit streak despite a messy-looking swing
14 8 SP Hector Ambriz Reno Hit hard in his first Triple-a start after a scoreless relief inning there
15 NR C John Hester Reno Hester is batting .417 this month with 4 multi-hit games already
16 9 3B Ricardo Sosa Mob Hitting .276 with 1 RBI in May after .365, 18 RBI in April
17 NR 2B Taylor Harbin Vis Hitting .350 with 9 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, and 3 SB in last 10 games
18 18 OF Trent Oeltjen Reno Batting .342 in May, but secondary stats are lacking
19 24 1B Ryne White Vis Consistent all year; a hot streak would earn him a promotion
20 23 SP Wes Roemer Mob Oddly more effective this year while walking more batters
21 21 RP Bryan Henry Vis 4 shutout innings, then 6 hits in 3 IP in his two outings this week
22 26 3B Augie Murillo Reno 11-game hit streak for Murillo
23 NR RP T.J. Hose SB 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K in his last 4 games
24 NR RP Daniel Stange Mob 1.98 ERA for the new BayBears closer
25 14 RP Clay Zavada Mob Rare rough outing for Clay on Saturday
26 NR RP Daniel Schlereth Mob SL hitters are batting .176 against Schlereth
27 27 P Sean Morgan SB Won his 2nd start and has 2.55 ERA on the year
28 11 RP Jason Urquidez Mob 6.75 May ERA after perfect April
29 NR IF Rusty Ryal Reno Batting .325 in May and playing every infield spot
30 15 RP Scott Maine Mob Allowed 3 runs in last 2 innings despite 5 strikeouts

Falling Off:

Esmerling Vasquez (17) could be the odd man out when Augenstein is promoted due to his control issues

Chris Rahl (20) hasn't started a game since getting hit in the wrist on May 7th

Bryan Byrne (22) is 0-for-12 since his promotion to Reno and 1-for-his-last-28 overall

Three to Watch:

3B Ramon Ramirez (South Bend) hit two triples and drove in four on Saturday

RP Jordan Norberto (Visalia) has four straight scoreless outings, but is walking too many batters

SP Cody Evans (Mobile) threw five shutout innings in his last start despite no strikeouts


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