FutureBacks Power Rankings: 2010 Vol. 3

A general rule of thumb among scouts is that while soft-tossing left-handers are permissible, right-handed pitchers who cannot throw at least 90 miles per hour are unacceptable. Cesar Valdez and Josh Collmenter of the Arizona Diamondbacks are telling that rule of thumb to take a hike.

Reno Aces 13-13 (3rd)
Mobile BayBears 12-13 (4th)
Visalia Rawhide 15-8 (1st)
South Bend Silver Hawks 12-13 (6th)

In his first major league start, Cesar Valdez showed the competitiveness and the composure that made him the Diamondbacks' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008.  After running into some trouble in the first two innings, the crafty right-hander settled down to toss five innings of one-run ball to earn his first big league victory.

"The first two innings, I (felt) a little nervous, but after that I (felt) good," said Valdez, who threw 33 of his 96 pitches in the first inning. Your first time you feel so nervous, just nervous."

Valdez did not use his big, looping curveball much Monday, instead favoring a sinking fastball that sat between 86-89 mph and a very deceptive changeup that he throws at a couple of different speeds.

"I was impressed how he was able to hold it together, especially those first two innings," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "They made him work. He threw a lot of pitches in the first, collected himself, and went out and got into trouble again and got through it. Keeping us there was probably the best thing he could have done to get his confidence going, get his rhythm going, let him know that he belongs here and he can get some outs."

Like Valdez, Josh Collmenter is a fastball/changeup pitcher who rarely hits 90 mph.  But after winning the California League Pitcher of the Week Award, Collmenter used just 89 pitches to throw seven scoreless innings for the Reno Aces on Friday.  The Pacific Coast League took into consideration that Collmenter skipped over the Double-A level entirely and decided to award him with their weekly accolade as well.

"I felt good," Collmenter said. "I just tried to treat it like a normal game, make good pitches."

Collmenter also throws a curveball, which is beginning to work more consistently for him.  He and Valdez are showing that pitchability and command can sometimes trump a blazing fastball or a sharp breaking ball.

Remember, the following rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity by performing well.  They are not necessarily the best prospects in the system overall. 

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

Stats are accurate as of  the day games of Tuesday, May 4th.  A yellow highlight indicates a promotion this week.

Rank Prev Pos Name Team Comment
1 1 OF Marc Krauss Vis Leads farm system in HR (4), OBP (.435) and SLG (.617)
2 8 SP Josh Collmenter Reno Has won consecutive Pitcher of the Week awards: CL and PCL
3 2 C Konrad Schmidt Mob Leads BayBears with 8 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, .500 SLG, and .837 OPS
4 4 3B Matt Davidson SB .351 AVG is 4th in MWL; 11 doubles tie for 2nd
5 5 SP Evan Frey Mob 11-game hit streak snapped Monday with an uncharacteristic 3 K game
6 7 RP Bryan Woodall Vis ERA now 0.00 through a dozen games
7 17 SP Cesar Valdez Az Outstanding as he won his big league debut
8 3 SP Eric Smith SB 3-1, 1.86 ERA even after a rough start Saturday
9 11 SS Chris Owings SB Slugging .588 over his last 9 games
10 15 OF Cole Gillespie Az Batting .296 with 5 2B in 27 big league at-bats
11 NR SP Wes Roemer Mob Complete game shutout on the 29th; 25 K to 3 BB
12 NR 3B Bobby Borchering SB 3 HR during active 6-game hit streak
13 13 RP Jason Urquidez Reno Now 2-0 with 2 saves and a 1.56 ERA
14 NR C Rossmel Perez Vis .362 BA leads farm system; 8 H, 6 RBI over last 3 games
15 NR SP Charles Brewer SB 2.02 ERA after two straight scoreless outings
16 6 SP Tom Layne Mob Won 2 of his last 3, but averaged 4 ER per game
17 NR C Errol Hollinger SB SB's new primary catcher is batting .406 over his last 10 games
18 9 SP Mike Belfiore SB Couldn't make it through the 4th inning against Fort Wayne
19 19 SP Bryan Shaw Mob 24 K and 0 HR in 27.1 IP
20 NR 2B Jake Elmore Mob .371/.439/.514 over his last 10 games
21 21 SP Taylor Sinclair Vis Has allowed either 1 or 2 runs in 4 of his 5 starts
22 22 SP Matt Torra Reno Tossed 8 IP to earn the win against Las Vegas today
23 25 RP Christopher Odegaard SB Last 9.1 IP have been scoreless; 15 K, 2 BB over last 7.1 IP
24 24 3B/1B Ryan Wheeler Vis Six multi-hit games over his last 8 (.361 BA)
25 NR RP Billy Spottiswood Vis 12 K, 0BB, 4 H, and 0 ER in 10 IP with Visalia

Falling Off:

Leyson Septimo (10) endured two straight disastrous outings against the Carolina Mudcats, totaling nine earned runs over two innings

John Hester (12) has watched his batting average slip to .238 and he still hasn't gunned down a basestealer in eight tries

Kyle Greene (14) did not respond well to additional playing time.  He is hitting .148 over his last 10 games.

Collin Cowgill (16) has struggled to a .226 batting average against right-handed pitchers

Paul Goldschmidt (18) has fanned 15 times and walked just once in his last 10 games, plus he's only driven in one run in that span.

To Watch:

OF Ollie Linton (Mobile) has a .381 OBP in his last 10 games and has not committed an error all season

RP Bryan Henry (Mobile) is averaging a strikeout per inning and holds a 1.38 ERA

SP Barry Enright (Mobile) tossed seven shutout innings on Monday, allowing just three baserunners

OF Cyle Hankerd (Reno) doubled twice in his first Triple-A game, but hadn't been hitting at Double-A prior to his promotion

OF Chris Rahl (Reno) has hit safely in his last eight starts and hit an inside-the-park homer Monday

RP Carlos Rosa (Reno) tossed two scoreless innings in his debut as a Diamondbacks prospect

SP Ryan Cook (Reno) joined Josh Collmenter in skipping the Double-A level after a strong showing with Visalia, but fared poorly in his Triple-A debut

RP Daniel Stange (Az) has had one good outing and one poor one since joining the D-backs on Thursday

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