Minor League Report: '09 draftee Jake Rife makes the jump to High A

AAA Salt Lake Bees, 49 and 45

Sean Rodriguez - (14 AB's) .357/.471/.714 with 2 Dbls, 1 HR, and 6 RBI's

In a full season worth of AAA at bats over the past two years, S-Rod has hit .297/.382/.640 with 44 homeruns, 78 total extra base hits, 122 RBI's, and 11 stolen bases. That would be the best campaign in Salt Lake since at least 2000 (though Howie and D-Mac also put up stellar half seasons in that time). That said, his k-rate jumped from 15.6% with the Bees last year to a scary 28.1% this year, so he still has some work to do.

Trevor Bell - (2 starts) 1 W, 14 IP, 14 hits, 5 ER, 7 K/2 BB.

Bell's luck on balls in play finally ran out last night, when he gave up 9 hits and 5 runs over just 5 innings. That was an overdue correction, however, since up to that point he had yielded an unsustainable 5.7 hits per nine innings. The shaky start in no way detracts from the impressive fact that Bell has thrown two complete game shutouts for the Bees in seven tries.

Terry Evans, of - (16 Ab's) .375/.412/.688 with 2 Dbls, 1 HR, 6 RBI's and 2 SB's

Evans has been the anchor to the Bee's lineup this year, earning him a much deserved trip to the AAA Allstar game last week, where he started in centerfield and went 0 for 2 out of the number 5 hole. 

AA Arkansas, 9 and 15 (second half)

Hank Conger, C - (22 AB's) .364/.440/.409 with 1 Dbl and 3 walks

I know the power hasn't been there this year - he has only 7 homeruns- but the overall numbers reflect Conger's maturation at the plate. He has hit line drives at a better than 20% rate, controlled the strike zone with a solid 50/25 strikeout to walk ratio, and significantly improved his historically weak right-handed swing by putting up a .920 OPS from that side. Most importantly, he's caught two thirds of the Trav's '09 games (though they've kept him fresh in July by DH'ing him every other game) and has tossed out base stealers at a respectable 34% clip. In my view, he's a much better prospect now than he was at the beginning of ‘09.

High A Rancho Cucamonga, 10 and 13 (second half)

Andrew Romine, ss - (20 AB's) .350/.480/.600 with 3 Dbls, 1 Trpl and 3 SB's

Romine keeps chugging through July, owning a 1.021 OPS on the month. His work in the field is impressive too, where his .961 fielding percentage is among the best of all California League shortstops.

Jake Rife, of - (28 AB's in Rookie Ball and High A) .483/.516/.724 with 4 dbls, 1 HR, and 3 SB's

The Halos drafted Rife in the 48th round this June out of UW, where he put up a so-so .328/.413/.510 line as a senior. He has raked in his first month as a pro, hitting .423/.500/.596 in 52 at bats across three levels. An injury in AA led to a string of promotions and Rife's debut in Rancho Cucamonga last night, where he went 3 for 3 with a double and a stolen base.

Jayson Miller, lhsp - 1 L, 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 7 K/1 BB

Miller struggled following his May promotion to the Cal League, but has steadily lowered his ERA in every month since, and is now holding the line at a solid 2.96 ERA for July. He has maintained outstanding control - he's struck out 3.76 batters for every one that he's walked - and is working to make himself less hittable.

A Cedar Rapids, 15 and 7 (second half)

Alexi Amarista, 2b - (19 Ab's) .368/.455/.737 with 2 Dbls, 1 Trpl, 1 HR and 10 runs scored.

Amarista knocked another one out this week - he's been a legitimate power threat through July, slugging .538. The man slashes line drives, walks, and plays stellar defense. His stolen base success rate lagged as the summer wore on - he's down to 66% - but aside from that there are few holes in his game.

Beau Brooks, c, DH - .467/.529/533 with 1 Dbl, 5 runs scored, and 5 RBI

Brook's team-leading OPS anchors the Kernels' line-up. His left-handed bat breaks up the right-handed Lopez, Jacobo and Castillo, he works pitchers into deep counts, and all of those walks give the guys behind him plenty of RBI opportunities. He's caught less than half of the Kernels' games so far and he's got some work to do in that department - he stopped only 19% of base stealers this season - but he continues to be one of the most valuable players on a very good Cedar Rapids team. 

Matt Shoemaker, rhsp - 7 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 6 K/2 BB

The Halos signed Shoemaker as a non-drafted free agent last year out of Eastern Michigan University. He started for the first time this week, and pitched a gem. Over 33.1 '09 innings, he's put up a 3.24 ERA and the opposition is batting a mere .193 against him.

Gabe Jacobo, 1b - .375/.423/.500 with 1 HR and 6 RBI's

Jacobo hit spectacularly in his pro debut last year - .324/.357/.556 - but has had a harder time of it this year. It's primarily a question of solid contact: his walks are up, his K's are about the same as last year, but his line drive rate dropped from 20% to 10%. It's back up to 21% this July, so hopefully he finishes strong this season.  

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