While the Diamondbacks are closing out the month of June on a ten game road trip and will play twenty baseball games in twenty days heading into the All-Star break, two of their minor league affiliates are enjoying playoff quality baseball that will give the organization a chance to shine once again.
The [low] Single-A South Bend Silver Hawks, in their 26th season, have locked up a playoff spot by sporting the best record in the Midwest League and at one point won 17 of 18 games at the end of May to finish with a record of 44-25. The playoff format sends the first and second place teams in each division to the playoffs that begin on September 4th. Each team’s record starts over for the second half of the season which is now seven games deep- the Hawks are 3-4.
The Hawks had six players represent the East team at the Midwest League All-Star game on Tuesday June 18th that ended in dramatic fashion with a walk off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the East club a 6-5 victory. Of the six included 3B Brandon Drury who came over in the Upton-Braves trade this off season and reliever RJ Hively who led the Midewest League with 19 saves in 20 opportunities before being promoted to High-A Visalia last week.
The back-to-back Southern League Champions in Double-A, the Mobile BayBears, are also playing good baseball having wrapped up a playoff spot by winning the first half of the season with a 39-30 record. The club won eight of its last ten games to win the division by 1.5 games over the Mississippi Braves. While the AA All-Star game isn’t played until July 17th, the BayBears will likely have a few players representing them in Archie Bradley (5-3 2.29 ERA) and LHP David Holmberg (2.66 ERA in 94.2 IP).
The other affiliates representing the D’backs include the Single-A Visalia Rawhide who finished in second place with a 39-31 record in the first half while sending three players to the All-Star game in Gerson Montilla, Jake Barrett, and Jake Lamb.
The defending champions at the AAA level, the Reno Aces, have not fared as well in 2013 as they’ve faltered to a 31-49 record thus far trailing the first place Tacoma Rainers by 16 games. The Aces will host the AAA All-Star game on July 13-14th.
The other two minor league clubs include the defending champion for Rookie Ball in the Pioneer League, the Missoula Osprey, and the Class A Short Season Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League. The Osprey will be taking on eight of the D’backs 2013 draft picks including third round pick 1B Nick Palka and sixth round pick OF Colin Bray. The club also has the highly touted catcher Stryker Trahan.
In their inaugural season, the Hillsboro Hops landed first round pick Braden Shipley who is expected to begin work soon with the club. The club currently sits at 4-9 in the Southern Division of the Northwest League.
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