Cesar Valdez threw a nine inning shutout on Friday, allowing just one hit on a hard line drive that took a bad hop. "If he's got a shutout going into the 9th, you'd give him 110 [pitches], but no more than that," his pitching coach, Wellington Cepeda, told us earlier in the season. It turns out that Valdez only needed 90 pitches for this shutout, his second complete game of the season.
Cepeda told us that Valdez had suffered a dead arm period in April that resulted in a drop in velocity. Now that the Silver Hawks have built his arm strength back up, the velocity is back on his fastball, which makes his team-best changeup all the more devastating.
"He really does have a good changeup," Cepeda added. "He doesn't slow down his arm speed and the ball just drops like a split."
Remember, these rankings chronicle the hottest organizational prospects who are making the most of their opportunity, with the heaviest weight placed on the past week of play.
Note: Stats are accurate through Sunday, July 29.
|1||2||CF Justin Upton||Mob||3-homer week puts Upton back on top|
|2||1||SS Mark Hallberg||Yak||0-for-6 game ended hit streak, then Mark homered two days later|
|3||4||1B Chris Carter||Tuc||Still raking, but more importantly, Carter has 12-G errorless streak|
|4||6||1B Bryan Byrne||Vis||.500 OBP over past 10 games|
|5||3||SP Esmerling Vasquez||Mob||Had his first so-so outing in a long time 4 ER/6 IP|
|6||7||SP Yusmeiro Petit||Az||Appears he's here to stay with Johnson out for season|
|7||9||3B Clayton Conner||Yak||Three multi-hit games last week raised BA to .350|
|8||12||3B Brandon Burgess||Vis||Six homers and 26 RBI this month|
|9||28||SP Cesar Valdez||SB||16 scoreless innings over last two starts, including CG 1-hitter|
|10||15||RP Reid Mahon||Vis||Three saves in first four games at new level|
|11||14||C Frank Curreri||Vis||Curreri has an 8-game hit streak|
|12||19||P Adam Howard||Vis||Through six games a starter: 2-1 2.91 ERA 37 K/6 BB|
|13||24||SP Derik Nippert||SB||Six shutout innings in last start dropped Derik's ERA below 2.00|
|14||13||OF Peter Clifford||Mis||Batting .395 with runners on|
|15||11||OF Jeff Salazar||Tuc||2 HR 8 RBI last 7 games|
|16||10||OF Aaron Cunningham||Vis||Hit just .263 this week, but he's still at .358 since the trade|
|17||21||RF Carlos Gonzalez||Mob||9 hits to just 2 strikeouts this week|
|18||5||RF Gerardo Parra||SB||1 hit in last 15 at bats|
|19||20||SP Brett Anderson||Vis||14 strikeouts in past two starts|
|20||22||1B Brad Miller||SB||Big Brad has 4 HR, 10 RBI in past 8 games|
|21||8||2B Taylor Harbin||Mis||Hitting .176 over past 10 games, but 8 BB/5 K over that span|
|22||31||RP Clint Goocher||Mob||1 ER over last 13 appearances and 2 saves this week|
|23||-||SP Hector Ambriz||Vis||3 wins and 33 IP over past 4 starts|
|24||34||SP Tony Barnette||SB||Arizona State alum allowed just 3 ER in past 2 starts|
|25||17||2B Emilio Bonifacio||Mob||After 11 straight July steals, Emilio finally got caught|
|26||27||1B Javier Brito||Mob||Jury's verdict: Brito can hit well enough to play 1B|
|27||32||CF Evan Frey||Yak||Just 12 hits in last 10 games of current 13-game hit streak|
|28||-||SP Brooks Brown||Mob||9 strikeouts in 6.2 shutout innings last start|
|29||23||OF Anthony Smith||Mis||3 hits in last 21 AB, but still batting .337 for Osprey|
|30||26||SP Thomas Layne||Mis||Still averages a K per IP after blah outing|
|31||-||2B Derek Bruce||Vis||Hit for the cycle July 26th|
|32||33||RP William Spottiswood||Yak||27 strikeouts to just 4 walks so far|
|33||30||RP Forrest Cory||Vis||7 hits allowed in last 2 appearances, but earned a win Sunday|
|34||16||SP Bryan Henry||Mis||23 hits allowed in last 3 starts (14.1 IP)|
|35||-||SP Matt Green||Mob||Two quality starts this week put Green back on map|
Three To Watch:
- RP Evan Scribner (Missoula), whose 30 strikeouts through 27 innings portends good things
- RP Daniel Vasquez (Yakima), who would be unhittable if he had better command
- OF Jarred Ball (Tuscon), who was promoted to Tucson despite a dismal year at Mobile
- CF Joey Side (18) is batting .260 with just 2 extra base hits in July
- RP Daniel Stange (25) has been hit hard since promotion to AA
- C Orlando Mercado (29) has essentially become the Oaks' 3rd string catcher
Disagree with our rankings? Have a question about a prospect? Just plain lonely? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your concerns.