High A Dish: Detwiler Makes His Debut

As we did last year, we’ll look around the minors every weekday with BAPR Plus, a supplement to the Baseball America Prospect Report, which is available by e-mail every weekday.

With it being opening week, several prospects are making their debuts, whether it be seasonal or professional. Nationals lefthander Ross Detwiler debuted yesterday for Potomac while lefthander Brett Anderson went on Saturday. Righthander Pedro Beato threw for Frederick, but it didn’t go as many would have hoped. Tim Alderson, who pitched yesterday against Bakersfield, is in his first full season with high Class A after only throwing five innings in the Arizona League in 2007.

Alderson’s command has many thinking he could be fast-tracked to the majors because of his ability to fill the strike zone. He was the Giants’ second first round pick in 2007 out of Horizon High (Scottsdale, Ariz.) where he only walked four batters in his senior year. On Sunday he went five innings, walking two and striking out one. He gave up three hits and allowed one run, but it was unearned. Alderson exited with his team up 4-1 and San Jose went on to score two more in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the 8-4 win. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but that’s probably the first time in his life he’s walked more than he’s struck out.

Salem’s (Astros) offense might not be clicking yet but Detwiler is a tough pitcher to face when trying to jump start your bats. Detwiler went five innings, striking out seven while allowing just three hits and one walk against the Avalanche. Only one of the hits was for extra bases. He picked up the victory as the Nationals scored three insurance runs in the ninth to top the Avalanche. Detwiler was the Nationals’ first  pick (No. 6 overall) in 2007 and his 10th appearance of the season was a one inning stint with the big club, per his contract.

Beato’s start left something to be desired, but Lynchburg (Pirates) righthander Mark Crotta filled the void. Crotta retired the first 18 Frederick hitters and used only 44 pitches to do so. He walked two and hit another in the seventh to lose the perfect game and was lifted with one out. Three earned runs ended up being pinned on him, but he didn’t give up a hit and the Hillcats scored nine to give him the win. Beato lasted only 3 1/3, giving up four runs on six hits. He walked two, hit one batter and struck out one.

Lancaster (Red Sox) catcher Jon Still padded his numbers with another big day, launching two home runs against High Desert (Mariners). The winds were swirling at game time and High Desert still couldn’t muster enough offense in the 10-2 loss.

It should be a fun year for fans in Lancaster. California League parks are known to be very favorable for hitters and the Jethawks have Still, first baseman Lars Anderson and outfielder Jason Place, who combined for 48 home runs last year. Still hit 21 home runs in 360 at-bats in 2007 for low Class A Greenville. He was called up to Lancaster in August where he hit four home runs in 80 at-bats. So, in 15 at-bats in 2008, he has matched his 2007 California League homer total. Anderson and Place may not have completely tapped into their power potential yet either.

Righthander Trevor Cahill was the No. 2 prospect in the Oakland franchise before Billy Beane dealt some big names to start a rebuilding process. Cahill would have be pushed in an update top 30, but he’s still worth getting excited over. On Sunday, Cahill allowed two hits in seven innings against Modesto (Rockies). He struck out four while shortstop Josh Horton collected three hits and two runs in the 4-0 victory.

Cuban righthander Kenny Rodriguez (Blue Jays) matched up with Twins lefthander Tyler Robertson in a Dunedin-Fort Meyers contest. Rodriguez announced his presence with authority, striking out  seven in six innings of one-hit ball. Robertson was hit with the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out six in the game that ended up being a 3-0, rain-shortened game.

Visalia (Diamondbacks) outfielder Gerardo Parra had two hits, two stolen bases and two runs in an 8-7 win over Inland Empire. Dodgers third baseman Josh Bell had three hits and an RBI.

Earlier in the weekend…

Anderson made his debut Saturday night for the Athletics organization after being part of the prospect-laden deal that sent righthander Dan Haren to Arizona. Anderson went six innings, giving up three hits while striking out six and walking one for the Stockton Ports. The Ports scored all four runs in the first and second innings and held off a late rally by the Modesto Nuts (Rockies) to win 4-2 give Anderson the the victory.