Minor League Recap: trade returns looking good.


Las Vegas (won 4-1):

Brett Lawrie has, as many of you will know, been on a tear in May, hitting .323/.398/.687 this month. Yesterday was not his day however, as he got plunked in his first at bat, would record three lineouts and strikeout swinging. It snapped a 7-game streak of getting on base at least twice a game for Lawrie.

Travis Snider was 3-for-4 with a groundball double, which is nice, but the amount of groundballs he's hitting is not a positive. But then at least he hasn't struck out in 3 games now, which is definitely an improvement.

Mike McCoy is not feeling the extra bases vibe at all, as he's hitting .300/.429/.300 over his last 10 games. The 9 BB to 4 K indicates some outstanding plate discipline though.

Dewayne Wise was 3-for-5 with a double, raising his average to .390. His on-base skills are, as always with Wise, unimpressive and he doesn't have as much power as Lawrie. But Wise did hit quite decently in the majors, and given his very good defense in center field he's not that bad an option, assuming that D has not yet deteriorated with age.

Scott Richmond had what was probably a bit of a lucky day, as he walked 4 batters in 6 innings and gave up a home run, but was tagged only for the solo homer. He struck out three but gave up just two hits. Most of the outs were in the air.

Brett Cecil pitched on Monday and gave up three home runs for four runs total in 7 innings. He struck out 8 and walked just two, but was probably still leaving the ball up too much.

New Hampshire (won 8-3):

Travis d'Arnaud may not get as much hype as Lawrie, but he is doing his best to put himself high on prospect lists. Acquired in the Roy Halladay trade, d'Arnaud has had some injuries which could have negatively influenced his performance. Now apparently healthy, he has turned into an absolute monster. After going 3-for-5 with two doubles (and a strikeout) yesterday, he now has a line of .563/.641/.969 over his last 10 games, with 6 BBs to 4 Ks, 7 doubles and 2 home runs. He has reached base at least twice in all of those games. It will be interesting to see how much he cools down, because this level of performance at the plate just can't be sustainable.

Moises Sierra (2-for-5) hasn't hit as well since his little home run streak of 3 home runs in 4 days, going just 3-for-18 since the last day he homered. He has a .185 BABIP over his last 10 games. I think Sierra is a bit underrated still, but as someone who should hit for a high average and good power he likely will get a huge amount of hype once he gets to hit in Vegas. I think he's going to put up huge numbers there, just like Thames and Lawrie.

Speaking of guys who could put up huge numbers in Vegas, Mike McDade (2-for-5 with 2 doubles) could do that as well. If his strikeouts don't spin out of control, like Loewen this year, McDade's power should play well there. As for the majors, I'm not yet getting excited about McDade, as he still doesn't walk too often and will strike out a lot. But he has been improving and is still young.

Anthony Gose, who went 1-for-3 with a walk, is a very different hitter. He does strike out quite often as well, but walks more than McDade. He doesn't have much power but he can steal bases with his blazing speed, which also allows him to play outstanding defense. Gose has stolen 18 bases while getting caught 4 times, and he's hit .321/.420/.464 in May.  We shouldn't assume that's his true talent level and that he just needed to adapt to the league, but it's certainly a promising sign given his youth. Gose has the chance to be a special player, but he is not yet Curtis Granderson v2.0. I'd settle for a Michael Bourn v2.0 personally.

Adeiny Hechavarria has a good defensive reputation like Gose, but his bat has been a problem. Over his last 10 games he has been K'd 10 times and walked just once (and that walk was 10 games ago). He has hit just .214/.233/.310 over those games and is at .221/.247/.337 on the season.

Zach Stewart will be dropping down prospect rankings quite a bit if he keeps struggling like he did (again) this Monday. He went 4 innings, surrendering 7 earned runs, with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. His ERA has climbed to 5.15. He's repeating the level and is already 24, so if he does not turn things around he could end up in the bullpen.

Dunedin (lost 2-12):

Dunedin has been playing the Tampa Bay affiliate and has found it to be a pretty tough opponent.

Wojciechowski (4.2 IP, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) and McGuire (5 IP, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) had disappointing outings, while Jenkins (8 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K) was at least eating innings like a true Tallet. Jenkins has failed to strike out a lot of batters, but he's kept the ball on the ground (56.4% groundballs) and not walked many. I wonder if his pitching style will work in Double-A.

Justin Jackson has had a good series though, going 5-for-11 with 2 walks and 3 strikeouts. Suddenly an OBP machine, Jackson has hit .328/.421/.471 this season with 20 walks, 25 strikeouts and even 3 home runs. While you may wonder where Jackson has found the discipline, he has in fact always walked a good amount. What has propelled Jackson to this kind of performance is a dramatic decline in strikeouts. I hope those newfound hitting skills can survive the jump to Double-A.

Kevin Ahrens did not strike out yet this series, but he has only collected 2 hits in 12 at bats, one of which was a double. Brad Glenn did strike out, four times even, but he did walk twice and hit a home run and a double, giving him 13 home runs on the season. A.J. Jimenez is on the disabled list.

The series continues today with Nestor Molina going against Alex Colome. Both pitchers strike out a lot of batters, although Molina is also very stingy with the walks and Colome not so much.

Lansing (won 8-4):

This Sunday, a pitcher by the name of John Anderson made his first start since 2009, coming off Tommy John surgery. While he might normally have been in AA by now, he started for Lansing and went 5 scoreless innings, striking out 6 while keeping the ball on the ground very well, with a GB% upwards of 75.

Sean Nolin kept the ball on the ground decently on Monday (53% GBs), but that was turned into the Gustavo Pierre error show. Pierre made 3 fielding errors to, umm, totally not help out Nolin, who went 5 innings, 3 runs, 0 earned, 3 BB, 5 K.

Drew Hutchison, after his amazing opening day start, has not been fulfilling our hopes of him becoming an ace quickly, even though he's been decent. Yesterday hitters were able to hit the ball in the air against him (26.7% GBs) and Hutchison only went 4.2 innings, giving up 2 runs, 2 walks and striking out 4. Hutchison has now failed to reach 5 innings pitched 4 times in a row.

Michael Crouse has found his power again, hitting 5 extra base hits in his last three games. He's struck out once during those games and was walked intentionally in yesterday's game. He is now hitting .296/.368/.548 on the season, although his BB/K ratio has deteriorated lately. Still, that deteriorating K/BB is true for almost all Lansing hitters, and could indicate they have been facing a lot of good pitchers.

That hasn't stopped K.C. Hobson from hitting .361/.378/.528 over his last 10 games though. He has suddenly stopped walking a lot, but at least he has been making more solid contact. Kevin Nolan, a 23 year old utility player, has hit .455/.537/.606 in 9 games for Lansing. He was hitting .278/.409/.417 before he was demoted from Dunedin. He hit .295/.372/.396 for Lansing last year.

Carlos Perez has 8 hits in his last 3 games, and has stopped striking out in his last 2 games. Previously he had struck out 14 times in his last 6 games. Even Mark Reynolds would have been impressed at that rate. Jake Marisnick is on the 7-day DL.

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