I wanted to take a look at how the guys on our prospect list are doing at the mid-point of the season. Title comes from the Beatles, Getting Better. It follows Paul's line about how he was 'cruel to his woman, beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved'. That's a line that always kind of took me out of the song. I love John's little 'can't get no worse' bit, but this, I wondered what Paul was trying to tell us.
1. Kyle Drabek: You know the story. Started the season in our rotation. His first start of the season was great, 7 innings 1 hit, 3 walks 7 strikeouts. He really had a pretty decent April, 4.45 ERA, 2-1 record, walked a few too many but we could have lived with it. May was more of the same, 3.86 ERA, walk rate went up a tick and strikeouts dropped. His 3 starts in June all went to hell, walked a batter an inning, gave up a ton of hits, and he was sent down. On the positive side the team was 9-5 in his starts and he really didn't give up a lot of runs until things went so bad in June.
In Vegas, he has had 3 starts, two awful, the last one was pretty good. 6 innings, 6 hits, 0 walks, 1 earned. Last I heard they had told him just to work with his fastball, get command of it and go from there. I'm going to view this as a bump in the road and that everything will work out in the end. He throws hard and has good enough pitches to get major leaguers out, it just seemed he was trying to be too fine with every pitch. Aiming not throwing.
2. Brett Lawrie: You know the story on this one too. Apparently the coaching staff wanted him to be with the Jays out of spring training but were out voted. I'd have rather watched him than Nix, and I'd wouldn't have minded having him work on playing 3rd with Brian Butterfield. I guess, maybe it was best that he didn't make a couple of errors in the first week with us, first impressions are important.
Anyway, he's been great in Vegas, .354/.415/.677. In May the team told him they would like to have him see more pitches, so he started taking more walks. Then the team is ready, finally, to call him up and he gets hit in the hand. He is hitting off a tee now so there is movement towards getting back to playing. I can't imagine we'll see him before August.
3. Zach Stewart: Zach seemed to have sort of vaguely disappointing stats in New Hampshire, not getting as many strikeouts as we all figured he should, giving up more hits than we'd like, just not quite what we were expecting in his second run at Double-A. Right now he is 4-4, with a 4.04 ERA, 53 strikeouts and 84 hits in 75.2 innings there. Then he gets called up anyway, makes 3 starts, 2 good, 1 bad and is sent back down again. The good part about his short time with us is that he wasn't afraid to throw strikes. Next spring will be interesting, if he doesn't make the team, he'll be in danger of being overtaken by a few prospects that are lining up behind him.
4. J.P. Arencibia: He was doing better before he hurt his thumb, but he is still second to Mark Trumbo in rookie home runs, with 12, and tied with him for rookie RBI, with 36. He is also 1 off the AL lead for home runs by a AL catcher. He has been striking out too much but as much as folks think he doesn't walk enough, he is at 7.8% walk rate, which isn't bad and he took 3 walks yesterday. He has a low BABIP, .245, so his batting average might come up a bit in the second half. It likely depends on that thumb, I'm hoping the All-Star break helps.
5. Adeiny Hechavarria: He really isn't hitting well at New Hampshire, .231/..267/.358. He had a little 4 game blip, last week (7 for 18, with a HR), when he was slugging and I started thinking he was turning a corner but then in his last 5 games he is 2 for 21, with another homer. He is just 22 and is just in his second year in our system but soon you would like to see some progress with the bat. People that have seen him play do like him and that counts for a lot.
6. Anthony Gose: He is suddenly slugging at New Hampshire, hitting .395/.439/.739 with 4 home runs in his last 10 games. All in, he has been good there .261/.353/.419, 9 home runs, 5 triples, 39 steals, caught 10 times. And he is still just 20, playing against guys that are older than him, for the most part. I saw him this spring and he is fast, as much as they tell you how fast he is, when you see him hit a triple and see how much ground he covers in CF, it is still a surprise. Add in a great arm in the outfield and you have a great prospect.
7. Deck McGuire: Deck is having a fairly easy time of it, in his first pro season at Dunedin. He is 6-3, with a 2.77 ERA. 34 walks and 83 strikeouts in 87.2 innings. He missed a week on the DL, but went 7 innings in his start yesterday. Gets more fly balls than ground balls, .74 ground ball to fly ball ratio. Looks like he could move up a level without too much trouble.
8. Travis d'Arnaud: After an off year, last year in Dunedin, Travis is having a great season in New Hampshire. .305/.382/.535 and he's been on a nice hot streak his last 10 games, .351/.429/.676. Since there is no need to rush him, I imagine he'll stay at Double-A for the rest of this season, but he could be pushing JP very soon.
9. Carlos Perez: There are half a dozen Carlos Perezes in different minor league systems, our Carlos isn't having a great season at Lansing, hitting .255/.316/.354 and isn't throwing out baserunners at the rate he has in the past, 26% this year, 36% last year. Never can tell with catchers, they are always playing through little aches and pains. He is just 20 and this is his first less than terrific season.
10. Jake Marisnick: Jake is doing great in his second look at Lansing, he is hitting .304/.372/.460 with 6 home runs, and 19 stolen bases. He'll be chasing Anthony Gose up the ladder but if he can hit like this, he could be good in a corner outfield spot too. He is just 20 too, so there is time for a lot to happen. I'd think he'll add some power as he moves up.