Hi everyone. It's been a little while, I figured we should use the off-day to take a look at how the minor-league affiliates, and, more importantly, the young Jay-to-be hopefuls, are doing.
Travis Snider is still out of action with a shoulder injury and isn't set to start swinging a bat again until July. David Dellucci has been quiet for the 51s, hitting just .250/.242/.344, with three doubles over 33 plate appearances. Michael Barrett recently returned to AAA (he's only played 2 games there). J.P. Arencibia has been ice-cold recently -- after a hot May, he is hitting only .200/.235/.262 in June. He does have 19 doubles and 8 home runs on the season but things aren't going well at the moment at all. Randy Ruiz has always put up big minor-league numbers and this season is no exception - he has 41 extra base hits (including 15 home runs) already this season and a .972 OPS.
On the mound, the 51s rotation has taken a hit with Brad Mills and Brett Cecil both up at the big club. Fabio Castro has slowed down after a hot start at AAA - he's now sporting just a 30/26 K/BB ratio over 63 2/3 innings, though he still has a nice 3.11 ERA and a winning record. David Purcey has two successful starts in a row and his walk rate continues to recede to respectable levels. Bryan Bullington is putting up pretty good numbers in the bullpen, with over a strikeout per inning and a 35/6 K/BB ratio.
Scott Campbell is back from injury and working his way up the minors - In 25 plate appearances at AA, he's hitting a Campbell-esque .300/.440/.400 with as many walks (5) as strikeouts and has yet to make an error, playing 2nd and 3rd. I imagine he'll be back with Las Vegas soon. Brian Dopirak continues to rake -- he's hitting .307/.369/.580 on the season and is even better than that so far in June (1.020 OPS) with 39 extra-base hits (16 HRs) already. He could be ready to move up, but Randy Ruiz and Brett Harper are entrenched at AAA at the 1st base and DH spots. Other than those two, there's not much offense to speak of - catcher Brian Jeroloman's bat (.706 OPS) remains cold, and second baseman Brad Emaus, who looked so good for the Jays in spring training, has really fallen off, hitting just .127/.182/.197 in June.
On the mound, Marc Rzepczynski has been good all season, but has really turned it up in June, where he's 1-0 with a 0.45 ERA over his 3 starts and, still better, a 21/7 K/BB ratio over 20 innings. His season totals are similarly excellent (2.93 ERA, 88/36 K/BB ratio over 76 2/3 innings and an excellent groundball ratio) despite being extremely hit-unlucky. It's been a very successful half-season for Zep. Reidier Gonzalez and Luis Perez have also done a nice job out of New Hampshire's rotation.
Dunedin's outfield has been excellent all season, and all three: centrefielder Darrin Mastroianni, leftfielder Eric Thames, and rightfielder Moises Sierra, were all named to the Florida State League North Division all star team. Mastroianni has a .325/.390/.426 line, with 32 steals, while Thames and Sierra have similar overall lines - both showing good power for young hitters and hitting well recently. The trio of early 2007 draftee infielders -- John Tolisano, Justin Jackson, and Kevin Ahrens, have done less well. That said, Tolisano is having a nice June (.311/.328/.475) with an extra-base hit every 10 at-bats so far. Jackson has also been better this month -- not as good as he was in May upon returning from his injury, but OPSing a respectable .726 in June and striking out much less (just 11 times in 56 plate appearances this month). Ahrens, though, has been just as cold (.588 OPS in June v. .576 over the season). Adam Loewen is still waiting for things to click (.584 OPS this season) and is still waiting for his first home run.
On the pitching side - 2008 draftee Andy Liebel's 2-8 record is misleading - Liebel has a very nice 65/20 K/BB ratio over his 77 1/3 innings and a steady 1.33 WHIP. He's been especially strong in June and is having a fine first full pro season. Kenny Rodriguez (5-2, 1.99 ERA, 48/21 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 IP, 1.12 Whip) is also having a fine season in the rotation, while Trystan Magnuson, Daniel Farquar, and Tim Collins are pitching very well out of the bullpen -- Collins has a ridiculous 57 Ks in 37 1/3 innings, and isn't walking many (14) to do it. Farquar (23/11 K/BB ratio over 17 relief innings for a 0.53 ERA) and Collins joined the aforementioned trio of outfielders and infielder Raul Barron on the all-star team.
Outfielder Johermyn Chavez had a bit of a May dropoff after a very hot April, but has picked things up a bit in June - with 5 home runs already this month. On the season, he has 12 home runs, 11 doubles, and 5 triples, serious power for a 20-year old hitter in the tough-on-hitters Midwest League. His overall line is .266/.331/.500. He's learning how to take a walk too - he has 21 walks in 265 plate appearances this season after drawing just 25 in 427 plate appearances last season. Shortstop Ty Pastornicky hasn't figured out Midwest League pitching yet (.261/.339/.312) but he can draw a walk and he's been all over the bases (31/40 in steal attempts).
On the mound, Charles Huggins was so good (1.57 ERA) he was called up to Dunedin. Chase Lirette, who recovered from shoulder surgery about halfway through the season last year, is old for the level but off to a very good start (1.87 ERA, 24/8 K/BB ratio) so he could move up soon as well.
The season has only just started for the Doubledays. Some players on the team who have already seen action with whom you might be familiar are 2008 draftee Marcus Brisker (OF), 2007 draftee Eric Eiland (CF), and 2009 draftees Lance Durham (son of Leon, also a first baseman) and Jonathan Fernandez (son of Tony, also a shorstop)