Tom Brennan - MAJORING ON THE MINORS – WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT – WK 1
Well, the 2015 minor league season started on April 9, so several games are now in the record books. So who's hot, who's not? I thought you'd never ask. So I’m gonna spill.
LAS VEGAS (AAA) (3-4):
Soup is RED HOT. And flying east to Queens, the wright move to make. Eric Campbell was an offensive behemoth in his 6 games in AAA, hitting .550 with 3 walks and 4 extra base hits. May he forever hit .550 in the big leagues and never return to a league that is not major.
Jack Leathersich is HOT. FUEGO! The old critique is Jack can't handle AAA, can't pitch in thin air, lousy control, can’t get lefties out, blah, blah, blah. Boring. Talk to da hand. Well, he's faced 9 guys, not walked any, and K'd 7. Lefties? 1 hit, 3 outs, all K’s. Easy breezy. Those zero BBs are after his last 6 official spring training games, in which he walked, oh, let me break out the calculator and add them up. NONE! Strikes and Ks - Matt Harvey and Dwight Gooden approve of this message.
Matz and Thor: I'd like to say are hot – but they’re not, at least yet. Tepid, perhaps – OK, lukewarm. NOT TOO HOT. 3 starts between them so far, and in 14.1 innings, 15 hits, 7 runs, 9 walks, 11 Ks. The coach is telling them to be more like Jack. "C’mon guys, THROW STRIKES."
Plawecki and Reynolds? The 2 can't miss prospects are missing one key thing so far: hits. Both are NOT HOT – but in Wednesday's game, they both picked up a pair of hits. Ahh, progress.
Mack Ade fave Alex Castellanos is HOT. Hitting .318 with a dinger and 6 RBI, 4 BB. Solid veteran start.
Brennan fave Danny Muno - NOT HOT, but even hitting .235 in 17 at bats, his walks etc. have him at a fine .364 on base. He gets on base a lot. Always. So even when he’s not hot, he’s pretty hot stuff. With Campbell up to the Mets, he may get more ABs in week 2. Fine table setter.
Dilson Herrera - NOT HOT - but getting there. 5 hits and a BB in 4 games since starting out 0-8. .227 so far.
Darrell Ceciliani, who has the size to hit homers, but has never hit many, teed off twice in week one, so he is off to a solid start. OK, HOT. 16 times up, 3 hits, 3 BBs qualifies.
RHRP Hansel Robles – HOT: (a former starter of renown for the 2012 Brooklyn Cyclones in 2012 – see more about that in AA section below) has had a scoreless start to his season thru 4 innings.
RHSP Matt Bowman asks, "Can you just mention my 11 Ks and only 2 BBs in 10 innings?" Sorry, Mr. B, those stats are great...but...NOT HOT, as I do regretfully have to add that Matt has allowed an ERA-killing 11 earned runs and 3 taters in those 10 innings. Rocky start, but like deGrom, he can hit...1-3 yesterday, so perhaps he can hit his way out of this slump.
BINGHAMTON (AA) (4-3)
HOT? Assume TJ Rivera is HOT, because the Bronx native is never not hot. The first two words he spoke as a toddler were “base hit” and his first rattle was a Louisville Slugger. He is a career .318 hitter in the minors in over 1,600 at bats. Democrats say that puts him in the TOP 1%, because he hits his fair share. So far this season, he is hitting .417.
Gavin Cecchini – HOT: the 21 year old SS (yes, he is still that young, and for all this season, in fact), Gavin is showing real progress, in a high league. .318 so far, with pop. Keep it up.
Rainy Lara and Luis Cessa – HOT: both dazzled in their first starts, as did HOT Gabe Ynoa. Those 3 were starters in the fine Brooklyn Cyclones starter class of 2012, where they combined with Hansel Robles (see above) for a 24-10 W-L record.
Not Hot, REALLY, But That's OK: Brandon Nimmo, because despite hitting only .192 so far, he has 2 homers already. Homers bring happiness, especially Nimmo long balls. And he has 5 hits (and the 2 dingers) and 2 walks in the past 4 games...on his way.
Dustin Lawley - Hot. .294 and a HR in 18 plate appearances. And just 2 Ks, a previous problem area. Lower the K rate and that will be hot stuff.
Aderlin Rodriguez - Hot. A grand slam gets instant "Hot" recognition. So far, he is a decent 4 for 13, 2 BB, only 3 Ks. Fine start. Keep it up.
Xorge Carillo - NOT HOT: 2 for 15, no BB. He’ll do better – he can hit.
Matt Koch - NOT HOT: always prone to allowing a lot of hits. His first two starts in AA have led to a 7.71 ERA, 15 hits in just 9.1 innings, just 1 walk, and just 5 Ks. I frankly see too many hits and too few Ks from him. He seems to be more suspect than prospect in his career to date.
Domingo Tapia - ICE COLD: The puzzling career of Domingo Tapia prior to 2015 has become...even more puzzling. In 2 outings, spanning 1 inning, he allowed 4 hits, 4 walks, 4 runs. I wondered if we'd see a transformed Tapia, like Familia, with his transfer to the pen. Transformed, all right - for the worse. Ice might be getting a bit thin for Mr. T. He needs to figure out how not to be baffling.
Champ Stuart - RED HOT: The CF lad with the supernatural speed is hitting .409 and been on base via hit or walk 17 times in 30 plate appearances. Throw in a HR and 5 walks. Only flaw is 8 Ks, which is an area of focus for Champ.
Michael Conforto - HOT: you like to see your first round slugger hit a grand slam, just to make you feel more certain you got a great pick. Conforto deliver yesterday in St Lucie's 8 run 2nd inning explosion. That brings him to .292 (7 for 24), with 6 BB, 2 HR, 8 RBIs. Keep on slugging.
Amed Rosario - HOT: the 19 year old (he’s always so young!) has jumped 2 leagues and is 7 for 25 out of the gate. No walks, but only 3 Ks. Sweet.
Akeel Morris - what do you think - HOT! The guy who gave up an inconceivably low 3 hits per 9 last year in Savannah surrendered no hits in his 3 official spring games. First minors week? How about 4 more hitless innings and 6 Ks. When he allows a hit, and it better be just one, he will be my bum of the week. Kidding...keep mowing them down, Morris.
Robert Gsellman - HOT: 2-0, 1.74 in 2 starts. And why not? This righty is a really good one. Keep it up, RG.
Miller Diaz - HOT: after Parnell and Black threw rehab innings Tuesday, Diaz (in his only game so far) threw 5 scoreless, 2 hits, 6 Ks. Nice, but Akeel asked the obvious question: Miller, what's with giving up 2 hits?
Kevin McGowan - HOT: in 1 start the 6'6" righty threw 6.1 scoreless innings. Just one start to go by, but no runs allowed, over 6 innings...HOT.
Maikis de la Cruz- HOT: "de la" had a delightful week, hitting .381 with a dinger. The 24 year old has decent career #s and a great start in 2015.
Colton Plaia - HOT: the catcher is hitting a Ted Williams-like .400. OK, only 15 at bats, but who's counting. Plus a HR. Nice start.
Jhoan Urena: NOT REALLY HOT OR COLD. Folks want to know "what about Urena?" .222, but 5 RBIs in 7 games is nice. 5 a week, we're happy.
Dominic Smith - ICE COLD: Still 19, Smitty's hitting rhymes with something that would describe his struggles. 3 for 27, 1 BB, 7 K's, no HR, 0 RBIs. Bartolo Colon said “I can do that.” Let's see what week 2 brings.
SAVANNAH (A) (2-4)
Only Gnats' stats thru Tuesday’s games, not because I got lazy - they were rained out Wednesday:
DH Jon Leroux – HOT: 6 for 15, 4 walks. Has pop, with 47 extra base hits in 361 career at bats. Needs to get the average higher than his career .246 and a lower K rate. So far, so good for the 2012 32nd rounder.
CF John Mora - HOT: 7 for 19, 4 walks, 2 Ks, 1st minor league HR. Career .298 lefty hitter/.394 on base %. Small stature, plays big.
LF Vicente Lupo – NOT HOT: 2 for 17, but the old bugaboo still there: 10 Ks. He was red hot during his last month of 2014 at Kingsport, but otherwise has not done a lot of this in his stateside minor league career.
1B Pedro Perez – NOT HOT: 2 for 18 and a walk.
SS Luis Guillorme – HOT: 6 for 18 with 7 walks and just 2 Ks. A .520 on base % through 6 games is certainly laudable.
RHRP Alberto Baldonado – HOT: 4.1 innings, 2 hits, no runs, 7 Ks
RHSP Martirez Arias – HOT: first start 5 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 6 Ks