Down on the Farm: AA Report
Thanks to my delay in getting posts up last week, this post covers just five games -- meaning each starter got one trip to the mound between the last post and this one. Unfortunately, none of the starters picked up a win, and for the most part everybody gave up a bunch of hits or a bunch of runs. The best start went to Yohan Pino, who went 5.0 innings in allowing a run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 batters. Pino now has a very strong ERA of 0.69 on the season. On the other end of the scale, Oswaldo Sosa had the worst start of the week, taking the loss in a 4.0 inning start in which he allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 2, leaving him with a season ERA of 5.84.
In between were the other three starters -- Anthony Swarzak (4.0 innings, 2 runs, 7 hits, 3 walks, 6 K's), Ryan Mullins (6.0 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 2 K's), and Jay Rainville (5.0 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, a walk, and 2 K's). Swarzak's season ERA sits at 1.35, while Mullins is at 1.57 and Rainville at 5.40.
Armando Gabino put together the best week out of the 'pen, making three appearances and going 6.0 scoreless innings while allowing 6 hits and striking out 5 batters and picking up a win. His season ERA sits at 1.80. Zach Ward, meanwhile, retained his 0.00 ERA for the season by going 5.0 innings in two appearances and allowing just 1 unearned run off of 5 hits and a walk while striking out 6. It was also a pretty good week for Ben Julianel, who pitched 5.2 innings in three games, allowing 2 unearned runs off of 3 hits and 6 walks (he had a 4 walk game in which he took the loss). Julianel's season ERA sits at 2.53. The last guy in the "solid" category for the week was Kyle Aselton, who went 3.0 innings in 2 games and allowed an earned run (although he allowed 3 total runs). He did pick up a win in his second game, however, and his season ERA sits at 1.13, so no complaints.
On the downside of the list, Jay Sawatski got into two games and allowed 5 earned runs in 4.0 innings of work off of 8 hits and a walk (he struck out 4). Sawatski's 8.64 ERA is easily the worst on the staff at this point, so hopefully he can get it together as he moves forward. Jason Miller also struggled a bit in his lone outing of the week, going 2.1 innings and allowing 2 runs on 3 hits with 2 K's to bring his season ERA to 5.79. Meanwhile, David Shinskie did not pitch this week after being placed on the 7-Day DL, and reliever Danny Graves joined the team on Monday to replace him on the roster.
When last I wrote about the Rock Cats, Drew Butera was looking strong offensively -- and I suggested that his average would start falling pretty soon. The last week bore out my prediction, as Butera went just 1-for-12 on the week in his 3 games, dropping his batting average to .231; that's the Butera I expected to see! I'm not making fun of Butera -- he's supposedly a very good defensive player who is an asset to the organization. There was really nothing in his background to suggest he was going to start hitting near .300, so this drop was not unexpected. Jeff Christy got two starts behind the plate, and he also struggled at the plate, going 1-for-7 to take his season average to .222.
Brock Peterson picked up 4 starts at 1B this week and 1 at DH, going 7-for-20 with a home run and a couple of doubles. It's nice to see Peterson start to pick up offensively (his season average now sits at .242), because I think he's an interesting player who I don't want to see stall out in AA. Erik Lis also got a start at 1B this week, along with a start in right field and three as the DH. Lis went 6-for-21 on the week, which was also an improvement (he's now hitting .179 on the season), and he also showed some power by knocking a couple of balls out of the park and (somewhat surprisingly) tripling. Unfortunately, the strikeouts were still fairly high this week (he had 6 of them), but overall it was a much better week than what he had been doing.
At 2B, Felix Molina picked up a couple of starts (along with a start at SS), going 3-for-10 to bring his season average to .259. He was joined at 2B by Steven Tolleson, who got two starts there as well and went 1-for-10. Tolleson really isn't seeing the ball -- he struck out 4 times, and his season average is .146. Hopefully he can snap out of it quickly, otherwise his playing time is going to stay pretty low, and that could make matters worse.
Third base belonged to Luke Hughes again this week, as he started four games there along with a start at second. Hughes continues to surprise me with his great offensive performances -- he went 10-for-23 on the week and is hitting .344 on the season. Amongst the highlights this week, Hughes hit a couple of homers, doubled twice, and and drove in three runs. On the downside, he made three errors (one each in three straight games). I'll take a few errors if he keeps hitting .344, though!
Trevor Plouffe started 4 games at SS and one at 3B, going 6-for-28 to bring his season average to .246. Amongst Plouffe's hit this week were a couple of doubles and a triple. He picked up hits in four of his five games, but he was really bad in his third game of the week, when he went 0-for-5 with 3 K's.
Matt Moses started all five games in left field, going 4-for-19 on the week to bring his season average to .220. He hit three doubles in that span and picked up 3 RBI's. Unfortunately, .220 (or even 4-for-19) isn't going to cut it for the once top prospect.
Dustin Martin, meanwhile, started all five games in center. After starting strong, Martin started to come back to Earth this week, going 4-for-21 on the week to drop his season average to .339. He did hit another homerun, but he also struck out 7 times, which is not a good sign. Regular center fielder Brandon Roberts (who is hitting just .182 on the year) didn't play this week, but last I checked he hadn't gone on the DL. I expect he's nursing a minor injury, and hopefully will return this week.
Right field belonged to David Winfree, who started four games at the position and started once at DH. Winfree continued to really struggle, going 2-for-16 to drop his batting average to .192. He only struck out twice, which is good -- and it's made better by the fact that he walked 6 times, which with the low number of K's suggests he's seeing the ball well. Something, however, isn't working particularly well, but I'm hopeful because of how he seems to be seeing the ball that Winfree will be able to turn things around. Of course, I'm not physically seeing his AB's, so the box score numbers may be deceiving. I hope for Winfree's sake that I'm right, though, and that he'll start to turn things around soon.