Triple-A Memphis: 23-17, 2 GL in PCL American South
Memphis has cooled off since they opened up the season on fire. They are 4-6 in their last ten games. Tyler O’Neill has been hammering the ball; he homered six times in that span. Patience continues to be an issue for him, though. He’s drawn just three walks in over 110 plate appearances, and as long as there’s such a gaping hole in his approach, expect him to stay at Triple-A.
Oscar Mercado has struggled to a .182 average in May, but his season slash line of .277/.342/.415 is healthy. Austin Gomber was hit around a little bit his last time out. He gave up two bombs and four runs in five innings of work.
Daniel Poncedeleon is one of the best stories in all of minor league baseball simply by pitching again, but he’s had tremendous success so far. His 2.41 ERA is nearly as good as Jack Flaherty’s or John Gant’s, both of whom have gotten the call to St. Louis. Furthermore, he’s struck out 26.2 percent of hitters. One area of concern: his walk rate is too high at 11.9 percent.
Double-A Springfield: 19-18, 1 GB TL North
After a great three-week stretch, the S-Cards have won just three of their last ten games. Offensively, they’ve been paced by Ramon Urias, a shortstop signed out of the Mexican League in March. At 23-years-old, he’s the average age for the Texas League. Early in his Double-A career, he’s had success. His all-fields approach is responsible for his .310/.395/.410 slash line, and he’s homered three times. He has sneaky pop but can shorten up when he needs to.
Elsewhere on the roster, Randy Arozarena’s .364 average and three homers show why he was assigned to Triple-A to start the season. Andrew Knizner (.222), Tommy Edman (.196), Edmundo Sosa (.238), and Lane Thomas (.140) have all struggled in May after getting off to good starts.
Conner Greene has the best ERA (3.63) of Springfield’s starters but has walked way too many hitters. Walks have been an issue for Greene throughout his minor league career, and so far 2018 has been no exception. Ryan Helsley turned in a quality start last time out (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). His 5.40 ERA doesn’t look good, but it’s trending down. Jake Woodford has been better of late, his peripherals aren’t promising. He’s striking out just 15 percent of hitters and walking over 10 percent of them.
High-A Palm Beach: 22-15, 1 GB FSL South
It’s stupid how good Evan Mendoza has been, literally since the day he was drafted out of NC State. In his last ten games, he hit .410 with two homers. On Tuesday he went 4-for-4 and he already 2-for-2 today. Andy Young has not maintained his good start quite as well as Mendoza: he’s hitting .205 in May and hasn’t homered since April 22.
Juan Yepez absolutely earned the promotion to Palm Beach, but he’s off to a slow start with his new club. He’s 2-for-23 but one of those hits is a homer.
Austin Warner has gone six or more innings in four consecutive outings, and his 24 percent strikeout rate and 2.3 percent walk rate is incredible, especially when you consider he went undrafted out of DII Bellarmine. He’s being outpitched, however, by his teammate, Anthony Shew who hasn’t allowed an earned run since April 22 and has a very effective three-pitch mix.
Class-A Peoria: 19-16, 0.5 GB in MWL West
Last season I thought Edwin Figuera looked really athletic in the field and had a good approach when I watched him for State College. This season he’s made me look smart by hitting .304 and playing a great shortstop before he went down with an ankle injury. Nick Plummer has shown signs of life; he’s hit .297 in May and absolutely needs to start climbing the system in his third full professional season.
Elehuris Montero has recorded a hit in six of his last seven and has turned some heads with his production so far. Jonatan Machado was demoted to Extended Spring Training, and mysteriously so. In his last ten games, he’s hit .265 which isn’t great but not necessarily deserving of a demotion.
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