It’s been several weeks since we’ve posted a minors update here at Redbird Daily, and there’s a lot of roster churn throughout the system. Austin Gomber struck out 16 in a start for Memphis, then was promoted and demoted without making an appearance while Ryan Helsley took his spot on the Memphis roster. Mike O’Reilly jumped from Palm Beach to Springfield and then all the way to Memphis. Carson Kelly was promoted to St. Louis following the injury to Yadi, but Andrew Knizner stayed in Springfield while Jesse Jenner backfilled to Memphis. Randy Arozarena got caught in the churn and went back to Springfield. Dylan Carlson was promoted to Palm Beach after a good start to the season, and Scott Hurst took his place on the Peoria roster.
Now that we’re caught up, let’s go team by team.
Triple-A Memphis: 19-12, +3.0 in PCL American South
I only got to watch one Memphis game this week, and it was started by Dakota Hudson. It was without a doubt his best start of the year. He turned in eight outstanding innings and only allowed one run on five hits. I’ve said since last season Hudson needs to raise his strikeout totals, and he has, albeit incrementally. That being said, his stuff is really good. Oklahoma City simply couldn’t find barrels against him. The start lowered his ERA to 3.03, a significant improvement from his Triple-A stint last season but I still want to see my strikeouts.
Oscar Mercado has quietly put together a solid start to the season. He’s hit .297/.366/.436 with four homers and nine steals in 14 attempts. Max Schrock‘s numbers have remained incredibly consistent; he’s hitting .342 with a superb .389 OBP. Tyler O’Neill took a week off and spent it on the bench in St. Louis, but his Memphis numbers are off the charts. He’s slugging .718 with eight homers. I’m not complaining about that production, but his 18:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio indicates it’s unsustainable.
Double-A Springfield: 17-11, +1.5 in Texas League North
Randy Arozarena went back to Springfield and promptly posted five RBI’s in his second game. Andre Knizner is doing Andrew Knizner things. He’s hitting .370/.446/.519 with two homers but six doubles. Knizner is definitely ready for Triple-A, which makes the club’s decision to promote Jesse Jenner instead curious. My friend Kyle Ries pointed out that the organization has a history of promoting from Double-A – as long as the player is ready.
Victor Roache, signed as a minor league free-agent, has found his power stroke. Over his last ten games, he’s hit six homers.
Mike O’Reilly made two scoreless starts before being bumped to Memphis, and Jake Woodford has pitched better of late but has yet to turn in a dominant start. Connor Greene pitched on Sunday and showed why – despite his blazing fastball – I would hesitate to put him in the top half of my rankings. He made the first two hitters look silly on breaking balls, then walked the next three before finally getting out of the first. Ultimately, he only made it through 3 2/3 innings and walked seven hitters.
High-A Palm Beach: 16-13, 4.5 GB in FSL South
I’m so excited that Dylan Carlson was promoted. He’s got one of the highest ceilings in the entire organization. His Peoria numbers don’t jump off the page, but they’re good. His K:BB ratio was 1:1 in Peoria which bumped his OBP up to .368. He’s only 19, and a switch hitter with pop.
Andy Young might be really, really good. He’s popped six homers in the first five weeks of the season, and the fact that they came in the Florida State League makes them all the more impressive. He’s raised his BB% and lowered his K%, and is simply punishing High-A pitching. The upper minors are working through some roster crunch right now, but it’s easy to envision Young being promoted to Springfield before the halfway mark.
Anthony Shew is an intriguing right-handed starter. Over six starts (31 2/3 innings) he has a 1.99 ERA. I watched one of his starts, and although he doesn’t’ have overpowering stuff, he throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup in the zone. When he’s on, he doesn’t just throw strikes with all three pitches, he throws quality strikes with them. At 24-years-old, he’s advanced for the level but has been absolutely dominant thus far.
Class-A Peoria: 13-14, 2.5 GB in MWL West
Scott Hurst has gotten off to a great start after being plucked out of extended Spring Training. He’s hitting .333/.395/.462 with a homer in his first nine games. I ranked him as my 40th prospect in the system coming into the season, which coincidentally was exactly where Kyle Reis ranked him.
Juan Yepez and Elehuris Montero are absolutely ranking. I wrote about Yepez a few weeks ago. He’s basically continued to do exactly what he was doing then. Montero is a big-bodied third baseman that was pretty much unknown, save for The Cardinal Nation, who ranked him 36th. TCN reported that he was a solid defender with pop, and so far his .526 SLG is proving them right.
Thanks for reading!