Every Saturday (and some Fridays, like today, when my schedule allows it) until the end of the minor league season we will present you with the awards for the past weeks top pitcher and position player at each affiliate. We will include a capsule at the end of each list on an under the radar performer that has had a very good week. The stats will run from Friday through Thursday. The stats are a reflection of that weeks success.
WEEK 9 (June 9th – June 15th)
MEMPHIS (40-26) 1st Place, 6 Games Up
Hitter Of The Week – Luke Voit: 1B, Age 26 – 26 AB, 1 Double, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 0 BB, 2 SO, 385/385/885/1.269
This is a VERY good sign.
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve seen Voit on the list. I’d like to be able to tell you that it’s because the other players in Memphis have just been soooo good, but that isn’t the truth. The truth is that Voit has slumped. Badly.
After going 20+ games without a HR, Voit has put on a power clinic this week, as he blasted 4 HR, including at least one moon shot. Over those 24 homer-less games, Voit had also K’ed 19 times in 48 AB. However, he’s only struck out twice in 26 AB this week.
With Matt Carpenter firmly planted(quicksand-planted) at first, there is a good chance that it doesn’t matter how good Voit, strictly a 1B, shows he can be. That’s a shame, because he’s an exciting player to watch. What separates him from the likes of Nick Stavinoha and Xavier Scruggs is that Voit has shown that he can work his way out of the slumps he has, as infrequent as they are.
He really does have a chance to make a major league impact for someone.
Pitcher Of The Week – Mike Mayers: RHP, Age 25 – 2 Starts, 0-1 11 IP, 11 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 K. Game Scores of 68 & 44
I find myself fascinated by Mke Mayers.
After making his major league debut against the Cubs last year, probably the most forgettable debut of my lifetime, Mayers stardom was all but snuffed out by Cardinals Nation. Once a pitcher that we were all excited to see get the call, Mayers is now a forgotten “prospect” lost in the scrum of high-end pitching talent.
But over the last month Mayers has quietly been dominant on the mound. He may be pitching better now than he ever has. Over his last four starts he’s pitched 24 innings while striking out 29, allowing 4 earned runs, and walking 7. This success might not be sustainable for him because he’s seen an increase in fly-ball outs, but that might not mean anything at all. It’ll be interesting to watch.
If the Cardinals needed an arm for the bullpen and felt forced to go with a pitcher off of the 40 man I’d be comfortable with that being Mayers. he’s shown that he can dial it up when he has to. And his secondary stuff might play OK out of the pen.
Please, just don’t let him start in St. Louis again.
Springfield (32-34) 3rd, Tied, 2.5 Games Back
Hitter Of The Week – Anthony Garcia: OF, Age 25 – 21 AB, 2 DOubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 238/273/476/749
Pardon my language, but it was a piss-poor week for Springfield all around, but their hitting hit an all time low.
The outfield of Sierra, Mercado, and Jose Adolis Garcia struggled at the plate. Casey Grayson hit a little bit, but not enough for it to matter. Minor league journeymen Alex Mejia and Jacob Wilson might has well have checked themselves into the nursing home. Sierra hit a homer, but it was an inside the park homer on a ball that easily could have been ruled an error.
So I’m going to leave it at that. Sorry for not being the most thorough here. There just isn’t a lot to say. You know Anthony Garcia and you know that he is a diminished prospect. And that stat package above is nothing worth talking about. Just a bad week for Springfield.
Pitcher Of The Week – Sandy Alcantara: RHP, Age 21 – 2 Starts, 1-0, 11 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. Game Scores of 59 & 68
It was a rough week for Springfield, as they saw their record move from above .500 to below .500. It only seems fair that, in return for struggle, the mostly highly-touted SP left in Springfield has started to come back around after struggling mightily to start the season.
Alcantara’s success is very important for the organization, and there hasn’t been much of that since his debut dominance at Springfield. However, over his last three starts, the righty is really starting to pitch with a little bit more authority and confidence. He’s started to cut the walks down, and while his K’s aren’t any where near his career average of 9.2 per 9 IP he’s throwing more strikes, especially early in counts. In his start on Thursday night he induced more ground-balls(6) than fly-balls(3), which is another great sign.
His two starts this week might not have been the displays of dominance that we all hoped we see from him, they are gigantic step in the correct direction for the flame-thrower.
PALM BEACH (38-25) 1st Place, 2.5 Games Up
Hitter Of The Week – Randy Arrozarena: OF, Age 22 – 27 AB, 1 Double, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 3BB, 4 SO, 1 SB, 259/375/630/1.005
If I had to pick my favorite hitting prospect in the system it’d be Arozarena.
I love his swing. It’s short and compact, and it seems designed to spray the ball from gap to gap. Where Arozarena really surprises me is how he handles counts. He takes a professional at-bat with a professional approach. He swings a little bigger early on in the count and changes his swing and purpose as he adds strikes to the count.
His slash line on the season is decent enough, but it tells too much of the story of his early struggles as he adapted to the American game and, well, America. Since May 28th he’s slashed 359/422/680/1.102 with six of his eight home-runs and 13 of his 18 doubles coming in the pitcher=friendly FSL.
Arozarena is further along in his development than anyone is willing to recognize. He isn’t the defensive specimen that Magneuris Sierra is, but he is certainly a more well rounded prospect, and maybe by a long shot
Pitcher Of The Week – Jake Woodford: RHP, Age 20 – 1 Start, 1-0, 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Game Score Of 56
While Ryan Helsley had the best start of the week for Palm Beach, Helsley also had one of the worst start of the week in the system. Thus, Woodford takes it this week.
The 7 strikeouts in this start were a season high form Woodford, and that’s a tremendous sign for the 20 year old who should be more over-matched than he has been. He shows maturity and poise at every turn, and those skills alone will take him pretty far in the minors. He’s only allowed 3 HR over 53 innings pitched, which will do just fine for a control-first prospect.
Yet, it hasn’t been all roses for Woodford over this time span. The BA against of .303 over his last 5 starts is alarming and a stat to keep tabs on. I love that he is having success against talent that is so much older than he is, and I full expect him to develop into the perfect back of the rotation arm that’s his ceiling.
Peoria (28-38) Eliminated From First Half Playoffs
Hitter Of The Week – Juan Yepez (pictured): 3B, Age 19 – 19 AB, 1 Double, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BB, 4 SO, 421/421/947/1.386
As the Cardinals major league offense has struggled to get going because of the lack of a power bat in the middle of the lineup, it’s been tough to watch Matt Adams go to Atlanta and really hit the ball well. The good news is that the prospect that the Cardinals received in return for Adams is playing better than he has ever played.
Yepez was once a highly touted International free agent that struggled with injuries in the Braves system. When you are 17-19 years old and you have injuries, usually that means that you are going to struggle when you are healthy. And, maybe, familiarity leads to comfort and you don’t push yourself as hard as you otherwise might.
Especially at the ripe age of 19.
I’ve heard that Yepez’ defense at 3rd is still very raw but that he has shown signs of improvement. That’ll be interesting to keep an eye on. Offensively, it took him a minute to get his feet underneath after being traded to the Cardinals, but he has an OPS of 1.177 over his last 7 games and he is really hitting the ball hard. Yepez has every chance to see his stock as a prospect rise if he keeps that up.
Pitcher Of The Week – Austin Sexton (Pictured): RHP, Age 22 – 1 Start, 1-0, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 10 K. Game Score Of 85.
It’s been a weird season so far for the 18th round pick in 2016. He started the season in Palm Beach in their bullpen. But, after two OK appearances out of the pen he was demoted to the Peoria pen. Of course, the Peoria staff turned out to be a hot mess and Peoria needed starters. So Sexton was pulled out of the pen to start a few games while more solid plans were finalized.
Sexton had a solid start last week, but it was abbreviated because of pitch count. However, in his second start of the season he was brilliant. The stat line about says all that I can: 7 IP. 1 H. 10 K. That’s total dominance made even more impressive because it was only his second start.
Sexton was a teammate and staff mate at Mississippi St. with 2016 first round pick Dakota Hudson. As a matter of fact, he really helped Hudson work on a develop his change-up during their final season in college. I love little tidbits like that.
Sexton has sleeper prospect written all over him. He’s only allowed 3 ER over 29 innings so far this season. Usually pitching prospects hit rock bottom after a start like this, so I’ll be anxious to see how Sexton recovers.
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