Minor League Update

Sure, it isn't quite the end of the month yet, and close supposedly only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades, but I'm diving in anyways, if only to save Charlie some hassle:


McCutchen - Obviously Charlie is of the opinion that his time is now, and I don't entirely disagree, but also feel there need to be some MLB moves made to give himself and the other productive players adequate playing time. A .307/.840 May (including his just-finished 8 for 18 romp in Gwinnett) has Andrew at .296/.840 for the season. His game, in terms of offense, appears about as rounded as it's going to get for the time, and any power increase is likely to come with age, not "extra seasoning" in AAA (he's not Mrs. Dash, for crissakes). Is it still to early to worry (in terms of sample size) about his rather severe platoon split?

Virgil Vasquez - I know he isn't particularly young or exciting, but the guy is getting it done. May has seen improvements across the board, from K:BB (up from 13:4 to 29:2) to FIP (5.49 to 3.72) to his ground ball and home run numbers. He is obviously improving at working down in the zone, and it's paying off. Watch your back, Ian "I'll Probably Screw Up Again" Snell.

Neil Walker - His numbers still aren't anything to throw a parade over, but after an absolutely pathetic April, he's had a...notably mediocre May. A .263/.800 month is not starter material, but he IS still on pace for 42 2B, 18 HR and 78 RBI, which is certainly closer to what we hope for from Neil.

Daniel "The Other" McCutchen - He has also seen some improvement in May. He'll probably be a hot mess tomorrow just to ruin this paragraph, but he has maintained his K's while cutting down his BB's and also his HR (only two in four starts this month). He too is succeeding at keeping the ball down (GB% up from 27 to 38) and is certainly working his way back into any future rotation conversations.

Also: Steve Pearce is trapped in a 4-32 slump over the last nine games,but is still putting up solid power numbers and a commendable K:BB...after a terribly April, Shelby Ford has been even worse in May...Bixler and Garrett Jones have also fallen off respective cliffs in May with their offense.


Jim Negrych: Negrych has been hot recently, posting a .416/.916 line in the last eight games. Unfortunately, due to a terrible slump earlier in the month, his May line is still only .214/.537. Negrych still has no power (which is slightly more o.k. now that he's shifted from 3B back to 2B) but let's hope that was just a slump earlier this month.

Brian Friday - After finally returning from injury, Friday isn't smoking the ball like he did the first week of the season, but it isn't like we expected him to maintain a 1.47 OPS. Still, his .283/.825 line is nice, and if he can continue it beyond the current small sample size while maintaining decent defense, we can finally have an answer to "is there anyone to eventually take jack's job?"

Brad Lincoln - Has been a monster of late, and has now allowed three runs and posted a 29:6 K:BB in 33 IP this month, and for the season lefties are hitting a pathetic .190 against him. Obviously one doesn't want to count eggs before hatching and whatnot, but he should probably enjoy a warm Indianapolis summer.

Michael Crotta - In spite of a rough start against Akron a couple weeks ago, Crotta has been solid and, if nothing else, has only had two bad starts in two months. He also has a strong K:BB (31:7). He's only faced four teams, which is a little odd, but he's still putting up strong numbers that might get better with some real defense (according to his 2.82 FIP)

Also: So much for Jamie Romak. He's been a hot mess for two whole months now, as his 46:9 K:BB and .481 OPS will tell you. As far as I'm concerned, he can now be removed from any prospect discussions... Lincoln Holdzkom, a pickup from the Red Sox system, has somehow managed to not give up a run in 17 innings despite allowing 15 hits and 10 walks in that span.


Matt Hague - After an atrocious April, a .307/.837 May has brought Hague's overall season numbers up to a very respectable total, even if there's a lack of the power you'd want from a 3B. In Hague's defense (perhaps?) he's still losing occasional playing time to Eddie Prasch.

Pedro Alvarez - After five at-bats last night produced an RBI triple, a two-RBI single, and a strikeout with the bases loaded, Pedro is now up to a  decent .261/.885 line for the month of May and appears to gradually be gaining ground towards the bonafide hitter the Pirates drafted.

Matt McSwain - After a rough April in his first season as a full-time starter, McSwain pitched eight innings of one-run ball tonight to finish with a 2.65 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 20:5 K:BB in 37 1/3 IP for the month of May. He hasn't been talked about a lot, but after a month like this he may be worth keeping an eye on.

Also: Ronald Uviedo has struggled recently, but barring an implosion Friday he'll may two successful bullpen-to-rotation transitions for the Hillcats...After missing a chunk of time due to injury, Jared Keel is back and hitting to a respectable .269/.905 line thusfar...Chi-Hung Cheng is giving up fewer runs, but that may not last, since he has also stopped striking hitters out (12K in 30 IP in his last six outings)..."free" talent Michael Dubee now has 21 K's to only 10 baserunners in 16 1/3 IP this month...Dustin Molleken seems to have hit a middle-relief groove, with only four earned runs and a 25:3 K:BB in 22 IP his last nine outings...Michael Colla has pitched 11 2/3 shutout innings his last eight times out, but has only 10 K's to 8 BB's - is he bound for a drop-off?...

West Virginia:

Chase D'Arnaud - Chase has struggled of late, going 8-for-32 over his last eight games, but still has a solid .307/.848 line for the season. Perhaps it's just a slump, and if so, he's starting to look a bit better of a prospect than his draft-mate Jordy Mercer.

Robbie Grossman - His plate discipline is a bit rough - 60 K's already (including 11 in 19 AB's over the past five games) - but he has still had a solid May with an OPS over .800 and he's obviously still young and developing. 

Jeremy Farrell - Another player who got bit by the injury bug early, Farrell has now put up a .284/.823 line in 22 games since his return (due in large part to his .400/1.100 line the last seven games). Another possible draft win? At least worth tracking now.

Quincy Latimore - Ignored early on in large part due to his .169 average in April, Latimore has been on fire in May (.333/.888).

Calvin Anderson - The resident BMOC of the minors has actually had a down month in May, posting "only" a .280 average and .837 OPS. Still, Anderson is roughly on pace for 30 2B, 20 HR and 90 RBI, so if he can work on that ghastly 42:9 K:BB he may well be moving East to Virginia sooner than later.

Also: After a rough first outing in May, Rudy Owens has given up only four runs in 14 hits in 21 IP while posting a 25:5 K:BB, and he seems to be improving on what was a fairly strong April...Kyle McPherson also struggled to start the year, but is showing some signs of life with a 2.71 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 11K's in 16 2/3 IP his last three outings.

*     *     *

I think that about covers everyone of consequence...unless anyone was truly dying to know how Duke Welker is doing.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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