June Prospects Rundown: Altoona Curve

After a rough month of May, Altoona saw a ton of players catch fire in the month of June, capped off with the promotions of Alex Presley and Daniel Moskos to Indianapolis.  Struggling players like Chase d’Arnaud and Gorkys Hernandez put everything together in the month of June.  Josh Harrison and Presley continued their surprising seasons.  Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson continued to dominate AA hitting, while Bryan Morris didn’t have much trouble in his first full month at the level.

Here is a quick breakdown of the month of June, with players who played up to expectations, some surprises, and some disappointments.
Good as Advertised
Rudy Owens - Owens continues to have a good season, with another strong month in June.  This time he posted a 2.10 ERA in 30 innings, with an 18:7 K/BB ratio, and a .206 BAA.  The strikeouts were down from his totals in April and May, although Owens is still capable of putting up good strikeout numbers, with 17 in 18 innings over his last three starts at the time of this writing.  I’d be surprised if Owens is at the level by the July rundown.
Justin Wilson - Wilson is another guy who I don’t think will be in AA by the time the July rundown comes out.  In the month of June he posted a 2.97 ERA in 36.1 innings, with a 29:12 K/BB ratio, and a .211 BAA.  Wilson is having no problems at the AA level, and is putting up some amazing ground ball numbers, with a 1.56 GO/AO ratio.

Chase d’Arnaud - D’Arnaud has been in the disappointing section the first two months of the season, although I noted last month that he has been the victim of bad luck.  That luck reversed itself in June, as d’Arnaud posted a .316/.383/.500 line in 114 at-bats.  D’Arnaud is still drawing walks at a great rate, and is doing well on the bases, stealing six in seven attempts in June.  He’s also hitting for a lot of extra base hits, with nine doubles, three triples, and two homers in the month of June.  He ranks near the top of the Eastern League this year in doubles.
Gorkys Hernandez - Hernandez has also been in the disappointing section the last two months, but might be finally returning to top prospect status with his month of June.  Hernandez put up a .291/.378/.437 line in 103 at-bats in June, with his first two homers of the season.  Hernandez struck out almost one every three at-bats, which is a problem, but he also saw his walk numbers increase.  Hernandez needs some more extra base hits, as he’s hitting mostly singles, but it’s nice to see him put up a month with an .800+ OPS.
Jordy Mercer - Mercer’s month wasn’t spectacular, as he posted a .751 OPS with very little power, but he did show some good signs.  First, he hit for a .312 average, which was up considerably from his .210 average in May.  The hitting was mostly singles, with only six extra base hits, and only one homer, so that’s an area that Mercer needs to work on.  The big improvement was the decrease in his strikeout totals, with just 11 strikeouts in 93 at-bats, down from 21 in 100 at-bats in May.
Bryan Morris - Morris was promoted to AA in the month of May, but didn’t have any problems in a very good month of June.  He threw 30.2 innings, with a 3.82 ERA and a 25:11 K/BB ratio.  That includes his worst start at the AA level, when he allowed eight runs in five innings, with three walks and five strikeouts.  Morris could be making a case for a quick promotion to AAA, maybe by this time next month.
The Big Surprises
Alex Presley - Presley continued to impress in the month of June, hitting for a .294/.377/.426 line, which was actually down from his numbers in April and May.  Presley’s numbers were good enough to earn him a promotion to Indianapolis, where he started off by hitting for the cycle in his second game at the AAA level.
Josh Harrison - Harrison had a great month of April, but didn’t do so well in the month of May.  Then, in June, he bounced back with big numbers.  Harrison hit for a .337/.357/.529 line in the month of June in 104 at-bats.  He didn’t draw many walks, but one encouraging sign is that he hit for a lot of extra base hits.  15 of Harrison’s 35 hits went for doubles, with one triple and one homer.  Harrison currently ranks among the Eastern League leaders in doubles.
Kind of Disappointing
Tim Alderson - Alderson continued his struggles in the month of June, with a 5.11 ERA in 24.2 inninfs of work, and a 12:7 K/BB ratio.  Alderson allowed a .316 BAA in the month, which was a season worse, down from his .312 BAA in April.  Alderson has shown signs of improvement, with seven of his last nine starts going for quality starts, although the strikeout numbers just haven’t been there, and Alderson will need those to succeed.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch 7/5/10

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