The past week was a little light on action, with Indianapolis and Altoona both missing time for their All-Star breaks. The system continued to get some surprising offense, but a lot of the pitching continues to disappoint. A couple of pitchers at State College, though, have been getting people out on a consistent basis lately.
Brandon Boggs, OF (AAA): Boggs has been blistering hot for a while now. In his last ten games he’s hit 469/553/719. In June and July combined he’s batting .375 and controlling the strike zone well, with 17 walks and 25 Ks. It’s unlikely he’ll get called up, but he’s a reasonable option in case the Pirates have any more outfield injuries and still aren’t inclined to promote Starling Marte.
Nate Baker, LHP (AA): Baker has turned his season around since being moved to the bullpen. As a starter he posted a 5.90 ERA and walked more than he struck out. Since moving to the bullpen he’s had an ERA of 1.83, opponents are hitting .216 against him, and he has 18 strikeouts and seven walks in 19.2 IP.
Mike Colla, RHP (AA): Colla has made the same transition as Baker. Since posting a 5.15 ERA in seven starts, he’s had an ERA of 1.24 in relief. He’s fanned 26 and walked only six in 29 relief innings.
Alex Dickerson, 1B (High A): Dickerson continues to elevate his game slowly but surely. In his last ten games he’s hit 333/372/513. In June and July he’s batting .327 and slugging .547. He has a reverse platoon split, with an .837 OPS against LHPs and .777 against RHPs.
Justin Howard, 1B/OF (High A): Howard has been on fire lately, hitting 429/488/514 over his last ten games. On the season he’s now hitting 308/406/413, with almost the same number of walks as Ks. What probably limits him to being an organizational player, though, is the fact that he’s strictly a corner player and has little power, with just one HR all year.
Jose Osuna, 1B (Low A): I could just about plug Alen Hanson and Gregory Polanco in here every week, but Osuna has now gotten into his first really good stretch. Up until recently he’s been mildly disappointing, not getting overmatched but not hitting well, either. So far in July, though, he’s hitting 314/340/569. In 13 July games he has four HRs after hitting only five in 74 games before that.
D.J. Crumlich, IF (Short Season A): Drafted as a glove guy, Crumlich so far has been a surprise with the bat. He’s been the Spikes’ most consistent hitter, with a 317/364/427 line.
Clay Holmes, RHP (Short Season A): Holmes has been very good so far, albeit with a very low strikeout rate of 5.7 per nine innings. He struggled in one start, but in the other four has gone five innings every time, allowed no earned runs and given up just six hits in the 20 innings. Opponents on the year are batting just .146 against him.
Joely Rodriguez, LHP (Short Season A): Rodriguez has allowed just one earned run in his last three starts, each of them covering five innings. In the 15 innings he’s given up just eight hits and one walk. Like Holmes, though, he’s not missing many bats; he’s fanned only seven in those three starts.
Oscar Tejeda, OF (AA): After getting off to a good start since the Pirates claimed on waivers, Tejeda slumped. In his last six games he’s hitting .130 and overall for Altoona his line is just 216/237/333, which is consistent with his struggles at the AA level the last two years. Given that he’s strictly an outfielder now, the Pirates’ decision to claim him looks puzzling, to say the least.
Jameson Taillon, RHP (High A): Taillon’s struggles continued, as he got bombed again on Saturday. Over his last ten games he has an ERA of 6.42 and a below average strikeout rate. For a guy with his stuff this is baffling.
Matt Benedict, RHP (High A): Benedict was the mainstay in the West Virginia rotation when the team had nobody else pitching respectably, but he’s been overmatched at Bradenton. In five starts he has an ERA of 11.78, with 11 walks and only six strikeouts in 18.1 IP.