The minor league season is down to its last few weeks and, at this stage, most of the players have (or have not) accomplished most of what they’re going to accomplish on the year. The most pressing questions for the Pirates will be which players to call up in September.
Chris Leroux, RHP (AAA): Just a couple weeks ago, Leroux had been struggling through his rehab as a reliever and was removed from the 40-man roster. He’s turned things around completely in four games as a starter, posting an ERA of 0.72 and allowing opponents to hit only .146 against him. He’s fanned 17 and walked only three in 25 innings, and should have close to a lock on a callup in September, if not sooner.
Oscar Tejeda, OF (AA): Tejeda has done little since the Pirates acquired him off the waiver wire to justify the move, all the more so because he’s now strictly a corner outfielder rather than a shortstop, his position when he was once regarded as a prospect. He’s had a good stretch lately, though, going 10-29 (.345) with seven doubles, a HR and 11 RBIs.
Alex Dickerson, 1B (High A): Dickerson has never quite gone on a sustained tear, but he’s quietly put up OPS figures over .900 each month since May. He’s been hot so far in August, hitting 400/442/550, and was named the best defensive first baseman in the Florida State League in a poll of the league’s managers by Baseball America.
Dan Gamache, 2B (Low A): Gamache has continued raking, going 9-21 (.429) in the last week and hitting 436/476/795 so far in August.
Willy Garcia, OF (Low A): In his last seven games, Garcia’s gone 11-29 (.379) with three doubles and three HRs.
Nick Kingham, RHP (Low A): Kingham is having his best stretch of the season, posting an ERA of 0.98 in his last five games, with 15 hits, one walk and 25 strikeouts in 27.2 IP.
TRENDING UP AND DOWN
Vic Black, RHP (AA): Black has gone to extremes in the month of August. In three outings covering four innings, he allowed no hits and a walk and fanned 11. In the other two outings, he gave up decisive HRs, the only two he’s allowed all year, and was charged with five runs total over just two and a third innings. On the season he’s fanned 71 in just 50.1 IP, and that ratio probably speaks more loudly than anything else he’s done.
Chase d’Arnaud, SS (AAA): D’Arnaud is having a bad ending to a difficult season. He had his best month in July, but he’s hitting only .200 in August. In the last week he went 3-21 (.143). He’s not making a case for a September callup and could be jeopardizing his roster spot.
Zack Dodson, LHP (Low A): Dodson was already having a disappointing season, posting an ERA of 4.86 at a level he’s repeating, but now he’s been suspended for 50 games as a result of testing positive for the second time for a drug of abuse. The suspension will stretch into the 2013 season. Not cool.