Over the course of a very long season, it’s very rare for everything to go as planned. It’s how you deal with when the plan goes astray that usually determined what kind of season you are going to have.
When the season began, the Greensboro Grasshoppers penciled in Maikol Escotto as the team’s starting shortstop.
While showing some power, Escotto struggled to make contact and was eventually sent back to the Florida Complex League, before ending back up with Bradenton to continue to work on his approach.
In his place, Francisco Acuna has stepped up and has taken on the majority of the playing time at the position. To date he has recorded 49 games – 44 of which were starts — at shortstop.
He’s been an above-average hitter for Greensboro, posting a 111 wRC+ and .353 wOBA in 52 games this season. Maybe the most impressive thing for him has been the sure defense he’s played, only committing six errors in nearly 400 innings at the position.
Acuna has spent the majority of the season batting out of the nine hole for the Grasshoppers. It’s a spot that is looked on more as a second leadoff hitter now, as it can set the table for the top of the order. He picked up a pair of doubles out of that spot on Tuesday and has 10 overall extra-base hits on the season.
Kyle Nicolas Brilliant
The Altoona rotation has a couple of players that have really been struggling to find any resemblance of consistency as of late. Kyle Nicolas was one of them, which is crazy to say after the start to the season he had.
He got blown up in one start early on, but was really solid outside of that the first month of the season. He’s struggled to replicate that success, between injuries and control issues.
Last week he came out and started to look like the pitcher that he was at the beginning of the season, but rain delayed the game and he only completed two innings (struck out the last four batters he faced).
He carried that over into Wednesday and completed at least six innings for just the fourth time in his professional career, and his first in the Pirates system.
The Marauders shortstop now has a five game hitting streak after picking up three on Wednesday in Bradenton’s extra-inning win over Palm Beach. He’s gone 9-for-20 (.450) with six runs scored, three extra base hits, four RBI and has walked (5) more times than he has struck out (3).
Cheng opened up the scoring with a RBI single that scored Jasiah Dixon in the third inning before tying things back up later in the seventh.
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