The minor league season isn’t even a month old, which means small sample sizes and fun stats are abound! We haven’t done a Hot & Cold this year yet, but they are coming.
This can serve as the Hot & Cold for the first couple weeks, but it’s
going to be a little different. It’s too early to even call good or bad starts a trend at this point, but let’s call it hot streaks or concerns worth following.
Each player is in one of four categories to give some extra context.
Helium Alert (a prospect whose stock is rising)
Tyler Kuhn, Birmingham (.375/.444/.583 5 BB, 8 K, 2 SB in 56 PA)
Kuhn is 24 and repeating AA, but I don’t get the C.J. Retherford feel from him. Kuhn has always received respectable offensive scouting reports. It’s his defense that’s in question and I’ve heard better things this year. It’s still doubtful he becomes a Major League regular, but he could be a nice lefty bat off the bench with some speed.
Juan Silverio, Kannapolis (.306/.371/.548 3 HR, 5 BB, 13 K in 70 PA)
We’ve been hearing about Silverio for so long that it seems impossible that he just turned 20 a week ago. The infamous Dominican signing flopped with Kannapolis last year (with a productive stint with Great Falls in the middle), but is showing his potential this April. He’s got big power and is showing it (.242 ISO) and he’s also making good contact. He isn’t drawing many walks, but he is at an age appropriate level and is succeeding.
Jose Martinez, Winston-Salem (.391/.451/.531 6 BB, 7 K in 72 PA)
Like Silverio, Martinez was a top prospect 2-3 years ago and hasn’t delivered until now. Another foreign prospect that scouts liked, Martinez had his career sidetracked by a horrific leg injury. He played 39 games in 2008, none in 2009 and just 67 last year. Just now appearing 100% he’s killing Caroling League pitching and at 22, he still deserves prospect cred. He’s not showing big power and doesn’t draw a lot of walks, but he’s always been a good contact hitter. If he keeps this up and survives the AA jump he could be the organization’s top outfield prospect by year’s end (which would probably say more about Jared Mitchell and Trayce Thompson).
Hot with Strings Attached (succeeding, but is either old for his level or isn’t much of a prospect)
Jacob Petricka, Kannapolis (17 IP, 0.53 ERA, 22 K, 4 BB, 9 H)
is doing what he’s supposed to. He’s a college pitcher that was taken
high in the draft. Low-A shouldn’t be, and isn’t, a problem for him.
Addison Reed, Winston-Salem/Kannapolis (10 IP, 0.90 ERA, 14 K, 1 BB, 4 H)
Petricka. Reed was the first notable promotion of the season when he
got moved up to the Dash last week. He’s being streamlined as a
reliever, which is slightly disappointing, but the results are
Matt Zaleski, Birmingham (24 IP, 2.63 ERA, 22 K, 3 BB, 15 H)
Dylan Axelrod, Birmingham (24.1 IP, 2.22 ERA, 26 K, 4 BB, 19 H)
Neither is a prospect (Zaleski is 29 and Axelrod is 25), but those K/BB ratios are pretty. Zaleski’s numbers were even better before getting shelled last night.
Ian Gac, Winston-Salem (.300/.368/.700 7 HR in 68 PA)
The 25-year-old Gac isn’t a prospect, but I gotta give some love for a .700 slugging percentage and an OPS over 1.
The Kannapolis offense
The Intimidators have the league’s best record at 12-4 thanks to their offense and a pitching staff that has allowed the fewest homers in the league. The aforementioned Silverio (.920 OPS), Michael Blanke (.902 OPS), Brady Shoemaker (.835 OPS), Ross Wilson (.846 OPS), Dan Black (.901 OPS) and Kyle Eveland (.857 OPS) are all off to strong starts. Throw in a streaky Thompson, who leads the team in HRs and runs scored, and you have a potent offensive machine. However, other than Silverio, it’s an older group for the league. Blanke and Wilson, both 22, are 2010 draftees in their first full pro seasons so they can still be thought of as prospects. Shoemaker (23), Black (23) and Eveland (24) are fringe at best.
Jhonny Nunez, Charlotte (8.1 IP, 1.08 ERA, 11 K, BB, 4 H)
Dan Remenowsky, Birmingham (6 IP, 0 R, 8 K, BB, 2 H)
It’s too early to start analyzing reliever stats, but with the way the White Sox bullpen started the year fans are probably wondering who could step in to help. Nunez and Remenowsky are among the candidates, along with Anthony Carter who was off to a strong start before giving up six runs on Friday.
Cold with Reservations (struggling but has a good excuse so far)
Dayan Viciedo, Charlotte (.210/.258/.306 1 HR, 4 BB, 12 K in 66 PA)
I’m willing to give Viciedo a break (unlike a couple of his Charlotte teammates below). He’s started off slow every year and, while his power is mysteriously non-existent, he seems to be getting a bit unlucky (.245 BABIP) and is actually drawing a few walks. It’s too early and the start isn’t bad enough to start worrying yet.
Brandon Short, Birmingham (.212/.257/.364 1 HR, 2 BB, 18 K in 71 PA)
File this under ‘too early to make conclusions’ from. AA is a big jump, especially for a hitter that doesn’t walk much. Either he can make the adjustment or his lack of patience will cost him.
Red Flag Alert (stock could slip if this keeps up much longer)
Tyler Flowers, Charlotte (.206/.270/.324 1 HR, 2 BB, 12 K in 37 PA)
Jordan Danks, Charlotte (.156/.309/.222 9 BB, 19 K in 55 PA)
I’m lopping these two together because the story is the same: strikeouts. Each of them is striking out about one third of the time they step up to the plate. That’s unacceptable. At least Danks is drawing walks. If you didn’t already, it might be time to consider jumping ship soon.
Charlie Shirek, Winston-Salem (8.2 IP, 8.31 ERA, 6 K, 2 BB, 14 H)
Shirek hasn’t handled the move to the bullpen well at all this year. The king of succeeding without strikeouts actually has a respectable number of strikeouts, but opponents are hitting .378 against him. I’m guessing something is wrong for him to be in relief in Winston-Salem after starting in Birmingham last year, but until I hear an explanation I’m not going to think of Shirek as much of a prospect anymore.